I'm hoping to try the viola in 2012. When arranging music for string orchestra earlier this year, I realized I really ought to be able to read alto clef; I keep reading how viola playing can help violin playing; it would be a dream come true to be able to take the viola part in amateur quartets; and despite the jokes, the sound of the viola is gorgeous. In short, I'm not switching instruments by any means, but I would like to branch out a bit. Or try, anyway.
I'll be renting at first. There is one viola at my luthier's that I know for sure is in stock, but there may be more. If there's more than one instrument, is there anything in particular that I should be looking for in a viola that's different from what I'd be looking for in a violin?
Alto clef tips? I figure I should start by getting the note names down, so even if I don't know where said notes are, at least I know their names...
What are some similarities and differences between the two instruments besides the obvious ones that I may not know about?
Anything else a violinist who has been playing for 10+ years should keep in mind while starting viola? Besides the sad realization that I may now have to give up telling viola jokes?
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