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April21–23

Fiddler's Frolic – April 21-23, 2023

Fiddler’s Frolics is a yearly celebration, in Texas, held every fourth weekend in April and this year will be marked from April 21 to 23. The main activity during Fiddler’s Frolic is the Texas State Championship Contest where the best Fiddlers from and outside Texas come to show their skills in a bid to win a grand prize. This competition started in 1971 and is always held in Hallettsville, Texas. The event attracts lots of music lovers: professionals, amateurs, or those looking for some good music and a good time.

History of Fiddler's Frolic

The fiddle was first used in the tenth century in Europe and was derived from the ‘Byzantine lira,’ a bowed string instrument used in the Byzantine Empire. The lira paved the way for most European bowed instruments. Persian geographer, Ibn Khurradadhbih, first referenced the bowed lira in his lexicographical discussion of instruments in the ninth century. He cited it as a musical instrument of the Byzantines and an equivalent to the rabāb played in the Islamic empires.

Lira soon became widely used and spread westward to Europe so much that in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, European writers used the terms fiddle and lira interchangeably when referring to bowed musical instruments. After spreading to Europe, the fiddle spread to other parts of the world, especially the U.S. By the mid-1600s, black fiddlers were playing for black and white dancers at street celebrations in the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, New York City. This trend continued and by 1690 slave fiddlers were providing music at plantation balls in Virginia.

As lots of people took up fiddling over the years, it was only a matter of time before a celebration or competition was set up. In 1971, Fiddler’s Frolics was set up to celebrate and compete in fiddling. Texas has been the home of the competition since its inception with a lot of competitors and fans coming from all over the U.S. to join in on the celebration.

Fiddler's Frolic timeline

Ninth Century
The Lira is Used

The Lira is widely used during the Byzantine empire.

Tenth century
The Fiddle is First Used

The Fiddle is used for the first time in Europe.

1690
The Entertainment by Slave Fiddlers

Slave fiddlers provide music at plantation balls in Virginia.

1971
The Fiddler’s Frolics is Born

The first Fiddler’s Frolics is held in Texas.

Fiddler's Frolic FAQs

Is a fiddle a viola?

The Fiddle, Viola, and Violin come from the same family of bowed string instruments and are all very similar.

How many strings does a fiddle have?

The fiddle has four strings.

What are the notes on a fiddle?

The strings of the fiddle are tuned to the notes G, D, A, and E.

Fiddler's Frolic Activities

  1. Learn to fiddle

    Celebrate the day by learning to fiddle. Just like other instruments, it may take some time but you will get the hang of it eventually!

  2. Join the competition

    Have fun mixed with some healthy competition by joining the Fidder’s Frolics. You may improve your skill and meet more people that could be of help to you.

  3. Visit and enjoy the competition

    Enjoy the competition by being there to witness it. The captivating sounds will leave you wanting more.

5 Fiddlers You Should Know

  1. Charlie Daniels

    His unique style of music combines rock, bluegrass, country, blues, and gospel, and he is best known for his country hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”.

  2. Mark O’Connor

    At 13, he became the youngest person to win the Grand Master Fiddler Championship.

  3. Bob Wills

    He started the Texas Playboys band and is best known for his influence on Western swing which saw him inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1968.

  4. Craig Duncan

    Craig Duncan is both a classical and country-trained musician who plays the fiddle as well as the viola, mandolin, rhythm, and electric guitar as well as several other instruments.

  5. Jay Ungar

    He is best known for his composition "Ashokan Farewell", which won the Grammy Award and was used in the Ken Burns PBS documentary series "The Civil War".

Why We Love Fiddler's Frolic

  1. It is a fun day

    The day is filled with fun activities. After you attend an event, you’ll be impatiently looking forward to the next one.

  2. It encourages fiddling

    Fiddling isn’t taken up by a lot of people. Events like these help bring fiddling to the public.

  3. It brings us good music

    The day brings fiddlers from not just Texas, but outside Texas too. People get to listen to the very best showcase their craft, which is always pleasing to the ears.

Fiddler's Frolic dates

YearDateDay
2022April 22Friday
2023April 21Friday
2024April 26Friday
2025April 25Friday
2026April 24Friday

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