Composer: ADASKIN, MURRAY

Title: ESSAY FOR STRINGS

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello

Duration: 5'30''

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including some Difficult patterns.

Positions: Violin I part requires First to Fourth Positions for players on the lower divisi line, First to Fifth Positions for players on the upper divisi line. Violin II uses First Position only, Viola uses First to Third Positions, and Cello uses First to Fourth Positions.

Shifting Violin I has quite frequent shifting, with a few awkward shifts. No shifting is required for Violin II. Viola and Cello have some straight forward shifting.

Finger dexterity: Generally moderate speed of finger changes and moderate number of fingered string crossings. Some wide leaps. Some chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger.

Special effects: Viola and Cello have two grace notes in bar 6. Violin I, Violin II, and Viola percussive effects are produced by striking the back of the instrument with the knuckles.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, col legno, slur (two and four notes per bow). Many repeated down bows.

Tone production: Considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamlcs: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from pp to ff.

String crossings: Quite frequent string crossings, including some to non-adjacent strings.

Chords: Violin I part includes a few bowed non-divisi two-note chords and one three-note pizzicato chord. Two bowed non-divisi two-note chords for Violin II. Quite frequent Cello bowed non-divisi two-note chords (played with repeated short down bows, with a sustained up bow, and col legno).

Pizzicato: Violin I has one three-note pizzicato chord with quick changes from arco to pizzicato and back to arco. Violin II, Viola, and Cello have quite frequent changes between pizzicato and arco. Some of the changes are rapid.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left and right hands must be well co-ordinated, especially when finger patterns change and/or shifts occur simultaneously with string crossings and/or dynamic changes.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: In bars 130-38, Violin I solo must not be overbalanced by the orchestra.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed when voices move in rhythmic unison.

Fluency: String crossings must be clean and fluent.

Intonation: Special care is needed in tuning dissonant chords and parallel fifths and fourths.

Phrasing: Cut-offs on rests at the ends of phrases should be precise but not too abrupt.

Rhythm: Care is needed to keep pizzicato notes, col legno, repeated down bows, and knuckle strikes steady. Triplets and "dotted eighth-sixteenth" patterns must be precise.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A form with a short introduction and a coda. Frequent repetition and development of short melodic and rhythmic motives.

Harmony: Frequent parallel movement of voices, especially fifths, fourths, thirds, and octaves. Considerable dissonance. Frequent repetition of solid chords and tone clusters and of broken chord figures (e.g., G D A, G E B, G D B).

Melody: Conjunct and disjunct movement. Frequent stepwise motion. Some wide leaps. Short melodic motives are repeated and varied.

Rhythm: Metre is 4/4. Tempo di marcia quarter = 112. A steady rhythmic pulse is maintained throughout except for a ritard in bar 84. Voices often move in rhythmic unison (e.g., all voices together, or Violin I and II together, or Viola and Cello together). Rhythmic patterns feature whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, and sixteenth note values.

Texture: Generally thick texture. Much two-part divisi in all voices. Two solo violins in bars 45-47 and 123-25, one solo violin in bars 130-38.

Timbre: Considerable variety of timbre (e.g., various bowing styles, pizzicato, col legno, and percussive effects produced by striking the back of the instrument with the knuckles).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing control of intonation and tone production. Aids ensemble development. An interesting study in changing timbres for a technically capable and musically mature ensemble.

 

Composer: ADASKIN, MURRAY

Title: THREE TUNES FOR STRINGS

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 10'

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violin I has quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including some Difficult patterns. Violin II and Viola have a moderate number of changes of finger pattern, including some tricky patterns. Cello uses some forward and backward extensions.

Positions: Violin II and Viola use First Position only. Violin I uses First to Fourth Positions. Cello uses First to Third Positions. Bass uses Half to Fourth Positions.

Shifting: No shifting is required for Violin II and Viola. Violin I and Bass have quite frequent shifting. Cello has some shifting.

Finger dexterity: Bass has generally moderate speed of finger changes, with quite frequent fingered string crossings. The other instruments have generally moderate speed of finger changes in Movements I and II, but some rapid finger changes in Movement III. Frequent fingered string crossings and some wide leaps.

Special effects: Some grace notes, with sufficient time to prepare.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, slur (2 and 3 notes per bow), martele, portato (2 notes per bow), slurred staccato (2 notes per bow), tremolo.

Tone production: Considerable variety in bow speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from pp to ff.

String crossings: Frequent string crossings, including some to non-adjacent strings. Crossings are generally at a moderate tempo in Movements I and II. There are some rapid crossings in Movement III.

Chords: Two-note chords are to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Violin II and Viola have 2 pizz. passages at a slow tempo in Movement I, with some quick changes between arco and pizz. Cello and Bass have quite frequent changes between arco and pizz. in Movement II. Some of these changes are rapid.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left hand finger changes and bow changes must be well co-ordinated on rapid fingered passages. Special care is needed when finger pattern changes and/or shifts occur in combination with string crossings.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Melodic lines must be brought out.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed when voices move in rhythmic unison.

Fluency: Playing must be fluent in the rapid fingered passages of Movement III.

Intonation: Octaves and unisons must be well tuned. Special care is needed when chromatic alterations and dissonant chords occur.

Phrasing: Phrases must be well shaped. Rests at the ends of phrases must be observed.

Rhythm: Tempo and metre changes and accents must be carefully observed. Players must move exactly together on rhythmic unisons. Special care is needed in Movement II where the melodic line must sound free but must be precise on the tricky rhythms. Syncopations in Movements I and II must be accurate. Off-beat rhythmic accompaniments in Movement III must be precise.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Three contrasting movements, each based on a pre-existing tune. Movement I (Rankin Inlet–Eskimo Song) is in A B A form. Movement II (Meyerke, My Son–Jewish Song) consists of 3 verses plus a coda Movement III (When the Ice Worm Nests Again–Bri~ish Columbia Prospector's Song) consists of 2 verses with a short introduction to the first verse and a bridge between verses.

Harmony: Movement I is based mainly on pentatonic scales (E F# G# B C# and G A B D E). While the lower voices centre on the G A B D E pentatonic scale through most of the A section, Violin I plays C#s and G#s which create dissonant chords (e.g., major sevenths between Violin I and Violin II). In bars 34-35, all voices move in unison or octaves in a figure based on the E F# G# B C# pentatonic scale. Dissonances also occur in the B section. (In bars 38-41, Violin I repeats a figure based on the notes B C# E, under which Viola repeats G D A D and Violin II begins with Viola on G but then moves in seconds with Viola. A similar passage occurs in bars 57-61 with Violin I repeating a figure based on D E G, Viola repeating A-flat E-flat B-flat E-flat, and Violin II beginning on A-flat, then moving in seconds with Viola.) Movement II centres mainly on C-, but the tonal centre is made somewhat ambiguous by the repeated D A in Bass and the repeated open string C G D A figure in Cello (bars 1-5, 17-21, and 32-37), and the repeated E-flat B-flat G figure in Viola (bars 1-5, 18-21, and 34-37). Movement III is conventionally harmonized in C+.

