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The viola is slightly larger in size than the violin with thicker strings, and therefore plays with lower pitch and a warmer tone.
The viola typically plays the inner voice in group playing, and therefore gives orchestras and ensembles their wonderful harmonies. However there is also lots of solo music written for viola, so the instrument can be versatile as a group player and as the star of the show. It is played, as for the violin, by pressing left hand fingers on the strings to change pitch, and by plucking or drawing a bow across the strings with the right hand.