Printer-friendly version
Mendy Smith

Second Fiddle

April 29, 2010 at 2:25 AM

The church retreat is in two weeks.  I managed to corral a few other string players for a Dvorak jam (the American).  Since our church is short one "native" violinist, and I happen to have a violin laying around, I thought I'd give the American a try on second fiddle - though the viola part is awesome.

I haven't picked up the violin in months, but was happy to discover that I no longer struggled to play on the correct string.  However, the 3-inch difference in size between the viola and violin made playing close to the bridge rather than over the fingerboard a challenge.  I surprised myself by reaching an A# with my third finger on the Ding in first position quite by accident.  I thought it was a G# and extended my third finger like I do on viola.  Unfortunately, my intonation on violin suffers from my years on viola - everything is a bit sharp. 

This promises to become a fun diversion, though I miss the sonority and physical presence of the viola under my chin.  However, it is making me appreciate one of my all-time favorite quartets all the more.

From Ann Marie Cordial
Posted on April 29, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Mendy -

Reading your blog about violin / viola differences brings to mind my own personal take on both instruments.  Viola is my primary study.  However, to me, picking up the violin is like picking up a newborn.  All my notes are sharp and when I think I'm in 3rd position, say, I really end up being in 4th.

On the other hand, the viola, to me, is like picking up a toddler.  I get that "ahhh" feeling when I tuck it under my chin - it feels just right and I can play the notes with a 'relaxed hand'.

---Ann Marie

From Kim L
Posted on April 30, 2010 at 1:38 AM

 I love the American! Which movement(s) are you doing? Good luck transitioning from viola to violin!

From Mendy Smith
Posted on April 30, 2010 at 2:26 AM

We are doing all 4 movements.  The first movement is giving me the most troubles. It was difficult enough on viola, but I'm just not "getting" the second violin part. 

From Lisa Van Sickle
Posted on April 30, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Just think how much you will learn by playing a familiar peice on a different part!  You'll never hear it quite the same way again.

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine