Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: INDEX AND TWO

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

Duration: 1'20''

Availability: CMC

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins and Viola use only the 0 1 2 pattern. Cello uses only the 0 1 3 pattern.

Positions: First Position only.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Generally moderate speed and amount of finger change. Violins have some fingered string crossings, but finger pattern remains constant.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Violins and Viola use detache and slurs (up to 4 notes per bow). Cello and Bass use detache, and slurs (2 notes per bow).

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Long tied notes require smooth staggered bow changes. Violin II and Viola need strong accents in bars 54 and 57.

Dynamics: Large dynamic range (p to fff). Frequent dynamic changes, including frequent cresc. and dim. Some use of sf and some sudden dynamic changes.

String crossings: Few string crossings, all to adjacent strings.

Chords: When 2-note chords are written for Violin I and II, they are marked divisi.

Pizzicato: There are a few pizzicato notes, with time to prepare.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left hand challenges have been kept to a minimum, leaving the players free to concentrate mainly on right hand challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Moving parts must be brought out as melodic and rhythmic interest passes from voice to voice. Long tied notes must not overbalance moving parts. Dynamics must be carefully observed (e.g., during the first 3 bars, when voices enter one by one, each at a higher dynamic level than the previous voice).

Blend: Paired voices must blend well. (Cello and Bass are paired at bar 41 ff., Violin II and Viola at bar 44 ff.)

Fluency: To achieve fluency in bars 5-9, 10-15, and 74-78, Violin I must move smoothly from string to string.

Intonation: There are some dissonances which must be carefully tuned (e.g., in bar 9, where Bass F-sharp sounds with Violin I G-sharp; and in bar 44, where Violin II C-sharp follows Viola C-natural). The constancy of finger pattern should aid intonation once the players' ears become accustomed to the dissonances.

Phrasing: Irregular phrase lengths. Players must feel phrasing in the ensemble as a whole as phrases move from voice to voice, each voice playing only one or two bars before rests occur.

Rhythm: Metre changes require attention. One-bar rest at bar 40 gives time to prepare for the change to 3/4 metre. Players must count rests carefully and enter and cut off precisely. Articulation markings must be observed to aid rhythmic precision.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. The opening 10 bars are repeated at the end. The opening chord, progressively built up, recurs in bars 17-19 and 21-23. The same chord also recurs in bars 25 and 27. The ascending melody in Violin I recurs in retrograde form, bars 11-15. There is a contrasting Waltz section (bars 40-68). The first half of this section reappears in the second half of the section but with the order of the bars reversed. (Bars 55 and 56 are identical, bars 54 and 57 are identical, and so on.)

Harmony: Atonal, with notes limited to those playable using a single finger pattern on each instrument. Dissonant chords (e.g., the opening chord is built up of the following notes: F-sharp B G B F-sharp). The whole first section is based on the opening chord.

Melody: Violin I ascending melody (bars 5-9 and 74-78) is based on the interval of a whole tone followed by the leap of a perfect fourth, repeated as it moves from G to D to A to E string. The same melody occurs in bars 11-15 in retrograde order. In general, Buczynski uses melodic fragments rather than fully developed melodies. The shapes of the fragments are determined by the finger pattern limitations established by Buczynski.

Rhythm: Simple rhythmic patterns. Frequent long tied notes. Metres change (2/4, 6/4, 4/4, 3/4), but the quarter note pulse remains constant (quarter = 144). Where tempo slows (bars 29-39) there are no metre changes.

Texture: Considerable variety of texture. Gradual thickening of texture in the first 3 bars as voices enter one by one, ascending from Bass through Cello, Viola, and Violin II to Violin I. Frequent use of sustained notes or sustained tone clusters, over or under which one or more voices move. Frequent use of rests helps produce a generally thin texture. Pairing of voices in Waltz section. (Cello and Bass move together, and Viola and Violin II move together, the 2 pairs answering back and forth with one- or two-bar contrasting figures.)

Timbre: There is considerable variety of timbre (e.g., percussive pizzicato effects, long sustained arco notes, legato slurs, percussive arco accents). Varying dynamics add colour. Contrasts between low and middle ranges of the string orchestra are exploited. (Bass and Cello are paired, Viola and Violin II are paired.)

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Opening and closing sections have most interest in Violin I. Waltz section has more interest in the other voices. This piece can serve as an introduction to contemporary sounds (dissonances, varieties of timbre). Although technically easy, it is formally interesting and will repay careful study and analysis. Valuable for developing bow control (long sustained notes, dynamic changes, varieties of articulation). Useful for aural and ensemble training. Textures are often quite thin, so players have opportunities to hear themselves and their section. There is considerable independence of voices, so players must listen to each other, following as interest passes from voice to voice. Players must not only count rests but also feel the ongoing rhythmic pulse in the ensemble as a whole.

