World Fiddle Day is an annual music celebration day celebrated on the Third Saturday of May. This year it will be observed on May 19. Even though World Fiddle Day was created in 2012, it gained popularity all over the world within a few years. It was created to celebrate and to teach the playing of bowed string instruments throughout the world by conducting participatory and inclusive events. The fiddle is a bowed string musical instrument, used by the players in all genres including classical music.
World Fiddle Day happens once a year and is meant to celebrate everything that everyone loves about the chirpy, fun and feisty art of fiddle music. You’ll see it being celebrated on the third Saturday of each May. The fiddle is always known to be something positive, with all the songs and notes it produces high energy, entertaining, and bringing something positive. Making the room dance, wherever the sound of a fiddle is played.
Around the world, this day is celebrated with dancing, music, and of course plenty of fiddle playing!
History of World Fiddle Day
Before we speak about the day, it may be best to get a better idea of the Fiddle that is being celebrated! The fiddle is a four-stringed musical instrument of the string family, also often referred to as a small type of violin. Like the violin, it is also played with a bow. The terms fiddling or fiddle playing actually refer to a style of music, most commonly folk music. The origins of the name ‘fiddle’ are not known but is believed to be derived from an early violin or the Old English word ‘fithele’. The fiddle is common to English folk music, Irish folk music, Scandinavian music, Austrian, French, Hungarian, Polish, American, Latin American, African, and even Australian music. There is no difference between the fiddle and small violin aside from the name and type of music the instrument is used for.
A fiddle has many parts including the neck, fingerboard, tuning pegs, scroll, pegbox, bridge, soundhole, strings, fine tuners, tailpiece, bass bar, soundboard, chinrest, button, backplate, and bow. The earliest fiddles (or violins) were derived from the bow instruments from the Middle Ages.
When it comes to building a high-quality fiddle, it can take as many as 200 hours for craftsmen to handcraft a professional fiddle, showing that for a relatively simple looking and fun instrument, a lot of craft and workmanship has to go into building one.
Traditional fiddle strings were made of pig, goat, horse, or sheep intestine. Today they are made from steel or aluminium over a nylon core. Now, the last fiddle fact that you may want to take down for your next game of trivia, is that the fastest fiddler/violinist on record is Ben lee who played ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ in just over a minute in 2010. He played an average of 13 notes each second for a total of 810 notes in all. Now that is pretty impressive, so now the fiddle has been explained, what about the day?
The day was founded in 2012 by one Caoimhin Mac Aoidh, a professional fiddler from Donegal in Ireland. The day was birthed from a deep respect for one of the most expert and revered violin makers in history.
This month was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the death of the Italian violin craftsman Antonio Stradivari’s way back in 1737.
Stradivari is today considered the most significant creator of violins in history, with his surviving instruments today seen as the most prized and finest ever created. Although he also made the larger string instruments cellos and violas, it’s the violins that he lovingly crafted that he is most well-known and remembered for.
Though only a couple of hundred of his works still exists, they have been known to capture some huge prices at auction and are especially sought-after amongst professional violin players.
How to celebrate World Fiddle Day
If you ever learned how to play the violin in school, or you frequently play it either for pleasure or for work, today is a great day to get out your fiddle and play a couple of tunes! Perhaps play a little for friends or family, or show your children how to play some simple themes. If you do not own one, or do not know how to play it, then this could be a great time to learn. It is always fun and engaging to learn a new musical instrument, so why not start to learn the art of the fiddle, and maybe at next year’s celebrations you can play to the world what you have managed to learn!
If you aren’t lucky enough to have learned how to play this string instrument, you can celebrate its day by listening to some of the fantastic performances by string artists easily found on Youtube or Spotify. Add a spring to your daily commute with some Mozart, Barber or Brahms!
And if you’ve always fancied trying your hand at the violin, perhaps today you could take a trial lesson learning how to play? Who knows – by the time the next World Fiddle Day comes along, you could be able to play along with everyone else who is fiddling away!
Whatever you get up to, have a great World Fiddle Day!