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What are the differences between a violin and a viola?
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pky
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November 21, 2012 - 1:13 am
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I have been puzzled for a while now; I know a full size viola is bigger than a violin, I know they have different range of sound, but that's full size. How about a child-size, let's say a 13" viola, how different it is from a 3/4 violin, other than the sound/strings? Could i take a 13" viola, take all the strings off, change them all to violin strings, and change the bow to a violin bow, do I make it into a 3/4 violin?

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Fiddlestix
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November 21, 2012 - 5:50 am
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I guess that would probably work. 13" viola is the size of a 3/4 size violin, with a string playing length of 13" or 330 mm. This is according to "D'Addario".

Is this a "what if" type question or do you want to do it ?    dunno

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Barry
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November 21, 2012 - 7:52 am
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First difference...learning Alto clef  cool

Usually the smallest Viola is the size of a full size Violin. these are mostly for young folks to learn on and do not have the depth of sound a full size Viola has.

Violin and Viola are truly two different instruments. Im currently reading "From Violin to Viola : A transitional method" by Harvey S. Whistler.

attention to drawing a full tone is important. you'll find that bow pressure is quite different and bowing techniques used on violin may sound a bit nasal on viola.

When my viola arrived I wasnt impressed with the bow and used my presto encore violin bow. Ive found that even though I dont care for the quality of the viola bow, the 8 or so gram weight difference really helps improve the tone. I look forward to a quality viola bow.

If youre just wanting something that plays a little lower and warmer, you could always try a set of octave strings for violin.

violin

There is no shame in playing twinkle, youre playing Mozart

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RosinedUp
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November 21, 2012 - 2:45 pm
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Fiddlestix said
I guess that would probably work. 13" viola is the size of a 3/4 size violin, with a string playing length of 13" or 330 mm. This is according to "D'Addario".

Is this a "what if" type question or do you want to do it ?    dunno

The document "specification sheet created by Alan Goldblatt, Luthier" at http://www.alangoldblatt.com/s.....iola.pdf  indicates that a 13" viola (a 1/2 viola) has a string length of 310 mm.

I hope that it is okay to answer even if this is a "what if" type question.

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Fiddlestix
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November 21, 2012 - 6:44 pm
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The chart from " D'Addario" string company, who make's the string's for the instrument's so Mr. Goldblatt can write his article.

 

http://www.daddariobowed.com/B.....oductid=95

 

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Barry
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November 21, 2012 - 7:10 pm
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Thank you Ken !!  I learned something new

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pky
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November 21, 2012 - 11:16 pm
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Thank you all for your answers, they are very helpful!

Rosined up:
Thank you for the chart! From there I was able to find the chart for violins and did a comparison! He does not have much measurement for a 1/2 size viola, but I compared 4/4 violin to a 3/4 viola, basically they are built very similar and have very close measurements (only a few tiny differences). So according to those two charts, I guess one could convert a 1/2 size viola (13 inch) into a 3/4 violin by switching out the strings and bow. :)

BTW, I asked the questions because I can't tell the difference between a viola and a violin when they are the same size. Also, when I browsed on ebay, sometimes I thought a violin was listed as viola and a viola was listed as a violin. just this past Saturday, I was browsing in an antique store, they had a "violin" so I asked to look at it. It was an antique (built before 1895), but when I looked at the tag it said it's a viola, not on the label, though. So, that's when I came up with those questions: could we change the strings and bow and make it a violin?

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RosinedUp
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November 23, 2012 - 2:08 pm
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Fiddlestix said
I guess that would probably work. 13" viola is the size of a 3/4 size violin, with a string playing length of 13" or 330 mm. This is according to "D'Addario".

Fiddlestix said
The chart from " D'Addario" string company, who make's the string's for the instrument's so Mr. Goldblatt can write his article.

 

http://www.daddariobowed.com/B.....oductid=95

 

I don't think you are reading it right. The D'Addario site says that those strings are for 13"-14" violas that have a string length of 13", not that all 13" violas have a 13" string length.  I take it to simply mean that the strings have a medium tension when used in a CGDA tuning at a playing length of 13".

From the tables I read, I find that the body length of a viola is usually just about 11% greater than the string length.  So a 13" viola with a 13" string length would be kind of unusual that way.

http://theviolaworkshop.com/page16.html

http://www.scottstudios.net/sc.....iolas.html

http://www.maestronet.com/foru.....ng-length/

http://www.google.com/search?n.....s_l=serp.3...1167350.1167894.0.1171361.4.4.0.0.0.0.121.385.3j1.4.0.les%3B..0.0...1c.1.4v-MZ2hIjl0

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EllaHalligan
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November 23, 2012 - 7:25 pm
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I switched from violin to viola when I was 15. The biggest difference between them is actually the proportions. Violins and cellos have the same proportions and that gives them their vibrant, bright and brilliant tone. Violas are somewhat wider for their length than a violin and it gives them a deeper, richer (but less bright) tone. Most "little" viola players really do just use a violin with viola strings/tuning, but the joy of playing a full size viola is wonderful.

On a less serious note, violists tend to be much more laid back than violinists. I love my violinist friends but sometime I just want to tell them to take a chill pill. If someone brought a whoopie cushion to high school orchestra practice... it was probably a violist. And of course, we get very patient after years of telling the musically uninitiated that no, we didn't mispronounce "violinist".

And, while the violinists have to carry long sheets full of music to orchestra practice, viola music tends to have three or four measures, repeated 70 times or so, then another three or four measures, repeated 70 times or so. The hard part is remembering where you are! (Can you tell I had to play Pachelbel's Canon a few too many times?)

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Fiddlestix
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November 23, 2012 - 9:28 pm
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Is it the fact that the viola has a deeper sound ?,, If that's the case, why not just convert to an Octofiddle ?

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