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1. a violin played as a folk instrument
2. Nautical a small railing around the top of a table to prevent objects from falling off it in bad weather
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a stringed instrument, played with a bow. The fiddle was used from the eighth to the mid-14th century in Western Europe by itinerant musicians. In German-speaking countries the term “Fiedel” is analogous to the “vielle” or “viola” of Romance languages. The fiddle was spade-shaped, pear-shaped, or guitar-shaped, the last-mentioned being the classic type. Initially, its body had two flat sounding boards, square upper bouts, two semicircular soundholes, a fingerboard without frets, and a flat pegbox with perpendicularly placed tuning pegs. The fiddle had one to five strings, which were tuned in fourths or fifths (seeSTRINGED INSTRUMENT, BOWED).


Struve, B. A. Protsess formirovaniia viol i skripok. Moscow, 1959. Pages 37–55.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
ARE we all fiddling while Rome burns?Even the Pentagon -hardly a ``leftie'' organisation -has warned that global warming is a greater threat than global terrorism.
Because read together those stories conjure up a vivid picture of a bunch of Neros fiddling while Rome burns.
It's a case of fiddling while Rome burns. Rules must change in line with these harder times.
'Fiddling while Rome burns' is the phrase that springs to mind.
But this time the House of Commons' "summer" break - which lasts until October - seems even more than usual a case of Nero fiddling while Rome burns.
But Clare Sealy, head of St Matthias School in East London, said tackling problems this way was "fiddling while Rome burns".