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Hello everyone-

I would deeply appreciate getting help from some of you knowledgeable string players or composers for strings.  One of my students is writing a string quartet.  Her second movement relies heavily on multiple stops for all four instruments.  I don't play a string instrument, so I usually work with my expert string players on any questions of technique and playability.  Right now, all my regular string experts are unavailable! 

Can you tell me which of her multiple stops cannot be played?  I know about some of them, but I'd like to get expert input on all of them.  She could of course change the orchestration to include more instruments, but her goal is a completed string quartet, so she wants to stick with just the four players. We've already talked about a reduction of notes, but she still wants to know which stops won't work.

I'm attaching an mp3 of the movement, and also a pdf of the score.  We don't do mockups, since in my studio we are always writing for live performers. I don't need any comments on the sound itself, just which of the many multiple stops are impossible to play.  The mp3 is a Finale playback.

When you refer to a particular multiple stop, could you name the measure and the beat?

Thanks in advance!!

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Update:  In Bethany's lesson last Saturday we reviewed the salient points from all your suggestions.  We didn't have time in a 90 minute lesson to discuss the excellent video John sent, but we have that scheduled for next lesson. Bethany did a lot of thinning and revoicing based on input from you experts.  She was delighted that the thinning did not by any means take away from the richness of the chords.  In real performance it will probably add to that richness.  We deeply appreciate your help!   The next step is for her to make the remainder of the desired changes and then send the score to our favorite string experts, Orin and Colin.  Colin was one of my students for many years and his brother Orin has played on many of my studio concerts.  Colin is currently at Juilliard in violin performance and Orin is at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto, also in violin performance. They've agreed to look at Bethany's score and give the final feedback.  Next year they will be forming their own quartet in Toronto, and maybe they'll consider a run-through of Bethany's quartet!  I'll keep you posted!



Julie Harris said:

Update:  In Bethany's lesson last Saturday we reviewed the salient points from all your suggestions.  We didn't have time in a 90 minute lesson to discuss the excellent video John sent, but we have that scheduled for next lesson. Bethany did a lot of thinning and revoicing based on input from you experts.  She was delighted that the thinning did not by any means take away from the richness of the chords.  In real performance it will probably add to that richness.  We deeply appreciate your help!   The next step is for her to make the remainder of the desired changes and then send the score to our favorite string experts, Orin and Colin.  Colin was one of my students for many years and his brother Orin has played on many of my studio concerts.  Colin is currently doing post-graduate work at Juilliard in violin performance and Orin is at the Glenn Gould School in Toronto, also in post-graduate violin performance. They've agreed to look at Bethany's score and give the final feedback.  Next year they will be forming their own quartet in Toronto, and maybe they'll consider a run-through of Bethany's quartet!  I'll keep you posted!

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