Viola Convert

August 25, 2009 at 06:30 PM ·

I've joined our church chamber orchestra as violist, not violinist. Lately I've begun to really love the presence of the viola on my shoulder. I'm better at violin, since I've been playing it longer, but the sound of the viola is just so dark and brooding, I can't resist it.

Sould I let my violin go? Does it have to be one or the other? Will I be good at both?

Can I still post here if I'm a violist?

Replies (38)

August 25, 2009 at 07:16 PM ·

That's good! We, viola makers, need more and more viola players!!!

Of course you can post here as a viola player!

www.manfio.com

August 25, 2009 at 08:36 PM ·

Go for it. :) You're in good company! Bach, Mozart, Dvorak, Hindemith and others would agree...it's a good thing, learning viola as well as the violin.

August 25, 2009 at 08:54 PM ·

Most of the violists I know play violin as well (or better). (To really twist your mind a bit try reading (and playing) some viola music on your violin - or try a 5-string, which feels about like the same thing.)

Andy

August 26, 2009 at 10:27 AM ·

Despite the fact that I enjoy a good viola joke every now and then, yes, I don't see why anyone wouldn't let you hang around here :)

August 26, 2009 at 11:02 AM ·

Playing both is great!  There are a bunch of us on the site. 

August 26, 2009 at 01:31 PM ·

good viola joke 

When a joke's been told 10 million times, it can hardly be described as "good" anymore.....

August 26, 2009 at 04:44 PM ·

When a joke's been told 10 million times, it can hardly be described as "good" anymore.

Yea right! Some jokes are so "good" that they remain funny even after having been told 10 million times over.

Q.  What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline?
A.  You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.

Q.  How is a violist like lightning?
A.  Neither strikes the same place twice.

August 26, 2009 at 05:07 PM ·

Q.  What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline?
A.  You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.

Q.  How is a violist like lightning?
A.  Neither strikes the same place twice. 

No new viola jokes today?

 

August 26, 2009 at 05:18 PM ·

If you are stranded in a desert and you see an oasis, a good violist, and a bad violist, which do you go for?

The bad violist; the other two are only figments of your imagination.

August 26, 2009 at 05:30 PM ·

No new viola jokes today?

No, new jokes aren't really necessary, because the old ones I just told are still funny. That was my point, you know.

;-D

 

August 26, 2009 at 05:29 PM ·

We had a member here who played both and focused on the viola, auditioned for juliard and made it!  his name is Blake Newman and I really miss his input here!

Best wishes in your endevors.

August 26, 2009 at 08:08 PM ·

No, new jokes aren't really necessary 

Cool, makes life easier. In that case I'd like to tell a couple of old viola jokes that I heard again today;

Q.  What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline?
A.  You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.

Q.  How is a violist like lightning?
A.  Neither strikes the same place twice.

August 26, 2009 at 07:37 PM ·

Q: What is the difference between a VIOLIN player who makes viola jokes and a mushroom?

A: The mushroom has taste.

August 26, 2009 at 10:11 PM ·

 I know all the viola jokes - it's a matter of self-defence - but here is one you might like:

Q.Why don't violists get piles?

A. Because all the arseholes are in the violin section!

 

August 27, 2009 at 01:45 AM ·

Nigel, it's okay to say you're offended. Here, you can cry on my shoulder if you want to. I even offer free hugs. Just wipe your nose first, I hate other's snot on my shirt.

 

(fyi to all - I don't even play violin, I'm actually a cellist/guitarist who wishes to take up violin at some point. That probably explains a lot)

August 27, 2009 at 04:21 AM ·

let me answer your questions in order.

I'm loving the viola more than the violin! Am I a traitor?
No, just misled. A therapist can help.

Sould I let my violin go?
Yes, and I am willing to help. I will buy it, sight unseen, for the sum of $50.00 (I'll even pay shipping). Contact me during the break.

Does it have to be one or the other?
Well, not necessarily, but standards are standards.

Will I be good at both?
You could possibly still be good at the violin, in spite of the challenge you put yourself to.
Being good at the viola....... well, I'm not sure how to express things here, but others have given the general idea.

Can I still post here if I'm a violist?
Sure, because Violinists are such open people, we'll even let non-musicians participate.

August 27, 2009 at 04:24 AM ·

By the way, in spite of my previous post, I have been considering getting a viola also.... let me know what you see as the major differences as you progress.

August 27, 2009 at 11:52 AM ·

Thanks God there are no jokes about viola makers!!!

www.manfio.com

August 27, 2009 at 12:55 PM ·

Q. How many viola makers does it take to change a light bulb?

A. Three. One to change the bulb, and two to argue how Stradivari would have done it.

 

We live on a mysterious planet filled with strange creatures . . .

August 27, 2009 at 02:52 PM ·

Martin-LOL!!!!!

Shoot, I have to feel for viola players, I may take up viola. {:^)

August 27, 2009 at 06:32 PM ·

Good Robert! But most viola makers I know are not Stradivari fans....  we are much more fond of Amati, Guarneri, Gasparo and Maggini.

www.manfio.com

August 27, 2009 at 08:06 PM ·

 

 

Maybe you should investigate a quint, which is a violin with C string!

Ruth Brons

August 28, 2009 at 01:23 AM ·

Thanks for the responses :-)

The viola jokes are giving me second thoughts...

... but I'm doubling over from the violin jokes :-)

I still play both, though. And I play violin pieces on the viola and viola pieces on the violin.

