Piece of music for Viola with Violin accompaniment

May 11, 2020, 8:17 PM · My older child plays viola and my younger child plays the violin. I would like a piece that would challenge them both. Any suggestions?

Replies (21)

May 11, 2020, 8:55 PM · Michael Haydn duos for violin and viola. Or the Joseph Haydn violin sonatas with viola might be good
Edited: May 11, 2020, 9:15 PM · it would be really helpful to know their ages and playing levels.

The Mozart Duos are lovely and not super hard. I would say Suzuki Book 6 level. There's also the Sinfonia Concertante although the accompaniment would be an orchestral reduction. A good choice if your kids are prodigies.

Type the following into Google: "IMSLP violin viola piano" and "IMSLP violin viola" without quotation marks. Happy surfing.

For younger students, it's hard to go wrong with Pleyel.

May 11, 2020, 9:14 PM · My older child is 10 and my younger child is 7. My 7 year old is in Suzuki book 1 and older child is in book 2.
Edited: May 11, 2020, 9:23 PM · Okay then even the Pleyel will be much too hard for them. Might be worth a call to Shar and see if they have any books of simple arrangements, or even try Amazon. Often those kinds of books do not appear in IMSLP because they're still under copyright.
May 11, 2020, 9:19 PM · Also the things I suggested are too difficult. How about the Sibelius C major duo? From what I remember, the first sort of section isn't too hard and could potentially stand on its own
Edited: May 11, 2020, 9:28 PM · Maybe this:
One of the reviews says its all in first position. Of course that doesn't mean someone in Suzuki Book 1 can play it.
Or the "Flying Fiddle" Duets (Book 1). Still -- going to be a challenge for someone in Book 1.
May 11, 2020, 9:51 PM · Thank you for your help.
May 11, 2020, 9:58 PM · Your best bet is to actually have the younger student play the melody and the older the harmony, since harmony is typically more challenging to learn than melody.

There are also a whole lot of collections of "flexible" duets out there where they have duets parts for any selections of violins, violas, or cellos. You will have to buy both the violin book and the viola book of each. A few examples:

Compatible Duets for Strings
My First Progressive Duets (and then the later volumes which are just Progressive Duets)

There is also a duet book by Whistler for violin and viola, but that may be a bit too hard. I would say it is more Book 2-3 if I remember correctly.

If they are doing Suzuki, pick up a copy of the ensemble duet parts. You can get the ones for viola from Shar. https://www.sharmusic.com/Suzuki/Viola-School/Supplemental/Suzuki-Ensembles-for-Viola-Volume-1.axd I believe if I remember correctly that most of these duet parts are in the violin keys for book 1, so that should work well for your little one.

May 11, 2020, 10:18 PM · Just have them switch instruments. Voila!
May 11, 2020, 10:50 PM · Susan Agrawal
I will look to buy the progressive books - thank you for the suggestions.

Cotton Mather
Lol - My oldest is adamant about playing viola versus violin.

May 11, 2020, 11:52 PM · Why don’t you go MuseScore and let them play some pop songs instead?
May 12, 2020, 1:22 AM · If I remember correctly, in Samuel Applebaum's "Beautiful Music for Two String Instrument" series (which starts at beginner level) the violin, viola, and cello books all have the same music in the same key, just possibly different octaves.
May 12, 2020, 7:17 AM · Jake, J. Haydn's sonatas are supposed to be good (i don't know first hand), but they are violin music accompanied by viola, not the other way round.

I think the short answer to the title question is that music for "viola with violin accompaniment" likely does not exist; there are plenty of true duos and (probably) as many pieces like Haydn's where the viola accompanies.

BTW: We have two players who are described as "my older child" and "my younger child". I'd consider it unlikely that the Mozart duos are suitable for them, no matter how "not superhard" they may be. To me they aren't easier than Mozart's quartets at any rate.

Edited: May 12, 2020, 7:45 AM · Musescore is a good suggestion. The issue with the Suzuki duet book is that someone will probably have to transpose. Twinkle is in D in the viola book as I recall. I agree with Albrecht that the Mozart Duos are not easy. But they're not Brahms Concerto level either. Reading these pages over time, I'm aware of quite a few young people who could play them, including my own kids, who I would not describe as prodigies (but they are not that young any more either). Also you don't have to play them at "performance tempo" and you can cherry-pick the easiest movements. Still, they're not appropriate for someone below Book 6 as I indicated earlier.

Since we've brought up Musescore, that's a website that offers sheet music AND software for creating it. Your kids could scratch out their own arrangement of "Happy Birthday" and play that through twice whilst you wash your hands.

Edited: May 12, 2020, 8:34 AM · @Paul -- the Suzuki Viola duet book that is called "Ensembles for Viola" has a mix of violin-viola and viola-viola duets. Most of the violin-viola ones are in the violin key. Suzuki also has one called String Orchestra Accompaniments and String Quartets for Beginning Ensembles that are also mostly in the violin key and wouldn't require transposing. I don't own all of these so I can't remember exactly what key everything is in, but I have seen them and remember most being violin key oriented. Suzuki has a surprisingly large number of these books in all sorts of combinations.
May 12, 2020, 9:21 AM · Susan that's great! I wasn't aware of those. I've only seen the regular "Duets" book.
Edited: May 13, 2020, 8:04 AM · @Cotton - did you mean the last word of your post to be viola? If so, you misspelled (lol).

@Jessica - if your kids have teachers, maybe they could suggest some appropriate music.

May 13, 2020, 8:25 AM · To accompany my violin pupils I prepared light viola accompaniments for Suzuki books 1 to 3. I printed them straight from Sibelius 6 files, but I could make pdf's and put them in my Google Drive. Except for the few pieces that Suzuki signed, there should be no copyright problem.
May 13, 2020, 9:11 AM · @Adrian Heath That would be a great help. How do I contact you?
May 14, 2020, 1:37 PM · Jessica, I ntheo longer see the contact button there use to be for private messages.
If I put a "public" folder in my Google drive I can put out a download link in this thread, then anyone can benefit. For Suzuki's own compositions, I could put just my accompaniments. (BTW, they don't always fit the published piano parts, as I sometimes prefer my own harmonisations..)

It will take a while to produce PDFs of each piece, but then it's done. But my internet connection lasts about 3 minutes per hour, thanks to Covid 19!

May 15, 2020, 12:04 PM · I'll second the beautiful music for string duets. When I ran my school string group, my early term beginners loved the arrangements, and it comes in different instrument combinations. However, my memory says both parts are of similar standards. Perhaps it could be sought reading for the elder and learnt music for the finger daughter?

My main recommendation for what you described is the huws Jones fiddler play along books which have standard, beginner and hard parts as well as piano accompaniment and a really good range of styles. The compilation book exists for violin, viola and cello with pretty good overlap of pieces in same keys. This viola sample page gives a good idea of easy/ standard versions https://shop.abrsm.org/imagesw/print/music/$wm1_0x700_$_M060117855_mus.jpg

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