February 1, 2006 at 5:32 AMTook the adjusted 15" to lessons tonight. My teacher played it, I played it, she did, I did, and so on and so forth. After going on like this for an hour discussing the merits and demerits of what I have now, the decision is to get a new instrument. We are going shopping this Saturday - for her a bow re-hair, for me - starting the long arduous process of picking out a new instrument.
As for the size - that was another long discussion. 16" if I want to go professional, 15 1/2" if I want to continue to enjoy what I'm doing now as a hobby and irritated at not having the sound that I want (current 15" is at it's limit). So, probably will be a 15 1/2".
One good side affect of playing a 16" for a few days - my intonation hit the nail each and every time. She thinks it's because on my old viola I was in "autopilot" mode, and getting all out of whack muscle memory wise with a borrowed 16" forced a reliance on my ear instead. I joked about inventing an adjustable device that would change the extension of the arm (lengthen the whole instrument) for ear training if the result was so good! I was admonished to NOT lose what I inadvertently picked up.
The saga continues....
I think I'll take my dirty mind and bail out of this post before I get into real trouble.
It isn't the weight per se, but the distribution of weight, that will affect you.
It isn't the size that matters, but how far you have to stretch out your arm.
So I would not lock onto the 15-1/2" thing--or the "if you want to be pro" thing. Violas vary all over the place.
If you want to see the most progressive violas, go to David Rivinus. For instance http://www.rivinus-instruments.com/Riviola.htm
My local luthier is well-known for his violas -- don't know what your price range is, or what his price range is, but I've heard his violins (very nice indeed!) and his violas are supposed to be better. If you're interested, check out Geoffrey Ovington.
Good luck in your search! Keep us all posted. :)
Thanks all for the input on the size thing. We'll be trying everything from 15 to 16" to begin with, and narrow down from there. I've got a $5K budget just for the instrument, no need for a bow or case. I figure this will take awhile.
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