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This is the first movement of my new string quartet of which the Allegretto in F major will be a middle movement. Just as witht the F major Allegretto I had the limitations of not expanding the range above b2 since the violinists at the school where I work can not play in the third octave.

Now a few revisions have been made so instead of the uploaded file of the original posting hear it on this link:

String quartet in d minor mvt. 1

I am always experiencing difficulty trying to write development sections, but I think I did a decent job here. What do you all think?

Also feel free to discuss the quartet in its entirety. 

The entire quartet can be found here:

String quartet in d minor

and the of the first movement and the quartet as a whole below.


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mm. 21 strikes me as odd - in mm. 17-20 we have the start of the secondary theme area (S), using BI BI, then suddenly our continuation sounds like D minor briefly and uses the primary (P) theme area's material, so it sounds like a retransition to the beginning.

this is best analyzed as sonata-allegro, but the S lacks novel material. you can do that, but I'd reduce the amount of repetition if so: the P section is already repetitive using Antecedent Consequent theme type (sentence x2 inside), the entire exposition is repeated, and typically when you have the consequent "dependent transition" (DTr) leading into S you don't repeat the entire antecedent, you repeat say, 3 bars of it and transition into new material / key (S). The closing section (CS) mm. 28-31 is nice and feels the right length. it'd be nice if there was a pause before starting the development, but that's more a program-playback issue. 

the development has some nice features, but I'm not a fan of the overt sequences. sequences are fantastic to use, but the standard d2 sequence from mm. 36-40 is too obvious for my ears. perhaps expand on it - it is far less obvious when sequenced at 4 bars instead of 2. mm. 36 was slightly surprising at first, so I was excited, but then disappointed. the chromatic bass line in mm. 40-44 is nice, but I was again disappointed in mm. 43 where I expected the climax with the apex (highest note in a melody) and diminution of motivic material (eg. straight melodic eights). 

again in mm. 44-45 we have a short d2 sequence. maybe make the Bb half note in mm. 45 Bb M7th up to A in quarters

I like the contrapuntal imitation in mm. 33 and 35. this piece could be improved by more movement in the other lines. 

you could also expand the CS during the recap - a coda would be nice. 

the orchestration is good, your students should be able to play this totally fine. consider giving the melodic line to someone other than the 1st violins, your students will appreciate that. 

lots of good things, keep it going

Thank you David for your detailed and insightful comments. I will go through them and try as best I can to value them and learn from them shortly.
It means a lot.


I don't know if I followed any of your advice in the end, David. However the movement has been revised with an expansion of the development and some changes to the middle parts of the exposition. Hopefully this is all to the better. I think it might balance out a bit more smoothly this way.


I like the energy here.  The form is clear to me, and some of the sforzando effects in the first movement were nice.  One thing that my composition teacher did point out to me in my own writing, and I think is relevant to you as well- you don't need to have everyone playing all the time.  It's not a bad thing, just something to keep in mind.  

Also, I think you could try redistributing among instruments- giving people more distinct solos at different times, for instance.  Maybe play around with texture more?  I think that would work nicely.  

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