The instrument was extremely popular throughout the 1700's, and was especially used for dance music. The fiddle has also been used for religious folk songs and other melodies from the vocal tradition.
The ordinary violin is the predominant fiddle type in the areas of Østerdal, Gudbrandsdal, Trøndelag, North Norway, North Vestland, Lower Agder, and Hedmark; that is, almost all the areas where the hardingfele (Hardanger fiddle) is not a traditional instrument. Earlier the ordinary fiddle had a larger range, but since the end of the 1800's its use has decreased in North Vestland and in Setesdal. The accordion was another strong competitor to the ordinary fiddle, which came into use at the end of the 1800's.
The ordinary fiddle is used to play music for both bygdedans and runddans. It is more common to find the ordinary fiddle in an ensemble of instruments such as bass, guitar, two-row accordion, etc. than is the case for the hardingfele.