Is 'Bespelen' used only for music instruments? If not then what's the difference between 'Spelen' and 'Bespelen'
Generally, yes. I've also heard it being used in the context of manipulation:
- He has manipulated me
- Hij heeft mij bespeeld
This could be region-bound, however.
In english if someone manipulates somebody we can say that he played him like a violin
You can also use 'spelen' for instruments, actually it is much more common. But then it would be: Ik speel viool Instead of Ik bespeel de viool. So the 'de' is removed.
Does Dutch have a different word for fiddle as distinct from violin (the same instrument, but denoting a different playing tradition and practices)?
There's not really a Dutch word for it. You can use the English term fiddle if you want, although I think most Dutch people don't know the difference and just call it a viool.
Wikipedia says vedel is a medieval instrument that is called vielle in English.
Definition of Vielle: a medieval fiddle with a slightly incurving waist that was played upright or on the shoulder —called also medieval viol. Thanks for teaching me a new word :)
Should "The cook can play the violin" be accepted? I.e., does "speel/bespeel" distinguish between "is playing/can play"? Thanks.