A slightly facetious piece I've been working on over the past few days to de-stress. The first movement out of eight planned ones. As I don't play a string instrument, I would be very interested to hear any pointers.

(I aplogise for the virtual playback.)

sqc1 - Full Score.pdf

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  • Hi Nate

    Listened all the way through, always a good sign.

    Some inventiveness, serious passages and then moments of humour and lightness.

    Pleased that you have spent time on phrasing, a mystery to a lot of composers here.

    And no problem with elevating the second over the first .

    I do have concerns over the stops. Octaves OK for a concerto but not for a quartet. Recommend you break up these amongst the players. Sixths and sevenths much better. Also perfect fifths as in the the first two bars to be avoided. You have to press one finger on two strings and never quite right.

    Bar 63 the E6 "impossible" on the D string. Don't specify the string for the odd note. Sul G on the violin (or occasionally D) where you want the less brilliant but more depth of tone for a passage.

    Hope this is helpful
    Mike L
  • Hi Nate, I'm just an amateur hobbyist, so take my observations as  no more than...

    for what they are worth. I think Michael has a good insight with the aspect of phrasing;

    and that it is an important aspect to the listener. Personally, I believe that conceptual

    continuity is subliminally even more important.

    For myself, music is more than just 'sentences'(phrases) strung together.Those sentences

    make paragraphs that tell a complete story, no matter the length of the work.

    Repetition is not antithematical, and can reinforce what the listener is enjoying and

    comprehending, if there is an overall theme that it supports.                      RS

  • Thank you all for your comments.

    Dave, you're right about violin unisons, but I think it wouldn't matter too much if they're incidental and a product of voice crossing. I'll change anything too egregious if I spot them.

    I agree with your sentiments on restricting dynamics, but I don't think I've used fff in this case. I'll see if there's anything superfluous.

    Unless I've made a careless mistake, I only have trill lines where it is necessary to clarify the length of the trill.

    Mike,

    I took my cue for the octaves from Beethoven's op.131/7, but of course it's more concerto-like in that context. I'll see if it's possible to redistribute them. I'll look into the double stops.

    I specified the strings because I wanted to make it clear that I want a portamento there, having moved from the G string to the D string (or would the slur be sufficient?). You say that the note is 'impossible': what should I do in this case?

  • m63 I would be playing C4 3rd position on G string then harmonic open E followed by proper E6. You can indicate with little circle above first E. Any player would think about doing it this way.

    You can't glissando across strings BTW.
  • Incomplete portamento (not glissando) on the next string, obviously. I'm not sure if I understand you completely: you'd play open E and then port. up to to E6?
  • Nate Fain said:
    Incomplete portamento (not glissando) on the next string, obviously. I'm not sure if I understand you completely: you'd play open E and then port. up to to E6?

    No. harmonic E third position extended fourth finger not fully damped then next note damped.

    But Nate, the point is that the players know how to do this without being "micro managed".
    String Quartet in C major, 1st movement
    A slightly facetious piece I've been working on over the past few days to de-stress. The first movement out of eight planned ones. As I don't play a…
  • I believe the usual term is natural harmonics. Well then there's no portamento. Thanks anyway.

  • I did play string instruments, so I may be able to add some thoughts.

    Overall, I felt that the dynamics seemed rather flat. No dramatic contrasts or building of tension or anything like that. The Soundcloud waveform betrays that. 

    Often times, the lines in the 2nd violin may naturally want to take it above where the first violin is playing. In this case, there wouldn't be anything wrong with the two switching place, at least for a short time

    You may be finding your palette of notes a bit limited for building interesting chords. All of these instruments are capable of double stops. They can all play fifths, though the cello can only handle more limited intervals larger than that, due to the limited stretch of the normal human hand. This little article gives a pretty good overview of what you can do. https://www.quora.com/What-are-the-rules-for-writing-practical-doub... . (Bear in mind that, in all cases, you will end up with unplayable intervals if you write a double stop where the high note is lower than the second lowest string of the instrument. Also, the performer's vibrato is more limited with double-stops, especially with the viola and cello).

    That's all I could think of. Otherwise, good work.

    Oh, I did think of one more thing, not necessarily relevant to this piece. If you are writing passages with pizzes, it takes some time for the performer to move his bow back into position afterward. Also, most string performers don't get a lot of practice playing pizz passages that are too fast. It's a good thing to keep in mind.

    What are the rules for writing practical double-stops on string instruments? - Quora
  • All notes can be played as a harmonic. The primary note will be played as a hard stop with the 1st finger while the harmonic is produced with the 4th finger. 

    Nate Fain said:

    I believe the usual term is natural harmonics. Well then there's no portamento. Thanks anyway.

    String Quartet in C major, 1st movement
    A slightly facetious piece I've been working on over the past few days to de-stress. The first movement out of eight planned ones. As I don't play a…
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