In order to properly hold the fiddle, you must sit with your back straight, both feet firmly on the floor, fiddle under your chin, your left wrist slightly bent and supporting the fiddle loosely with the V between your thumb and first finger. Hold the fiddle almost directly in front of you. The fiddle is actually supported with the shoulder and chin. The supporting arm can almost be taken away. A shoulder rest is commonly used to aid with this. The fingers are posed over the fingerboard. The arm is swung slightly back and forth to as the fingers move from string to string. Now relax and feel comfortable. And good luck.
Violin players can leave now.
That, as a fiddle player who has had 10 violin lessons, is the best that I can describe. If you can hold and play the fiddle in this classical stance then that is good. I figure this classical position must have been developed over time, and is the best for playing.
Try to imitate what I have described here and look at some pictures of classical violinists.
Fiddle players for the most part hold the fiddle in this manner, but there is also a lot of variation. For one thing, fiddle players mainly use, what is called the first position. The first position is with the first finger to play the first note up from the nut, which for example is B on the A string. In the second position the first finger will play the second note, which is for example C on the A string. All the other fingers are shift up accordingly. Likewise for the third position, first finger plays D on the A string. Now with exceptions fiddlers stay in the first position. This means that they are not too concerned with the straight wrist slightly bent and the fiddle supported with the chin and shoulder. Most fiddlers actually support the fiddle with the arm. Many bend the wrist so that the heel of hand is touching the fiddle body.
The elbow is tucked so that it is under the fiddle. Violinists and lot of fiddlers, hold the fiddle high. However I have seen many with the elbow almost touching or even supported by the hip/ stomach area
I will soon include some pictures on how to hold the fiddle. This really is something that you need to have demonstrated, by another fiddle or a teacher.
The main point is that you have to be comfortable. A lot of fiddlers, mainly ones I have seen from the southern US actually hold the fiddle on their stomach or chest.
A Newfoundland fiddler, Rufus Guinchard used to hold his fiddle on his right shoulder. The story here is that when he was learning as boy he used to secretly practise and would sit at the window watching for someone returning. In order to play and be able see some approaching, he had to have the fiddle on his left shoulder. If you want to play fiddle in Shania Twain’s band then you have to have your feet two shoulder lengths apart, look up and point your fiddle straight up.