French brought the fiddle here in the 1700s

When people ask me if I play a musical instrument, I tell them no – I can’t play a radio.

I am, however, a music fan, and an admirer of all who have the ability to create it. I’m also a proud native Missourian, which means our state musical instrument – the fiddle – is, to me, worth knowing something about. Wes-Noel Elk Springs MO

The fiddle became the official musical instrument of Missouri on July 17, 1987. Here’s what the State of Missouri has to say about it: “Brought to Missouri in the late 1700s by fur traders and settlers, the fiddle quickly became popular. The instrument was adaptable to many forms of music, could be played without extensive formal training and was light and easy to carry. For generations, the local fiddle player was the sole source of entertainment in many communities and held a position of great respect in the region.”

First of all, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between the fiddle and the violin, beyond some occasional minor characteristics that no one but a musician would probably really appreciate, and basically no difference at all as far as I can tell. It seems to largely depend on the style of music being played.

I think some classical violinists may also still prefer catgut strings (made from the intestines of sheep and goats, and not actual kitties!) to steel, but that depends on the musician.

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