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Violin construction and mechanics The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. For a child who needs a smaller size, a fractional-sized violin is often strung with the strings of a viola.
Prior to the eighteenth century, violas had no uniform size. Large violas tenors were designed to play the lower register viola lines or second viola in five part harmony depending on instrumentation.
A smaller viola, nearer the size of the violin, was called an alto viola. It was more suited to higher register writing, as in the viola 1 parts, as their sound was usually richer in the upper register. Its size was not as conducive to a full tone in the lower register. Several experiments have intended to increase the size of the viola to improve its sound.
Many experiments with the acoustics of a viola, particularly increasing the size of the body, have resulted in a much deeper tone, making it resemble the tone of a cello.
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Since many composers wrote for a traditional-sized viola, particularly in orchestral music, changes in the tone of a viola can have unintended consequences upon the balance in ensembles.
One of the most notable makers of violas of the twentieth century was Englishman A. Smithwhose violas are sought after and highly valued.
Many of his violas remain in Australia, his country of residence, where during some decades the violists of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra had a dozen of them in their section.
More recent and more radically shaped innovations have addressed the ergonomic problems associated with playing the viola by making it shorter and lighter, while finding ways to keep the traditional sound. These include the Otto Erdesz "cutaway" viola, which has one shoulder cut out to make shifting easier;  the "Oak Leaf" viola, which has two extra bouts; viol -shaped violas such as Joseph Curtin's "Evia" model, which also uses a moveable neck and maple-veneered carbon fibre back, to reduce weight: The American composer Harry Partch fitted a viola with a cello neck to allow the use of his tone scale.
Luthiers have also created five-stringed violas, which allow a greater playing range. Bow frogs, top to bottom: The technique required for playing a viola has certain differences compared with that of a violin, partly because of its larger size: The viola's less responsive strings and the heavier bow warrant a somewhat different bowing technique, and a violist has to lean more intensely on the strings.
The viola is held in the same manner as the violin; however, due to its larger size, some adjustments must be made to accommodate. The viola, just like the violin, is placed on top of the left shoulder between the shoulder and the left side of the face chin. Because of the viola's size, violists with short arms tend to use smaller-sized instruments for easier playing.
The most immediately noticeable adjustments that a player accustomed to playing violin has to make are to use wider-spaced fingerings. It is common for some players to use a wider and more intense vibrato in the left hand, facilitated by employing the fleshier pad of the finger rather than the tip, and to hold the bow and right arm farther away from the player's body.
A violist must bring the left elbow farther forward or around, so as to reach the lowest string, which allows the fingers to press firmly and so create a clearer tone.
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Different positions are often used, including half position. The viola is generally strung with heavier strings than the violin.
This, combined with its larger size and lower pitch range, results in a deeper and mellower tone. However, the thicker strings also mean that the viola speaks more slowly. Practically speaking, if a violist and violinist are playing together, the violist must begin moving the bow a fraction of a second sooner than the violinist.
The thicker strings also mean that more weight must be applied with the bow to make them speak. The viola's bow has a wider band of horsehair than a violin's bow, which is particularly noticeable near the frog or heel in the UK. The profile of the rectangular outside corner of a viola bow frog generally is more rounded than on violin bows.
Tuning[ edit ] First position viola fingerings The viola's four strings are normally tuned in fifths: This tuning is exactly one fifth below the violin, so that they have three strings in common—G, D, and A—and is one octave above the cello.
Each string of a viola is wrapped around a peg near the scroll and is tuned by turning the peg. Tightening the string raises the pitch; loosening the string lowers the pitch.Shape Poems - ReadWriteThink - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online.
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