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23 votes
Accepted

Why didn't more composers who composed violin concertos compose viola concertos?

Various reasons. The viola is acoustically less well-designed than the violin. It sounds a fifth below the violin and has the same proportions, so it would have to be 50% larger; but because you ...
Kilian Foth's user avatar
  • 7,573
18 votes
Accepted

Arrow below staff pointing to number

This is an indication that the measure numbers are discontinuous. The numbering goes from 1 directly to 6, so presumably there were measures 2-5 that got cut at some point. This happens frequently in ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
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15 votes

Does a beard adversely affect playing the violin or viola?

Well, the easy answer is try it and shave it off if it doesn't work! For me, it doesn't work well. It's quite true that you want to avoid tension and that the chin isn't solely responsible for holding ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 17.5k
10 votes

I have been playing for three years, how long and how often am I supposed to practice?

It's usually better to practise regularly (say 5 days a week?) and only as long as you can retain your concentration and focus. That's obviously a very individual thing. Shorter, regular sessions ...
Jomiddnz's user avatar
  • 5,057
8 votes

Can I play an English horn part with a viola?

I assume you're asking whether you can play an English horn part on aviola, because you have a viola player at your disposal and not an English horn player. It's possible, but there are a few ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
8 votes
Accepted

Does a beard adversely affect playing the violin or viola?

It really depends on the bulk of the beard. If you have a thick, bushy beard, it could give you a less "positive" hold on the instrument. If you have a short-cropped beard, you may not ...
Kurt Gibson's user avatar
8 votes

When people say that viola and double bass are too small for their range, what does it mean?

A violin doesn't resonate to just ONE particular pitch. The wood and the air in the body cavity certainly have resonant peaks, but there are lots of them, and a good violin is designed so that any ...
Laurence's user avatar
  • 93.3k
7 votes

Can a smaller viola be used as a violin?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to restring a smaller size Viola into a Violin. You will not damage the instrument by doing so. Fractional size violins can roughly correspond with smaller size violas,...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Bow markings in advanced solo string music

I've both played and written a lot of advanced solo string music, and, while it varies from composer to composer (and editor to editor), bow markings are not at all uncommon. I just grabbed two scores ...
Pat Muchmore's user avatar
  • 18.3k
7 votes

String advice for viola

There is no definitive answer to your question. Which brand of strings suits your instrument best is not something we can tell you. Different strings work differently on different instruments. More ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
6 votes

Changing a 14.5" viola into a violin?

If you want to just try it out for a short time, and don't mind using up some strings, it could be worth attempting. This page says that a 14-inch viola (not 14.5) is pretty much the same length as a ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 17.5k
6 votes

When people say that viola and double bass are too small for their range, what does it mean?

The explanation of instrument size with relation to pitch is mostly relevant for the lowest notes it plays, not as much for overlapping notes. Also instrument size goes hand in hand with instrument ...
John Belzaguy's user avatar
5 votes

Is it a bad idea to learn both violin and viola?

But how is it with the intonation? My violin teacher is primarily a viola player. He started off playing the violin and switched after a year or two to viola. He brings his violin along to lessons ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
4 votes

What is the difference between a 14" Viola and a 4/4 Violin?

The rib height on a 14" Viola is bigger. Here is a short YouTube video on the matter:
Lars Peter Schultz's user avatar
4 votes

Can I play an English horn part with a viola?

Some of the early English Horn music can be found written in Alto clef in the sounding pitch of the instrument. If the music is in the Alto clef, then the Viola should be able to read it directly. The ...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

Limitations of String Instruments

What is the maximum amount of notes that can be played at once? Two, in most cases. Three can be done if you loosen the bow hair significantly, but I wouldn't recommend writing it. How do I avoid ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
  • 22.4k
4 votes
Accepted

Why is there no standardized size for violas?

There are standard sizes for Violas, mostly in the modern, mass-manufactured market. In the U.S. they are sized in inches, and have half-inch sizes available, starting at around 11 inches and going up ...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
4 votes

How would I play this on viola?

Yes, this looks like an error in transcription. I have seen pieces that get transcribed for Viola by merely changing the clef without taking into account the instrument. For student pieces, the ...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar
4 votes

Is it a bad idea to learn both violin and viola?

Once you learn how to play violin, viola will come easily, assuming that you can stretch your fingers a little bit more. The techniques to play violin and viola are nearly identical (although ...
Matthew Barclay's user avatar
4 votes

How to change the strings on my violin/viola?

Ball end vs loop Traditionally these instruments have a fine tuner on the highest string (E for violin, A for viola) which may take a loop end string. The lower 3 strings always take ball end strings. ...
Brian Towers's user avatar
  • 5,620
4 votes
Accepted

What does it mean when the same note with the same length is on the same stem for the same instrument?

The first chord is on the open C and G strings. The second chord is G on the C string, open G on the G string, and the octave G on the D string. So yes, three strings total.
Mark Lutton's user avatar
  • 8,790
3 votes

Limitations of String Instruments

I agree with everything Mattaputnam has said. However, the best thing you can do to learn how to write a string quartet is to read some string quartet scores. There are tons of them out the there; ...
margalo's user avatar
  • 1,047
3 votes

Alternatives to gut for fretting a viol(a)

I have two options that both work pretty well, the first being zip ties and the second being electrical wire. Zip ties are probably the easiest since they're cheap and easy to tighten, but the ...
Tama's user avatar
  • 1,863
3 votes

Alternatives to gut for fretting a viol(a)

PSA: Strings made for the modern pedal harp are gut and are far cheaper (especially per foot) than violin-family strings. I use a "first octave" E for my violin E string, and get two string ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
  • 17.5k
3 votes

Is it a bad idea to learn both violin and viola?

If you are interested in both violin and viola, then go for it for sure. You would have to learn the alto clef which could be a bit confusing to start with, but it helps your brain to define the ...
Jomiddnz's user avatar
  • 5,057
3 votes

Why didn't more composers who composed violin concertos compose viola concertos?

The reason is that composers also knew about dress makers, and how similar they were in temperament to violists. . . The difference being that dress makers always tuck up their frills! All jokes aside,...
Bennyboy1973's user avatar
  • 3,943
2 votes

Loosen strings for long-term storage of violin?

The strings should be fine providing there is no large change in temperature or humidity in the place the violin is going to be stored. If you know that the violin will be subject to changes in ...
J Wise's user avatar
  • 21
2 votes

Do the violas often play the same parts as the violins in an orchestra?

Not entirely, because when I did orchestra (I was a viola) we always had similar parts to the second violins. Typically, the second violins and the violas are the background and make the music sound ...
SleepyPerson's user avatar
2 votes

Alternatives to gut for fretting a viol(a)

If you don't mind a little Do It Yourself, you can use Sausage Casing, which can be purchased by the pound. It takes some stretching and drying and possibly some twisting to make thicker strands. ...
Alphonso Balvenie's user avatar

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