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Violin vs Viola
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statham7
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February 15, 2012 - 7:28 pm
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I am considering buying either a violin or a viola to learn to play.  I have played an accordion as a child a flute and currently play electric bass at church.  I have always wanted to learn the violin but some people have said a viola is a better sound. I have read an article that says a Viola is a little harder and that there is less music available for the Viola. My goal is to eventually play at church with the worship band. Please let me know any feedback you may have on this subject. Thanks

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Oliver
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February 15, 2012 - 8:34 pm
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So far, you have good info but also consider that the viola can be much heavier depending on length. 

Also, getting the right music for a small group at church might be a challenge OR the "good" stuff might be of the difficult/string quartet variety.

coffee2

Do you know that viola is not in G clef?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Thefrood
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February 15, 2012 - 11:12 pm
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Hmm. Please correct me if I'm wrong in my assumptions on this one...

Isn't the viola just a deeper sounding version of the violin? So, unless you are playing a specifc part of a group performance wouldn't viola and violin music be interchangeable? I know that just from messing around with the StarWars themes written for cello I can (not WELL mind you) play a somewhat broken and stilted rendition of the StarWars theme on violin...

So working from that concept it seems like your choice of instrument should be based purely off of your goal in learning it... If you are playing alone purely for yourself then choose whichever you think has a better sound and enjoy playing more. If you are playing more to be part of a group then you need to let those factors influence your decision as well because I don't think you could play a violin part on a viola or vice versa in a group...

Please correct me if I'm interpreting this incorrectly...

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Fiddle4Fun
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February 15, 2012 - 11:22 pm
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I think the most important question is not, which instrument do other people think has the best sound but rather which instrument do you think has the best sound?  After all, you are the one investing in it and you are the one who is going to have to listen to it the most as you practice.  If you like the instrument then you can work around other issues such as finding or transposing the appropriate music.  If you don't like the instrument then you won't practice, let alone put in any extra work necessary to perform.

 

If you like the violin then get a violin.  (And it sounds like violin is really what you are interested in playing.) If you like the viola then get a viola. It's a personal choice.

 

I do think Oliver raises some good points about availability of music and the differences in the instrument itself, though.  Have you asked over at the Violaman.com forum for their opinions?  Being as they are viola players they will have some insights we do not.

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Cliff
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February 15, 2012 - 11:27 pm
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That's pretty cool statham7. I play violin in our church too, though I only play using the root note of the guitar chords (I'm not musically talented, so I cannot and would not risk improvising my own tune 😛 ).

All I know about viola is that it plays one octave lower than the violin. 😀

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Kevin M.
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February 16, 2012 - 9:58 am
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Thefrood said

Hmm. Please correct me if I'm wrong in my assumptions on this one...

Isn't the viola just a deeper sounding version of the violin? So, unless you are playing a specifc part of a group performance wouldn't viola and violin music be interchangeable? I know that just from messing around with the StarWars themes written for cello I can (not WELL mind you) play a somewhat broken and stilted rendition of the StarWars theme on violin...

So working from that concept it seems like your choice of instrument should be based purely off of your goal in learning it... If you are playing alone purely for yourself then choose whichever you think has a better sound and enjoy playing more. If you are playing more to be part of a group then you need to let those factors influence your decision as well because I don't think you could play a violin part on a viola or vice versa in a group...

Please correct me if I'm interpreting this incorrectly...

 

The viola is deeper sounding because of two things. Size is one thing but it doesn't have an E string and it has a lower string than the G string it has a C string.  Look over at http://www.violamanman.com

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Thefrood
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February 16, 2012 - 1:28 pm
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Hmm. Just out of curiousity, if I picked up a viola and started trying to play it as if it were a fiddle would it sound okay or would it merely be a cacophonous melange of noise?

How well does violin skill translate to other bowed strings? Cello? Bass? Double bass?

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statham7
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February 16, 2012 - 4:26 pm
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Oliver said

So far, you have good info but also consider that the viola can be much heavier depending on length. 

Also, getting the right music for a small group at church might be a challenge OR the "good" stuff might be of the difficult/string quartet variety.

coffee2

Do you know that viola is not in G clef?

 

Yes thank you for checking. I do know it is not in the G clef.  The music we have for church is mostly chord sheets, however I can get lead sheets with the melody. I just wasn't sure how easy it would be to play with a viola. My main concern is with ease of actually learning each I had hears the Viola was a little harder to play.  

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Oliver
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February 16, 2012 - 4:51 pm
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If you are not worried about the clef difference then that would leave you with relearning the note location/spacing.

I mess with both a 15 and 16" viola just for fun and I actually like the open spaces feel of the 15" compared to the violin. 

The 16" sounds great but is too heavy.

coffee2

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Gail
29 Palms, CA
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February 16, 2012 - 6:59 pm
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Violin skills don't translate at all to the cello.  Trust me, I know what I'm talking about!  Violin and viola are so similar you could easily use your violin skills on the viola.  The beauty of playing the viola for church is that its voice is more in the comfortable singing range of most people, so if you plan to accompany the choir the viola might be a better choice.  You can get a 14" viola that is practically the same size as a violin, but strung differently.  Violin is a soprano, viola is an alto.

I've learned so much from my mistakes that I've decided to make some more.

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Joe
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i didnt know until now that the strings are different 

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