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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 term "viola" comes from the expression for "tenor violin," 1797, from Italian viola, from Old Provençal viola, [which came from] Medieval Latin vitula", a term which means "stringed instrument," perhaps [coming] from Vitula, Roman goddess of joy..., or from related Latin verb vitulari "to exult, be joyful."" 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." The Online Etymology Dictionary states that the term "fiddle" has "..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." The earliest stringed instruments were mostly plucked (for example, the Greek lyre).Two-stringed, bowed instruments, played upright and strung and bowed with horsehair, may have originated in the nomadic equestrian cultures of Central Asia, in forms closely resembling the modern-day Mongolian Morin huur and the Kazakh Kobyz.The violin, also known informally as a fiddle, is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. 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.A violin generally consists of a spruce top (the soundboard, also known as the top plate, table, or belly), maple ribs and back, two endblocks, a neck, a bridge, a soundpost, four strings, and various fittings, optionally including a chinrest, which may attach directly over, or to the left of, the tailpiece.
The current record amount paid for a Stradivari violin is £9.8 million (US.9 million), when the instrument known as the Lady Blunt was sold by Tarisio Auctions in an online auction on June 20, 2011.
One of the earliest explicit descriptions of the instrument, including its tuning, is from the Epitome musical by Jambe de Fer, published in Lyon in 1556.
By this time, the violin had already begun to spread throughout Europe.
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.