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Have you ever heard of or tried to find a range and been frustrated by the seemingly endless variations? If so, then you are in the right place. Today, we're going to show you how to make it easier to nail down which Viol level range you need for your instrument.The word viola originates from the Italian language. The Italians often used the term viola da braccio meaning literally: 'of the arm'. "Brazzo" was another Italian word for the viola, which the Germans adopted as Bratsche. The French had their own names: cinquiesme was a small viola, haute contre was a large viola, and taile was a tenor. Today, the French use the term alto, a reference to its range.The viola often plays the "inner voices" in string quartets and symphonic writing, and it is more likely than the first violin to play accompaniment parts. The viola occasionally plays a major, soloistic role in orchestral music. Examples include the symphonic poem, Don Quixote, by Richard Strauss, and the symphony/concerto, Harold en Italie, by Hector Berlioz.
The viola is held in the same manner as the violin; however, due to its larger size, some adjustments must be made to accommodate. The viola, just like the violin, is placed on top of the left shoulder between the shoulder and the left side of the face (chin). Because of the viola's size, violists with short arms tend to use smaller-sized instruments for easier playing. The most immediately noticeable adjustments that a player accustomed to playing the violin has to make are to use wider-spaced fingerings. It is common for some players to use a wider and more intense vibrato in the left hand, facilitated by employing the fleshier pad of the finger rather than the tip, and to hold the bow and right arm farther away from the player's body. A violist must bring the left elbow farther forward or around, so as to reach the lowest string, which allows the fingers to press firmly and so create a clearer tone. Different positions are often used, including half position.
Writing Sul C (on the C) or Sul G above the music asks the player to continue playing on the low C or G string when they would otherwise have moved up onto one of the higher strings.Attaching a small rubber, wooden, or metal device called a "mute" to the bridge of the viola alters the tone, softening the instrument's sound by adding mass to the bridge and so reducing its ability to vibrate freely, decreasing volume and giving a more mellow tone, with fewer audible overtones. In performances, it may give a desired dulled effect. Mutes are mostly used in orchestras with the entire string section playing with mutes, resulting in a soft, hushed sound quality. Parts to be played muted are marked con sord., for the Italian sordino or occasionally mit Dämpfer in German. (The instruction to take off the mute is senza sord., sometimes marked just senza or "ohne Dämpfer" in German.) In French, instruction is given for application of mutes at the beginning of muted passages, "mettez les sourdines", and for removal at the end "ôtez les sourdines". (Source: arranging.fandom.com)