It's both, they say. No difference at all.
So, when I went to the music store (you know, the one that specializes in *only* violins) and I said I was a beginner, I was received with with luke warm reproach. To which I understand amongst these stringed elitists as they are the experts. They are violinists classsically trained and I respect this.
I then just had to take it one step further and announce that I was learning to play the fiddle. Silence. Eye rolling. Was shown the door.
Okay, I wasn't shown the door exactly but the gentleman, who ran is little studio shop, sorely recommended that I begin with the basics of lessons, to which I agreed. Then he told me my fiddle...um, violin...was a piece of crap. No, seriously, he did. First thing he said to me was, "Did you buy this off the internet?" I said, "yes." He said, "I can tell." I said, "How am I to know what is a superior fidd...violin for a beginner? I made my phone calls, checked on the internet, and was recommended this brand for newbies." He said, "Don't ever buy a new instrument off the internet without coming to a specialty store to try one on, so to speak." He told me that any decent newbie violin will be no less than 250-300. And you know, I get that. I got mine for about half that price and the moment I received it, I knew something was wrong. The E string would never tighten and tune to pitch, and the moment I happened to get it there, a minute later it would fall out of pitch again.
I am off again, on Monday, to that very same violin shop, to purchase a better instrument so that I can learn to fiddle appalachia music like no one else. :)