From Violin to Viola

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Connie Sunday said: Jul 4, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

Aside from the music literature itself, I’m finding two books which deal specifically with changing from violin to viola: Harvey Whistler’s From Violin to Viola, and Viola for Violinists, the Conversion Kit by Dwight Pounds. If anyone could recommend some other books dealing specifically with this issue, please do.

In Whistler’s book, page 2, he has diagrams of the violin and the viola scroll, and says that the violin is strung differently than the violin, with the C string on the top left (with violin, the lower, G string, is string to the bottom left peg). I guess I could look at my new viola, but I’m curious; that’s not accurate any more, is it?? If so, it’s news to me and I’ve been stringing my violas wrong for some time.. ???

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Jennifer Visick said: Jul 4, 2013
Jennifer VisickForum Moderator
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Suzuki in the Schools, Violin
998 posts

Sometimes this is true, sometimes not; I believe the idea is that the C string, being thicker/denser, benefits from a lesser angle going over the nut and into the pegbox, as well as resonating better with a longer “after length”. However, it can be detrimental to the G, so it is not always done.

Sometimes the ridges in the nut need to be carved differently to accommodate stringing this way.

Connie Sunday said: Jul 5, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

I have a pdf of the second page of Whistler’s Violin to Viola; a Transitional Method in my dropbox at:

Listed as “Whistler.pdf”

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Joan Skoczen said: Jul 5, 2013
Joan Skoczen
Suzuki Association Member
Lansdale, PA
2 posts

I have had a lot of success with Mary Cohen’s “ViolaQuickChange.” It can also be used to introduce violists to treble clef, although it doesn’t really go into the range where treble clef is usually necessary. The examples are written in both clefs and I have students cover the familiar clef with post it notes, so they can’t cheat, but can figure it out if they are really stuck.

Laura said: Jul 7, 2013
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Palm City, FL
105 posts

The only book I could remember was mostly for note-reading and learning to read the clef. I am not sure of the author or even the exact title, but I thought it was called “viola clef for violinists” or something like that. I am posting it here because i can’t find it anymore and I would be interested if anyone knows what I am talking about. And about the way its strung, all of my years playing and teaching I have never known the viola to be strung any differently than the violin just with the C string where G used to be G instead of D etc.


Wendy said: Jul 8, 2013
Wendy Seravalle-Smith
Suzuki Association Member
Viola, Cello, Violin
Thornhill, ON
119 posts

the book is by Elizabeth Stuen-Walker and is Treble Clef for Violists

Connie Sunday said: Jul 10, 2013
Connie SundayViolin, Piano, Viola
667 posts

So far my list includes five books of this nature:

Changing or Adding Violin from Viola
—Barrett, Henry: Viola: Complete Guide for Teachers and Students
- Cohen, Mary: Quick Change! for Viola: Clef Switching for Viola Made Easy
- Pounds, Dwight: Viola for Violinists: The Conversion Kit
- Stuen-Walker, Elizabeth: Treble Clef for Violists
- Whistler, Harvey: From Violin to Viola: A Transitional Method

See: for links to books.

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