The viola is similar to the violin but is slightly larger and lower in pitch, and it is the middle voice in the string section, similar to the alto in a choir. The viola rests beneath the chin and is played while sitting or standing, notes Begin Band.
The viola is hundreds of years old and it may be the oldest instrument in the string family, according to the Bloomingdale School of Music. It is utilized as a harmonic instrument, rather than melodic, by composers and has fewer solos written for it than either the violin or cello. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven all played the viola, and popular bands such as The Goo Goo Dolls, The Who and the Velvet Underground have featured the viola in their songs.