Viola Sheet Music

Written by Serena Berger
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Finding viola sheet music online can help a viola player find the niche in which he or she is happiest as a musician. It can be a little bit depressing as a violist to compare the huge violin repertoire with the relatively scant repertoire for solo viola, so finding music that helps you come into your own can be a challenge. Whether that ultimately means playing a viola concerto or enjoying the companionship of other string players in a quartet is up to you; but online viola sheet music can help you find your place.

Solo Viola Sheet Music

If you want to work within the tried and true classical repertoire, there are beautiful viola concerti by Telemann, Stamitz, and Bach. More modern composers such as William Turner Walton, Peter Lieberson, and Diana Burrell have also contributed to the genre, with works pushing the envelope musically. But the most famous viola concerto of all is that by composer Béla Bartók.

Bartók was commissioned to write this piece by violist William Primrose in 1944. Tragically, he died before its orchestration was complete, resulting in the classical music world equivalent of a brouhaha when three versions of the work ultimately developed and claimed to be the version truest to the composer's intent. Primrose performed one version soon after Bartók's death with the Hungranian composer Tibor Serly orchestrating the work. Scholar Csaba Erdelyi, schooled in both Bartók's work and Hungarian music in general, felt that Serly had crafted the piece to be a better showcase for Primrose without being true to Bartók's intent. He rectified this with his own version of the work. A third version was introduced in 1995 by Bartók's son Peter, along with composer Nelson Dellamaggiore. This third version is not considered to be as significant as the other two, though it is given credence by many simply because Bartók's son and executor of his estate was involved in its production.

In any case, if you are a serious student looking for viola sheet music, you should look into this concerto as one of the highlights of the viola repertoire. If you have any opportunity to play with a string ensemble, however, that is where you are likely to find the bulk of great music for viola. The quartets of Schubert, Beethoven, Barber, Bach, Mozart, and many other composers create soundscapes and worlds matched by no other combination of instruments.


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