 

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: INTRODUCTION OF FINGER THREE

Instrumentation: Violin I A and B, Violin II A and B, Viola A and B, Cello A and B, Bass

Duration: I'45 ''

Availability: CMC

Level: Easy

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Basic finger patterns with very few changes of pattern.

Positions: Bass uses First and Second Positions. The other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: Bass has two simple shifts from First to Second Position and back to First Position. The other instruments are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing Bass uses detache and two-note slurs. The other instruments use detache and slurs of up to seven 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 f.

String crossings: Cello and Bass have frequent bowed string crossings.

Pizzicato: Orchestra A plays mainly pizzicato at a moderate tempo. There are some quick changes between pizzicato and arco.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENCES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Proper balance between the two orchestras is important. The second orchestra must not overpower the first orchestra which plays mainly pizzicato.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed within each orchestra and also between orchestras, especially when a section of Orchestra A moves with a section of Orchestra B. Viola A and B must blend as they move together on the melodic line in bars 25-29.

Intonation: Each section of each orchestra must be secure within itself in order not to be disoriented by the dissonances as sections sound together.

Rhythm: Each orchestra must move together rhythmically since there is a good deal of rhythmic unison within Orchestra A and within Orchestra B. The two orchestras must also be rhythmically co-ordinated with one another. The Bass section must be confident and rhythmically precise since it has the most rhythmic independence and the most challenging rhythms.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Free form. Considerable use of repetition (e.g., repeated perfect fourth intervals and scale motives within the range of a perfect fourth).

Harmony: Perfect fifths are piled on one another, with dissonances resulting. There is a great deal of parallel motion as voices move together in fifths.

Melody: Limited melodic interest. Buczynski uses melodic fragments rather than fully developed Iyrical melodies. Interval of a perfect fourth is frequently used. There is much conjunct motion, usually within the range of a perfect fourth.

Rhythm: Generally simple rhythmic patterns using whole, half, quarter, and eighth note values. There are a few Bass syncopations and triplets. There is considerable use of rhythmic unison within each orchestra. Metre is 4/4 with a one-bar change to 6/4 at bar 15 and at bar 35. There are no tempo indications in the score. A moderate tempo seems appropriate.

Texture: Generally thick texture. Two orchestras. (Orchestra A contains Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello; Orchestra B contains Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass.) Some soli passages (e.g., Viola A and B, bar 25 ff.; Bass, bars 3-7; Violin II A, bars 36-39).

Timbre: Pizzicato in Orchestra A contrasts with sustained bowing in Orchestra B.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful exposure to contemporary sounds. Technically easy but musically challenging.

 

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LAST AND NOT LEAST FINGER FOUR

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

Duration: 1'25 ''

Availability: CMC

Level: Easy

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFTHAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Basic finger patterns with few changes of pattern. Positions: First Position only.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Generally slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Some fairly rapid finger changes are required on running eighth note passages in Violins, Viola, and Cello, but finger patterns do not change, movement is mainly by step, and there are no fingered string crossings on those passages. Generally there are few fingered string crossings in this piece, and there are no large fingered leaps.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, slur.

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Dynamic extremes and accented and sf notes require good control of tone production.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (pp to fff). Moderate number of dynamic changes.

String crossings: Moderate number of bowed string crossings.

Pizzicato: Isolated pizzicato notes, with rests providing time for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Bow and finger changes must be well co-ordinated on running eighth note passages.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Melody and accompaniment must be well balanced as melodic interest passes from voice to voice.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed when voices move together (e.g., bar 57 to the end where Violin I, Viola, and Cello play divisi chords; bar 40 ff. where two, then three, then four voices move together on running eighth notes).

Fluency: Running eighth note passages must be fluently played.

Intonation: Each section of the orchestra must be secure in intonation so that the players are not confused in polytonal passages.

Rhythm: All sections must be rhythmically secure and confident. They must enter and cut off precisely together on one- and two-note punctuating figures. Rests must be carefully counted and running eighth notes must be steady. Metre changes require concentration.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. The whole piece is based on the opening five-note ascending scale motive.

Harmony: Harmonies tend to be created by the simultaneous sounding of voices moving linearly. Where chords do occur, they are built up with open fifths stacked on one another (e.g., C G, A E, and E B). Interesting polytonal effects are produced. Cello enters at bar 37 with the running eighth note scale figure in C+. Violin I is added at bar 40 in E+, Violin II in D+ at bar 43, and Viola in G+ at bar 49. Dissonant sounds result from the polytonal movement of voices (eg., Violin I and II moving in parallel ninths, bars 43-51).

Melody: The piece is built up of melodic fragments rather than fully developed Iyrical melodies. Mainly conjunct motion. No large leaps. The melodic material is derived from the opening ascending five-note scale figure.

Rhythm: Frequent metre changes (2/4, 3/4, 4/4) with quarter note pulse constant (quarter= 132). Running eighth notes, long sustained notes, and short punctuating notes are featured.

