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Ian D.
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December 15, 2012 - 6:48 pm
Member Since: October 10, 2012
Forum Posts: 1
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I'm twenty three, I live in Pennsylvania, I work in IT for our local community college, I spend a lot of my time outdoors (hiking, climbing, camping, canoeing, etc.), aaand I decided to take up viola a few months ago.  Viola will be my first real attempt at learning an instrument, up until recently I've never had any interest in music, my father tried and tried to teach me guitar, but I was more interested in playing outside or building computers.


 I picked the viola for several reasons.  First and foremost, I enjoy the sound over violin (especially for folk music!), and I've always enjoyed bowed instruments.  Second, I'm a fairly tall person at six and a half feet (just shy of two meters) and I have proportionally large hands, I felt very comfortable with the spread on the viola.  Third, it's very portable, more-so than a guitar or cello, which means I can take it to work and practice if it gets slow.  

I bought a used Yamaha SVV-200 ( for half price due to a slight electronics problem (poor solder joint on the headphone jack, quick fix).  Being a fairly self conscious person (and that I wanted to be able to take it to work with me), the volume of the electric viola was absolutely perfect, it's not silent, but my coworker in the adjacent cubicle can put his headphones on and not even notice I'm playing.  


The first day I had the viola in my hands I had found the violaman videos and used them to learn my first scales.  Once I actually understood what a scale was (with some help from my father), I went and asked a dear friend of mine (among many other things, a fiddler) for some help learning my first song.  Now, I really like folk music, Canadian, Irish, Norwegian, anything apparently from where it's cold... I've also recently been enjoying a few Italian folk songs.  My friend started me on "The Swallowtail Jig" which now sounds fantastic when I can get my bowing right, then she followed up with "The Killarney Boys of Pleasure" which I'm still working on.  Learning fiddle music on viola has presented some interesting challenges, but learning to transpose songs down a fifth has really helped me learn both G and C clef, apparently not a very common skill, huzzah!  Overall, I'm pleased with my decision, and have enjoyed the puzzles thus far.


I dunno if this intro is too verbose or simply TMI, but I'm excited, sue me.  Anywho, I'll probably be bugging the forum for bowing help as I have an absolutely atrocious sense of rhythm, and possibly some gear help.  

Yep, so that's me,


Barry Nelson
December 15, 2012 - 7:23 pm
Member Since: October 31, 2011
Forum Posts: 299
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Welcome aboard. I played Violin for 4 years before switching to Viola. Im a bit over 6 foot myself and the Viola is a much better fit. I had actually put a viola on lay a way to start with but all my fiddler friends talked me out of it saying there wasnt enough music for Viola. I know better now and love the Viola.

Would love to hear you play swallowtail on the electric Viola, I play that tune as well. I may put up a video soon.


We hope this site grows and were glad you found your way here !!

Bach : As the greatest expert and judge of harmony, he liked best to play the viola, with appropriate loudness and softness

December 16, 2012 - 5:17 am
Member Since: October 2, 2011
Forum Posts: 548
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Welcome to the forum Ian,

Thanks for your great introduction.

You along with many others prefer the deep dark sound of a viola which is the perfect reason for choosing the viola.

I look forward to hearing more about your new crusade and progress.

Honorary Advisor

December 16, 2012 - 3:45 pm
Member Since: October 4, 2011
Forum Posts: 355
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Welcome Ian! Glad you found us!

We like to refer to as the "Dark Side" of the family precisely because of the darker, warmer tones of the viola.


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