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viola or cello?

viola cello orchestra

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#1 bailey

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 11:59

hi all

I'm an experienced flautist but I'm bored of the flute now, been playing for over 30 years.

I'd like to try either the viola or the cello and I would like to know your opinions!

The disadvantages for me would be the twisty uncomfortable arm/wrist position for the viola (isn't this really hard to get used to, as an adult learner?) and learning a new clef as well as all the difficulties of the instrument. But the cello, although it seems more comfortable and I can already read bass clef, is so big to carry around - especially as I don't drive. And more expensive. And I'm not very big or strong which makes me think the viola would be quite tiring to hold up and the cello quite heavy to lug round.

I don't much like playing on my own and my priority would be to find a group to join as soon as I can. I'd really like to hear from conductors and orchestral players..... Is the viola more in demand? (in orchestras, string quartets, or anything else)? I don't really mind the fact that violas rarely get the melody, it's more important to me to actually feel wanted. But maybe cellos are needed too? 

Many thanks!!


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#2 Banjogirl

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 13:02

Viola, definitely. Everyone will want you, you'll be able to join groups more quickly, everything about it is cheaper and, as you say, it's much easier to transport, times ten. You'd have to learn new clefs on the cello once you got beyond the basics as well. We have to have a specially big car to accommodate the Boy and his cello. The viola is lovely. My son's viola teacher used to say that violins were just toys. The only difficulty with the viola was finding someone with a decent one for sale, and finding a proper teacher rather than the first one who thought the viola was just a big violin. And then there's the wealth of viola jokes. Here's one to get you started.

What's the definition of a minor third? Two violas playing in unison.
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#3 Norway

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 13:02

Cellos are certainly needed. (Sections around my way are about 75% full). Alot of amateur orchestras around here are desperate for violas. (Sections about 10% full). I'd go with which instrument you prefer the sound and repertoire of. I'm very biased, and having tried violin, viola and cello, it's cello by a mile! wub.png I'm a weedy specimen but have no trouble carting it around - cellos aren't too heavy - just a nightmare in kissing gate situations!


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#4 Banjogirl

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 13:08

The Boy is not huge and is happy to carry his cello on his back for quite long distances, but he used to look longingly at the likes of the flautists at JD, with their tiny cases. Cellos on trains are just a pain, planes even more so.
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#5 Tenor Viol

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 13:19

Both instruments will get you into groups/ensembles, but there are fewer violists around.

I tried a viola, but struggled with the hand position (to be fair it was only a a few minutes). Violas come in different back lengths so that's something to consider too. I'd find a proper viola teacher (not a violinist who dabbles) and seek their help before going any further.

I play cello. Its a very comfortable playing position. Cellos are not that heavy, just an awkward shape - it's about the same weight as my tenor sax. Most decent cello cases have shoulder straps and to do the job properly, you can get a proper harness fitted to the case to wear it like a rucksack. You don't need a big car - provided the back seat folds flat - it might constrain how much / who you transport as well :)

Clef wise, you will start in bass. Later on tenor clef will be added and treble if you need it... 


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#6 Arundodonuts

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 15:52

Viola. What was the question?


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#7 Gordon Shumway

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 16:16

I shouldn't like to have to lug a cello around. I will probably buy a viola myself and then offer myself up as a violinist or violist to any orchestra that will have me in any position!


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#8 Ligneo Fistula

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 16:52

Bassoon*

 

 

 

 

*sorry.blink.png


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#9 bailey

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 17:10

hi all

Thank you for  your replies!

I actually did begin to learn the viola about 15 years ago. I was doing OK-ish but I remember once spending all week practising a D-major scale over and over, trying really hard. When I played it to my teacher at my next lesson she said gently 'I just don't understand why it sounds SO out of tune...'

I became so disheartened after that I gave it up. I didn't think I was that unmusical (I have a music degree from a very good university) but maybe I'm tone deaf after all! The teacher was a lovely lady and she was a professional violist, not a violinst, so I don't blame her at all. Wonder whether I should give it another shot, try the cello, or just accept that I can't play anything where my fingers need to define the notes....!!.


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#10 Tenor Viol

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 18:36

@Bailey - give it a whirl, can't hurt


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#11 mel2

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 19:15

I was going to suggest a cello case with wheels but then I looked them up and was horrified at the price of the things.
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#12 Banjogirl

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 19:33

The wheels aren't very good either. And it's really bad for the cello inside to be wheeled more than short smooth distances. On your back is the way to go.
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#13 mel2

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 22:09

The wheels aren't very good either. And it's really bad for the cello inside to be wheeled more than short smooth distances. On your back is the way to go.


Blow the cello; for that price I'd expect to sit on it and scoot it!
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#14 adultpianist

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 01:25

https://www.youtube....h?v=XierDLeUiYg

 

I prefer the violin to listen to but that is my personal choice.   This video from the film Ladies in Lavender is so beautiful when the boy plays the violin in his concert.    

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=bSGJHAQqoN0

 

 

Anyway good luck with whatever you decide to do


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#15 Kai-Lei

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 08:23

With either, always in demand, you should find a place in a local orchestra as soon as you can "survival sight-read"!


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