At first glance, it looks like a larger violin but is proportioned a little differently, tuned lower (old instrument to violin), and sounds darker. Viola is a modification of the Italian name viola da braccio (arm violin) and refers to the violist’s handling, in contrast to the viola da gamba (leg viola or knee violin), the player of which is called the gambist.
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How to play the Viola?
The viola, like the viola, consists of the body and the neck. Just like the viola, it has a snail and pegs on its neck. On the body, it also has the chin rest, the tailpiece, and two sound holes.
However, the viola is more robust and more prominent than the viola. That is why it is significantly more profound than the viola. Besides, it does not have an E string, but it has a C string after the G string. The bow is just like that in the frog with a viola bow, there is a sharp corner, and in the viola bow, there is a rounding.
The difference between the viola and the viola
Both instruments look the same at first glance, but they are not. Because the viola has a deeper tone than the viola because it is larger and more robust. There is only one slight difference in the bow. Because the viola bow has a sharp corner on the frog and the viola bow has a curve.
Viola sound generation
The sound is generated by bowing the string with the bow or plucking it (right hand). The change in pitch by depressing the string with the fingertips of the left hand. It shortens the vibrating part of the string and increases the tone.
Change of strings and position changes 4 strings with a fifth spacing are available: C (4th string), G (3rd string), D (2nd string), A (1st string).
The left hand assumes various positions on the fingerboard while playing. These positions are called layers.
In the 1st position, the hand is on the top edge of the fingerboard — in front of the saddle. The fingers do not yet press the sides down — this position includes the open strings.
In the 2nd position, the index finger is one diatonic step further towards the bridge, i.e., one whole tone higher. By shifting one diatonic step in the bridge’s direction, the player moves to the next higher position. The 8th position sounds an octave higher than the first.
Lower registers are much easier to play than higher ones. Each playing finger (the index finger is the 1st, the middle finger is the 2nd, the ring finger is the 3rd, and the little finger is the 4th finger) is within a position that covers a diatonic level. Which means that a scale section of a fourth does not change position playable on one string. Chromatic tones (lowering or raising the respective diatonic level) are taken over by the finger responsible for the corresponding diatonic level.
Fingering or bowing with a viola
The viola does not differ from the viola in terms of fingering or bowing.
However, there are some restrictions compared to the viola:
- Due to the larger scale, more considerable grip distances must be considered.
- Because of the larger resonance body, it is impossible to reach such high registers as on the viola. The three lowest strings (C, G, and D strings) are usually played up to the 5th position. On the highest string (A string), the game goes up to the 8th position (in extreme cases, up to the 11th position). Prolonged play in high registers is challenging because it is relatively complex for the left hand to reach the part of the fingerboard above the soundbox.
- The same double and multiple fingerings can be performed on the viola as on the viola, only a fifth lower, as appropriate to your mood. Wide-span double stops (up to an octave) should be avoided. Quadruple fingerings in high positions are complicated and are not required in orchestral literature.
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With Eventeus.com, you can, in a few clicks, connect to your viola teacher. To establish, modify or improve your learning schedule and take your viola lessons in audio, video, webcam, video conference, or Skype.
To contribute to their musical awakening, Eventeus.com offers to connect with the best viola teachers for viola lessons for children with professionals recognized and appreciated for their pedagogy.
Who is the best Viola Player?
Nobuko Imai is one of the most outstanding viola players of our time. Nobuko Imai was a member of the renowned Vermeer Quartet. Today she is a member of the Michelangelo String Quartet, which she co-founded.
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