I came across this article about the Violin Octet and thought that it would be very helpful in explaining the different type of instruments in the violin family.
I have played the violin, viola, alto violin (played like a cello)and cello. I am now working on the mandolin, the octave mandolin and the acoustic bass guitar. I do like musical instruments and even though I'm not very good at it I enjoy playing.
Arthur playing and learning from Dave at the string thing music and enjoying the Thursday night folk group where we can get together and just have some fun.
The violin octet is a family of stringed instruments developed in the 20th century primarily under the direction of the American luthier Carleen Hutchins. Each instrument is based directly on the traditional violin and shares its acoustical properties, with the goal of a richer and more homogeneous sound. Unlike the standard modern stringed instruments, the main resonance of the body of the violin octet instrument is at a pitch near the two middle open strings, giving the instruments a more balanced, clearer sound.
The instruments were proposed by composer Henry Brant in 1957 and the first octet was completed in 1967.
Currently, there are two performing groups which play and record on the instruments of the violin octet. The Hutchins Consort (based in San Diego, California) plays on Carleen Hutchin's instruments, and the Albert Consort (based in Ithaca, New York) uses a set of instruments made by Robert Spear.
The instruments of the violin octet are:
|Treble violin||G-D-A-E, tuned an octave above the violin|
|Soprano violin||C-G-D-A, tuned a fourth above the violin||About the size of a three-quarter violin|
|Mezzo violin||G-D-A-E, tuned the same as the violin||The body is an inch longer than a conventional violin but the strings are the same length|
|Alto Violin (Vertical viola)||C-G-D-A, tuned the same as the viola||Similar to a viola but larger, and is often played upright, like a cello|
|Tenor Violin||G-D-A-E, tuned an octave below a standard violin||The body is similar to a half-size cello but with thinner ribs and a longer neck|
|Baritone Violin||C-G-D-A, tuned the same as a cello||Larger than a conventional cello|
|Small Bass Violin||A-D-G-C, tuned a fourth above a double bass or G-D-A-E, tuned a fourth below a cello.1|
|Contrabass violin||E-A-D-G, tuned the same as a double bass or C-G-D-A, tuned an octave below a cello.1||Larger than a conventional double bass|
1 While the Small Bass and Contrabass violins were originally designed to be tuned in fifths, most bassists find the required extra shifting impracticable. The New Violin Family Association lists tunings for these instruments in fourths, while the Hutchins Quartet retains the original fifths tuning.