Need viola sheet music? There is much more viola music than most people expect, very often it's just a bit difficult to find it! Here are some ideas of where to look for it.
Most publishers publish viola music
as part of their catalogue, but
there are some who specialize in some way: some publish viola sheet
music transcriptions, others
publish original, unknown
others publish facsimiles.
In some cases you won't be able to
works by these publishers
in shops either online or offline, so you'll find here a link to their
Some of the links below are to pages on this website related to composers and subjects mentioned.
Here are some pages on this website that list of viola sheet
music from various publishers:
Here you'll read about some specialized viola music websites and others with rare, interesting viola music.
Publications The name says it all. It is a well established
American company, specialized in
viola sheet music,
their own transcriptions studies and repertoire works for solo viola
and viola ensembles. It's a shame it's not possible to preview the
first page of the works.
music publications This is another publisher specialized only in viola sheet music,
founded by Kenneth Martinson, viola professor at the University of
Florida. Here too, their name
says what they do: they publish "gems",
works available only as a manuscript in music libraries around the
world. It is especially interesting as they publish most of Alessandro Rolla's
viola music (those works not already published by others): duos,
sonatas and concertos (some with score and parts). Also several Stamitz and Telemann
works, plus more. You can preview the first page of each work, although
I find some of them too small to read.
Musedita A small Italian publisher specialized in ancient music. They also have a series, called Viola and labora, of viola sheet music titles that includes viola works of the 17th and 18th century: original viola studies by Bruni, Hoffmeister, some sonatas, 18th century transcriptions. Very interesting and you can preview the first page of each work. They ship to anywhere, but unfortunately some pages with ordering etc. instructions are not translated, so if you get confused there, you can find their viola sheet music also on this American online store
Anne Fuzeau is a French publisher originally specialized in facsimiles. Now they publish also
other, but they have some viola music facsimiles, either of manuscripts
or first editions, like Stamitz viola concerto as well as a very
comprehensive book on the history of the viola, for those
who can read French and a collection of viola treatises (for "alto") in four volumes. I
personally find a bit difficult to navigate their website and find
viola sheet music, even through their advanced
search. So I recommend my favourite online music store, I even found more of Fuzeau's
Amadeus Verlag is a Swiss publisher with a lot of viola sheet music.
Beautifully printed, with nice pictures on the covers, sometimes with
It's not possible to preview the works. Here too, if you prefer to deal
with only one online shop, here's where you can find Amadeus viola
Kunzelmann Verlag is another Swiss publisher with some interesting viola music not published by anyone else, Hummel Fantasia and Pout Pourri, including score and parts for Hoffmeister Viola Concerto viola. They don't sell online, their website in German is only their distributors list and their catalogue (useful anyway, check the string chamber music section, with ragtimes and other light music for quartet). After you consult their catalogue, you can buy their viola sheet music online here.
Visit the page on this website about
Alessandro Rolla, a very important composer for
the viola (as well as violin), that every viola player should at least
have heard of.
More Rolla's viola sheet music
Now, here you can find some exclusive viola sheet music, my own
for viola of some folk
tunes and a very famous classical piece. You can listen to them as well.
I decided to publish this collection of viola music because several times some people asked me where they could find the notes for the music I was playing.
So here above were for you a few folk
and songs and one very famous
classical music piece.
Why together? Well, in the past most
(as we now call them) composers knew, took inspiration and used folk
music, it was part of their work. For example, just to name a few, Bach
wrote Gigues (Jigs) and other folk dances, Mozart wrote Ländler or
German Dances (one of which must have inspired Michael Turner’s Waltz)
and Beethoven worked for over
ten years for the Scottish publisher
George Thomson of Edinburgh, arranging for piano trio collections of
folk tunes from different European countries. I think it’s good for
both classical and folk players to play different types of music.
Bach’s Choral needs no presentation. It is such a wonderful piece and on the viola it sound really gorgeous. You need to be aware that you will be playing both the orchestra and the choir part, so play it accordingly.
As to folk music, the basic structure of folk tunes is composed of two phrases, A B with repeats, that is A A B B; the songs are A B without repeats. When you’ve played this once, you can repeat the whole tune or song a few times (I suggest three times all together), adding your own variations.
In this collection you’ll see that tunes and songs are written in different ways, so as to be played by a solo viola, a viola duo or a group of violas. These are just suggestions for your performance, each of them can be played in either way, as you prefer.
In most cases, repeats are written out, with variations.
I recommend you to play them by heart, getting rid of the “dots” as soon as you can. It’s a good practice and you’ll enjoy them more. Also, being free from that piece of paper, you can focus on giving the music to your listeners and making them, too, enjoy it more, which is the most important thing.
Finally, love your listeners and they’ll love you and your viola!
"As the greatest expert and judge of harmony,
he liked best to play the viola,
with appropriate loudness and softness"
C.P.E. Bach about his father J.S. Bach