Violin-viola duets

November 1, 2006 at 12:08 AM · I am looking for some fun violin/viola duets. I'm planning to play the viola part and I have two different violinists I'm interested in playing with. One is a coworker who is just starting lessons again as an adult and wants a pretty straightforward violin part; the other is a semi-professional musician who teaches and also plays viola. There I have to be careful that the viola part isn't too challenging for me and that I don't drag her down. Something at the technical level of the Bach double violin concerto would probably be a good start.

Also, if anyone could suggest nice viola-viola duets, I'd be grateful. Thanks!

Replies (36)

November 1, 2006 at 12:19 AM · Have a look at this thread.

November 1, 2006 at 05:38 AM · MOzart duos for violin and viola...some movements are tricky and need a lot of practice, but a few are sightreadable.

Handel-Halvorsen for violin and viola.

Villa Lobos has a great duo.

Beethoven's 3 duetts for violin and viola (they sound a little needy, something is missing...).


I will go to my typed list of what I have, and copy paste it....


November 1, 2006 at 06:19 AM · Greetings,

Bach-15 duets (arr David)

Bruni- Six Duos Concertants

Handel- Chaconne in G major

Hoffmeister -Duet in g

Kalliwoda- Two Duets Op 208

Martinu- Three Madrigals

Spohr- Duet in e minor


Fuchs- 12 Duets

Mann- Invocation for violin and viola

Berg- 16 Duets,



November 1, 2006 at 11:44 PM · Stamitz six duos for violin and viola.

Anonimo 5 duos para violin y viola.

Couperin, louis Three fantasies for violin and viola

Joseph de Blumenthal Duet for violin and viola

Nelson duetto studio violin/viola

Wilhelm Braun-duo for violin and viola op.20

November 2, 2006 at 12:18 AM · Knackerdand- Three Plumes

Vigoureski- Interlude for quaalude

Dentefrick- Prelude to a Frouwun.

November 2, 2006 at 03:16 PM · Buri-

Those last 3 sound like viola-viola duets for sure ;-)

But seriously, are there such pieces?

November 2, 2006 at 05:17 PM · I've seen the Bartok violin duos arranged for two violas. You might also try Bach Brandenburg #6.

Also, if you want to involve both of your violinist friends there's always the lovely Dvorak Terzetto for two violins and viola.

Buri is pulling your leg but there is an amazing piece for viola four hands by PDQ Bach.

November 2, 2006 at 07:29 PM · Reinhold Gliere had some very fine duos.

November 2, 2006 at 10:22 PM · Karen, my first lsit was serious.



November 2, 2006 at 11:34 PM · LOL at your second list, Buri! How do you come up with this stuff? :)

November 3, 2006 at 02:00 PM · Haydn wrote a series of six violin/viola duos.

November 3, 2006 at 03:43 PM · Hi,

BURI - LOL!!!!!!!!!!!

Two works that I like for this formation are The "Sonate en duo" by Manuel Ponce - beautiful - and the Duo Concertante by Rolla, which is immensely difficult but fun.


November 4, 2006 at 04:40 PM · If you want to play the Bartok duets, you may need to transpose the part for one or the other player, or play very high on the viola :0 They aren't typically in the same keys in the vla-vla edition as the vln-vln edition. I am very fond of the Telemann Canonic Sonatas, which are published for 2 vlns. or 2 vlas. I don't have copies handy to check key convergence, but am guessing they are not keyed alike, either. All of that Applebaum stuff (Beautiful Music for Two Stringed Instruments, and Beautiful... for 2 vlns, 2 vlas, etc.) is set up for mixing parts freely. The book 3's or 4's would be suitable.

February 21, 2009 at 12:54 PM ·

I have published some nice Rolla Duets for Violin and Viola (BI. 40-42), check them out!  There are over 80 of them total, I hope to have them all available at some point.

I am planning to publish the Complete 30 Stamitz Viola Viola Duets too.

I also sell a nice one by Felice Giardini.  He wrote a set of 12 that is out of print, and this lonely "13th" on never got published, I found ithe manuscript to it when I was in the Milan Conservatory Library.  It sounds like an Italian Mozart- fairly easy to play.

February 22, 2009 at 07:05 AM ·

 The Rolla duos are awesome!

February 22, 2009 at 09:02 AM ·



Mozart Sinfonia Concertante

Handel Passacaglia

Stamitz Duets

Mozart G Major and Bb Major



Also Mazas...but the viola duets sound much prettier than the violin ones I think

Bach- Brandenburg No. 6



I hope this helps you a little bit...Good luck!

February 22, 2009 at 09:34 AM ·

I recently finished writing a new work called Duo for Violin and Viola. There's a discussion on it here.

