The Violin and the Fiddle
Michael Ramsburg

The distinction between violin and fiddle has always been clear in my mind. My father studied music at Chapel Hill and wrote his master’s thesis, “A Study in Fiddle Tunes in Western North Carolina,” in 1940. I have the original copy along with the 78 rpms recorded at a radio station in Asheville. The fiddler was Fiddlin’ Bill Hensley, a stellar fiddler my father found while hiking in the Appalachians. It always seemed like Fiddlin’ Bill was part of our family. I never met him but have old photos of him alone and with my mother. I still have lots of family living in western North Carolina and a second cousin who lives in western North Carolina recently attended a folk music festival where a man proclaimed he knew my father (he said, I got this tune from David Parker Bennett who researched fiddle tunes) and my cuz told him he was her great-uncle. Bill held his fiddle at about chest level — nuthin’ under the chin for him. He had also studied classical violin, but loved his fiddle. Proud of my Daddy. Thank you for this further reminder. I’ll send the article/poem/photo to my cousin, too.

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