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The viola sits in the alto range of an orchestra. Its warm and expressive tone sits in between the cello and violin.
The viola sits in the alto range of an orchestra. Its warm and expressive tone sits in between the cello and violin.The viola achieves this by being slightly larger than the violin and having the same strings as a cello – just an octave higher. Viola is often seen in orchestras and can often be seen in folk groups too.
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A viola is larger and heavier than a violin, with a full sized violin being approximately the same size as a 3/4 size viola. Violas are also often measured in inches rather than as fractions, and a 4/4 viola size would be listed between 15.5 inches and 16.5 inches. Violas are also tuned lower than violins, and the thicker strings and larger body mean that the notes played often have a more mellow tone. The sheet music also differs, as for a viola it is normally read from the alto clef.
Yes and no. Starting any instrument should be about whether or not you want to play that specific instrument. Any instrument has beginner versions available, and those for violas are similarly priced to violins. Treble clef is the score taught in school music lessons and the alto clef may cause some initial confusion. This being said, playing the viola can lead to further opportunities in orchestras and ensembles as there are fewer violists than other musicians. While there is sometimes less sheet music in stores, you can still purchase it online. If the depth and tone of the viola is what you want then there is no reason for someone to choose another instrument!
No, it is not technically easier. The viola may initially be slightly more difficult to grasp. Along with the new music notation, a viola is larger, heavier and has thicker strings. As such, it can be more difficult for a smaller child to hold, and it also requires more pressure to produce a consistent sound. The viola parts in ensemble pieces tend to be easier to play, however, as violas usually have simpler parts.
The viola is tuned to C, G, D, A, with C being the lowest note.
16" and 16.5" Viola - large adult - 66cm (approx)
15.5" Viola - average adult - 64cm (approx)
15" Viola - small adults and children ages 10 to 12 - 62cm (approx)
14" Viola - ages 9 to 12 - 58cm (approx)
13" Viola - ages 7 to 9 - 54-56cm (approx)
12" Viola - ages 6 to 7 - 51cm (approx)