Melody: Movement I uses the melody of an Eskimo song. Grace notes ornament the melody. Movement II is based on a Jewish melody. In bars 7-15, 23-31, and 39-47, there is much repetition of pitches and movement by step, and some ornamentation of the melody. Movement III is based on a British Columbia prospector's song.

Rhythm: Movement I is slow ( quarter = 50) with ritards in bars 43-44, 54-56, and 74-75. The movement opens in 2/4 metre. Quite frequent changes between 2/4 and 3/4 occur in bars 35-70. Some use of triplet eighth notes and grace notes. Frequent syncopations. Movement II is slow (Larghetto quarter = 60) with ritards in bars 16, 32 and 48. Metres change (4/4 3/4 2/4). There are some tricky rhythms, including triplets, grace notes, and syncopations. Movement III is in a lively march tempo (quarter = 112). Metre is 2/4 with one bar of 3/4 (bar 7).

Texture: Movement I features various textures. Layered effects are produced in bars 1-5, 610, 15-17, 21-26, 77-81 and 82-86 as Bass and Cello enter, then Viola, then Violin II, then Violin I. Violin I and II play alone in bars 43-51. All voices move in rhythmic unison in bars 33-35, 54-56 and 109-13. Bass and Cello usually move together. Movement II involves generally thick texture although some thinner textures do occur (e.g., in the opening bars where Viola moves over a repeated Bass pizzicato figure and a repeated Cello bowed open string figure). Violin I and II usually move in octaves on the melody. Movement III features generally thick texture. There is some 2-part divisi for Violin I, Violin II, and Viola. Violin I melody is accompanied by the other voices.

Timbre: Changes of timbre occur as bowing styles and dynamics change. There are some

contrasts between arco and pizzicato in Movements I and II.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

This composition aids rhythmic and ensemble development. It is a useful exercise in contrasting styles. It provides opportunities for analysing compositional techniques employed when basing a piece on pre-existing tunes.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 1

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 7 ' 30 ''

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENCES

Finger patterns: Quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including Easy, Medium, and Difficult patterns.

Positions: Violin I uses First to Sixth Positions. Violin II uses First and Sixth Positions. All Viola notes are playable in First Position, but some use of Third Position is recommended. Cello uses Half, First, and Second Positions. Bass uses Half, First, Second, and Second-anda-Half Positions.

Shifting: Violin I has quite frequent shifting, with some awkward shifts. Violin II has one passage which requires a shift to Sixth Position. Rests provide time to prepare for the shifts to and from Sixth Position. For Viola, no shifts are essential, but some are recommended to avoid string crossings and to simplify finger patterns. Cello has a few shifts. Bass has quite frequent shifting.

Finger dexterity: Generally moderate speed of finger changes, but with a few Violin passages requiring rapid changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Violins and Viola have some chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger, and some large leaps.

Special effects: Bass has one glissando.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, slurs, spiccato, martele, and portato (two notes per bow).

Tone production: Considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Good bow control and smooth staggered bow changes are needed on long sustained notes.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (ppp to fff). Frequent dynamic changes, some of them subtle and rapid.

String crossings: Moderate number of bowed string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings.

Chords: All chords are to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Some pizzicato notes in all instruments. There is usually ample time to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

There are some demanding techniques in two hands simultaneously (e.g., bowed string crossings combined with shifts or changing finger patterns).

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Careful tone production and sensitive listening are needed so that good balance is maintained as musical interest passes from voice to voice

Blend: Good blend is needed when voices move together rhythmically.

Fluency: A sense of musical flow should be maintained so that a choppy effect is not produced as melodic and rhythmic fragments pass from voice to voice.

Intonation: Dissonant chords and awkward intervals must be carefully tuned.

Phrasing: Breath marks should be observed to help outline phrases.

Rhythm: Changes of metre and tempo require attention. Rhythmic precision is important where voices move in rhythmic unison. Rests must be carefully counted.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Free form, with some repetition of melodic and rhythmic figures. The opening melodic figure in Violin I is repeated in bar 21 ff., transposed down a semitone, and at the original pitch in Viola in bars 156-57 and in Violin I in the final two bars. The melodic-rhythmic figure which first appears in bar 34 is repeated in bars 36,179,180, 183, and 185. A variant occurs in bar 191.

Harmony: Dissonances and chromatic alterations abound.

Melody: Buczynski uses mainly short melodic figures. There are some angular melodic constructions and large leaps.

Rhythm: Many changes of metre (6/4, 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 5/4), Tempo changes from quarter = 60 at the beginning, to quarter = 120 at bar 45, and back to quarter = 60 at bar 155. There are some tricky.

Texture. Various textures are used. There are some solo passages. There is considerable use of divisi.

Timbre: There is considerable variety in timbre as Buczynski exploits changes in dynamics and bowing styles. Use of mute and pizzicato add to the variety of tone colour.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing bowing technique. (Changing bowing styles, articulation and dynamics require good bow control.) Aids in the development of aural, rhythmic, and ensemble skills.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 2

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 5-6'

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including some Difficult patterns.

Positions: Violins I and II use First to Fourth Positions. Viola uses First to Third Positions. Cello uses Half to Fourth Positions. Bass uses Half to Sixth-and-a-Half Positions.

Shifting: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola have some straight forward shifting. Cello has quite frequent shifting. Bass has frequent shifting, with some awkward shifts.

Finger dexterity: Slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Some wide leaps. Rests provide time to prepare for these. Frequent use of long held notes, repeated notes, and short repeated figures. Violin I and Viola have some chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger. Violin II has quite frequent chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger.

Special effects: Violin II has a glissando from bar 99 to bar 100.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, spiccato, slur (two notes per bow), portato (three notes per bow), tremolo.

Tone production: Bass has a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. The other instruments have considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (ppp to fff). Frequent dynamic changes, some gradual and subtle, some rapid and extreme.

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings at a moderate tempo, mainly to adjacent strings.

Chords: Two-, three-, and four-note chords are to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Cello has some pizzicato at a moderate tempo. Bass has quite frequent changes between arco and pizzicato. Rests provide time to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Some demanding techniques in two hands simultaneously (e.g., changes of finger pattern or shifts of position combined with tricky bowings or dynamic changes).

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Each section of the orchestra must observe its own dynamic markings, so that the appropriate balance among voices can be achieved.

Blend: Voices must blend well on sustained chords.

Fluency: Eighth note figures must be fluently played as they pass from voice to voice.

Intonation: Chords must be carefully tuned. Accidentals must be observed.

Rhythm: Rests must be carefully counted. Accents and metre changes must be observed. Voices moving in rhythmic unison must be precisely together.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Moderately complex form. Short rhythmic and melodic fragments are repeated. The opening section returns at bar 155 but a minor third higher.

