Though I have photographed fiddlers many times before, most often at the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival, having captured David Knight and Edith Coakley who were fiddling in Dupont Circle on Thursday evening, 02 August 2007, I thought it was about time that I explore the difference between a fiddle and a violin.
According to Wikipedia, the term fiddle refers to a violin when used in folk music. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music. Fiddle playing, or fiddling, is a style of music.
A violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle, regardless of the kind of music being played with it. The word "violin" is derived from Italian and the word "fiddle" is native to English. The two words are etymologically related, however, both ultimately deriving from the same Germanic word.
Speaking of fiddles - a few years ago, when I lived on Constitution Avenue on Capitol Hill, late one night, and for the first time, I happened upon Gordon Park's 1985 PBS historical drama Soloman Northrup's Odyssey. Since then, whenever I see a fiddler reflections of my personal experiences pertaining to integrated relationships with whites often come to mind. And, in particular, when I now see fiddlers at the annual 2006 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
Since my experiences, over the years, have not been unlike those of Soloman Northrup which was produced by Gordon Parks, and not unlike the sound of a fiddle, the movie still resonates truths so profound that I've spoken of in several of my ongoing projects including "When White Folks Come Around" and "It's A Camera, Not A Gun!".
I've known many a white person who while clapping their hands and stumping their feet to the sounds of Negro music were, simultaneously, negatively reinforcing and discriminating against me.
Click the above photo to view my Fiddlers David Knight and Edith Coakley - Dupont Circle - 02 August 2007 photoset which is part of my oingoinbg Dupont Circle 2007 and Street Musicians 2007 projects.
And here is the video.