Texture: Varying textures, from a single voice to all voices. Often thinly scored. Some divisi two-note chords. Considerable independence of voices.

Timbre: Short accented bowed notes and pizzicato notes contrast with the sound of long held notes and detache running eighth notes.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for rhythmic and ensemble development. Provides valuable training in changing metres, in accurate counting of rests, and in entering and releasing precisely. The polytonal sections provide useful ear training opportunities, and the piece as a whole can further the development of musical understanding if students are given the opportunity to analyse how the piece is built up from the opening five-note ascending scale motive.

 

 

Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: THE OPEN STRING

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

Duration: 1'30 ''

Availability: CMC

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

1. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Only open strings are used.

Shifting: No shifting, since only open strings are used.

Finger dexterity: No use of left hand fingers.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Only detache and two-note slurs are used.

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Long tied notes and dynamic changes require good bow control.

Dynamics: Violin I has few dynamic changes, with a range from p to f. Violin II and Viola have a moderate number of dynamic changes, with a range from pp to f. Cello has few dynamic changes, with a range from pp to f. The only two Bass dynamic markings are pp and crescendo.

String crossings: Quite frequent crossings, mainly to adjacent strings.

Chords: Violin II, Viola, and Cello chords are to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Rests provide timc to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato. The final Viola two-note chord is pizzicato. The repeated Cello divisi three-note chords beginning in bar 38 are pizzicato. A repeated Bass three-note pizzicato figure begins in bar 35.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

None. Players can focus their attention on right hand challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Sensitive listening and good bow control are needed to achieve proper balance among the voices as textures change and interest passes from voice to voice.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed in divisi passages.

Fluency: Smooth string crossings are needed in order to produce a fluent performance.

Intonation: No problems because only open strings are used.

Rhythm: Players must be alert for tempo changes. Careful counting of rests and long tied notes is essential, especially since voices are generally independent rhythmically.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition (e.g., opening Violin II motive is repeated in Violin I in bars 12-16 and bars 30-33; Cello three-note chords are repeated in bars 12-50; Bass three-note ascending motive is repeated in bars 21-33). Use of retrograde motion provides unity and variety (e.g., opening Violin II motive appears in retrograde form in Violin I, bars 45-50; Bass ascending motive occurs in retrograde form, bars 35-41).

Harmony: Tone clusters are formed as voices build on one another, playing various open strings. Repeated Cello chords produce a static harmonic effect.

Melody: There is little melodic interest since only open strings are used. Perfect fifth leaps are prominent.

Rhythm: Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring whole, half, and quarter note values. Metre is 4/4. Although there is no tempo indication at the beginning, bar 11 is marked "getting faster," and in bar 12 a "faster, more brisk" tempo is indicated. The reverse occurs at bar 49 ("getting slower") and bar 51 (Tempo 1). There is frequent use of rests, and considerable rhythmic independence of voices.

Texture: Many variations in texture and much independence of voices. Frequent rests produce a generally thin texture, although the use of divisi in Violin II, Viola, and Cello thickens the texture. Only in the final bar do all five voices sound together.

Timbre: Contrasts between arco and pizzicato are featured. Dynamic changes add colour.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

This piece is useful for developing bow control, rhythmic independence, and ensemble precision. It provides a technically simple introduction to contemporary sounds.

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "THE BOUNCING BOW"

Instrumentation: Violin A, B, and C, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 1'10 ''

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Basic finger patterns with few changes of pattern.

Positions: First Position only, unless Viola uses Third Position in bars 18-29.

Shifting: No shifting is required unless Viola shifts to Third Position for bars 18-29. Rests provide time for Viola to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. No fingered string crossings. No chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Violin A plays spiccato. The other instruments play detache and accented detache.

Tone production: Bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point are generally constant.

Dynamics: Few dynamic changes. Violin A range is from mf to ff. Other instruments range from mp to ff.

String crossings: Violin A has few string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Violins B and C have no bowed string crossings. If Viola uses First Position in bars 18-29, repeated bowed string crossings between G and C strings are required for the repeated B A G F-sharp pattern. String crossings can be avoided if Third Position is used. Cello has only one string Crossing, to an adjacent string. Bass has repeated bowed string crossings between G and D strings at a moderate tempo in bars 16-31.

Pizzicato: Some pizzicato at a moderate tempo. Cello and Bass have one quick change from pizzicato to arco.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Violin A spiccato eighth notes must not be overpowered by the detache quarter notes played by all the other instruments.

Blend: Voices moving in rhythmic unison must blend well.

Fluency: Violin A eighth note passagcs must be fluently played.

Rhythm: Voices moving in rhythmic unison must move exactly together. Violin A spiccato eighth notes must be steady.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A form. Considerable use of repetition. (Ostinato patterns and melodic figures are repeated.)

Harmony: G+. The Violin A melody moves over ostinato patterns (e.g., G F-sharp E D figure in Cello and Bass, C E G and D F-sharp A chords in Viola, Violin C, and Violin B).