Harmony: Contrasts between simple major and minor chords and dissonant chords. Frequent chromatic alterations. Frequent repetition of chords produces static harmonic effects.

Melody: Many repeated pitches and short repeated melodic fragments are featured (eg., two-note figures moving by step or skipping a third). Rests provide time to prepare for leaps where these occur.

Rhythm: Frequent metre changes (2/4, 3.4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/4) with the quarter note pulse constant once a tempo has been established. Tempo is quarter = 88-92 at the beginning. It changes to quarter = 60 at bar 107. Rhythmic patterns feature whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, and sixteenth note values. Frequent use of rests in all voices. There are some tricky rhythms featuring syncopations and triplets. Voices often move in rhythmic unison.

Texture: Considerable variation in texture. Some thick chordal textures, with divisi two-, three-, and four-note chords. Frequent answering back and forth between upper and lower voices. (Viola sometimes moves in rhythmic unison with Violins, sometimes with Cello and Bass.) Some independent movement of voices.

Timbre: Contrasts between long sustained chords and short clearly articulated rhythmic figures are featured. These require changes of string timbre. Contrasts between arco and pizzicato are also featured. Dynamic changes require variations of timbre.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing bowing technique (e.g., achieving smooth staggered bow changes on long sustained notes, precise articulation on short rhythmic figures, and well controlled dynamic changes). Valuable for rhythmic training (e.g., changing metres, counting rests, moving precisely in rhythmic unison). Provides useful left hand development (e.g., changing finger patterns, shifting, chromatic alterations). Aids aural and ensemble development.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 5

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 4'20''

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins have quite frequent and quite rapid changes of finger pattern, including some use of awkward patterns involving low placement of first finger. Viola has a moderate number of changes of finger pattern. Cello has mainly Easy patterns.

Positions: Violin I uses First, Third, Fourth, and Sixth Positions. Violin II and Viola use First and Third Positions. Cello uses Half, First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Positions. Bass uses First, Second, Third, and Fourth Positions.

Shifting: Violin I has quite frequent shifting with some awkward shifts. Violin II has a few simple shifts between First and Third Positions. Viola has simple shifts between First and Third Positions, with rests providing time to prepare. Cello has quite frequent shifting with some awkward shifts. Bass shifts are frequent but not awkward.

Finger dexterity: Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Violin I has some quite rapid fingered passages, and a few wide leaps. Violin II has generally moderate speed of finger changes, but there are a few quite rapid fingered passages and a few wide leaps. The other instruments have generally moderate speed of finger changes.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: All instruments play detache and have quite extensive use of tremolo. Violins use sul tasto, sul ponticello, slur, spiccato. Viola and Cello use these bowings plus sautille. Bass uses only sul tasto.

Tone production: For Bass, bow distribution, speed, pressure and sounding point are generally quite constant. For the other instruments, there is considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Bass has a narrow dynamic range (p to mp). The other instruments have a wide dynamic range (ppp to f), some subtle and rapid dynamic changes, and frequent cresc. and dim.

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings.

Chords: Chords should be played divisi.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Special attention is needed when string crossings occur with rapid fingered passages requiring awkward and changing finger patterns.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between melodic fragments and accompanying tremolo chords.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed on tone clusters.

Fluency: Fluent playing is needed on rapid fingered passages.

Intonation: Care is needed in tuning dissonant chords and awkward intervals. Special care is needed where chromatic alterations and awkward finger patterns occur.

Rhythm: Players must be alert on metre and tempo changes. Careful counting is needed so that complex rhythms are accurate within each section of the orchestra and so that all sections fit together. Players must maintain a steady inner pulse on long tremolo notes.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Free form. The piece is built up of melodic fragments and tremolo chord clusters. Tremolo melodic fragments from the opening twenty bars recur in the concluding bars.

Harmony: The composition centres on the notes E and A. Pentatonic melodic fragments, dissonant chords and tone clusters are featured. There is considerable use of chromatic alteration and of movement in octaves and fifths.

Melody: Melodic fragments are passed from voice to voice. Pentatonic fragments have a narrow melodic range (e.g., a sixth, an octave). Some melodic fragments feature awkward leaps (e.g., major seventh, diminished fifth, augmented fifth).

Rhythm: There are many metre changes (4/4, 3/4, 2/4), and tempo changes (quarter = 54, quarter = 69-72, accel., rall., poco rit.). Considerable use of syncopation. Some complex rhythmic patterns are used.

Texture: Varieties of texture from a single voice to all voices. Some divisi passages for all instruments except Bass. Considerable independence of voices. Some pairing of voices. Melodic fragments pass from one section of the orchestra to another, often with tremolo chords as accompaniment.

Timbre: Various bowing techniques are used to produce timbre variations (eg., sul tasto, sul ponticello, tremolo, spiccato).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

All instruments have interesting rhythms and timbres. Melodic interest passes from part to part. The piece presents opportunities for technical development. Useful for developing dexterity and accuracy on finger pattern changes, and for developing bow control on dynamic changes and on various types of bowing. Provides valuable rhythmic training on complex rhythmic patterns and changes of metre and tempo. Aids ensemble development as each section of the orchestra has considerable independence yet the sections must fit together precisely and sensitively. Work on dissonant chords and awkward intervals can help develop aural skills.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 6

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 3'20''

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFTHAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including some Difficult patterns. Cello has frequent use of extensions, but finger patterns, once established, tend to be repeated a number of times.

Positions: Violin I uses First and Third Positions. Violin II, Viola and Cello use First Position only. Bass uses Half and First Positions.

Shifting: Violin I has some straight forward shifting between First and Third Positions. Bass has frequent shifts between Half and First Positions, with some shifts being rapid and to nonadjacent strings. The other instruments are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Some rapid fingered passages in all voices. Patterns are often repeated. Violin I has frequent fingered string crossings, and many diminished seventh leaps. The other instruments have quite frequent fingered string crossings. Violins have many chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger. Many Cello string crossings are to non-adjacent strings.

Special effects: Trills in bars 18, 72, and 74 follow rests which provide time to prepare (Violin I, Violin II, Viola).

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, slur (two notes per bow), spiccato, martele.

Tone production: Frequent changes of bow speed, pressure, and sounding point are required in order to achieve the dynamic contrasts. Violins have a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution. The other instruments have little variety in bow distribution.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (pp to ffff). Frequent and sudden dynamic changes.

String crossings: Violin I has frequent string crossings at a rapid tempo, all to adjacent strings. Violin II, Cello, and Bass have quite frequent string crossings at a rapid tempo, including some to non-adjacent strings. Viola has a moderate number of string crossings at a rapid tempo, all to adjacent strings.

Chords: Violin I and II two-note chords are to be played divisi.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left and right hands must be well co-ordinated on rapid passages, especially when string crossings are involved.

