The fiddle was widely played and admired on Crete up until the inter-war years. It was mainly played in the towns and cities of the eastern and western provinces, where it often took the place of the lyra.

To this day the fiddle makes a decisive contribution to the musical tradition of Heraklion, where it has gained popularity on account of its ability to render local tunes, especially those accompanying mantinades, the rhyming distichs sung on Crete.

Musicians playing the fiddle, the mandolin and the lyra, early 20th century (Archanes, Heraklion)
The Heraklion fiddler G. Sfakianakis or Avissinos playing to the accompaniment of the bouzouki
Cretans at a get-together with a fiddler, early 20th century
Fiddle and bow, Lavirinthos Music Workshop, 2004 (photograph: Multimedia Lab, Houdetsi, Heraklion)
A group of Cretans in the countryside, 1925 (Ioannis M. Tzanis Collection)