The physics of the viola

Faculty Advisor

Jolene Johnson



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The physics of the viola

The viola is a bowed, string instrument that is similar to the violin. However, this instrument has a slightly lower tone and is larger than the violin. All of the string instruments are very similar in structure and are created in similar ways. This poster will explore the creation of stringed instruments, specifically the viola. Violas average in length at approximately 16 inches in full size and are constantly being experimented with. The proportions of this instrument do not have a set average size, causing them to range at different proportions. The sound a viola creates is very distinct as this instrument has shorter strings and a large body, differentiating it from any other stringed instrument. The creation of this instrument is very similar to any other stringed instrument as they all need materials like spruce wood for the body and fingerboards to play the instrument. However, the violas strings make this instrument unique from the others. The viola plays strings A, C, D and G, and have specific placement in order to enable the instrument to play correctly. This poster will analyze the process in creating this unique instrument through the physics behind the music to create a proportion well tuned viola.