Lucien M. Turner described the "Eskimo violin" in 1894 as being
...made of birch or spruce, and the two strings are of coarse, loosely twisted sinew. The bow has a strip of whalebone in place of horsehair, and is resined with spruce gum. This fiddle is held across the lap when played.
The Canadian anthropologist Ernest William Hawkes described the tautirut in 1916:
It consists of a rude box, with a square hole in the top, three sinew strings with bridge and tail-piece and a short bow with a whalebone strip for hair. . . . Most Eskimo fiddles have only one string.
The tautirut, along with the Apache fiddle are among the few First Nations chordophones which may possibly be pre-Columbian in origin. Ethnomusicologist Anthony Baines and others have noted the similarity of the tautirut to the Icelandic fiðla and Shetland gue.
Peter Cooke believed that the tautirut's limited distribution around the Hudson Bay area indicated that it was introduced to the Inuit by Hudson's Bay Company sailors from the Orkney and Shetland Islands.
- Lucien M. Turner, 'Ethnology of the Ungava District, Hudson Bay Territory', Eleventh annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1894, p.259 https://archive.org/stream/ethnologyofungav00turnrich#page/259/
- Lucien M. Turner, 'Ethnology of the Ungava District, Hudson Bay Territory', Eleventh annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1894, p.258-259 https://archive.org/stream/ethnologyofungav00turnrich#page/259/
- Hawkes, E. W. The Labrador Eskimo. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau, (Geological Survey of Canada) Memoir 91; Anthropological Series, No. 14., pg 122, cited on NativeDrums.ca Archived May 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Beverley Diamond, M. Sam Cronk, Franziska Von Rosen, Contributor M. Sam Cronk, Franziska Von Rosen. Visions of sound: musical instruments of First Nations communities in Northeastern America. University of Chicago Press, 1994 ISBN 0-226-14476-3, 978-0-226-14476-4. Pg 56.
- Anthony Baines. The Oxford companion to musical instruments. Oxford University Press, 1992 ISBN 0-19-311334-1, 978-0-19-311334-3 Pg 189.
- Peter Cooke. The fiddle tradition of the Shetland Isles. CUP Archive, 1986. ISBN 0-521-26855-9, 978-0-521-26855-4. p. 5.
- Llano Estacado Center for Advanced Professional Studies and Research. Liberal and Fine Arts Research Institute (1983). Liberal and fine arts review. Liberal and Fine Arts Research Institute of the Llano Estacado Center for Advanced Professional Studies and Research, Eastern New Mexico University. Retrieved 25 April 2011.