A fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument, most often a violin. It is a colloquial term for the violin, used by players in all genres including classical music. Fiddle playing, or fiddling, refers to various styles of music. The fiddle is part of many traditional (folk) styles of music which are aural traditions, taught 'by ear' rather than via written music. Although violins and fiddles are essentially synonymous, more primitively constructed and smaller violins are more likely to be called fiddles. Due to the style of the music played, fiddles may optionally be set up with a bridge with a flatter arch to reduce the range of bow-arm motion needed for techniques such as the double shuffle, a form of bariolage involving rapid alternation between pairs of adjacent strings. In order to produce a "brighter" tone, compared to the deeper tones of gut or synthetic core strings, fiddlers often prefer to use steel strings on their instruments. Among musical styles, fiddling tends to produce rhythms focused on dancing, with associated quick note changes, whereas classical music tends to contain more vibrato and sustained notes. It is less common for a classically trained violinist to play folk music, but today, many fiddlers have classical training.
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