The violas in my opinion carry a central function to these 4 bars. Starting at bar 5 the melody starts of with a long and boring note lasting a whole note. To keep things interesting the violas target the 1 of bar 6 with a chromatic line tying the two chords together. This is a key example of forward motion as I talked about earlier: Target 1’s rather than departing from 1’s.
So since the melody does the opposite (though in a greater scheme not) the violas create the sense of motion on a micro state by departing from 2 and ending on 1. This also nicely fill the rhythmic space left over by the melody.
Next two bars the violas do exactly the same that the horns did in the first part. They harmonize and therefore become not as forceful – even in a piano setting! This means for a lighter weight – but fuller sound.
Add to that we have two stems. This means that the 4 violists likely to play this part will only be 2 players pr. note = even lighter.
So along with the octave violins, the violas contribute to more degrees of piano than meets the eye. These keys to orchestration and the study of historic orchestration helps to understand modern orchestration techniques and gives you an overview of larger scores when practiced on these classical works.
Keep up the score study and have a look through this minuet for these things for a head start on the coming segments!
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