A selection of letters The Strad receives each month from its readers around the world: December 2021 issue
I have always wondered why viola players must learn to read the alto clef to play the instrument. After many years of playing the violin, I eventually learnt to read the alto clef to play the viola in our orchestra, as there were no viola players, but I must admit that it was quite a challenge.
I would have thought that with the development of music history, the alto clef would be abolished so that more violinists would play the viola, without having to learn the alto clef. I know for a fact that most of my students would play the viola if it were written in the treble clef. Playing on the C string is not really an issue. My argument is that it is not difficult to learn the four extra notes on ledger lines below middle C as violinists already have to learn at least six ledger lines in the higher registers.
What are other string players’ thoughts on this? Would this thinking cause a major strings revolution?
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
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