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What's the Difference Between Violin and Viola?

by Sharon

Dear Marie: Hi. Love this site.Awaiting delivery of my 1st violin
What's the difference between viola & violin? I do
Appreciate the deeper tone of the viola.
Thank you. Sharon C.

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Sep 16, 2015

by: Marie

Hello Sharon,
Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your new instrument. Thank you very much for your kind words about the site as well.

There are several differences between violin and viola. Violins are tuned five notes above the viola, first of all, so they are higher sounding. Violins are smaller (typically 12 inches long or less, whereas violas vary from about 12 inches to about 16 inches). Violas are heavier and wider. Viola bows are a little heavier as well, so they can dig into the larger diameter strings.

In most orchestral music, violas usually play a supporting role in the music. They play harmony most of the time, to support the melody typically played by the violins. In terms of sound, viola is lower and is usually described as having a more mellow sound than a violin.

I hope this helps clear things up for you!

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