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Viola          Return to list of instruments     Post your comments to the blog here.

The viola is the alto or tenor instrument of the violin family.  It is bigger than a violin, and lower-pitched, but otherwise it looks similar.  The strings are tuned to C (below middle C), G, D, A which are all one fifth lower than the corresponding strings on a violin.   Though its lowest notes are fairly low, they do not have a lot of power, as the viola has a  small body, unlike its bass cousin, the cello. Its tone is somewhat rougher than the violin's, and it has not been used as a solo instrument to any significant extent.

However, there are a few important works written for the viola. Berlioz wrote his tone poem "Harold in Italy" for viola and orchestra, and Mozart wrote his "Sinfonia Concertante" for violin and viola with orchestra.

In the orchestra, the violas form a vital section of the strings, as they contribute the "tenor" part to the harmony. In string quartets, where there are two violins, one viola, and one cello, the viola becomes a lot more prominent.  Here, its unique tone colour is easily distinguishable from the sweeter but more strident tone of the two violins.


Music featuring the Viola. Audio is available for 220 tunes for this instrument.
No.Name of WorkCategoryComposer
1 All Through the NightFolk SongVarious
2 Angels from the Realms of GlorySacredVarious
3 Barbara AllenFolk SongVarious
4 Divertimento in Bb K 137Chamber MusicMozart
5 Divertimento in D K136Chamber MusicMozart
6 Divertimento in F K138Chamber MusicMozart
7 Harold in Italy Op 18ConcertoBerlioz
8 Hey Diddle DiddleNursery RhymesVarious
9 Il était une BergèreFolk SongVarious
10 Mary Mary Quite Contrary, How does your Garden Grow?Nursery RhymesVarious
11 Minuet from Divertimento K334Chamber MusicMozart
12 Piano Quartet No.1 in D major, Op 23Chamber MusicDvořák
13 Piano Trio in Eb "Kegelstadt" K498Chamber MusicMozart
14 Roman Carnival OvertureOvertureBerlioz
15 Rumanian melody Op 83 No.5 (from 6 pieces for trio)Chamber MusicBruch
16 Serenade in G K525 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik - string quartetChamber MusicMozart
17 Silent NightSacredVarious
18 Sinfonia Concertante for violin and violaConcertoMozart
19 String Quartet in C Op59 No.3 "Rasoumowsky"Chamber MusicBeethoven
20 String Quartet in D minor D810 'Death and the Maiden'Chamber MusicSchubert
21 String Quartet in Eb Op 127Chamber MusicBeethoven
22 String Quartet in F major Op 18 No.1Chamber MusicBeethoven
23 String Quartet in F, Op 96 "The American".Chamber MusicDvořák
24 String Quartet in G major Op 18 No.2Chamber MusicBeethoven
25 String Quartet No. 3 in G K156Chamber MusicMozart
26 String Quartet No.1 in D Major Op.11Chamber MusicTchaikovsky
27 String Quartet No.13 in A minor Op 29 'Rosamunde'Chamber MusicSchubert
28 String Quartet No.14 in G major, K387Chamber MusicMozart
29 String Quartet No.15 in D minor K421Chamber MusicMozart
30 String Quartet No.16 in Eb K428Chamber MusicMozart
31 String Quartet No.17 in Bb K 458 "The Hunt"Chamber MusicMozart
32 String Quartet No.18 in A K464Chamber MusicMozart
33 String Quartet No.19 in C K465 "Dissonant"Chamber MusicMozart
34 String Quartet No.2 in AChamber MusicBorodin
35 String Quartet No.20 in D major K499 'Hoffmeister'.Chamber MusicMozart
36 String Quartet No.21 in D major K575Chamber MusicMozart
37 String Quartet No.22 in Bb major K589Chamber MusicMozart
38 String Quartet No.23 in F major K590Chamber MusicMozart
39 String Quartet No.8 in E minor Op 59 No 2 "Rasoumovsky"Chamber MusicBeethoven
40 String Quartet Op 1 No.1 "La Chasse" - 'The Hunt' - JagquartettChamber MusicHaydn
41 String Quartet Op 1 No.2Chamber MusicHaydn
42 String Quartet Op 1 No.3Chamber MusicHaydn
43 String Quartet Op 1 No.4Chamber MusicHaydn
44 String Quartet Op 1 No.5Chamber MusicHaydn
45 String Quartet Op 1 No.6Chamber MusicHaydn
46 String Quartet Op 2 No.1Chamber MusicHaydn
47 String Quartet Op 2 No.2Chamber MusicHaydn
48 String Quartet Op 3 No.5 "Serenade"Chamber MusicHaydn
49 String Quartet Op 9 No.1Chamber MusicHaydn
50 String Quartet Op 9 No.3Chamber MusicHaydn
51 String Quartet Op 9 No.4Chamber MusicHaydn
52 String Quartet Op 20 No.1Chamber MusicHaydn
53 String Quartet Op 20 No.2Chamber MusicHaydn
54 String Quartet Op 20 No.3Chamber MusicHaydn
55 String Quartet Op 54 No.1Chamber MusicHaydn
56 String Quartet Op 54 No.2Chamber MusicHaydn
57 String Quartet Op 54 No.3Chamber MusicHaydn
58 String Quartet Op 64 No.5 "The Lark"Chamber MusicHaydn
59 String Quartet Op 76 No.2 "Fifths"Chamber MusicHaydn
60 String Quartet Op 76 No.3 EmperorChamber MusicHaydn
61 String Quintet in C D956 Op 163Chamber MusicSchubert
62 String Quintet in E Op 13 No.5Chamber MusicBoccherini
63 Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op 67 "Fate"SymphonyBeethoven
64 The Old Woman and the PedlarChamber MusicGomersall
65 Viola Concerto, 2nd Movt - AndantinoConcertoHill
66 Ye Banks and Braes of Bonny DoonFolk SongVarious
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