Violas are string instruments played by rubbing a horsehair bow over four tuned strings. They are roughly the size of violins and have a closely similar pitch, but are differentiated by a fuller tone and darker timbre. They also have thicker strings having a lower pitch range, with the lowest string an octave below the middle C followed by a G, C, and A. Violas are most commonly used to play inner harmonies in a string ensemble.
Types of Violas
Kinds of Violas include the following:
Acoustic violas produce sound from the vibrations between the bow and the string.
They have hollow wooden bodies that allow the sound to resonate.
They have more rounded sounds and better resonance than electric violas.
Electric violas have electronic pickups that process string vibrations into audible sound.
Their bodies are made from solid wood and are often slimmer than acoustic violas.
They are often fitted with internal preamplifiers to give an initial boost to the volume.
Electro-acoustic violas have hollow acoustic bodies and magnetic pickups that amplify the sound.
They can usually be plugged into microphones or amplifiers for large performing in large venues.
They are often made in a variety of finishes and alternative materials, such as carbon fiber.
Choosing Violas (Buying tips)
Voice: Choose a viola with a clear, deep sound. Hardwood bodies like maple generally sound brighter, while softer ones like walnut provide a darker voice. This should be a key factor in your choice of any musical instrument. I have searched the world and spent tens of thousands of dollars looking for instruments with magnificent voices for both the Celt's Cauldron and my personal use. I believe that voice is worth spending on. Construction and materials: Choose a viola made of air-dried rather than kiln-dried wood. These have better acoustic quality and are less prone to cracks. Make sure there are no large scratches or open seams where sound may escape from the body. Look for one with a darker finish for better moisture resistance.
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