There are four main instruments you'll find in an orchestra strings section: the violin, viola, cello and bass. There are a few noticeable differences, especially in size, but they also have a lot of recognizable features in common. Each is made of the same type of wood, resonate when a bow is drawn against the strings, and have tuning pegs along a decorative head. Whether you are looking for the perfect instrument for your student to begin or hoping to widen your understanding of the string family, these instruments deserve special attention on their own.
The Violin belongs to the soprano family.
You could consider the violin to be the baby of the string family. It is the smallest of the instruments outlined, delivers the highest pitch, and is a popular choice for young musicians hoping to pick up a new skill. The violin has a wide range of sounds it can produce, partly due to its small size, and has been a popular choice for composers looking to create more technically challenging pieces. Shop violins >>
The Viola produces a middle-range pitch.
Violas are the mature, older sibling to the violin. They are slightly larger and produce a pitch lower than a violin but higher than a cello. The rich, warm tone of the viola can be attributed to the larger body, wider strings, and the use of a low C string. When it comes to viola music, the repertoire of composed pieces lacks across many genres but there is something undeniably beautiful about this instrument. Shop Violas >>
The Cello sounds deep and expressive.
Cellos are roughly three times the size of a violin and must be played in a vertical position while sitting. They produce a low, haunting tone that sounds a lot like a human voice. They can range from alto to soprano and are often used to maintain rhythm and harmony. The cello has a long and diverse history, with many famous musicians leaving their mark with this instrument. The range of music is diverse with classical and modern pieces available. Shop Cellos >>
The Bass produces low harmonies.
Basses, otherwise known as a Double Bass or an Upright Bass, have the lowest range and are used for harmony in almost every orchestra. A bass can be played by plucking the strings or with a bow like other string instruments. It's tuned like an electric bass guitar, so the crossover possibilities are endless. Keep in mind, you'll need a stool to play it as it's over 6 feet tall!
They're all fun to play.
You're probably already leaning toward the instrument you or your child wants to learn. Trust your instincts. The instrument you're excited about is the one you'll be most successful with. Remember, it's never really too late to begin playing an instrument or too early to start.