Difference Between Violin and Viola

Violin vs Viola

Violin and viola are both musical instruments belonging to the string family. Both have four strings and usually played using a bow. Since they belong to the same family, it is not easy to distinguish them from each other by simply looking at them.


The violin got its name from the Latin word which translates to an instrument with a string. Oftentimes they call it fiddle. A violin has an interesting shape; it resembles that of an hourglass. Normally, its body has a length of around 35 centimeters. Here are the violin’s strings arranged from lowest to highest: G, D, A and E.


Actually the viola, do not have much difference in terms of looks compared to the violin. Well, in terms of size there is. Viola is larger with body’s length ranging between forty to forty three centimeters. Its strings arranged from lowest to highest area: C, followed by G and D, and then A. Viola’s unique sound is caused by its strings, they are thick and long causing its low tone.

Difference between a Violin and a Viola

The violin and the viola may look alike but we can see they have differences. A viola is larger in size compared to the violin and usually bigger instruments produces lower sounds than smaller ones. Another reason for viola’s lower tone is that it has thicker as well as longer strings compared to the violin. Both instruments has strings G, D and A, but they have different fourth strings, violin has E while viola has C. These two’s body’s length differ as well, since viola is larger, it has longer body length than the violin.

Both instruments are usually played with a bow. The violin is smaller than the viola, and what we must always remember, smaller instruments produces higher tones compared to the larger ones.

In brief:

• According to size, a violin is smaller than a viola.

• A violin has shorter strings compared to a viola. Viola strings are thick and long.

• A viola has a low sound or tone; on the other hand, a violin produces a high sound.