Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
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  • #2657

    Tracye
    Keymaster
    • Contribution Score 91

    What are the differences between the Viola and the Violin, besides size?
    Do you play it differently?

    #2743

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster
    • Contribution Score 567

    The violin and viola are similar in look but have these differences:

    1. The strings – The violin has strings – E, A, D, G. The viola has strings A, D, G, C. Do you notice how they both have three strings in common? So the difference is that the viola has a “C string,” instead of the “E string,” while the violin has the “E string” instead of the “C string.” Because of this difference the viola is lower in pitch. One thing you can purchase is a 5-string violin which accommodates playing violin and viola music. If you are interested in a high quality 5-string, I highly recommend my Damiano violin (available in both 4 and 5 string).
    2. The size – A full size viola ranges in size from 15″-17.5.” The most common size people play is a 16″ size, while all violins are 14″. Finger spacing on a viola is wider than a violin.
    3. The Bulkiness – The ribs on a viola are wider than a violin. This gives the inside a little bit more space to accommodate a deeper sound.
    4. The music – Viola music is in alto clef while violin music is in treble clef. The note at the bottom of the music staff in trebel clef mode is a D. If you are reading the same note in viola (alto) clef, it is an E. One of the hardest things to get used to when switching from the viola to the violin is getting used to reading the music clef.

    Regarding technique of playing, both instruments are very similar. You have to get used to the length of playing the viola regarding the finger spacing and reach, but other than that, it isn’t that difficult to transition over. Getting used to the music reading is the most difficult part, but usually doesn’t take longer than a few months to get used to.

    Here is a video of both instruments being played. Notice how the viola is more the harmony while the violin is more the melody. The viola is deeper than the viola.

    #2748

    Carmen Moore
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 2

    Did you mean the viola is deeper than the violin??

    #2749

    margaretellen
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 98

    Thank you Michael – that was very interesting! I kind of new that basically, but never heard it fully explained.

    #6118

    JonasMaximilian
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 2

    @ Carmen Moore:
    Yes, the Viola is basically “one string”, that means a fifth, deeper than the violin.
    If you play a tune in A major for example on the violin, you could then play it exactly the same on the viola, except that it now would sound as D major.

    #7010

    ArtisticElephant
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 22

    I’ve always wanted to play the viola in addition to the violin. Maybe I’ll get around to it, someday.

    #7477

    randolphr
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 31

    Is the viola easier to record than a violin ?

    #7493

    Alveraz20
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 22

    There are a lot of similarities. I personally found that when I started playing the Viola it helped me with my Violin playing.

    #8083

    Chris Guleff
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 87

    It’s funny, the transition to the viola seemed really easy to me — I was in high school and took a viola home for the summer. I had a mental trick to read alto clef: I just pretended I was playing the violin in 3rd position until I got used to the clef. Another difference is bow pressure — having to dig in a little harder and taking longer strokes. I liked that because I always was a little heavy-handed on the violin. What I really like is the depth and intensity of the viola sound.

    #14964

    violateen
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 2

    Viola also has a sound similar to the cello, a lot of pieces for the cello can be played on the viola.

    #17329

    MaryKateW
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 75

    I’m considering playing the viola, but am currently studying violin. I am also considering a 5 string violin. I can only afford one. After reading this, I am leaning towards viola. Thanks.

    #17332

    Chris Guleff
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 87

    I encourage you to get a viola rather than a 5-string violin. Although the 5-string is versatile in that it can play either violin or viola music, it’s not really the same thing. It is the tone quality of the viola that makes so many string players fall in love with the instrument. Another thing you might want to consider that when playing the older symphonic pieces, the viola parts are actually less technically demanding. I enjoyed this aspect of viola playing because I could relax, listen to and feel the rest of the orchestra around me. The main focus of viola playing in such a case is to focus on tone quality and expression. I was a member of a city-wide high school symphony playing 1st & 2nd violin, and later viola. I felt that playing the viola in the symphony was far more rewarding to me. Anyway, good luck whatever you decide.

    #17333

    MaryKateW
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 75

    I’ll probably get one for my birthday mext year. Should I start with a beginner viola or go directly to an intermediate? I like the idea of being able to play both.

    #17336

    Chris Guleff
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 87

    If you can afford an intermediate viola, I’d get one, especially if your violin is an intermediate violin. There IS a difference in tone quality, and especially with a viola, I’d go with an intermediate. And I encourage you to play both violin and viola – I do, and I’m glad that I can play both. There’s always a place for someone to switch from one to the other — especially in smaller orchestras and ensembles.

    #18402

    MaryKateW
    Participant
    • Contribution Score 75

    I’m definitely getting myself a viola for my birthday next year. Saving up now.

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