December 13 is National Violin Day. The violin, also called a fiddle, has been around a long time. According to the National Day Calendar: “It is believed that Turkic and Mongolian horseman from Inner Asia were the world’s earliest fiddlers. Their two-stringed upright fiddles were strung with horsehair strings.” Violins now are based on those created in the sixteenth century either by Stradivari or Amati. They haven’t changed in basic shape much since. The word violin comes from the Latin vitula, which means stringed instrument. The modern instrument has four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello.
The violin is a very versatile instrument. Everything from classical music to bluegrass to jazz to folk music to traditional Celtic music to rock and roll can be played on a fiddle. In the town where I live now, we have an old time fiddlers association. They are delightful to listen to as they play older folk music, but I love hearing an orchestra play best.
A surprising number of famous people have played the violin, such as Charlie Chaplin, Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Herman Hesse, and, of course, Sherlock Holmes. And it’s said Nero fiddled while Rome burned, though that’s likely apocryphal.
So celebrate this day by listening to some violin music. If you are into classical music, you can find over an hour of “The Best Classical Violin Music” on YouTube here. or two hours of relaxing violin music here, or folk tunes here, or some jazz here.
Quotes about the violin
There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen.–Arthur Conan Doyle
The violin — that most human of all instruments…–Louisa May Alcott
The true mission of the violin is to imitate the accents of the human voice, a noble mission that has earned for the violin the glory of being called the king of instruments.–Charles-Auguste de Beriot
There is no competition of sounds between a nightingale and a violin.–Dejan Stojanovic
Violinists wear the imprint on their necks with pride for they are the players of harmony.–Kamand Kojouri
Then she took up the bow and began to play. The tone was warm and deep, storied with layers of age.–A. S. Peterson
A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?–Albert Einstein
If we were all determined to play the first violin we should never have an ensemble. therefore, respect every musician in his proper place.–Robert Schumann
Why play the violin? Because it is beautiful!–James Tanton
A poet is a man who puts up a ladder to a star and climbs it while playing a violin.–Edmond de Goncourt
I first picked up a violin aged five – I just assumed everyone played.–Andre Rieu
Sex and violence was never really my cup of tea; I was always more into sax and violins.–Wim Wenders
An hour of violin lessons in Berlin is an hour where you get the child interested in music. An hour in a violin lesson in Palestine is an hour away from violence, is an hour away from fundamentalism.–Daniel Barenboim
When you play a violin piece, you are a storyteller, and you’re telling a story.–Joshua Bell
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