February 23, 2009 at 11:10 PM ·

A colleague and I give recitals as a violin / viola duo all the time and have purchased / explored just about anything we can get our hands on - there is loads of great stuff and some pieces which are more justly neglected..

Some other pieces are....

Barmann Three Duets, the six Duo Concertants by Bruni, duets by Eichner,  Fuchs, Gastoldi, the Handel Chaconne, Handel/ Halvorsen Sarabande, Michael Haydn duos, Haydn Sonatas, Kayser Grand Duo, two by Kalliwoda, Milaud and Martinu, duets by Pichl

Johann Amon six duos, Cannabich six duets, Cremont 3 duos, a whole load of Sonatas by Luigi Gatti, duets by Hoffmeister, 3 duos by Leopold Jansa, 6 duos by Gebauer, 3 Sonatas by Wranicky and 28 'easy duets' by Wohlfahrt. There's 6 duets concertant by Tost and another 6 by Sterkel, 3 duos by Schneider and 6 Melodic Duettionos by Mortiz Schoen. 

Some others we haven't checked out but have heard about are the 6 duos by Andreas Lidel, and 3 duos by Peter Hanswel, there is also a Serenade by Weinreich apparently.

Of everything we've tried, we loved the Spohr,  the Mozarts and Michael Haydn duos. The Rollas range from being well written (but sometimes a little predictable), to being quite inspired!  We didn't really think much of the Gastoldi or the Fuchs.

The Michael Haydns, Spohr op. 13, Bruni, Mozarts, Rolla's, Handel Halvorsen pieces have all gone down well with audiences and we're trying to now include some lesser known works in concerts.....

hope that helps.

February 24, 2009 at 08:13 AM ·

The  Passacaglia can be tremdously difficult, but fun when taken at a slower tempo.  Parts of the final section are quite challenging for viola if you aren't comfortable in the "nose-bleed" section, but magageable if slowed down and studied.  For your skills, there is a Hoffmeister duet that is fun, and a few Mozart duets - my favorite being the "table top" duet.  It is on one sheet and when looked at from top/bottom bottom/top is quite fun.  Although it was written for two violins, both parts can be played by the viola easily if you are comfortable in 3rd position and maybe 4th-5th for a few notes.

February 24, 2009 at 08:23 PM ·

Thanks Vaughan for your post, I didn't realise there was so much repertoire for the combination. 

I've got the music for the Milhaud Sonatine for Violin and Viola. It's in 3 movements and seems that it probably requires a fairly facile technique. The last movement (fugue) is 6 pages long and neither part has any rests or possibility to turn a page....

February 25, 2009 at 07:13 AM ·

Best of luck with that Nigel - sorry to hear about about the lack of page turns in the Milhaud - I hate it when you each need 2 music stands set up in a line to spread all the pages across!

The Villa Lobos duo could be worth trying out as well, although we haven't played it yet.

The Rollas are definitely worth exploring but once you've played several of them, some do stand out as being much better than others. If you want to check out the Rolla Op. 4 no. 2 before buying the sheet music, there is a little clip of the third movement in my profile. Hope that helps!

February 26, 2009 at 02:57 PM ·

It's nice to see this thread resurrected!  Since I posted it, I ended up playing the Bach Double violin concerto with my professional violist friend, because it turns out that she also plays the violin.  And we played some Mozart and Stamitz violin-viola duets in church last spring.  Thanks for the continuing food for thought. 

April 23, 2009 at 03:02 PM ·

Just read about another work for vioin and viola by composer Anthony Gilbert although I haven't yet seen the score.

April 29, 2009 at 01:16 AM ·

Hey Violinists!

We now have three new Stamitz Violin-Viola Duos in print!  They are the 3 Op. 12 Duets.  Check them out at

Stamitz wrote 30 violin-viola duets, and about half of them are published.  I plan to publish the rest that are not published yet soon, there are 6 Op. 19 and 6 Op. 23, hopefully they will be done by the end of the summer.


May 2, 2009 at 02:19 AM ·

If you are thinking of an equivalent of Bach's Double Violin Concerto for violas, why not Bach's Brandenburg No. 6?  On an easier level there are viola duets by Rolla which are nice (and easy).  For violin/viola there are arrangements of the Bach 2-part Inventions. Mozart has a couple nice (and fairly easy) violin/viola duets.  For the more ambitious there is his Sinfonia Concertante.

May 23, 2009 at 11:03 PM ·


Hello Violinists-

Just letting you all know I finished another set of Stamitz Violin-Viola Duets, Op. 19.            

