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TITLE
Donald Riddell, fiddle craftsman (13 of 17)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_DONALDRIDDLE_13
PERIOD
1980s; 1990s
CREATOR
Donald Riddell
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1928
KEYWORDS
fiddles
violins
violin
craft
crafts
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 the merits of purfling - narrow decorative wooden strips inlaid into the top and (often) bottom plates of stringed instruments. The image shows Donald playing one of Alexander Grant's round violins, known as the 'Rondello'.

'To purfle a fiddle, I find it - to put in both back and front - that's a day's work, just to do that. It takes a whole day and it's a very tiring job, you see, it's sore on the fingers - cutting out that fine, fine channel so accurately and inlaying the purfling. And the purfling is sunk to about the same depth down as it is in breadth. The purpose of the purfling is, in the first place, ornamental. Then they also say it also has - it prevents splintering. If that splits here, the purfling stops damage. I don't know. Some of the very old Italian fiddles that they pay big prices for today were not purfled at all. There was just an ink mark drawn round or a scratch with the gauge and left at that. They couldn't afford purfling and these fiddles sold for tiny sums of money and today they pay fantastic prices because they've got a good tone'

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Donald Riddell, fiddle craftsman (13 of 17)

1980s; 1990s

fiddles; violins; violin; craft; crafts; 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 the merits of purfling - narrow decorative wooden strips inlaid into the top and (often) bottom plates of stringed instruments. The image shows Donald playing one of Alexander Grant's round violins, known as the 'Rondello'.<br /> <br /> 'To purfle a fiddle, I find it - to put in both back and front - that's a day's work, just to do that. It takes a whole day and it's a very tiring job, you see, it's sore on the fingers - cutting out that fine, fine channel so accurately and inlaying the purfling. And the purfling is sunk to about the same depth down as it is in breadth. The purpose of the purfling is, in the first place, ornamental. Then they also say it also has - it prevents splintering. If that splits here, the purfling stops damage. I don't know. Some of the very old Italian fiddles that they pay big prices for today were not purfled at all. There was just an ink mark drawn round or a scratch with the gauge and left at that. They couldn't afford purfling and these fiddles sold for tiny sums of money and today they pay fantastic prices because they've got a good tone'