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If you’re attracted to both the deep, woody resonance of the cello and the lyrical range and portability of the violin, consider a viola as your musical partner. Many people think of violas as the boring accompaniment instrument to a starring violin, but while it’s true that violas are a crucial harmonizing cornerstone of orchestral and string quartet music, they’re also the solo instrument of many beautiful concerti by composers such as Telemann and Paganini, and have recently risen in popularity among neo-classical composers. Violas can also play much of the music written for both their violin and cello cousins, which are each too specialized within their respective ranges to comfortably imitate one another. On the thicker strings and broader body of a viola, violin pieces become warmer and mellower. Cello pieces played on the more compact viola become sweeter and clearer. Nearly any string composition will fill a room with haunting beauty in the hands of a violist, and the full range of new musical exploration is open to you with a viola on your shoulder. With broad viola lines available from manufacturers like Cecilio, D Z Strad, Stentor, Cremona, and more, it couldn’t be easier to find your perfect match.