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TITLE
Donald Riddell, fiddle craftsman (1 of 17)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_DONALDRIDDLE_01
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Donald Riddell
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1913
KEYWORDS
fiddles
violins
violin
craft
crafts
music
audio

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The late, great, Donald Riddell BEM, from Kirkhill near Inverness, was a fiddler, composer, and fiddle maker. He was also a Pipe Major in the Lovat Scouts. His pupils include Duncan Chisholm, Bruce MacGregor and Iain MacFarlane.

In this audio extract, Donald discusses his early childhood experiences of the fiddle. He also talks about those who influenced him, including Alexander Battan Grant, a fellow fiddle maker and composer. The image shows one of Donald's fiddles being constructed.

'I always wanted to play a fiddle long before I went to school and I'd heard about the great Stradivari and other famous people, and also about Scott Skinner and people like that, and I was terribly keen to learn to play the fiddle. And, there was a fiddle in the house but I wasn't allowed to touch it. So, I got a piece of wood and made a very crude little fiddle out of it which actually played. It sounded like the kettle singing at the fireside actually but after that I started to play by ear and when my mother heard that she just went straight off and handed me the fiddle.

But having started off as a maker then, before I went to school, of a kind, that I never forgot that and the desire to make fiddles was always with me. And it wasn't 'til quite a long time after that when I was a teenager that I really took up the idea again and of course by this time I had met Alexander Grant Battan of the vibration rod fame and he must have seen something in me because he took an interest in me - more than he took in most people - and he showed me an awful lot about it and I wouldn't make fiddles so well today if it wasn't for him, the most remarkable man I ever met'

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Donald Riddell, fiddle craftsman (1 of 17)

1980s; 1990s

fiddles; violins; violin; craft; crafts; music; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Donald Riddell

The late, great, Donald Riddell BEM, from Kirkhill near Inverness, was a fiddler, composer, and fiddle maker. He was also a Pipe Major in the Lovat Scouts. His pupils include Duncan Chisholm, Bruce MacGregor and Iain MacFarlane.<br /> <br /> In this audio extract, Donald discusses his early childhood experiences of the fiddle. He also talks about those who influenced him, including Alexander Battan Grant, a fellow fiddle maker and composer. The image shows one of Donald's fiddles being constructed.<br /> <br /> 'I always wanted to play a fiddle long before I went to school and I'd heard about the great Stradivari and other famous people, and also about Scott Skinner and people like that, and I was terribly keen to learn to play the fiddle. And, there was a fiddle in the house but I wasn't allowed to touch it. So, I got a piece of wood and made a very crude little fiddle out of it which actually played. It sounded like the kettle singing at the fireside actually but after that I started to play by ear and when my mother heard that she just went straight off and handed me the fiddle. <br /> <br /> But having started off as a maker then, before I went to school, of a kind, that I never forgot that and the desire to make fiddles was always with me. And it wasn't 'til quite a long time after that when I was a teenager that I really took up the idea again and of course by this time I had met Alexander Grant Battan of the vibration rod fame and he must have seen something in me because he took an interest in me - more than he took in most people - and he showed me an awful lot about it and I wouldn't make fiddles so well today if it wasn't for him, the most remarkable man I ever met'