Soundpost: Letters to the Editor December 2021


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

Already subscribed? Please sign in

Subscribe to continue reading…

We’re delighted that you are enjoying our website. For a limited period, you can try an online subscription to The Strad completely free of charge.

  • Free 7-day trial

    Not sure about subscribing? Sign up now to read this article in full and you’ll also receive unlimited access to premium online content, including the digital edition and online archive for 7 days.

    No strings attached – we won’t ask for your card details

  • Subscribe 

    No more paywalls. To enjoy the best in-depth features and analysis from The Strad’s latest and past issues, upgrade to a subscription now. You’ll also enjoy regular issues and special supplements* and access to an online archive of issues back to 2010.


* Issues and supplements are available as both print and digital editions. Online subscribers will only receive access to the digital versions.