Melody: The Violin A melody generally moves by step or stays on the same pitch. There are no large leaps. Scalewise movement is also evident in the G F-sharp E D ostinato played by Cello and Bass.

Rhythm: Metre is 2/2. Tempo is half note = 102. Elementary rhythmic patterns using only quarter and eighth note values. Violin A has an independent rhythmic line featuring mainly eighth note movement. The other voices move mainly in rhythmic unison. In the B section, all the accompanying voices play a repeated quarter note pattern.

Texture: Violin B, Violin C, Viola, Cello, and Bass provide ostinato patterns over which Violin A moves. The accompanying instruments play a four-bar introduction before Violin A enters in bar 5. This four-bar figure recurs in bars 33-36 when the A section returns. There is more variation in texture in the B section. (Cello and Bass introduce a four-note descending scale ostinato in bars 16 and 17. Viola enters in bar 18, Violin B and C in bar 20, and Violin A in bar 22. Texture is thinner in bars 30-32 as Violin A plays alone except for two ff notes in Cello and Bass.)

Timbre: This piece features contrast between arco and pizzicato, and between on-the-string and off-the-string bowing.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for ensemble development, although ostinato patterns in the accompanying voices may be somewhat boring to students. Provides opportunities to develop bow control.

 

 

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "DIRGE"

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Instrumentation: Violin A, B, and C, Viola, Cello A and B, Bass Duration: 1'30''

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFTHAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins, Viola and Cello B use only Easy patterns. For the Cello A repeated A to B-flat pattern, a backward extension or Half Position can be used.

Positions: Cello A uses Half and First Positions. (If backward extensions are used for B-flats, then only First Position will be used.) The other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: If Half Position is used for B-flats in Cello A, then one simple shift from Half Position to First Position will be required. The other instruments are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Violin A has slow to moderate speed of finger changes with few fingered string crossings. The other instruments have slow speed of finger changes, with many repeated notes and no fingered string crossings. There are no chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing All instruments play detache and accented detache. Violin A also plays two-note slurs and Viola, Cellos, and Bass also play portato (two and three 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 p to ff.

String crossings: Violin A has a moderate number of string crossings to adjacent strings. Violin B has only one string crossing from D string to A string. Cello A has only two string crossings to adjacent strings. The other instruments have no string crossings.

III. LEFT-RICHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Accompanying voices must not overpower Violin A melody.

Blend: Accompanying voices which move in rhythmic unison must blend well.

Fluency: Violin A scale passages must be fluently played.

Intonation: Perfect fifths and major seconds must be well tuned.

Rhythm: Movement in rhythmic unison in the accompanying voices must be precise. Special care is needed on syncopated patterns.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A' form.

Harmony: Violin A melody is in D+. The repeated accompanying chords, built up in fifths (e.g., A E B; B-flat F C; B-flat F C G), produce a drone effect. The repeated major seconds which occur between Violin B and C (e.g., D E; G A) produce an effect of driving dissonance.

Melody: Violin A melody moves mainly by step. The largest leap is a minor seventh.

Rhythm: 6/8 metre. Tempo is dotted quarter = 63. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, and eighth note values. There is moderate use of syncopation. Lower voices move mainly in repeated dotted quarter notes. Violins have faster rhythmic motion.

Texture: There are many changes of texture. Violin A plays the melody unaccompanied in bars 1-4. Violin A melody is accompanied by Viola, Cellos, and Bass in bars 7-10,17-22, and 37-40. Violin B and C, Viola, Cellos, and Bass play rhythmic figures without the Violin A melody in bars 11-12 and 41-45. Full texture is used in bars 23-31.

Timbre: Dynamic changes and accents are used to provide some variations in timbre.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Skilful use of simple musical materials. Melodic interest is in Violin A, but other voices have rhythmic interest. Useful for rhythmic and ensemble development. An interesting study in changing textures.

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "HEAVY WALKER"

Instrumentation: Violin A, B, and C, Viola, Cello A and B, Bass

Duration: 1'10 "

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violin A uses only two finger patterns (Easy and Medium patterns). The other instruments have Easy patterns with no changes of pattern.

Positions: Bass uses Half or First Position. Other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: No fingered string crossings. No chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger. Moderate speed of finger changes for Violin A. Slow speed of finger changes for the other instruments.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Martele and detache. Violin A also uses two-note slurs.

Tone production: All instruments must change between the lower and upper half of the bow (e.g., du talon in bars 1-4, 35-38, and 48-49; a punta d'arco in bar 5 ff. and bar 39 ff.). Violin A has a moderate amount of variety in bow speed, pressure, and sounding point. For the other instruments, bow speed is generally quite constant since only quarter and eighth note values are used. Some changes in pressure and sounding point are required to produce dynamic changes.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from f to p.