IV. ENSEMBLECHALLENGES

Balance: Voices must be well balanced to produce a unified musical line as interest passes from voice to voice (e.g., Bass, Cello, and Viola on the opening ostinato figure). Sustained notes in Violin I and II must not overpower the lower moving voices (e.g., in bars 3, 4, 6, 12, and 14).

Blend: Where voices move together in rhythmic unison, good blend of sound is needed.

Fluency: Rapid fingered passages must be fluently played.

Intonation: Slow practise is needed to achieve good intonation. Once the piece is taken up to tempo, there is little or no time to adjust the pitch. Chromatic alterations require special care.

Phrasing: The phrase line must not be broken as one voice takes over from another.

Rhythm: Precision is needed as rhythmic fragments pass from voice to voice. Players must observe metre changes. Special care is needed on off-beat patterns and entrances after rests.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition (short melodic and rhythmic figures are repeated and varied). Basically A B A B A form.

Harmony: Repeated and varied ostinato-type figures are built up in Bass, Cello, and Viola. Those in the "A" section are centred on Ab, while those in the "B" section centre on A. The three lower voices often move in unison or octaves, as do the two upper voices. There is considerable chromatic alteration and quite frequent dissonance.

Melody: Short melodic motives are featured. Quite angular construction. Frequent rapid leaps of sixths and sevenths.

Rhythm: Metres change frequently (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4). Tempo changes from quarter = 112 to quarter = 120 (bar 18), quarter = 100 (bar 62), and back to quarter = 112 (bar 101). Rhythmic patterns feature whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, and sixteenth note values. Frequent use of rests. Rhythmic fragments are passed from voice to voice to form patterns, and these patterns are varied. Some tricky off-beat patterns at a rapid tempo. The opening ostinato figure, built up by Bass, Cello, and Viola, recurs in bars 3-7, but beginning on different beats of the bar. Some rhythmic independence of voices, quite frequent use of rhythmic unison. (The Violins often move together rhythmically, as do the lower voices.)

Texture: Varieties of texture. Often the upper voices move as a unit, and the lower voices as a unit. Some divisi passages in Violin I and II.

Timbre: Changes of dynamics and bowing style produce changes of timbre.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

All voices have melodic and rhythmic interest. Useful for developing left hand finger dexterity and bow control on rapid passages. A valuable study in dynamic contrasts. Aids rhythmic development. Interesting for formal analysis.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 7

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 2 '45 ''

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern. Mainly Easy and Medium patterns. Cello uses some extensions.

Positions: Bass uses Half, First, and Second-and-a-Half Positions. The other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: Bass has some straightforward shifting. The other instruments need not shift.

Finger dexterity: Violin I has moderate speed of finger changes, some wide leaps, and quite frequent fingered string crossings, including many to non-adjacent strings. Slow to moderate speed of finger changes for the other instruments, with a moderate number of fingered string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings. Cello has a few wide leaps.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Slur, detache, accented detache, and staccato are used. There is some confusion in the score among slur, phrase, and triplet markings.

Tone production: Considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (pppp to f for Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello; pppp to ff for Bass). Quite frequent dynamic changes, some of them rapid and subtle.

String crossings: Violin I has quite frequent string crossings at a moderate tempo, including many crossings to non-adjacent strings. The other instruments have a moderate number of string crossings at a moderate tempo, mainly to adjacent strings.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left and right hands must be well co-ordinated on string crossings.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Moving lines must be brought out. They must not be overpowered by sustained notes in other voices.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed on sustained chords.

Fluency: Moving lines must be fluently played in all voices. String crossings must not be jerky.

Intonation: Dissonant chords must be carefully tuned. Special care is needed when Violin I and II move in parallel ninths (bars 12-28 and 40-43).

Phrasing: The momentum of the phrases should not be broken as melodic and rhythmic interest passes from one voice to another.

Rhythm: Careful counting is needed as metres change. The constant sixteenth note pulse must be maintained. Rhythmic figures featuring sixteenth and thirty-second notes must be precise.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Free form. Rhythmic and melodic motives are developed. Harmony: Atonal. Frequent occurrences of seconds (ninths) and fourths between voices. Violin I and II move in parallel ninths in bars 12-28 and 40-43. Melody: Generally angular melodic line. Many wide leaps. Frequent leaps of a fourth. Some chromatic step-wise movement. Short melodic motives are repeated and developed. Rhythm: Metres change (2/16, 3/16, 4/16, 5/16, 6/16) with constant sixteenth note pulse (sixteenth = 60). Rhythmic patterns feature quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, sixteenth, dotted sixteenth, and thirty-second note values. Some tricky patterns featuring sixteenth and thirty-second note values (e.g., bars 5-9). Frequent use of rests and long tied notes.

Texture: Varieties of texture from a single line to full texture. Moderate amount of independence of voices.

Timbre: Dynamic contrasts contribute to timbre changes.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

All voices have rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic interest. This piece aids rhythmic, aural, and ensemble development.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 8

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 3 ' 50 "

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins and Viola have quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including some Difficult patterns. Quite frequent repetition of notes and finger patterns. Cello has frequent and rapid changes of finger pattern.

Positions: Violin I uses First to Fourth Positions. Cello uses First to Fifth Positions. Bass uses Half to Fourth Positions. Violin II and Viola use First Position only.

Shifting: Violin I has some straight forward shifting. Cello has frequent shifting with some awkward shifts at a rapid tempo. Bass has quite frequent shifting, some of it at a rapid tempo. Violin II and Viola are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Violins and Viola have generally moderate speed of finger changes, with a moderate number of fingered string crossings, including some to non-adjacent strings. There are some wide leaps. Viola has frequent chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger. Cello and Bass have some rapid fingered passages and quite frequent fingered string crossings, including some to non-adjacent strings. Frequent wide leaps for Cello. Players can determine the speed of finger changes in the bracketed bars which feature free speed and order of notes.

Special effects: Bass has one sustained harmonic (bars 56-58). Rests provide time to prepare. The other instruments have occasional use of glissando.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, martele, slur.

Tone production: Violins have considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. The other instruments have a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (pppp to fff). Quite frequent dynamic changes, some of them rapid and subtle.

String crossings: Violins I and II have a moderate number of string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings, and mainly at a moderate tempo. Viola has few string crossings, all to adjacent strings, and mainly at a moderate tempo. Cello has frequent string crossings, including many to non-adjacent strings, and many at a rapid tempo. Bass has quite frequent string crossings, inclucling some to non-adjacent strings, and some at a rapid tempo.

Chords: All chords are to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Some pizzicato passages in which players perform the specified notes at their own speed and in any order. Also some isolated pizzicato notes written in conventional notation. Rests provide time to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left and right hands must be well co-ordinated on rapid fingered passages, especially where shifts and string crossings occur.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Sustained bowed notes must not overpower the free pizzicato passages in Viola and Cello, or the moving arco passages in the lower voices.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed on chords and tone clusters, and on passages where voices move in rhythmic unison.

