AKA the Cinderella of the Orchestra. The viola is the middle voice of the violin family and one of the more underrepresented instruments in the string family (in my opinion). For a long time it was mainly used to fill in harmonies with not many solo works written for it at all. From the 20th century onwards more music has been composed for the viola, Paul Hindemith being such a composer (as well as a violist himself).
The viola is tuned a 5th down from the violin and is bigger and more mellow sounding, it's a bit like what liquid chocolate would sound like musically. Violas are welcome additions to any sort of band; from orchestral, rock and roll, folk, reggae, jazz, experimental, to name but a few.
In my opinion, the viola is a wonderful instrument and needs to be HEARD! If you are a composer, please write something for the viola, you won't regret it!
For more information about the viola I recommend the following website: http://www.viola-in-music.com/
About my viola and I:
I'm a freelance violist and have been playing the viola since I was 15. I stopped playing in my 20's for about 7 years, then restarted in 2004 after I played my viola round a bonfire with other musicians during a T'ai Chi training weekend and could not understand why I stopped. My current viola's name is Pete named after Peter Maxwell-Davies. I originally learnt the viola from Martin Gadd. I then learnt from Nicky Busby (both in Essex) and as part of the viola section with Harry Danks when I played with a youth orchestra. I briefly learnt with Vince Parsonage in Leeds and on and off with Penny Veryard (Cambridge) since 2004, Penny runs the Quartet club of Cambridge. For the last couple of years I've been learning traditional Irish music (adapted fiddle, no e-string!) from Josie Nugent, who has moved back to Ireland so I am now occasionally learning from Hazel Fairburn. I'm very interested in improvised music and listen to lots of free music and Jazz. I've gone right back to basics and am playing lots of scales.
I am currently playing viola and singing backing vocals as part of a duo with Annette Grindsted, a singer songwriter based in Cambridge.
I have played for the Great St Mary's Orchestra, run by Adam Pounds, in Cambridge, a community based orchestra who are really good fun to make music with.
I played viola and backing vocals for TK Rose and the Bushwakkers (an eclectic mix of reggae, folk and jazz) for about a year until TK and Rose moved to Australia, the Bushwakkers miss them lots! I occasionally play folk gigs for Dave Streatfield and John Meed in CB2. I run Movement & Music workshops, which incorporate T'ai Chi based exercises and postural principles with music. Movement & Music sessions are mainly aimed at adults or children with learning difficulties and also for younger children up to the age of 10. Contact me if you are looking for a viola player to add that sonorous dimension to your band or music group. Please also contact me if you are a viola player, you obviously have impeccable taste in musical instruments and deserve congratulation.
Come and find me occasionally busking on the streets of Cambridge and Ely during the week and weekend from April 2010. All busking monies collected go towards my 6 string electro-acoustic viola fund.
- 13th Feb Acoustic Nights CB2 Anette Grindstead and John Meed
- 5th March Cambridge Folk Club Golden Hind Anette Grindstead
- 13th March 2010 Acoustic Nights CB2 Anette Grindstead
- 9th April 2010 Cambridge Folk Club Golden Hind Anette Grindstead
- April 17th 2011 The Missing Sock with Anette Grindsted
- June 4th 2010 Cambrigde Folk Club Golden Hind Anette Grindstead
- June 12th 2010 Great St Mary's Church GSMO plays Shostakovich 10
- June 27th 2011 Cambridge Folk Club
- August 6th 2010 Fordham Fest 2010 Annete Grindsted
- September 18th 2010 Annete Grindsted at CB2
- October 10th 2-5pm Ilana Kravitz is teaching Klezmer music at 3 Fletchers Terrace cost £15, all instruments and levels welcome for more information please email me.
More to come!
Acoustic Nights run by Dave Streatfield - also at CB2
Adam Pounds is a composer and conductor as well as a pretty mean guitarist.
Tommy People's website, an Irish fiddle player who makes fiddle playing a work of art. I had the pleasure and honour of attending one of his workshops and was really impressed by the guy.
Singer/songwriter John Meed - if you like grasshoppers, John's your man. He is also a courageous lifeguard if you happen to be a swallow.
Ilana is a very accomplished Klezmer and baroque fiddle player who often runs workshops in Cambridge and is usually found in London. Ilana is a very good teacher and great fun to work with too.
My Viola and I - by Lionel Tertis
Viola Jokes needed!
If there are any other viola players out there who would like to email me a joke to put on my website please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and I will put it up for you.
New viola joke:
This joke was told to me by Mat Maneri (a viola player, hurrah!) at 2011's London Jazz Festival:
A viola player drove back home exhausted after a gig. He got out of his car and went straight to bed and fell asleep. He woke up with the strange feeling that he'd forgotten something "Darn! I left my viola in the back seat of my car!" he went to his car, to find 2 viola's in the back seat.
A selection of my favorite viola jokes:
There are many jokes about viola's and viola players (probably due to jealousy from other musicians, who wish they were playing such a gorgeous instrument):
What's the difference between a violin and a viola?
- The viola burns longer.
- The viola holds more beer.
- You can tune the violin.
We all know that a viola is better than a violin because it burns longer. But why does it burn longer? It's usually still in the case.
What's the difference between a viola and a trampoline? You take your shoes off to jump on a trampoline.
Why is viola called "bratsche" in Germany? Because that's the sound it makes when you sit down on it.
How do you get a viola player to play 32 semi hemi demi semi quavers? Write out 32 crotchets and mark it "solo".
What do you do with a dead violist? Put him/her back a desk.
How do you know when there are 10 viola players standing outside your door? None of them know when to come in.
There is a conductor and a violist standing near you and you have a gun with 2 bullets in it. Who do your shoot first?
The conductor, business before pleasure!
A violist and a cellist were standing on a sinking ship together.
"Help!" cried the cellist, "I can't swim!"
"Don't worry," said the violist, "just fake it."