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  #1  
Old 03-14-2011, 10:54 PM
glennalper glennalper is offline
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Default Tune the Alto down to (low) A E B F#

I love the way the Instrument sounds like this. It resonates so much more than the C G D A. I originally tuned it down to low C but the strings were too loose so I just it down to what sounded best and then checked it with the tuning fork and it was a perfect A. The whole instrument resonates so beautifully. The strings sound less metalic..The body seems big enough to handle the low A easily. Playing Pizzicato also sounds amazing. I've played fretted instruments for a long time, so I can play the Alto more like a fretless-ukulele-guitar plucked, cords, sound so much fuller than when tuned to the standard C. Wondering what strings would be ideal for that though..
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Old 03-17-2011, 07:02 AM
Altoviolinist Altoviolinist is offline
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You might consider tuning down to G D A E and go with a piccolo Tenor Violin.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:16 AM
snortar snortar is offline
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If you want to try the tenor-violin tuning, you can get gut strings specifically for that tuning. The maker of gut strings I communicated with, when I gave him the specifications for the alto violin, thought it ought to be tuned that way.
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:07 PM
glennalper glennalper is offline
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Default tuning the Alto down

Thanks for your replies. The gut string tuned like a tenor sounds interesting. Could you send contact information for your string person? The problem is that when I tune down to a low G, or even an A for that matter, is deadens the sound just a little too much. I tuned it down to Bb and it sounded really nice (plus went really well with my clarinet and trumpet). It still maintained enough tension to have enough character to the tone. I just find the alto tuned to its standard C G D A as too metallic and I assume that's more because of strings than anything else. I find the alto to respond better to the bow when there is a little less tension, and I find the sound to jump out of the instrument a little more similar to a standard large viola. I wonder if there's something to be said for an instrument being slightly smaller than what we consider ideal to make the sound more punchy..there's something about the sound of a nice 16 12" viola that I have yet to get from the alto, and tuning down a little made it closer. I'm tempted by the tenor, but I haven't played one and so don't know how its strings and tension affect the way it sounds and plays, or whether I would feel the need to tune it down in order to make its sound a little smoother. Any thoughts. Thanks for your replies, Glenn
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:20 PM
jgeary jgeary is offline
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Hi Glenn,
I have gut strings for the D and A strings. (I only purchased these 2 just to start with. If I liked them I would then purchase the C and G.) I love the sound of gut in general and I play the viola da gamba as well.
To my ear the steel D and A (mostly the A) strings are generally just a little to "edgy" or sharp, or ? Thus I tried gut (with a modern bow and a baroque tenor viol bow). I had the gut strings made specifically for this alto.
I don't care for them at all.... sorry to say. I think I'm still looking to find a pleasing tone, more like the 16 1/2" viola as you mentioned, but with the fullness of the alto size. The gut strings did not accomplish this. Just my 5 cents worth.
Good luck,
Jill
San Diego
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Old 07-18-2011, 03:52 PM
Altoviolinist Altoviolinist is offline
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A little off topic but I regularly tune down the high A to G in order to play the 5th Bach suite in the original Scordatura notation. The A that comes with the standard SuperSensitive set is good for this tensionwise. It most often breaks altogether on an alto tuned up to A. It's too much fiddling around changing strings but I'd do it someday to record I think. The Gamba string I substitute for the stock A gets a little bit slack and makes bowing trickier but the Scordatura notation seems to make more sense than the regular notation because runs and chords are more recognizable. There is a kind of glitch where open string corresponds with 3rd finger on the next string down rather than 4th finger but overall it's somehow more comfortable - like playing with one string automatically transposing.
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Old 07-23-2011, 11:52 PM
snortar snortar is offline
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Probably even a little more off-topic, but talking about scordatura reminds me of that one Mozart piece (the name of which is on the tip of my brain) which is basically violin versus viola. As it was written, the viola was tuned up like a semitone high and the part written transposed to put it on more equal footing with the violin. Based on my experience with the alto, in the right hands it wouldn't have any trouble beating the stuffing out of a violin even without scordatura. Bob, any chance you can get the New Violin Family Orchestra to try it out as mezzo versus alto?
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Old 07-24-2011, 03:39 PM
Altoviolinist Altoviolinist is offline
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Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra K.364

Score and parts are here along with an arrangement for string sextet:
http://imslp.org/wiki/Sinfonia_conce...ang_Amadeus%29

Here is a blurb on a new edition with score of the sextet with score edited by Christophe Hogwood:
http://www.allthingsstrings.com/Revi...topher-Hogwood

I will be reading through the viola part for both original and arrangement asap.

Last edited by Altoviolinist; 07-24-2011 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:10 AM
snortar snortar is offline
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That's what I'm talking about!
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