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The first violas are believed to have been made in the 15th century and evolved from the viola de braccio (Italian for "arm viol"). During the 18th century, the viola was used to play the part of the cello. Although not a solo instrument, the viola is an important member of a string ensemble.

The viola may look like a violin but it certainly has its' own unique tone. It is tuned a fifth lower than the violin and functions as the tenor instrument in a string ensemble. Violas didn't enjoy immediate prominence when it first emerged. But thanks to great composers such as Mozart. Strauss and Bartók, the viola has become an integral part of every string ensemble.

Learn More About Violas:

  • Profile of the Viola
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