String crossings: Violins A and B have a few string crossings, all to adjacent strings. The other instruments have no string crossings.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: The accompanying voices must not overbalance the Violin A melody.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed among the accompanying voices (Violin B and C, Viola, Cellos, and Bass) which move in rhythmic unison.

Fluency: Violin A eighth note passages must be fluently played.

Rhythm: Rests must be carefully counted. Accompanying voices moving in rhythmic unison must be precisely together. Violin A must be rhythmically secure to maintain independence from the accompanying voices.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A' form.

Harmony: The A and A' sections feature accompanying chords built up with perfect fifths in Bass, Cellos, and Viola (D A moving to E B) and in Violins C and B (E B moving to D A). In bar 24, the accompaniment changes to chords built up with fourths in Bass, Cellos, and Viola (E A moving to F B) and in Violins C and B (D G moving to E A). The Violin A melody centres on A and E.

Melody: Violin A plays the melody which moves mainly by step. There are no large leaps.

Rhythm: Metre is 4/4, with a quarter = 108. All voices but Violin A move in rhythmic unison. The accompanying voices play only quarter and eighth notes, interspersed with quarter and half rests. Violin A has more rhythmic variety, but only elementary rhythmic patterns are featured, using whole, half, dotted half, quarter, and eighth note values. Violin A and the other voices often answer back and forth. There is frequent use of syncopation.

Texture: Violin A plays the melody while the other voices provide a rhythmic accompaniment. Texture is generally thick although there are a few changes of texture. Violin A plays alone in bar 23. Violin A does not play in bars 5-8 and 39-42.

Timbre: Some timbre variations are produced by changes of bowing style, dynamics, and the part of the bow used (at the frog or at the tip).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Melodic interest is in Violin A. The other parts tend to be somewhat monotonous, but the piece does aid rhythmic and ensemble development. A useful study in tone production.

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "LYRIC PIECE"

Instrumentation: Violin A, B, and C, Viola, Cello A and B, Bass

Duration: 1'45"

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Simple patterns. No changes of pattern. Each instrument uses only one pattern.

Positions: Bass uses Half or First Position. The other instruments use only First Position.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Slow speed of finger changes. Violin A has one fingered string crossing. The other instruments have none.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Bass uses only detache. The other instruments use detache and two-note slurs.

Tone production: No great changes in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Generally only two bow speeds are required–two or four beats per bow. Good bow control is needed on four-beat bow strokes. Bow changes must be smooth.

Dynamics: Narrow dynamic range (mp to mf), with some use of cresc. and dim.

String crossings: There are very few string crossings.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Violin A must not be overbalanced by other voices. Repeated half notes in the lower voices must not be too heavy. Blend: Voices moving in rhythmic unison must blend well.

Fluency: Bow changes must be smooth in order to produce the required flowing, Iyrical style.

Intonation: Perfect fourths and fifths must be well tuned. Phrasing: Special care is needed in shaping phrases so repeated figures do not bog down and become boring.

Rhythm: Voices must move exactly together on tied quarter note figures. Ritards must be carefully observed.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Form is A B A.

Harmony: D+. Frequent use of open fifths.

Melody: Melody moves mainly by step. No large leaps. Short melodic fragments are repeated.

Rhythm: Metre is 4/4, with a quarter = 69. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring whole, half, and quarter notes. There are ritards in bars 15-16 and 26-27 leading to pauses.

Texture: Various textures from two voices (e.g., Violin A and B in bars 1-2), through three voices (e.g., Bass and Cello A and B in bars 3-4), through five, six, and seven voices.

Timbre: Changes of dynamics and texture provide the only timbre changes.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

This piece provides opportunities to work on tone production, subtle dynamic changes, slow sustained bow strokes, and smooth bow changes.

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "PROCESSIONAL FOR POMPOUS PEOPLE"

Instrumentation: Violin A, B, and C, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 3'

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins and Viola use only Easy patterns. Cello uses only open strings.

Positions: Bass uses Half or First Position. Violins and Viola use only First Position. Cello uses only open strings.

Shifting No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: No fingering is required for Cello. The other instruments have generally slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Fingers can remain down during passages of repeated notes.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of Bowing: Detache, accented detache, detache lance, martele, and two-note slurs.

Tone production: Violin A has a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Violin B, Violin C, and Viola changes between long sustained bow strokes and short detache strokes require changes of bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Such changes are not frequent since repeated bowing patterns predominate. Cello and Bass bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point are generally quite constant.

Dynamics: Range is from p through mp and mf to f. Frequent use of cresc. and dim. Moderate number of dynamic changes.

String crossings: Violin A has a moderate number of string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Violin B, Violin C, and Viola have a few string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Bars 39-72 feature repeated Cello string crossings, all to adjacent strings, at a slow to moderate tempo. Bass has repeated string crossings to non-adjacent strings (bars 43-72) at a moderate tempo.

Pizzicato: All instruments except Violin A play pizzicato. Tempo is moderate, and there is time to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENCES

Balance: Lower voices must not overbalance Violin A melody. Blend: Voices moving in rhythmic unison must blend well.

