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The Alto Voice of the Viola

Apr 12, 2008
The viola is simply a larger version of the violin, but it differs in its tone, strings and how it is played. While the violin has a higher pitch, the viola has a slightly lower pitch. Also, the viola is played with the pads of the fingers than the fingertips as is the case with the violin. This is a result of the larger size of the viola. The places where the fingers must be placed in order to strike the right note are a little farther apart and the vibratos' are also a little broader. In fact, the playing of the viola is similar to that of the cello in some ways because of its larger size. The strings are also different from that of the violins and more similar to those of the cello. The viola's highest string is the A string. The next is the D string, then the G string and then the C string.

While some of the technique in playing the viola is very much like that of the cello, the viola is held the same way as the violin. The viola can be a little more difficult to play because of the spacing on the viola and most viola players will opt to play a smaller version of the viola rather than a larger version because the demands on the stretch of the fingers is less.

The bow is also a little thicker than that of a violins bow in order to play the instrument properly. There also does not appear to be a whole lot of music written for the viola in the past. It was more of an instrument that was to have a smaller part in order to add to the music, but major parts were not overly popular for it. In the twentieth century, however, it changed. As music began to evolve, so did the interest grow for people to start writing more pieces for the viola. Viola music is quite unique and specialized to the instrument, so most music has to be altered in order to incorporate the viola or new music must be written. Many have done this and now the viola has been used in folk, country and many other genres of music.

It could be the deeper and richer sound that the viola has in comparison to the violin. The violin has a higher and more delicate sound. The viola has a slightly deeper and richer sound and it is this difference that the educated ear can easily pick up and tell the difference between the two instruments. When familiar with the sound of one or both of them, the difference in the sound is unmistakable. Regardless of the differences, the beauty of the sounds created by the viola when in perfect tune and properly played are almost hypnotizing. Most people enjoy the sound of the viola fully as it tends to create a soothing and calming sound. Perhaps this is the reason that more effort is being put in by composers to include the viola in a larger role than before.
About the Author
Victor Epand is an expert consultant for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments. You can find the best marketplace for used CDs, autographed CDs, and used musical instruments at these sites for used viola CDs, autographed viola CDs, and used violas .
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