The viola is probably the least well known of the violin family instruments. At first glance, it looks like a large violin. The basic structure is very similar, but the viola is set at a lower pitch than the violin and has a distinctive rich, ‘dark’ sound, giving it a role quite different from the violin.
Violas are not usually described as full size, half size, etc., but their dimensions do vary considerably. Traditionally, the length of the back (minus the neck) is used to indicate the size of violas, ranging from 15 inches to 17 inches. Smaller violas than these are available, but are normally used by children who cannot yet manage the standard instruments. The width of the viola body is also less consistent than a violin, and some makers are now using a shorter length but a wide and deep body. This provides the large air cavity that the instrument requires, but makes the viola more manageable for players of all sizes.
Simon Dubber is a viola player and tries to stock a wide range of violas for sale. He is always happy to demonstrate to potential customers how the instruments sound. As with violins, appropriate bows, cases and accessories are available, too. A number of violas are often waiting their turn in the workshop before being offered for sale. If you can’t see what you like on the website, contact Simon Dubber; there may be the ideal instrument just waiting to be prepared!