Fluency: Violin A melody must be fluent and lyrical.

Phrasing: Violin A should shape the phrases following the natural rise and fall of the melodic line.

Rhythm: Pulse must be very steady on pizzicato and bowed quarter note ostinato. Voices moving in rhythmic unison must be exactly together.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A form. Violin A melody moves over a quarter note ostinato. Six-bar introduction establishes the ostinato figure and sustained whole notes in Violin B, Violin C, and Viola. Between each occurrence of the Violin A melody thcre is a bridge section featuring the two groups of accompanying voices.

Harmony: G+. Recurrence of G D (tonic-dominant) ostinato throughout most of the piece. Middle section features alternating I and II triads (G B D, A C E) in Violin B, Violin C, and Viola. There is a brief modulation to D- (natural minor) or D Dorian (bar 37 ff.).

Melody: The melody centres on the tonic and dominant of G+. Frequent conjunct movement. No large leaps.

Rhythm: Metre is 2/2, with a half note = 69. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring whole, half, dotted half, quarter, and eighth note values. Extensive use of repeated rhythmic patterns.

Texture: Various textures, with frequent use of layered effects. Through most of the piece, there are three groups of voices: (1) Violin A, playing the melody; (2) Violin B, Violin C, and Viola playing accompanying figures; and (3) Cello and Bass playing the quarter note ostinato. Typical use of these three groups can be found in the opening bars. Cello and Bass play the quarter note ostinato for two bars, then Violin B, Violin C, and Viola are added playing sustained notes. At bar 7, Violin A enters with the melody. At bar 23, Violin B, Violin C, and Viola take over the quarter note ostinato while the lower voiccs rest. In bars 37-44, Violins move in rhythmic unison while Viola joins the lower voices.

Timbre: Various timbres are featured. Coakley exploits changes between arco and pizzicato, between accented and unaccented detache bowing, and between legato and more detached bowing styles.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Idiomatic string writing except for some awkward string crossings in Bass (bars 43-72). Although the main interest is in Violin A, the piece does provide useful ensemble training for an inexperienced group. Interesting for studying changes of texture, and the grouping of voices within an ensemble.

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "SOUNDING WOOD"

Instrumentation: Violin A, B, and C, Viola, Cello A and B, Bass

Duration: 35''

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins A and B use only the O 1 pattern. The other instruments use only open strings.

Positions: First Position only.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Violin A has moderate speed of finger changes, with only one finger involved and without fingered string crossings or chromatic alterations. Violin B and Bass have no finger changes since only first finger is used. The other instruments use no fingers.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, martele, col legno.

Tone production: Bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point are generally quite constant.

Dynamics: Forte throughout except for one crescendo.

String crossings: None.

Chords: None.

Pizzicato: None.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: On polyphonic entries, the instruments already playing must not overbalance the newly entering instruments.

Blend: Voices must blend well when moving in rhythmic unison.

Fluency: Repeated notes must not bog down. A sense of on-going movement must be maintained.

Intonation: There are no real intonation challenges because the players are not required to change pitch (except Violin A which uses only open E and first finger F-sharp).

Phrasing: Rests mark the ends of phrases. Cut-offs on phrase endings must be precise.

Rhythm: Accents must be observed and rests must be carefully counted. Voices must enter precisely together and must move exactly together on rhythmic unisons. Careful counting and independence are required of Bass and Cello in bars 9 and 10.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A form. A is bars 1-6; B is bars 6-14; the return of A is bars 15-20; coda is bars 20-22.

Harmony: Static harmony. Violin A plays two pitches while the other voices do not change pitch. Tone clusters are formed as voices enter one by one (E D A B and E D A B F-sharp).

Melody: Very limited melodic interest since only Violin A changes pitch, and then only plays two pitches (E and F-sharp). Therc is a primitive melodic effect produced as voices enter one by one, each voice on a different pitch (e.g., bars 1-4).

Rhythm: Metre is 4/4. Tempo is quarter = 116. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring half, quarter, and eighth note values. Various accents and articulations add to the rhythmic interest.

Texture: Layered effects are produced in A and B sections as texture gradually thickens with voices being added in ascending order. The A section features Bass alone, then Cello B is added, followed by Cello A, then Viola Entries are at one-bar intervals. At bar 5, Violin A, B, and C enter together but play divisi.

Timbre: Various bowing styles provide timbre changes (col legno, martele, detache, and accented detache).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Effective use of simple musical materials. All instruments have interesting rhythms and timbres. Useful for developing bowing technique and ensemble precision.

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "VALLEY SONG"

Instrumentation: Violin A, B, and C, Viola, Cello A and B, Bass

Duration: 1'15 "

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENCES

Finger patterns: Only Easy patterns are used.

Positions: Violins, Viola, and Cellos use First Position only. Bass uses only First Position if optional high Ds are not played. Third Position is required for the high Ds.

