F.M. Ashley, February 8, 1921.
The violin typically has four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is most commonly played by drawing a bow across its strings, though it can also be played by plucking the strings with the fingers (pizzicato). Violins are important instruments in a wide variety of musical genres. They are most prominent in the Western classical tradition and in many varieties of folk music. They are also frequently used in genres of folk including country musicand bluegrass music and in jazz. Electric violins are used in some forms of rock music and jazz; 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 in reference to folk music, particularly Irish traditional music and bluegrass, but this nickname is also used regardless of the type of music played on it.
The violin was first known in 16th-century Italy, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th and 19th centuries. In Europe it served as the basis for stringed instruments used in western classical music, such as the viola.
The parts of a violin are usually made from different types of wood (although electric violins may not be made of wood at all, since their sound may not be dependent on specific acoustic characteristics of the instrument's construction, but rather an electronic pickup, amplifier and speaker). Violins can be strung with gut, Perlon or other synthetic, or steel strings.