South Dakota State Musical Instrument


Fiddle: South Dakota State Musical Instrument

Adopted in 1989.

The fiddle was adopted in 1989 as the official state musical instrument of the State of South Dakota.

Fiddle is another name for the bowed string musical instrument more often called a violin. It is also a colloquial term for the instrument used by players in all genres, including classical music. Fiddle playing, or fiddling, which could refers to various styles of music.

South Dakota State Musical Instrument: Fiddle

Fiddle: South Dakota State Musical Instrument

There are no real distinctions between violins and fiddles, though more primitively constructed violins are more likely to be considered fiddles. Fiddle is also a common term among musicians who play folk music on the violin. Many traditional (folk) styles are aural traditions, so are taught 'by ear' rather than with written music. It is less common for a classically trained violinist to play folk music, but today, many fiddlers have classical training.

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.

Primitive bowed instruments of many types exist around the world and some are still widely used, but the modern Violin first appeared in Italy in the early 16th century. Well known early fiddle makers include Guarneri, Amati and Stradivari. The modern classical violin has a longer neck and fingerboard, and a greater neck angle than the original baroque design, in order to provide more volume. Many early violins were modified in the early 1800s to match the requirements of the new design, and can be identified by the grafting on of a new neck.

The violin top and back are carved out from solid wood. The top is spruce and the back, sides and neck are generally from sycamore. The bassbar is an integral and tonally important part of the top. The soundpost is fitted about 1/4" behind the treble foot of the bridge and connects the front and back of the instrument acoustically in a way that shapes the sound considerably. The most popular type of sycamore used in violins has a curl in the grain which shows up as a flame effect. The edges of the body are almost always inlaid with a band of purfling. Copies and originals of the Italian maker Maggini will have two separate purflings.

South Dakota Laws

The law designating the fiddle as the official South Dakota state musical instrument is found in the South Dakota Codified Laws, Title 1, Chapter 1-6, Section 1-6-16.3

SECTION 1-6-16.3

1-6-16.3. State musical instrument. The fiddle is hereby designated as the official state musical instrument of the State of South Dakota.

Source: SL 1989, ch 6.

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