This edition is based off of the out of print first publication of these works >>Six Duos pour Violon et Viola ou Violon et Violoncelle…?uvre XVIII<< , Berlin, J.J. Hummel (1782) [RISM S4533] found in the Münster Universitätsbibliothek. This edition by J.J. Hummel was published in parts only, and while preparing this edition, during the combining the two parts into score form, there were obvious bowing and dynamic discrepancies that needed to be altered, along with occasional note mistakes that needed to be corrected. These duets are identical to another out of print published version, >>Six Familiar Duetts, Op. 34<< (London: F. Straight), and the movements are presented in the following order in that edition: IV V I III VI II. This group of duets are recorded and labeled as Op. 34 in the recording by Vilmos Szabadi, violin and Péter Bársony, viola [Hungarton HCD 32453], Stamitz Duos for Violin and Viola, vol. 2. The reason for the discrepancy in the opus numbering of these duets is unknown, but probably due to the unavailability of a standardized opus cataloguing system for Stamitz’s works. The Op. 18 Duets for violin and viola (or cello) are also published under Op. 19 in the violin-cello edition, which could explain why the F. Straight edition uses Op. 34 in their version. The famous Stamitz Viola Concerto No. 1 in D is published as Op. 1 by International, which is a discrepancy and seemingly erroneous labeling, as there are 6 Duets for violin and viola, Op. 1 published by Amadeus. The Viola Concerto “Opus 1” labeling is also deceptive because of the implication that it is the first written viola concerto, and there is now evidence that it is actually the second one written, and the Concerto No. 2 in B-flat (Gems Music Publications: GPL 116/119) is actually the first written viola concerto by K. Stamitz.
            Most unusual about this set of duets is the “Fugato” movement of Duet Op. 19 no. 5; the only example of Stamitz using this form in the entire repertoire he wrote for solo viola. There are 31 known violin-viola duets by Stamitz, quite an unusual accomplishment, only surpassed in numbers by Alessandro Rolla (78 total, BI. 33-110, as published by Gems Music Publications: GPL 110, 127-145).

They are available at

May 28, 2009 at 09:39 AM ·

"There are 31 known violin-viola duets by Stamitz, quite an unusual accomplishment...."

Perhaps, or only if there's an extraordinary amount of variety between them. Stamitz does have a tendency to stay anchored to one key for long stretches if the well-known Viola Concerto is anything to go by, so I imagine many of them closely resemble each other. Still, 31 is a grand number of anything to write, no in those days to distract. I better get writing so I'll eventually have more than one.

July 14, 2009 at 07:24 PM ·

Hello Violinsts-


I have embarked on publishing all 78 of the Alessandro Rolla Duets for Violin and Viola.  So far I have 2 volumes completed (there will be 20 volumes in total).  All of the duets I have examined so far are excellent, and very virtuostic, especially for the violin part.  Here is a little something I wrote about these pieces:


Alessandro Rolla (b. Pavia, ITALY April 23, 1757; d. Milan, ITALY Sept. 14, 1841) remains to be one of the most prolific composers of his era, having composed around 45 violin concertos, 15 viola concertos, 130 violin duets, 78 violin-viola duets, and 38 viola duets, trumping by wide margins the output of any composer for all of these genres in all of music history.  Inexplicably most of this music has been largely neglected by violinists and violists, possibly due to an unavailability in published formats to the modern performer.  Rolla was appointed principal violist of the La Scala orchestra in 1782 (at age 25), and later in 1792 (age 35) became the concertmaster and conductor until 1833, a position he held for 41 years.  He directed several operas during his tenure, including operas by Mozart, Mayr, Paer, Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Mercadante.  He was also the founding violin/viola professor at the newly opened Milan Conservatory from 1808 to 1835, one of his students being the legendary Nicolo Paganini (1782-1840).  Rolla undoubtedly not only had influences on Paganini for his violin playing, but also for the virtuoso violin writing that Paganini composed throughout his life, whose roots can be clearly found in the virtuoso compositional style of Rolla.  The manuscripts for these works were found at the Biblioteca del Conservatario Giuseppe Verdi (Archivo Noseda) in Milan, Italy.  It is probable that Rolla used these compositions in his lessons with his violin and viola students, and there is a clear influence of Mozart on his compositional style. 


Volume 1 (BI. 33-36) and Volume 3 (BI. 40-42) are available at the following website:


Best regards,

Ken Martinson

July 15, 2009 at 08:32 PM ·

This may give you some ideas:


The Mozart Duos, K423 and K424 are good from what I remember, but it's a long time since I last played them!  At around the same time I had a go at Pleyel Op.69 and Stamitz Op.1 - also nice, but fairly easy.

