Construction and function of the viola - Philipp Dangas

Construction and function of the viola

Graphic showing the structure and function of the viola can be enlarged. It is Link-Sensitive [Clickable].

Short description: Components of the viola in small representation

The technical structure of the viola is very similar to that of the violin. Details about the structure of the instrument and the function of the individual components can be found in the article there. Comment by Philipp Dangas: To the article about the structure of the violin.

A difference to the violin is the size and tuning of the viola, its open strings are a fifth lower, tuned to c – g – d1 – a1. The sound of the viola is described as full, soft, dark up to the highest register, always a bit melancholic, slightly smoky and a little nasal. The specific sound is due to the fact that the body of the viola is actually too small for its tuning.

What was said about the violin applies accordingly to the sound generation of the viola. However, the following special features should be noted for the viola: Its somewhat larger resonance body (apart from virtuoso solo playing) does not allow it to reach such high registers as is possible on the violin. The alto clef is primarily used for notating the viola. In the higher positions, i.e. in the two- and three-line octave, the treble clef is also used to avoid many auxiliary lines. The notation of the viola is not transposing, i.e. the notation and the sound are the same.

A nice sound example for the viola
[Music by Dmitri Shostakovich's 8th Symphony]
Components of the strings at a glance
Component Description
Nut A small ledge at the end of the fretboard over which the strings are guided to the pegs.
Fretboard Board glued to the neck on which the player presses the strings.
Strings Elastic body that is stretched. By stroking, plucking or hitting it is set in motion and made to sound.
Bridge Supports for the strings, which limit their freely vibrating distance and transmit the vibrations to the resonance body.