Fluency: Rapid fingered passages must be fluently played.

Intonation: Dissonant tone clusters must be well tuned, especially where clusters are built up in semitones. Slow practice is needed on rapid fingered passages to achieve accurate finger placement. Rhythm: Changing metres require careful counting. Players must watch the conductor for cues to begin the bars following the aleatoric passages.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A somewhat free A B A form. Considerable use of repetition. Short melodic and rhythmic fragments are repeated and varied. The section which begins at bar 72 is basically a repetition of the Violin I and II line from the first section of the piece, but with changes in the Viola, Cello, and Bass lines and without the aleatoric passages. The middle section (bars 46-71) is quite free and improvisatory sounding although there is some conventional notation of pitch and rhythm.

Harmony: Some use of common chords (triads, seventh chords), but no conventional harmonic movement. Many dissonant chords and tone clusters (e.g., clusters built up in semitones). Violin I and II often move in unison and octaves. Cello and Bass often move in unison, octaves, or ninths.

Melody: Melodic movement is often angular, with disjunct motion and wide leaps. Short melodic motives are repeated and varied.

Rhythm: Metres change (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 6/4). The quarter note pulse remains constant (quarter = 144) except in the short bracketed sections where players can choose their own rhythm and can play the given pitches in any order. In those free sections, the duration is indicated in seconds, without conventional metre or rhythm. In the conventionally notated passages, whole, half, dotted half, quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, and sixteenth note values are featured. Accents and r3ests occur frequently. There are some syncopations and some tricky rhythms.

Texture: Varieties of texture from a single line to full texture. Divisi chords occur in all sections of the orchestra (two-note chords in Violins and Bass; two-, three-, and four-note chords in Cello; and two-, three-, four-, and five-note chords in Viola). Violin I and II generally move together, and the lower voices often move together. Frequently the upper and lower voices answer back and forth.

Timbre: There is considerable variety in timbre (e.g., various bowing styles, glissandi, harmonics, pizzicato, and frequent dynamic changes).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

An interesting study in contrasting timbres. Useful for developing rhythmic precision, ensemble sensitivity, and control of tone production. Provides exposure to contemporary compositional techniques and notation. Presents opportunities for players to make some of their own musical decisions.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 9

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 3 ' 30 ''

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEET HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins and Viola have quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including some difficult patterns. Cello has quite frequent use of extensions.

Positions: Bass uses Half and First Positions, plus Second Position for players on the top note of the chord in bar 38. The other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: A few straight forward Bass shifts, with rests providing time to prepare. The other instruments do not need to shift.

Finger dexterity: Violins have some rapid finger changes and a moderate number of fingered string crossings. Viola and Cello have rapid speed of finger changes on ornaments. Viola has a few fingered string crossings. Cello has quite frequent fingered string crossings and some awkward leaps. Bass has slow to moderate speed of finger changes and few fingered string crossings.

Special effects: Violin I has frequent occurrences of appoggiaturas. Violin II, Viola, and Cello have some appoggiaturas, with rests providing time to prepare.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slur, accented detache, and martele are used.

Tone production: Bass has a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. The other instruments have considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Smooth staggered bow changes are needed on long tied notes.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (pp to ff). Frequent dynamic changes, some of them subtle and rapid.

String crossings: Violins have a moderate number of string crossings, almost all to adjacent strings. Viola has a few string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Cello has quite frequent string crossings, including some to non-adjacent strings. Bass has four bowed string crossings, including two to non-adjacent strings.

Chords: Violin II, Viola, and Cello two-note chords and Bass two- and three-note chords are played divisi.

Pizzicato: Viola and Cello use some pizzicato. Bass has three isolated pizzicato notes. Rests provide time for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Changes of finger pattern and rapid finger changes must be well co-ordinated with dynamic changes and string crossings.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENCES

Balance: Solo voices (Violin I, Violin Il, Viola, Bass) in bars 47-53 must not be drowned out by long sustained notes in tutti Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Cello.

Blend: Voices playing sustained chords must blend well.

Fluency: Appoggiaturas must be fluently played, as must tricky rhythmic figures passing from voice to voice.

Intonation: Dissonant chords must be well tuned.

Phrasing: Phrases must not be broken when one voice takes over from another.

Rhythm: Each section of the orchestra must move precisely together on appoggiaturas and tricky rhythmic figures, and all sections must fit together exactly. This is particularly challenging when one voice takes over from another (e.g., bar 14).

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Based on a twelve-tone row. Rhythmic and melodic motives are elaborated.

Harmony: Atonal, dissonant.

Melody: Short melodic fragments pass from voice to voice. Some awkward leaps (e.g., major seventh). Frequent ornamentation.

Rhythm: Tempo is quarter = 60. Metres change (5/4, 4/4, 3/4, 2/4). Rhythmic patterns feature whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, and sixteenth note values. Frequent use of appoggiaturas. Many rests. Some tricky rhythms featuring triplets, quintuplets, and sextuplets.

Texture: Variety of textures from a single line to full texture. Some divisi in Violin II, Viola, Cello, and Bass. Solo Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Bass are used in bars 47-53 while tutti Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Cello sustain long tied notes. Considerable independence of parts.

Timbre: Contrasts between arco and pizzicato, and between long and short bow strokes. Dynamic changes contribute to changes of timbre.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

The main musical interest lies in fitting all the voices together as melodic and rhythmic motives pass from voice to voice. Useful for analysing compositional technique (twelve-tone row, motivic elaboration). Aids rhythmic and ensemble development.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 10

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 2'45''

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENCES

Finger patterns: Quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including some Difficult patterns.

Positions: Violin II and Viola use First Position only. The Cello part can be played in First Position throughout, but occasional use of Half and Second Positions is recommended. Violin I uses only First Position except for bars 67-68 and 89-90 where the players on the top of the divisi chords must use Second or Third Position. Bass uses up to Third-and-a-Half Position, plus some use of Fourth Position for the players on the top of some of the divisi chords.

Shifting: Violin II and Viola are not required to shift. A few straight forward Cello shifts are recommended, although no shifting is essential. For Violin I, no shifting is required for the players on the lower notes of the divisi chords. Players on the upper notes of the Violin I divisi chords must make 2 straight-forward shifts up to Second or Third Position, and one simple shift back to First Position. Rests provide time to prepare for these shifts. Quite frequent Bass shifting is required, especially for the players on the top of the divisi chords. There are some large Bass shifts.

Finger dexterity: Bass has occasional rapid fingered passages, but mainly moderate and slow speed of finger changes, and a moderate number of fingered string crossings. The other instruments have some rapid fingered passages and frequent fingered string crossings. Violins and Violas have quite frequent chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger. Some wide leaps for all instruments.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, slur (up to 4 notes per bow).

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow speed, pressure, and sounding point for Bass. The other instruments have considerable variety in bow speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (p to fff). Frequent dynamic changes. Some subtle and rapid changes.

