Category Archives: Practice makes perfect

Violets and Violas

Developing a skill for a musical instrument would have been essential for any young lady hoping to succeed in securing a husband. The harp, the violin, the pianoforte or harpsichord, all would have been fair game. But one must not forget the humble viola.

I love the sound of the Viola, the rumble of the lower ‘C’, the soaring notes of the upper ‘A’, the haunting melodies the instrument is capable of producing. With the rest tight under your chin and your fingers curled around the neck, the music swells through your body with each stroke of the bow. In the five centuries since its birth, it rarely takes centre stage; instead it supports and adds depth, the sultry older sister of the ever popular violin. It is a beautiful instrument in its own right.

This is an extract from the first draft of “Practice makes perfect.” The heroine, Ellen, is giving the hero, William, a Viola lesson.

She was so close couldn’t breathe without catching her scent, delicate violets mixed with the unfamiliar warmth of rosin wax. Ellen rearranged his hand position along the fingerboard, her skin cool and dry and in such contrast to his. The ebony was now slick with his perspiration and his knuckles strained to maintain the awkward placing.

Ellen let out a sigh and her neckline fell down a fraction of an inch.

William’s hand slipped.

“You’re not even trying,” she said.

She didn’t know the half of it.