Viola Jokes: End it once and for all

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Jimin Yoon started this petition to Orchestras and

Viola jokes have been in existence since the 18th century. Many musicians criticize violists as “failed violinists” due to the viola’s underrated repertoire and role they play in orchestra. Non-musicians have never heard of a “viola” and people questioned whether or not a viola was really necessary. Because violas are situated right in the middle in terms of register, violas typically weren't given many big parts and were only considered accompaniments or fillers in orchestra. People don’t realize the prominent role violas play in the orchestra. Everyone praises the shouting clarity of the violin or the operatic voice of the cello. In between these instruments lie the poor underrated violists who are often the butt of many jokes. As a violist myself, viola jokes hinder great viola players from playing to their full potential. It also strongly discourages young musicians to take on the instrument. Violas project a very warm, rich and melancholy sound, a sound that cannot be produced by any other instrument in the orchestra, making them distinct in a good way. Because of their sound, violas are the best instrument for filling in warm harmonies and countermelodies. Violas in many symphonies provide the most beautiful harmonies and without them, the orchestra sound becomes colorless, thin, and barren. Violas are often thought of as the gooey cheese of the lasagna. They may not be the rock star of the orchestra, but you cannot have lasagna without the cheese. Violas are what provided the texture and flavor of symphonies and pieces, making them just as important as a violin, cello, or any other instrument. Many contemporary composers started to see violas as phenomenal voices to the orchestra and decided to expand upon the repertoire. Many great viola concertos and sonatas were written in the 20th century and this brought about the golden age for violists. Famous notable violists of the 20th century such as Paul Hindemith, William Primrose, and Leonard Tertis have contributed a lot to the re-contextualization of the viola repertoire. Viola repertoire continues to expand today at a dramatic pace faster than ever. Classical music stations and many top symphony orchestras are even featuring viola solos and soloists more than ever. Famous world tour violists today include Antonine Tamestit, Tabitha Zimmerman, David Aaron Carpenter, Lawrence power, and Timothy Rideout. Clearly, violas are rising from the ashes and starting to dominate the world of music. Please join me in ending viola jokes and stopping the ridiculing of these charming instruments. Viola jokes now lie in the past and not the present. World of music would be very very different in a sacrilegious way without the warm sound of the violas. 

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