String crossings: Moderate number of bowed string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings.

Chords: Violins have some chords which are marked divisi. Their other chords could also be divided. Viola, Cello and Bass chords should be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Violins and Cello have frequent use of pizzicato, with some rapid pizzicato passages and some very quick changes between arco and pizzicato. Viola has frequent use of pizzicato, generally at a moderate speed. A few rapid changes between arco and pizzicato for Viola, but usually rests provide enough time to prepare for changes. Bass has frequent use of pizzicato at a moderate speed. One rapid change between arco and pizzicato for Bass, but usually rests provide enough time to prepare for changes.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left and right hands must be well co-ordinated on rapid fingered passages and string crossings, whether bowed or played pizzicato.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Melodic fragments must be heard as they pass from voice to voice.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed when voices move in unison or octaves.

Fluency: Rapid pizzicato and bowed passages must be fluently played. Changes between pizzicato and arco must be made fluently.

Intonation: Dissonant chords must be carefully tuned. Special care is needed when voices move in unison or octaves. Rapid fingered passages requiring chromatic movement should be practised slowly to achieve accurate finger placement.

Phrasing: Phrases should not be broken as melodic fragments are tossed back and forth between sections of the orchestra.

Rhythm: Careful counting is needed as metres change. Pizzicato passages must not rush. The on-going quarter note pulse must be maintained throughout. There must be no hesitations when changing between pizzicato and arco. If necessary, one player per desk should finish the pizzicato passage while the other player prepares for the following arco passage, beginning it exactly in tempo.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. Short melodic and rhythmic fragments are repeated and varied.

Harmony: Some passages suggest a tonal centre (e.g., the opening section centres on F), but other passages are atonal. Quite frequent chromatic alterations and dissonances. Some static harmony (eg., repeated chords in bars 35-37, 44-46, 50-52, 69). Quite frequent unisons and octaves.

Melody: No long sustained melodic lines. Short melodic motives are repeated, varied, and passed from voice to voice.

Rhythm: Metres change (2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/4) but the quarter note pulse remains constant. Tempo is quarter = 144 with a rallentando in bar 43. Frequent accents. Some syncopation. Some rapid eighth note passages. Short rhythmic motives are repeated and varied. Voices often move in rhythmic unison (e.g., Violin I and Cello; Violin I and II; Cello and Bass; Cello and Viola; all voices move together in bars 44-47, 49, 54-55).

Texture: Varieties of texture from a single line to full texture. Some divisi chords in all sections of the orchestra. Frequent pairing of voices (e.g., Violin I and Cello; Violin I and II; Cello and Bass; Cello and Viola).

Timbre: Contrasts between pizzicato and arco are featured. Varieties of dynamics, bowing styles, and articulations also contribute to timbre variations. Claps punctuate the string sound in bars 9 and 19.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing dynamic control and skill in pizzicato playing. Aids rhythmic and ensemble development.

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 12

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 2'

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violin I and Viola have a moderate number of finger pattern changes, and Violin II has quite frequent changes. Patterns are Easy, Medium, and Difficult. Cello has some extensions.

Positions: Violin II and Viola use First Position only. Violin I uses First and Second Positions. Cello part can be played in First Position throughout, using forward and backward extensions, or Half and Second Positions can also be used. Bass uses Half, First, and Second Positions, plus Fourth Position for the players on the top line of the divisi chord in bars 97-98.

Shifting: No shifting is required for Violin II and Viola. Some straight forward shifting is required for Violin I and Bass. Some shifting may be used by Cello, although none is essential.

Finger dexterity: Slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Viola has a moderate number of fingered string crossings. The other instruments have few fingered string crossings. Violins have quite frequent chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger. The largest Violin I leap is an octave. The largest Violin II leap is a tenth. Viola and Cello have a few wide leaps. Cello has some awkward intervals. The repeated Cello Ab to Eb interval does not lie easily under the hand. Extensions or shifts are required.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Cello and Bass use tremolo, detache, and accented detache. The other instruments use these bowings plus slurs and spiccato.

Tone production: Considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Long sustained notes require smooth staggered bow changes.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (ppp to ff). Frequent dynamic changes, many of them rapid.

String Crossings: Viola has a moderate number of string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings. The other instruments have few string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings.

Chords: Two-, three-, and four-note chords should be played divisi.

Pizzicato: There are some isolated pizzicato notes. Violin I, Violin II, and Cello have some rapid changes between arco and pizzicato. Bass rests provide time to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Moving voices must not be overbalanced by voices holding long sustained tone clusters.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed when voices move in rhythmic unison.

Fluency: Ensemble sensitivity and precision are needed so that notes are tossed fluently from voice to voice.

Intonation: Dissonant tone clusters must be carefully tuned.

Rhythm: Accents and rests must be carefully observed. Entries and cut-offs must be precise. Soft notes must not slow down. Precision is needed as quarter notes are tossed back and forth between sections of the orchestra. Rhythmic unisons must be exactly together.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. Short rhythmic and melodic fragments are repeated and varied.

Harmony: Many dissonant tone clusters. Frequent use of octaves (especially between Violin I and II, but also between Cello and Bass, Cello and Viola, Viola and Violins).

Melody: Interest generally centres more on rhythm, harmony, and dynamics than on melody. The rapid movement back and forth between upper and lower voices creates a jagged melodic effect. Where a more sustained melodic line does occur, conjunct and disjunct motion are featured (e.g., chromatic movement and leaps of minor sevenths and octaves).

Rhythm: Tempo is quarter = 160. Metre is 4/4 except for one bar of 5/4 (bar 68). Accents off the beat create the effect of changing metres. Rhythmic patterns feature whole, half, dotted half, and quarter note values. Frequent use of rests and tied notes. Some syncopation. Many accents. Violin I and II usually move in rhythmic unison.

Texture: Textures vary. Upper and lower voices often answer back and forth.

Timbre: This piece features contrasts between arco and pizzicato, and between short and long bow strokes.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for rhythmic, aural, and ensemble development. A valuable study in changing dynamis.

 

Composer: FLEMING, ROBERT

Title: A LITTLE BALLAD

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 1'30''

Availability: Adaskin Project

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Quite frequent changes of finger pattern, including Easy, Medium, and Difficult patterns.

Positions: Violin I and Cello use First to Fifth Positions. All Violin II and Viola notes are playable in First Position, but some use of Violin II Second and Third Positions and Viola Third Position is recommended. Bass uses First Position only.

Shifting: Violin I and Cello have quite frequent shifting, with some awkward shifts. For Violin II and Viola, no shifts are essential, but a few shifts are recommended. No shifting is required for Bass.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings.

Special effects: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Cello have a few two-note chords involving two fingered notes.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Slurs (up to five notes per bow), and detache.

Tone production: Tone must be warm and well sustained. Bass has a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. The other instruments have considerable variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from pp to ff.

