Saturday, August 21, 2010


Yesterday at my fiddle lesson, I mentioned to Charlene that I've always liked the G and D strings the best, and that whenever I learn a tune with lots of A and E strings, I practice transposing it down.

"Ah," she said. "You might want to switch to viola, then."

We talked about it. She brought out her grandmother's old violin, which she's restrung as a mini-viola, and I played it a bit. I like the sound much better than the violin.

Today I called the rental place: I can swap out instruments, no problem, and what I've paid towards the purchase price of my violin will be transferred toward the purchase price of the viola. So on Thursday, Charlene will meet me there and we'll look at instruments.

I'm excited. I've always liked deeper, darker notes better; I prefer mezzo voices to soprano ones, and I'd probably be studying cello if the thing weren't such a bear to lug around. I'm a little nervous about the larger size of the viola and the heavier bow (you can get a viola that's the same size as a 4/4 violin, but the sound probably wouldn't be as good as that of a larger instrument), but if I don't like it, I suppose I can always switch back. We're going to look for a fifteen-inch viola, since sixteen would be a stretch. (Violas don't come in standard sizes the way violions do. Kinda confusing, if you ask me.)

Charlene doesn't seem to think there will be much difference in how I play the instrument, especially since I play it for my own enjoyment rather than in group sessions, where weird keys would be a problem. I'll have to get a new case, shoulder rest, and gel chinpad, but my wall hanger and Dampit should work for a viola too.

Stay tuned (as it were)!


  1. Ha! I love playing my viola, which is a 15 1/2 inch. It allows me, as a tenor, to explore deep, low notes that I will never be able to sing. I think I prefer it to my violin. Enjoy! It's a sexy instrument, and violists are a breed apart (and far less neurotic than violinists). Listen to Garrison Keeler's "A Young Lutheran's Guide to the Orchestra" if you need more info on the difference between violins and violas.


  2. thursdaynextgal6:29 PM

    I took up the string bass in 5th grade because I love those dark, stirring notes. I gave it up, stupidly, in 11th grade and miss it every day. I have a cheapie guitar I intend to teach myself one of these days to fill in the void.


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