How to Hold a Viola

Two Methods:Holding your Viola under your chinHolding your Viola in Rest Position

If you're thinking about learning how to play the Viola, one thing you will need to know is how to hold it. This article will show you the way to holding a Viola like a professional!

Method 1
Holding your Viola under your chin

  1. Image titled Hold a Viola Step 1
    Hold your Viola by the neck in your left hand. The neck is the long part protruding from the body with strings on it. You should hold it just under the peg box which is the part at the top where the strings connect to the pegs.
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    Hold the Viola in front of you and bring it round to your neck. Use your other hand for support if necessary. Your arm should turn so your palm and inside of your arm are facing upwards. Place your Viola under your chin, ensure the Viola is comfortably between your chin and left shoulder/collar bone.
    • Keep a firm grip around the neck of the instrument at this point to prevent dropping it.
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    Rest your chin on the chin rest. You should have a chin rest, you will find it on the either right side or in the middle of your Viola.
    • The chin rest looks like a round shaped pad.
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    Release your grip on the neck of your Viola without letting it go. The neck of your Viola should rest in the gap between your thumb and index finger, which allows your fingers to move easily and hover over the strings comfortably.
    • The string closest to your fingers should be your A string (highest pitched string).
    • The one closest to your thumb should be the C string (lowest pitched string).

Method 2
Holding your Viola in Rest Position

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    Hold your Viola in your left hand by the neck out in front of you.
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    Bring your Viola around so it is resting under your right arm. It will look as though you are holding it like a guitar or banjo, hence why the resting position is sometimes referred to as the Guitar position for this reason.
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    Ensure your lower right arm is free to move so you can hold the Viola for extra support to prevent falling. You should either hold it at the bottom of the finger board (above where your bow goes) or at the side or top of the Viola body or, if it is more comfortable, hold it by the neck.
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    Hook one of your fingers on your right hand through the gap at the bottom of the bow (near the frog and the tightening screw). Your bow will dangle from your finger and your finger should be curved around to hold the viola, thus preventing the bow from falling.
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    If your viola has the chin rest on the left side, make sure your lower jaw is on it more than your chin. You will have to tilt your head, but it is better than developing bad posture and habits.


  • You always need to have a firm grip on your viola when moving it around..

Article Info

Categories: Music Techniques