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Topic: Solo viola

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  1. #1

    Solo viola

    Most string libraries have solo viola. Are anyone of you using this in compositions? I mean, if you have a violin available, why usa a viola? Are there any good reasons for this?

  2. #2

    Re: Solo viola

    Some people write string quartets and other small ensemble works.

  3. #3

    Re: Solo viola

    Quote Originally Posted by aavns2010 View Post
    Most string libraries have solo viola. Are anyone of you using this in compositions? I mean, if you have a violin available, why usa a viola? Are there any good reasons for this?
    From the point of view of viola as a solo instrument - it has a different register, timbre and character to the violin - its often described as deeper and mellower and can have a quite dark sound. It depends what you want to write!

    Its much less often written for as a solo instrument than violin, which for me also gives it an appeal of its own from a composition point of view.

  4. #4

    Re: Solo viola

    Quote Originally Posted by aavns2010 View Post
    Most string libraries have solo viola. Are anyone of you using this in compositions?
    Pretty much everything I write has viola in it.

    I mean, if you have a violin available, why usa a viola? Are there any good reasons for this?
    Oh, come on! Seriously?

    The viola is most frequently used on inner voices, naturally. It also blends perfectly with both violin and cello. So when you're wanting a full, rich sound from your string section, the viola is essential.

    The viola also makes a good solo instrument when lower range and darker tone quality than the violin would be useful.

    In short, don't sell the viola short! You'll be missing out on a valuable resource if you do. (And I'm not just saying that because I'm a violist myself! Really!)
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  5. #5

    Re: Solo viola

    violas also sound amazing when playing a line while the rest of the strings are playing sustained chords. they just stand out much differently than the rest of the strings.
    -Keith Fuller

    http://keithfullermusic.com
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  6. #6
    Senior Member playz123's Avatar
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    Re: Solo viola

    I guess if you have to ask, you probably don't need (a) viola(s). . However, you probably also know that nearly every full orchestra has a viola section so they obviously do serve a purpose. Upsider expressed things most succinctly when he mentioned that a viola "has a different register, timbre and character to the violin", and in addition the viola covers notes that the violin doesn't. A blend of instruments with different characteristics is one of the things that gives a string quartet or orchestra its unique sound.

    You asked about a "solo" viola, rather than a section, which may mean you are thinking more along the lines of orchestrating a quartet? In any case, answers could be more precise if one knew why you were asking the question or what you were actually planning to do. In addition, the genre of the music you wish to create certainly plays a part when deciding whether or not a solo viola is required, should be recommended, or considered necessary or essential......................playz
    Cubase 7.0.3, Wavelab 7.1, Omnisphere, Trilian, Stylus RMX, Symphobia 1 & 2 , all Spitfire libraries, LASS 2, Requiem Pro, Voxos, Superior Drummer 2, Komplete 8, Cinematic Guitars, most EW libraries, Chris Hein Horns, Guitar & Bass, 2.8 GHz Mac Pro, 18 GB RAM, OS 10.6.8, RME Multiface II + HDSP PCIe

  7. #7

    Re: Solo viola

    Hi guys,

    Of course I use violas! They make an orchestra sound more rich, absolutely!

    I clearly wrote solo in the heading. Since I found that violin sounds a little better I would perhaps prefer a violin in solo passages. I'm aware that the timbre and register are different (violas may even take some parts written for cellos). However, when it comes to the lead line I thought perhaps timbre and register were more like subtleties. Thus, violin would make a better choice.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the subject!

  8. #8

    Re: Solo viola

    Quote Originally Posted by aavns2010 View Post
    Hi guys,

    Of course I use violas! They make an orchestra sound more rich, absolutely!

    I clearly wrote solo in the heading. Since I found that violin sounds a little better I would perhaps prefer a violin in solo passages. I'm aware that the timbre and register are different (violas may even take some parts written for cellos). However, when it comes to the lead line I thought perhaps timbre and register were more like subtleties. Thus, violin would make a better choice.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the subject!
    It depends on the mood that you want to express. Say for example you want to write for a sad mood. Both the solo violin and the solo viola can sound sad but the solo violin is more extrovertedly sad while the solo viola is unbeateable in the shades of introverted and mourning sad sounds.

    For romantic moods I would use more likely the solo violin or solo cello.
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  9. #9

    Re: Solo viola

    I'm not sure about solo viola, but I know they sound quite different from violins in an orchestra. To me at least, the sound they can produce is very similar to french horns, which makes for a nice blending between the strings and the brass.

    To make things a bit easier for me to explain, I'll put it in terms of woodwinds, which I am far more familiar with. (flutes ftw! )

    Violins are the "flutes" of the string section. They can play medium low notes, and sound amazing in their upper register. They produce a very bright, clear, clean sound that makes them stand out from the rest of the instruments when everyone is playing at the same time.

    Violas would be the "clarinets" of the strings. They have about the same range as a flute for the most part, but have a far richer sound. They tend not to stick out quite as much as flutes, and blend into the other sounds of the orchestra, making a very nice chord thickener.

  10. #10

    Re: Solo viola

    I love violas...especially the tone range from c2-c3 is unbeatable for dark, diffident passages...!

    (no, I am no viola player, I am an ex cello player)

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