String crossiogs: Moderate number of string crossings at a moderate tempo.

Chords: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Cello have a few sustained two-note chords.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Bass has few left-right hand co-ordination challenges. The other instruments have quite frequent demanding techniques in two hands simultaneously (bow control combined with shifting and/or changes of finger pattern).

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed so that each independently moving line can be heard. Special care is needed in bars 16 and 17 so that the Viola melodic line can be heard, and in bars 18-22 so that the solo Violin is not overpowered.

Blend: Where voices move together rhythmically, they must blend well (e.g., bar 18 ff.; voices moving together in octaves from pickup to bar 23).

Fluency: Moving lines must be smoothly and fluently played. They must sound easy in spite of awkward fingerings, bowings, and rhythms.

Intonation: Because of the harmonic freedom of this piece, chromatic changes are not predictable. Players must train their ears to hear the intervals in their own part as it moves horizontally, and to hear the intervals between their part and the other parts in the ensemble.

Phrasing: Each melodic line must be well shaped. As melodic lines overlap, so do the phrases, so a seamless effect should result. Only once (bar 22) do all voices end a phrase together, except for the final bar of the picce where all voices must die away on the last note.

Rhythm: Careful counting is needed throughout. Special care is needed on tied notes. Each section of the orchestra must move precisely together, and each section must also fit together with the other sections.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A short, free form piece (one and a half minutes in duration).

Harmony: Non-traditional harmony. Considerable harmonic freedom. For the most part interest centres on the horizontal movement of voices rather than on the vertical creation of chords. Frequent chromatic alterations. Moves toward a tonal centre on E. Ends with an E+ chord.

Melody: Conjunct and disjunct movement. Some large leaps. Melodic interest passes from voice to voice with some imitation of melodic material.

Rhythm: Moderate tempo (andante). Metre is C except for bars 15 and 21 which are in 2/4. One tempo change (rall. in the final three bars). Some moderately complex rhythmic patterns using whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, triplet eighth, and sixteenth note values. Quite frequent use of ties, syncopations. Rhythmic figures pass from voice to voice.

Texture: Considerable independence of voices. Frequent changes of texture, creating a layered effect. Cello begins, then voices are added one by one (Violin II in bar 7, Violin I in bar 9, Viola in bar 14, Bass in bar 16). Texture is further thickened as divisi passages occur in various voices (bar 15 ff.). Solo violin plays in bars 18-22, accompanied by the Violin I section and the lower voices.

Timbre: Warm, sustained cantabile sound is required throughout, varied dynamically (pp to ff).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing tone production (warm, sustained cantabile sound with wide dynamic variation), and for developing ensemble skills (sensitivity to balance, blend, and tuning). Provides valuable aural training.

 

Composer: FLEMING, ROBERT

Title: SUITE FOR STRINGS

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 6'

Availability: Adaskin Project

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Frequent changes of finger pattern, including Easy, Medium, and Difficult patterns.

Positions: For Violin I, Movement I requires only First Position, except for solo Violin I which uses First to Sixth Positions. Movement II requires First to Fourth Positions, plus Fifth Position for players on the upper divisi line; Movement III requires First to Third Positions, plus Fourth Position for players on the upper divisi line. All Violin II notes are playable in First Position, but some use of Third Position is advisable in Movement III. Viola uses First Position only. For Cello, Movements I and II use First Position only; Movement III uses First, Second-and-a-Half, Fifth-and-a-Half, and Seventh Positions. Bass uses Half, First, Second and Third Positions.

Shifting: For Violin I, no shifting is required in Movement I for tutti players, but solo Violin I has some shifting. Movement II requires quite frequent shifting, and Movement III requires some shifting. For Violin II, no shifting is essential, but a few shifts between First and Third Positions are recommended in Movement III. No Viola shifting is required. For Cello, no shifting is required in Movements I and II; in Movement III, several large shifts are required. For Bass, some shifting is required in Movements I and III; quite frequent shifting is required in Movement II.

Finger dexterity: Bass has generally moderate speed of finger changes and moderate number of fingered string crossings. The other instruments use moderate to rapid speed of finger changes, with quite frequent fingered string crossings. Violin I has some chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger. Violin II and Viola have quite frequent chromatic alterations.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slur (up to 6 notes per bow), portato (2 notes per bow), martele, spiccato, and staccato (2 notes per bow).

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from pp to ff.

String crossings: Quite frequent string crossings, mainly at a moderate tempo and mainly to adjacent strings.

Chords: Two-note chords are to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Bass has some straight forward pizzicato passages in Movements II and III, with a few quick changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Movement III requires good co-ordination between left hand finger changes and bow changes, especially where finger patterns change and string crossings occur.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALL~NGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between melody and accompaniment. Special care is required in Movement I as the melody passes from voice to voice in the opening bars of section A, and in section B where the accompanying voices must not overpower solo Violin I.

Blend: Accompanying voices must blend well.

Fluency: Movements I and II require a smooth, flowing style. Movement III requires fluency on string crossings and changes of finger pattern.

Intonation: Special care is needed where chromatic altcrations and modulations occur.

Phrasing: Smooth, well shaped phrases are required in Movements I and II.

Rhythm: Changes of tempo in all movements must be observed, as must metre changes in Movement II.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Three contrasting movements, each featuring a good deal of repetition. Movement I (Siciliana) is in A B A form. Movement II (Folk Song) is in A B A C A' form. Movement III (Marching Tune) is in A B A' form.

Harmony: In Movement I, the A section centres on D+ and the B section on D-. There are some chromatic alterations and modulations. In Movement II, the A section is very tonal, featuring conventional harmonies in C-, in keeping with the folk-song character of the movement. The B and C sections feature chromatic alterations and modulations. Movement III centres on C+ and F+, with some chromatic alterations.

Melody: Melody generally moves by step or small skip.

Rhythm: Movement I is in 6/8. It begins andante. Section B is slower (meno mosso). The return of section A (bar 25) features a gradual accelerando to the original andante tempo at bar 29. There is a rallentando in the final 2 bars. Movement II is in 3/8 except for 2 bars of 2/8 (bars 65 and 70). Moderate tempo (Larghetto ma non troppo) with an animato in bar 67, a rallentando in bars 69-70, a return to the original tempo in bar 71, and a rallentando in the final bars. Movement III is in 2/4. Lively tempo (allegro con spirito) with a poco rallentando in bars 39-40 and a ritard in the final 2 bars.

