This article is part of the Fiddle and Violin series.
The violin is a bowed string instrument with four strings usually tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest and highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which also includes the viola and cello.
The violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle, regardless of the type of music played on it. The word "violin" comes from the Middle Latin word vitula, meaning "stringed instrument"; this word is also believed to be the source of the Germanic "fiddle". The violin, while it has ancient origins, acquired most of its modern characteristics in 16th-century Italy, with some further modifications occurring in the 18th century. Violinists and collectors particularly prize the instruments made by the Stradivari, Guarneri and Amati families from the 16th to the 18th century in Cremona.