The violin is a wooden string instrument in the violin family. It is the smallest and highest-pitched instrument in the family in regular use. Smaller violin-type instruments are known, including the violino piccolo and the kit violin. 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 music and bluegrass music and in jazz. Electric violins are used in some forms of rock music; further, the violin has come to be played in many non-Western music cultures, including Indian music and Iranian music. The violin is sometimes informally called a fiddle, particularly in 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.
Kate was obliged to take up the violin at St. Joseph’s Convent Grammar School in September 1969, as all students were obliged to learn one musical instrument. According to her brother Paddy, Kate perhaps felt an obligation to learn to play the violin as their mother was Irish. She later turned to the piano.
The violin is used on various Kate Bush tracks, including Violin (played by Kevin Burke), Experiment IV, The Fog, Heads We’re Dancing, Top Of The City, Big Stripey Lie (played by Nigel Kennedy) and Mná na hÉirann (played by Nollaig Ni Chathasaigh).