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The term viola was once used to describe any bowed stringed instrument. Today, the name is used for the alto member of the violin family, situated in the middle of the string section of an orchestra and in the string quartet. This instrument is an almost exact replica of the violin, though slightly larger and its pitch a fifth lower (and one octave above the cello). The strings are tuned to C G D A and the alto clef is used except in the upper register when the treble clef is used. This is done in order to avoid leger lines. The viola, however, is not as popular as the violin or the cello and is usually not played to the same virtuosic extent.
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