Violin VL100.png
A standard modern violin shown from the front and the side
String instrument
Other namesfiddle
Hornbostel–Sachs classification321.322-71
(Composite chordophone sounded by a bow)
DevelopedEarly 16th century
Playing range
Range violin.png
Related instruments
A young violinist at Ruthin School

The violin, also known informally as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. Most violins have a hollow wooden body. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments are known, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin, but these are virtually unused. The violin typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato) and by striking the strings with the wooden side of the bow (col legno).

Violins are important instruments in a wide variety of musical genres. They are most prominent in the Western classical tradition, both in ensembles (from chamber music to orchestras) and as solo instruments and in many varieties of folk music, including country music, bluegrass music and in jazz. Electric violins with solid bodies and piezoelectric pickups are used in some forms of rock music and jazz fusion, with the pickups plugged into instrument amplifiers and speakers to produce sound. Further, the violin has come to be played in many non-Western music cultures, including Indian music and Iranian music. The name fiddle is often used regardless of the type of music played on it.

The violin was first known in 16th-century Italy, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries to give the instrument a more powerful sound and projection. In Europe, it served as the basis for the development of other stringed instruments used in Western classical music, such as the viola.[1][2][3]

Violinists and collectors particularly prize the fine historical instruments made by the Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati families from the 16th to the 18th century in Brescia and Cremona (Italy) and by Jacob Stainer in Austria. According to their reputation, the quality of their sound has defied attempts to explain or equal it, though this belief is disputed.[4][5] Great numbers of instruments have come from the hands of less famous makers, as well as still greater numbers of mass-produced commercial "trade violins" coming from cottage industries in places such as Saxony, Bohemia, and Mirecourt. Many of these trade instruments were formerly sold by Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other mass merchandisers.

The parts of a violin are usually made from different types of wood (although electric violins may not be made of wood at all, since their sound may not be dependent on specific acoustic characteristics of the instrument's construction, but rather an electronic pickup, amplifier and speaker). Violins can be strung with gut, Perlon or other synthetic, or steel strings. A person who makes or repairs violins is called a luthier or violinmaker. One who makes or repairs bows is called an archetier or bowmaker.


The word "violin" was first used in English in the 1570s.[6] The word "violin" comes from "Italian violino, [a] diminutive of viola". The term "viola" comes from the expression for "tenor violin" in 1797, from Italian viola, from Old Provençal viola, [which came from] Medieval Latin vitula" as a term which means "stringed instrument," perhaps [coming] from Vitula, Roman goddess of joy..., or from related Latin verb vitulari, "to exult, be joyful."[7] The related term "Viola da gamba" means "bass viol" (1724) is from Italian, literally "a viola for the leg" (i.e. to hold between the legs)."[7] A violin is the "modern form of the smaller, medieval viola da braccio."[6]

The violin is often called a fiddle, either when used in a folk music context, or even in Classical music scenes, as an informal nickname for the instrument.[8] The word "fiddle" was first used in English in the late 14th century.[8] The word "fiddle" comes from "fedele, fydyll, fidel, earlier fithele, from Old English fiðele "fiddle," which is related to Old Norse fiðla, Middle Dutch vedele, Dutch vedel, Old High German fidula, German Fiedel, "a fiddle;" all of uncertain origin." As to the origin of the word "fiddle", the "...usual suggestion, based on resemblance in sound and sense, is that it is from Medieval Latin vitula."[8] The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the term "fiddle" has "...been relegated to colloquial usage by its more proper cousin, violin, a process encouraged by phraseology such as 'fiddlesticks' (1620s), [the] contemptuous nonsense word 'fiddle-de-dee' (1784), and [expressions like] 'fiddle-faddle'."[8]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Viool
Alemannisch: Geige
العربية: كمان
aragonés: Vriolín
armãneashti: Avyiulii
অসমীয়া: বেহেলা
asturianu: Vigulín
azərbaycanca: Skripka
বাংলা: বেহালা
Bân-lâm-gú: Chhiú-khîm
башҡортса: Скрипка
беларуская: Скрыпка
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Скрыпка
български: Цигулка
བོད་ཡིག: ཨོག་ལེན།
bosanski: Violina
brezhoneg: Biolin
català: Violí
Чӑвашла: Сĕрме купăс
Cebuano: Biyolin
čeština: Housle
Cymraeg: Ffidil
dansk: Violin
Deutsch: Violine
eesti: Viiul
Ελληνικά: Βιολί
español: Violín
Esperanto: Violono
euskara: Biolin
فارسی: ویولن
Fiji Hindi: Violin
føroyskt: Violin
français: Violon
Frysk: Fioele
furlan: Violin
Gaeilge: Veidhlín
Gàidhlig: Fìdheall
galego: Violín
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Séu-thì-khìm
한국어: 바이올린
հայերեն: Ջութակ
हिन्दी: वायलिन
hrvatski: Violina
Ido: Violino
Bahasa Indonesia: Biola
interlingua: Violino
íslenska: Fiðla
italiano: Violino
עברית: כינור
Basa Jawa: Piyul
Kabɩyɛ: Fiyoolɔɣ
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಪಿಟೀಲು
ქართული: ვიოლინო
kaszëbsczi: Skrzëpice
қазақша: Скрипка
Kiswahili: Fidla
kurdî: Keman
Кыргызча: Скрипка
لۊری شومالی: ویولون
Latina: Violina
latviešu: Vijole
Lëtzebuergesch: Gei
lietuvių: Smuikas
Limburgs: Fjoeal
lumbaart: Viulin
magyar: Hegedű
македонски: Виолина
മലയാളം: വയലിൻ
მარგალური: ვიოლინო
مصرى: كمنجه
مازِرونی: ویالون
Bahasa Melayu: Biola
монгол: Хийл
မြန်မာဘာသာ: တယော
Nāhuatl: Violin
Nederlands: Viool
Nedersaksies: Fioul
नेपाल भाषा: बेला
Nordfriisk: Fijool
norsk: Fiolin
norsk nynorsk: Fiolin
occitan: Violon
олык марий: Скрипке
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Skripka
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਵਾਇਲਿਨ
پنجابی: وائلن
ភាសាខ្មែរ: វីយោឡុង
Plattdüütsch: Vigelien
polski: Skrzypce
português: Violino
română: Vioară
rumantsch: Violina
Runa Simi: Wiyulin
русиньскый: Гуслї
русский: Скрипка
Seeltersk: Fjoole
shqip: Violina
සිංහල: වයලීනය
Simple English: Violin
slovenčina: Husle
slovenščina: Violina
کوردی: ڤایۆلین
српски / srpski: Виолина
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Violina
Basa Sunda: Biola
suomi: Viulu
svenska: Violin
Tagalog: Biyulin
தமிழ்: வயலின்
татарча/tatarça: Скрипка
తెలుగు: వయొలిన్
Türkçe: Keman
українська: Скрипка
اردو: بیلا
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ئىسكىرىپكا
vepsän kel’: Violine
Tiếng Việt: Vĩ cầm
Võro: Viiol
walon: Violon
文言: 梵婀玲
Winaray: Biyolin
吴语: 小提琴
ייִדיש: פידל
粵語: 小提琴
žemaitėška: Skripītis
中文: 小提琴