Obviously certain chords are easier than others. Check fingerings, and use open strings wherever possible. Remember that a viola section will play chords divisi unless otherwise instructed.

double stop

Double stops

Two strings sounded together. If the double stop is difficult (the left hand span is awkward) a section will play this divisi (notes shared out between instruments). Will work at any dynamic.

triple stop

Triple stops

Three strings sounded together. A section will normally play a triple stop divisi (i.e. notes shared out between instruments). On a solo instrument, triple stops only work at loud dynamics, otherwise they would be arpeggiated.
About triple stops:

quadruple stop

Quadruple stops

Four strings sounded, normally as an arpeggiation or broken chord. Four-note chords are no problem to a section if played divisi, but if non divisi then great care must be taken with left hand positions.
About quadruple stops:



Arpeggiated triple or quadruple stop.

The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at] bathspa.ac.uk