Shifting: Bass has some simple shifts between First and Third Positions if high Ds are played. The other instruments do not need to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Few fingered string crossings. No chromatic alterations requiring the slide of a finger. Violin perfect fifths (bars 2-3, 6-7, 27-28) require careful finger placement.

Special effects: Cello B and Bass have optional octaves (involving open D with fingered D).

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slur (two notes per bow).

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety but no extreme changes in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes from p through mp and mf to f. Some use of cresc. and dim.

String crossings: Crossings are to adjacent strings only.

Chords: Cello B and Bass have optional octaves.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Work will be needed on the Violin perfect fifths which involve string crossings and the fretting of two strings with third finger. If optional Bass octaves are played, left hand must shift to Third Position while right hand controls two-note chord.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: No one voice should overbalance the others. Since all violins are in unison, they may tend to overbalance the lower voices.

Blend: Voices must blend as they move in unison or octaves. When one group of instruments takes over from another on the bridge passages (e.g., bar 16), the voices must blend well as they overlap.

Fluency: Bow changes must be smooth to achieve the required lyrical musical flow. A choppy note-by-note effect must be avoided, especially on repeated notes.

Intonation: Unison and octave passages must be carefully tuned.

Phrasing: Phrases should be well shaped. Players should follow not only the written cresc. and dim. markings but also the melodic contours of the phrases. Breath marks at the ends of phrases should be observed, but abrupt, choppy cut-offs at these points should be avoided.

Rhythm: Voices must move exactly together on rhythmic unisons. Ritard in the final three bars must be well controlled.\

Form: Considerable use of repetition. Based on a four-bar melody (A) which occurs a total of four times (with slight modifications), and a short B section (A A’ B A’’ A coda).

Harmony: G major. No chromatic alterations. Voices move mainly in octaves, or in simple tonic-dominant harmonies.

Melody: Simple folk-like melody featuring considerable conjunct movement and repetition of pitches. No large leaps.

Rhythm: Elementary rhythmic patterns using whole, half, dotted half, and quarter notes. Metre is 4/4. Tempo is quarter = 104.

Texture: Generally thick texture but with a few bars when Violin A, B, and C are answered by the lower voices. Violin A, B, and C play in unison throughout. Cello A and B play in unison or in octaves.

Timbre: Dynamic variations provide the only changes of timbre.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Effective use of simple musical materials. Useful for developing ensemble sensitivity and control of tone production and dynamics.

 

 

Composer: SOMERS, HARRY

Title: VARIATIONS

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

Duration: 4'

Availability: CMC

Level: Easy

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Simple finger patterns.

Positions: First Position only.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Limited finger dexterity is required. Frequent use of repeated notes and rests which provide time to prepare the next finger.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Basic bowings (detache, slur, martele).

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point, mainly to accommodate the required dynamic changes.

Dynamics: Quite frequent dynamic changes. Dynamic range is from pp to ff. Some dynamic changes are sudden, others are gradual and subtle.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good bow control and sensitive listening are needed so that voices are well balanced throughout the numerous dynamic changes.

Blend: The homophonic texture demands good blend of voices.

Fluency: A good sense of musical flow is needed. If playing is not fluent, the piece will bog down on repeated notes and rhythms.

Intonation: No special challenges. Repeated notes allow time to adjust tuning where necessary.

Phrasing: Phrasing requires special attention. Although players must count quarter and eighth notes carefully in order to be rhythmically accurate as metres change, the overall phrasing of the theme and its variations must be understood so that a mechanical note-by-note effect does not result. Where frequent rests occur (e.g., at numbers 3 and 4), a sense of long phrases must be maintained to avoid a choppy effect.

Rhythm: The main challenges of this work are rhythmic. Players must maintain a steady eighth note pulse while metres change. Rests and articulation markings must be carefully observed. Syncopations in sections 6 and 7 require particular care. There is a good deal of movement in rhythmic unison, and this calls for ensemble sensitivity and precision. Bass p1ayers must be confident and precise where the Bass line is rhythmically independent of the other voices.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Variations on simple thematic material. Changes are mainly in rhythm, dynamics, and articulation.

Harmony: Modal harmonies. Generally closely voiced, consonant chords. Much parallel movement. (Violin I and II often move in parallel thirds, Viola and Cello in parallel fifths.) Repetition of chords and of harmonic progressions contributes to a rather static harmonic effect.

Melody: Considerable repetition of pitches. Where melodic movement occurs, it is generally by step or by the interval of a major or minor third. Melodic range is narrow (a minor seventh in the opening theme). Short melodic motives are repeated.

Rhythm: Very frequent changes of metre (mainly 4/4 2/4 3/4, with four bars of 7/8). Constant eighth note pulse is maintained. Tempo indication in the score is: "At whatever tempo the orchestra can manage." Basic quarter note movement of the theme is varied by the addition of rests and by changes to eighth notes and syncopated figures in later variations.

