• (noun): A stringed instrument of the violin family, slightly larger than a violin, tuned a fifth lower, and having a deeper, more sonorous tone.
  • (noun): An organ stop usually of eight-foot or four-foot pitch yielding stringlike tones.
  • (noun): A plant of the genus Viola, which includes the violets and pansies, especially a variety having flowers resembling violets in size and shape and pansies in coloration.

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Wordnet definitions

  • (noun): a bowed stringed instrument slightly larger than a violin, tuned a fifth lower
  • (noun): large genus of flowering herbs of temperate regions
  • (noun): any of the numerous plants of the genus Viola

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The viola (; Italian pronunciation: [viˈɔːla]) is a string instrument that is bowed or played with varying techniques. It is slightly larger than a violin and has a lower and deeper sound. Since the 18th century it has been the middle or alto voice of the violin family, between the violin (which is tuned a perfect fifth above) and the cello (which is tuned an octave below). The strings from low to high are typically tuned to C3, G3, D4, and A4.
In the past, the viola varied in size and style as did its names. The Italians often used the term: \"viola da braccio\" meaning literally: 'of the arm'. \"Brazzo\" was another Italian word referring to the viola which the Germans adopted in the form: \"Bratsche\". The French had their own names: \"Cinquiesme\" was a small viola, \"Haute Contre\" was a large viola, and \"Taile\" meant \"Tenor\". In the modern era, the French use the term \"Alto\", a reference to its range.
The viola had enjoyed popularity in the heyday of five-part harmony up until the eighteenth century, taking three lines of the harmony and occasionally playing the melody line. Music that is written for the viola differs from that of most other instruments in that it primarily uses the alto clef. Viola music switches to the treble clef when there are substantial sections of music written in a higher register to make the notes easier to read.
The viola often plays the \"inner voices\" in string quartets and symphonic writing, and it is more likely than the first violin to play accompaniment parts. The viola occasionally plays a major, soloistic role in orchestral music. Examples include Don Quixote by Richard Strauss and Harold en Italie by Hector Berlioz. In the earlier part of the 20th century, more composers began to write for the viola, encouraged by the emergence of specialized soloists such as Lionel Tertis and William Primrose. English composers Arthur Bliss, York Bowen, Benjamin Dale, Frank Bridge, Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams all wrote substantial chamber and concert works. Many of these pieces were commissioned by, or written for Lionel Tertis. William Walton, Bohuslav Martinů, Toru Takemitsu, Tibor Serly, Alfred Schnittke, and Béla Bartók have written well-known viola concertos. Paul Hindemith wrote a substantial amount of music for viola, including the concerto Der Schwanendreher. The concerti by Paul Hindemith, Béla Bartók, and William Walton are the \"big three\" of viola repertoire.

Example Sentences

  • Where it says author=*firstname*+*lastname* put your name viola! all your books listed for you to someone looking to buy.

  • Victor Borge said that the only difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer.

  • When I woke up, I called the viola player/composer Max Savikangas and said these words to him.

  • But, truthfully, I don’t think the viola is a bluegrass instrument.

  • Well, that's how I feel about Jordi Savall, who - he's a guy, actually, who's best known for playing this antiquated, old instrument called the viola da gamba, the precursor to our modern-day cello.

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