I haven't played the Martinu Madrigals, but I seem to remember hearing them and thinking to myself "Ooh must get the music for that!"  Thanks for reminding me....


As for Viola-Viola, I know very little, but What I do is wonderful!  It's a great piece for Viola Duo and piano:  Bulakhov's Barcarolle, trans. Borisovsky.  It's on the Pearl release "Greatest Violists of the 20th Centurty Vol 2" (played by Borisovsky).  If you can find the music, please let me know, 'cos I can't!

Here is a youtube clip





July 17, 2009 at 08:16 AM ·

If you're looking some fun duets, you can try "Wolfhart - 28 Little Duets" for violin and viola, Opus 191.  They are pretty short pieces written by various composers, and some of them are very easy (maybe a bit too easy for you) but they are fun and the parts are quite well arranged.

If you want something a little more challenging, I like the Carl Stamitz Duo in C Major for violin and viola.  It's in 3 movements and it's closer to the level of the Bach Double.

July 17, 2009 at 12:02 PM ·

I've just discovered another work for Violin & Viola Duo called SUITE EN DUO pour violon et alto (5 mvts) 9’00",  it's on this site here; (scroll down to the section "Œuvre pour 2 instruments"). 



September 13, 2009 at 03:54 PM ·

 I was able to find a lot of nice duet music on  It's a website for sharing documents, and many people seem to use it for sharing sheet music of arrangements.  If you search for "violin viola duet" you'll turn up some interesting stuff. 

This user, for example, published Bach's two-part inventions, some Argentinian tangos, and a book of 20 other arrangements.

This user uncovered some "Wiolino & Alto Wiola" duets by "Unknown" in the Lund University Library and published them to share.

I'm sure there's other good stuff on the site.  Worth hunting around!

- Jake


September 13, 2009 at 05:12 PM ·

There are a few listed here, as well:

Violin/Viola Duets

October 7, 2009 at 01:09 PM ·

Hello again violinists-

Since I last wrote here, I have published another set of Karl Stamitz Violin-Viola Duets, Op. 23 no. 1-6.  These duets are also available in a 2 violin version.  They are available at:

I have also discovered another set of Stamitz Duets that have long been out of print, and the cover refers to them being by Stamitz "Le Jeune" (published in Paris), which suggests that these are early pieces.  Two of these have been recorded by Vilmos Szabadi and Peter Barsony on the Hungaton label.  This new set I found (not mentioned in Groves or the Jappe Viola Bibliography) makes for a total of 36 Stamitz Violin-Viola duets!

Here is the preface on the inside cover FYI: 

            This edition is based off of the out of print first publication of these works >>Six Duos pour Violon et Viola ou Deux Violons…?uvre XXIII<<, Den Haag un Amsterdam, B. Hummel [RISM S4537: Den Haag] found in the Gemeente Museum (The Hague). This edition by B. Hummel was published in parts only, and while preparing this edition, during the combining the two parts into score form, there were obvious bowing and dynamic discrepancies that needed to be altered, along with occasional rhythm mistakes that needed to be corrected. As the cover of the first edition clearly states that these duets are for violin and viola or two violins, the parts are only offered for 2 violins. There is no known surviving source which depicts the alterations that would have been made to the parts if it were to be played with the 2nd violin part as a viola. This edition attempts to make the best guess possible as to how Stamitz himself would have voiced the parts. As a general rule, in this version, if the parts go onto the C-string, it was originally one octave higher in the 2 violins version (also published by Gems Music Publications [GPL 148]). For the most part, the 2nd violin part falls in the viola range, and the part is brought down only in instances where the part become unusually difficult in the E-string range of the violin, or in parts where musically, Stamitz clearly wanted the lowest sonority possible.
            There are 36 known violin-viola duets by Stamitz, quite an unusual accomplishment, only surpassed in numbers by Alessandro Rolla (78 total, BI. 33-110, as published by Gems Music Publications: GPL 110, 127-145). The 36 Duos of Stamitz are categorized as follows; Six Duets Op. 1, Three Duets Op. 12 [GPL 124], Six Duets Op. 18, Six Duets Op. 19 (34) [GPL 125], Six Duets Op. 23 [GPL 126], 6 Duets “Le Jeune” [GPL 147] and 3 other duets without opus number: Duo in C (published as Op. 10/1), Grand Duo in G, and Duo in A (published at Op. 10/2).
Kenneth Martinson


October 8, 2009 at 12:50 PM ·

Lots of good music in the String Companions Duet Collection, Volume 2, by Whistler and Hummel. 


January 24, 2010 at 10:39 PM ·

Check out my website for the largest list of existing repertoire for violin viola duo (as far as I know):


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