It's driving me nuts, but I'm trying :-)

Roland, I'd appreciate you sending the $50 now.

I'm saving up for a second viola...

August 28, 2009 at 03:50 PM ·

Putch,

I'll send the $50 in a day or so; right now my account is having a bit of a problem. I was assisting an assistant minister of Finance in Nigeria to (ahem) resolve a short-term liquidity problem, and somehow, something went wrong. My current bank balances are not correctly being reported by my bank.  Once I get this minor manner corrected, I'll send the money.

September 1, 2009 at 07:36 PM ·

Just wondering:  why is everyone so mean to violias and violists?!

September 1, 2009 at 10:07 PM ·

For the same reason the entire wind section makes fun of the trombones.

September 9, 2009 at 07:20 PM ·

I just got my 'dream' viola this past April.  My violin repertoire makes me a better violist.  I do find that it is harder for me to put the viola down....there is definitely something quite addictive about it. 

---Ann Marie

September 11, 2009 at 02:18 PM ·

David Oistrakh and Pinchas Zukerman were great violinists and violist as well, so why not you too  ? There is no reason to constrain oueselves to playing only one instrument in order to not feel "guilty" for playing some other. In the past, many artists played more than one instrument. Mendelssohn used to play the violin fairly well besides having been a great piano virtuoso. Bach used to play the violin besides the organ and harpsichord. Grumiaux used to be a good pianist too. So, go ahead and be happy with both instruments. They will not be jealous at each other unless you feel guilty.

September 17, 2009 at 01:47 AM ·

 Yes because viola is supreme...

I too swithced because of that beautiful, dark tone. Of course, MOST (I got over this) crappy viola players get laughed upon by their A string sound... Bleck.

September 18, 2009 at 03:40 PM ·

 Juan,

You refer to Zukerman as if he was dead?!

Mr. Zukerman is still alive and well, and is still a great violinist and a supreme violist.

September 20, 2009 at 02:44 PM ·

 Hi Carol,

You are absolutely right !  Zukerman is still alive, of course.  Sorry for the mistake. I probably used the word "were" unconsciously because I was thinking about David Oistrakh, mainly.

September 25, 2009 at 05:54 PM ·

violin, viola....

hey-- love the one you're with !

Enjoy!

September 26, 2009 at 04:34 AM ·

Of course you're not a traitor.  You've simply seen the light!!  Actually, if you keep playing both instruments, you're almost always guaranteed a gig every night you might want one, especially if you're willing to play the viola more (at least here in Madison, where there simply aren't as many violists as there are violinists).

October 6, 2009 at 09:30 PM ·

The viola is more difficult to play in every respect, except perhaps that the viola parts in traditional orchestral music are somewhat less demanding than the violin parts.  Violas are harder to hold up due to their size and weight.  The left hand fingers must reach farther apart.  The shifts are longer.  The instrument is less responsive to the bow, which is probably the most significant difference.  The truth behind the viola/violist jokes is not that violists are inferior musicians, it's that the viola is a relatively more demanding instrument that's harder to play in tune and generally harder to control.

I think it's a great instrument.  Head over to violabychoice.org for some inspiring recordings.

October 7, 2009 at 08:31 AM ·

www.contemporaryviola.com is a site that I created recently for things that are viola-related, particularly new repertoire. There are several articles written by violist Paul Groh, the most recent being on Rudolf Haken, and there's also an article by violist Timothy Deighton.

October 7, 2009 at 09:33 AM ·

"...the viola parts in traditional orchestral music are somewhat less demanding than the violin parts."

This is the biggest understatement of the century. Every composer since day one has known that violists are generally either 1) severely under skilled violinists, or 2) violinists snoozing through a paycheck for filling in on the viola. The few "expert" violists out there are actually few and far between. Don't believe me? Take a look at the audition requirements to become a violist for most symphony orchestras or major conservatories.

I have filled in on the viola part millions of times for local community college orchestras (it's a good $50 dollar paycheck). Viola parts are always, always easy. I have seen most of the repertoire. I've even filled in the viola part during a performance of Mahler's 5th at Royce Hall. The viola parts are always, always a snooze fest compared to violin parts. Now, Mahler's 5th wasn't easy - but compared to the violin part, it was =).

October 7, 2009 at 07:19 PM ·

Luke Sargent wrote: "I have filled in on the viola part millions of times for local community college orchestras (it's a good $50 dollar paycheck). Viola parts are always, always easy. I have seen most of the repertoire."

Ummmm, where to start. Check out some Strauss, Wagner or Prokofieff. Sure in the earlier Classical repertoire, the viola parts aren't as technically challenging as the violin parts. Still to play them *well* is another thing entirely.

In the pool of candidates for any full time professional orchestra today there are often several highly qualified candidates, and it can be hard to choose between them because objectively they've all got it all. In the final round it often comes down to subjective preferences. (Sure, some show up who aren't qualified, but I've heard that on violin auditions, too.)

I don't know where you get the idea that there are so few good violists. It's simply not true, not at the professional level at least.

Scott Slapin

www.scottslapin.com

October 9, 2009 at 01:47 PM ·

Luke...draw a breath...relax.  No need to be unkind to the violists in this community.

Every instrument contributes to the overall tone and emotions of a piece of music...every instrument.   It's not important who's part is more difficult technically,  each part is written with a specific purpose in mind for the pleasure and entertainment of the listener.  As a whole, there can be no stars; unless there is a soloist, of course.  ;-P

EDIT:

And here we can see the viola and violin working together as best friends...

www.youtube.com/watch

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