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Am I imagining that the Viola Plays differently when playing ...
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Mouse
March 7, 2021 - 8:05 am
Member Since: December 26, 2018
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@AndrewH I will throw this at you because you do play viola in an orchestra, but anyone else join in.

Keep in mind, I am not really good on my viola, it might be my playing, or my imagination, or odd thinking, take your pick, but it seems to me that the viola does bot handle the fiddle tunes as well as a fiddle, or even a cello. It seems to “drag”, for lack of a better word, to me when I try it. 

This is even though, on violin, cello and viola, they are all slow when I play. But, on my viola, it sounds and feels to me like it is dragging.

Is that the nature of the viola, or is it just me? I know, that to me, the viola always sounds soulful, thoughtful, and mysterious in all the solos I have listened to. I absolutely love it. Maybe the nature of the viola, being between cello and violin, it does not get the vast crisp range of emotion you can get with a cello or violin with fiddle music? Does not reach the the extreme joy of found in fiddling? It could be me. I am still trying to get the proper bowing arm.

I am not sure I have explained it well, but that is the best I can do.

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Mouse
March 7, 2021 - 8:31 am
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So, I just did some Googling.

I have found some neat fiddle viola.

Here is a link for a viola and violin playing.

Roscoe, Viola and Violin

I did find a solo viola, but I have to watch it first. 

I think a lot of the drag feeling is that my bowing needs improvement. It will get there.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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ELCBK
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March 7, 2021 - 8:36 am
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@Mouse -

I can only say for me, that each of my 5 strings needs to be bowed differently (as I am painfully reminded watching my recordings🤣) and the most challenging is the C. 

Really challenging for me, is switching from the C to the E - they are bowed so differently.

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Mouse
March 7, 2021 - 10:48 am
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@ELCBK, pretty sure we are talking about different things here. With the viola the bowing arm is held differently than when bowing a violin. The luthier who made the warm viola I have pointed that out to me when he watched me. He then showed me the proper way, and made it sing. It chokes with me, even with a happy fiddle piece.  I know I have issues getting that bow arm correct at the moment, and also remembering to do that, and that may be part of why I don’t get the more “cheerful” sound when I need it. It is like that with my brighter viola, too. It is brighter, but I can feel the drag. Probably too much pressure on the bow, and something I need to work on. 

It is probably me. I know, that for me, the viola is more difficult. It is, also, probably because I have not been playing long enough and expect too much. 

I have, since the first post, watched more viola fiddle players and they are not sounding like they are playing sad songs, or like the viola is being forced to do something that it does not want to do. 

I think, that for now, I will just play the more traditional viola, and put the viola fiddle book away. I will use the traditional viola instruction books and pieces to learn the viola,  and then do the fiddle music on it, after I get the blowing and fingering better. I think I am rushing things.

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AndrewH
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March 7, 2021 - 3:03 pm
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The viola does drag a little compared to the violin, even with the best bow technique. It takes slightly longer for the string to start sounding. But with good technique it should still be able to handle any fiddle tune -- some classical viola parts contain passages that are faster than the fastest fiddle music and you can still hear every note crisply if played with good technique.

The viola needs extra attention to coordination between the hands. You need to start moving a bit earlier to play on the beat. Eventually it becomes second nature.

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Mouse
March 7, 2021 - 3:25 pm
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@AndrewH Thank you so much. That explains it and it isn’t all me, as far as noticing it goes. Thanks.

The Bumblebee Flies!

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wtw
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March 7, 2021 - 4:20 pm
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But it should be more pronounced on the cello, right ? this "time delay" for sound production. (But as you're more used to the cello, maybe the cello bowing is second nature to you which makes it less noticeable ?)

I too find the violin "more responsive", after flddling with the violin I find it difficult to switch to the viola (which I still prefer, though).

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AndrewH
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March 7, 2021 - 4:25 pm
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Or perhaps the different posture and bowing technique are more conducive to a quick response? I'm not familiar enough with cello technique to be sure, but the way we hold a violin or viola limits the amount of weight we can put on the bow and perhaps dexterity when putting a lot of weight on the bow.

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AndrewH
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March 7, 2021 - 5:12 pm
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A couple more thoughts on viola response and its limits:

 

Playing fast notes on viola gets tiring much faster than on violin, even if you're not approaching the instrument's physical limitations -- it's simply more work to get the string moving on every note.

 

Technique isn't the only important thing; I also think it's more important to stay on top of equipment maintenance with viola than with violin. Old strings and and old bow hair can make the viola much slower, especially on the C and G strings. When working on Borodin's 2nd Symphony for a concert the fall before the pandemic, I found the fourth movement unplayable on 6-month-old strings and 9-month-old bow hair because my C and G strings just felt sluggish. After breaking in a new set of strings and getting my bow rehaired, it became much easier.

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Mouse
March 7, 2021 - 5:20 pm
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Thanks, AndrewH. That is all very helpful. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

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ELCBK
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March 7, 2021 - 9:30 pm
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It may be a little different to coax a fiddling tune out of a viola, but isn't it worth it to end up with something like this? 

Nothing wrong with a slow jig!

https://fiddlerman.com/forum/i.....lin-cello/

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