Texture: Movement I features a layered effect in the opening bars of the A section. Violin I begins, imitated a bar later by Violin II, and in bar 3 by Viola. Cello and Bass enter together in bar 5 and move together through the remainder of the A section. There is some 2-part divisi in the final bars of section A. Solo Violin I plays the melody in section B, accompanied by Cello, Viola, Violin II and tutti Violin I. Movement II features varieties of texture. Section A opens with Cello alone. Bars 5-8 feature full texture. Cello plays alone again from the pick-up to bar 10. In bar 13 full texture resumes. Section B features full texture with Cello and Bass moving together. Texture of section C is thicker because of some 2-part divisi passages in Violin I and II, and several Viola 2-note chords. Texture of section A' is generally full with some 2-part divisi in Violin I, Violin II and Viola. The movement ends with 4 solo Violins sustaining the final chord over Viola, Cello and Bass. Texture of Movement III is generally thick, although some thinner textures do occur. (There is no Viola till the pick-up to bar 5. Bass does not enter till the pick-up to bar 9. Cello and Bass do not play in bars 33-39.)

Timbre: In general, timbre changes are not exploited except for those produced by changes of dynamics and articulation. Movements II and III feature some contrasts between Bass pizzicato and arco in the other voices.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

This suite is useful for developing ensemble sensitivity, bow control, and finger dexterity. It is also interesting for formal analysis.

 

Composer: HEALEY, DEREK

Title: THE RAVEN

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass. Solo Violin I is used in all movements, sometimes playing with tutti Violin I, and sometimes playing an independent line. A second solo Violin is used in Movement IV.

Duration: 10'

Availability: CMC

Level: Difficult

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Quite frequent changes of finger pattern for solo Violin(s) (Easy, Medium, and Difficult patterns). Moderate number of changes of finger pattern for Violin I (tutti), Violin II, and Viola (mainly Easy and Medium patterns). Cello has some use of extensions.

Positions: Violin I (solo and tutti) use First to Third Positions. Bass uses Half to Third Positions. The other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: Quite frequent shifting for Solo Violin(s). Violin I (tutti) has a few shifts, and Bass also has some shifts. The other instruments need not shift.

Finger dexterity: Solo and tutti Violin I and II have moderate to rapid speed of finger changes and a moderate number of fingered string crossings. The other instruments have generally slow to moderate speed of finger changes, but with some rapid changes in Movement IV and on fingered tremolo in Movement III. Moderate number of fingered string crossings.

Special effects: Solo and tutti Violin I have trills in bars 50-51 of Movement I and half string harmonics at the end of Movement II. Viola and Cello have fingered tremolo in Movement III. Solo and tutti Violins have some fingered tremolo in Movement IV.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, tremolo, slur (2, 3, and 4 notes per bow), martele, spiccato, col legno.

Tone production: Considerable variety in bow speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from pp to ff.

String crossings: Moderate number of pizz. and bowed string crossings for Solo Violin(s), mainly to adjacent strings, at moderate and rapid tempi. Cello has quite frequent pizz. string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings, and a moderate number of bowed string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Cello crossings are mainly at moderate tempi. The other instruments have a moderate number of string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings and at moderate tempi.

Chords: Non-divisi bowed and pizz. chords are used.

Pizzicato: There is some pizz. in all movements. The most challenging movement is the fourth, which requires some rapid pizz. playing, some quick changes between arco and pizz., and some pizz. notes to be played behind the bridge.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Good co-ordination is needed when rapid left hand finger changes and bow changes occur simultaneously.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance between solo Violin(s) and the other voices must be achieved. Solo line(s) must not be overpowered.

Blend: When accompanying voices move together, they must blend well (e.g., Violin I, Violin II, and Viola in Movement I).

Fluency: Rapid fingered and bowed passages in Movements I, III, and IV must be fluently played. Smooth bow changes are required in Movement II to achieve a flowing musical line.

Intonation: Care is needed in tuning dissonant chords.

Rhythm: Changes of tempo and metre must be carefully observed. The col legno and pizz. figures in Movement I must not rush. Movement IV is challenging when taken up to speed. The eighth note pulse must be steady and the dotted figures accurate.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: 4-movement suite based on a Kwakiutl Indian theme. Movement I has considerable repetition of melodic motives and ostinato accompanying figures. Movement II (Sho) has some repetition of melodic material. Movement III (Dance) is in A B A form. Movement IV (Moto Perpetuo) features repetition of melodic motives and ostinato accompaniments.

Harmony: No conventional harmonization. Some suggestion of D as a tonal centre. Considerable use of dissonance. Frequent use of ostinato figures (in Movements I and IV). Chords are often built up in fifths.

Melody: The suite is based on a West Coast Indian song, The Raven. Melody throughout features conjunct and disjunct motion with few wide leaps.

Rhythm: Movement I begins Moderato half note = 76. Accelerando in bars 52-57, ritard at the end of bar 57, a change to Largamente half note = 60 in bar 58, ritard in bars 68-69, and A Tempo in bar 70. Metre changes from cut time at the beginning, to 3/4 in bar 17, and back to cut time in bar 27. Generally straight-forward rhythmic patterns. Some use of triplets and syncopations. Movement II is generally slow. It begins with quarter = 56. There is a ritard in bar 17. Bar 18 is Piu mosso quarter = 63. Ritard in bar 30 leads to Tempo Primo in bar 31. Metre is 4/4. Movement III is fast (quarter = 120). Metre is 3/4. Frequent use of the sixteenth and dotted eighth note pattern. Movement IV begins Vivo quarter = 120. A short Lento section ( quarter = 58) begins in bar 106. Vivo returns in bar 114. Metre is 2/4, changing to 3/4 for bars 101-4, and returning to 2/4 in bar 105.

Texture: Movement I begins with a tutti Violin I, Violin II and Viola col legno introduction. Solo Violin enters with the melody in bar 7, with pizz. Cello and Bass joining the accompanying voices in bar 9. Solo Violin and tutti Violin I answer back and forth in bars 45-48. In bars 52-57, the tutti Violin I players on the top divisi line play with the solo Violin. Texture moves from thin to thick in bars 52-57 as solo Violin and tutti Violin I enter, followed by Violin II, then Viola, then Cello and Bass. Movement II features imitative effects as the solo Violin and tutti Violin I answer back and forth with melodic matsrial. The other voices provide accompaniment. Cello and Bass do not enter till bar 18. In Movement III, solo Violin and tutti Violin I play the melody in unison in the A section. Bass often rests, but otherwise the texture is generally quite thick. The B section (Trio) has a solo Violin melody accompanied by the other voices. Movement IV features ostinato figures over which 2 solo Violins move. In bars 26-66, tutti Violin I players move with the solo Violins. Texture is generally thick, with some divisi passages, but there are 2 silent bars (bars 105 and 120).

Timbre: Pizz. and various bowing styles, including col legno, are used in Movement I. Movement II features normal and sul ponticello pizz.; muted passages; smooth detache and slurred bowing; tremolo; and harmonics. In Movement III, arco and pizz. are contrasted. Movement IV features normal pizz., pizz. behind the bridge, and various bowing styles.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing aural and ensemble playing skills. (Sensitive listening is needed to achieve good balance between solo Violin(s) and the tutti lines.) A valuable study in rhythm and tone production. Pupils can analyse how the B.C. Indian song, The Raven, is used as the basis of the composition.

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