Fiddle-L Anthology 1999

A Tour 'Round The World Of Fiddling

Performer Bio


Ruth Temple, Aptos, California, U.S. (

Ruth was born August 16, 1960, in Fargo, North Dakota. She attended three years of liberal arts college.


Ruth's ancestors came from Southern England to America in 1636, and she is a third-generation Swede on her mother's side. Her parents were born in Hill City and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ruth started playing the violin in the summer of 1982, while living in South Minneapolis. "I took old-timey instruction from Petra Hall of Mama's Apron Strings Band and book 2 Suzuki from Violinist/Violist Josie Bulbulian in 1982-83." Ruth notes that playing for Morris dances has been educational for her as well. The first tune she learned was "Cripple Creek, or was it Whiskey Before Breakfast..." She learned it from another fiddler.


Ruth enjoys playing English Country Dance, jigs, schottisches, strathspeys, airs, graces, Breton dance music, medieval and renaissance music. She has also tried out cross tuning her fiddle. Besides the fiddle, Ruth also plays piano, guitar, pennywhistle, tabor and pipe. Her favorite backup instrument for fiddling is the fife. Ruth plays for Seabright Morris and Sword dance team, and in the past decade has fiddled at various dances ("morris, ECD [Playford]"); she has played at wedding parties and local music jams as well.


Ruth plays an Amati style violin made by Joh. Baptiste Schwarze in 1836; "it's German even though it says Peshtini". She describes its sound as having "a warm full rich tone, and loud enough to play for dance and be heard (!) outdoors, over dancers with bells on". She uses a Kun shoulder rest some of the time and prefers Pirastro Tonica or Prim strings. Ruth's bow is a "knockabout brazilwood bow (Int'l Violin Co catalog #7-8)". She does some of her own maintenance and repairs when necessary, including rehairing her bow and providing this service for others. She is learning how to build fiddles and "would love to make a bow".


"Voice and piano are my classically trained instruments -- I have a great love for folk and traditional music and guitar and fiddle are ways of expressing that. Fiddling style and learning format (mainly by ear, even when starting from the dots getting off the page and into the heart...) are the ways I speak the music from my heart."


"I wrote Planxty Loren on my birthday in 1966, and Sweet Jenny Jones is a morris-dance tune (yes, a morris dance to a waltz tune, go figger...) I learned it in 1990."

Ruth plays her tunes without backup musicians.