I've heard from people that have played both that the viola was easier. I've never played a viola long enough to decide if it's easier than violin myself, though. Two of my friends play viola and I tried each of their violas, and they were both lighter than my violin. I don't understand it... violas are bigger, shouldn't they be heavier? Maybe my violin is just really heavy. xD
I think some people think that playing a viola is easier only because they look at viola music. Violins get all the hard parts to play and violas get the easier parts.
People think that viola parts are made easy bcause the violists cant play the harder stuff and I hate that. I kinda hate the jokes too.
I only think that viola might be easier to play if you have big hands, because the notes are farther apart.
I think the question might have hit a sore spot with Scarecrow...
While I can certainly see why you would feel the way you do (and agree that they are probably quite true), I don't think anyone here is implying any of your concerns.
I certainly don't think the viola is any easier than violin, musical parts notwhithstanding.
I have more trouble with fourth-finger placement by far on the Viola than with Son #2's violin, which feels miniature by comparison. In this regard, I find the Viola more challenging. I can't imagine what smaller hands on my 16" Viola would be like...
The way I see it, it doesn't really matter which instrument is harder. What matters is to what extent you take it. In other words, if playing the viola is easier because of the parts that are written for it, then playing the viola may be easier to achieve in an orchestra.
However, achieving difficult goals of virtuosity is just as hard on any instrument. The extent of virtuosity is greater on violin meaning that viola must be more difficult to play. <------- in my arrogant opinion .....
It's heavier, bigger stretches, slower action with the longer looser strings.....
I play both, and personally I find intonation easier to nail on the viola. However, I also find the viola a much more physically demanding instrument overall, with trickier bowing (at least for faster pieces) and a further stretch to catch the 4th-finger notes in first position. (FWIW, my hands are fairly proportional to my 5'6" height, and I play a 16" viola.)
All that having been said, and with the caveat that I won't even contemplate ditching the violin, I definitely prefer the viola's voice. That's what makes all the effort--and sitting through the occasional horrible joke--worth it IMHO.
To put this another way: I love the violin and the viola both--albeit for very different reasons--but when it's time to seek an American luthier-made instrument it'll be the viola that I make that commitment for.
As a player of the fiddle for only 11 months and a player of the viola for about 1month I would say that when it comes to intonation, the viola is easier.
Why? Well the short answer is that, on the viola, there is more room for my left fingers on the viola
Bite off more than you can chew..... Then chew like MAD
Triangles and cymbals are easy instruments to play, and you do not need to worry much about tuning them or being able to read one two or three different clefs. It also eliminates a lot of hassles over key signatures and nudging neighbours with elbows.
I wonder how much more difficult playing a (7 14 string) viola d´amore would be ?
Maybe one day I will try it, I hope so. But they are few and far between. I believe a viola d´amore is a relatively uncommon (and not mass produced ?) instrument.
My principal problem with playing a viola is playing it in tune (I think I still need to wash my ears more, and/or my hearing is getting senile.)
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