Texture: Generally thick homophonic texture, although there is some thinning of texture in the sections where Bass does not play. Bass has the greatest independence. The other voices often move together rhythmically.

Timbre: Changes in dynamics and articulation provide the main contrasts in tone colour.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Excellent for rhythmic and ensemble training because it requires disciplined counting and the maintenance of a steady eighth note pulse through changing metres. Useful for developing understanding of variation technique, and for developing bow control on changing dynamics. Provides a valuable introduction to changing metres.

 

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: CLASSIC DANCE

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

Duration: 2'

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Mainly Easy finger patterns.

Positions: Violin I uses First and Second Positions. Bass uses Half, First, Second, and Third Positions. Other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: Violin I has some simple shifts between First and Second Positions. Bass shifts are quite frequent but not awkward. Violin II, Viola, and Cello are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes and moderate number of fingered string crossings for all instruments.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slur (two notes per bow), martele, staccato (two notes per bow).

Dynamics: There are no dynamic markings in the score. Some dynarnic changes should be made to provide greater musical interest, especially where repetitions occur.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENCES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: There must be good balance between melody and accompaniment.

Blend: Good blend is needed among accompanying voices, and between Violin I and II on unison passages.

Fluency: Violin I and II must be fluent, especially on eighth note passages.

Intonation: Careful tuning is needed when chromatic alterations occur (F-sharp F-natural, D-natural D-sharp).

Phrasing: Accompanying parts must listen to and follow the eight-bar phrases of the melody.

Rhythm: A steady quarter note pulse must be maintained. Violins must neither rush nor slow down on the eighth note passages.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A form. Considerable use of repetition. The A section is divided into two sections, each sixteen bars long. The B section is based on a single theme. There is a D.C. following section B.

Harmony: Section A is in G+, section B in C+. Conventional use of tonic-dominant harmony.

Melody: Melody moves by step or outlines triads. Largest melodic leap is a perfect fifth.

Rhythm: Elementary rhythmic patterns using half, quarter, and eighth note values. Metre is 2/4, with a half note = 69.

Texture: Homophonic texture. Melody is in Violin I, with Violin II often playing in unison or in parallel thirds with Violin I.

Timbre: No exploitation of timbre variations.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Melodic interest is in Violin I and II. Accompanying voices have some harmonic and rhythmic interest. Useful for teaching A B A form. Provides valuable drill in basic bowings and in changing key.

 

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: FOLK CONTRASTS

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

Duration: 4'

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Only simple finger patterns are used.

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

Shifting: Cello and Bass have some simple shifts.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes.

Special effects: Cello has some simple grace notes at letter H.

II. RlGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slur (two notes per bow), slurred staccato (two notes per bow), tremolo.

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

Dynamics: There are only a few dynamic markings in the score and parts. Violin I and Violin II have two sudden dynamic changes (ff-pp on accented tremolo whole notes), and one subtle change (pp dim. ppp). Viola dynamic changes consist of mp dim. pp dim. ppp. Cello dynamic markings are mp, mf, and dim. ppp. Bass markings are pp dim. ppp. Some more dynamic markings should be added to increase musical interest.

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings.

Pizzicato: Sections D to H are to be played pizzicato by Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Bass. Speed is moderate in these pizzicato passages. Breaks between sections provide time to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Accompanying voices must not overpower the melodic line.

Blend: Accompanying voices must blend well, especially when they move in rhythmic unison.

Fluency: Fluent playing is needed to achieve the required simple folk style.

Intonation: Intonation requires attention, especially when chromatic alterations occur.

Phrasing: All voices should follow the phrasing of the melodic line.

Rhythm: Changes of metre and tempo require attention. Accents must be carefully observed and executed. Repeated dotted eighth, sixteenth rhythm must be precise. Pizzicato chords must be steady.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Three short contrasting sections. Section one is in ballad style (beginning to letter D). Section two is lively, dance-like (letter D to H). Section three is "rollicking" (letter H to end). In each section, repetition is used.

Harmony: Strachan uses various harmonic treatments of modal melodic material (e.g., close harmonies with some use of seventh chords in section one; simple three- and four-note chords in the upper voices in section two; open fifths producing a drone effect in section three).

Melody: Melody is modal, with frequent conjunct movement.

Rhythm: Metre and tempo change from section to section. Section one is in common time, ballad tempo. Section two is in 3/4, "lively quarter = 120." Section three is in 4/4, "rollicking." Elementary rhythmic patterns, featuring whole, half, dotted half, quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, and sixteenth note values. "Dotted eighth followed by a sixteenth note" pattern predominates in section three.

Texture: Textures vary from section to section. Section one features a gradually thickening texture. Cello begins, joined in unison in bar 5 by Viola. Bass enters on the pick-up to bar 8. Violins enter two beats before letter C. Section two features Cello melody (arco) with the other instruments providing a simple chordal accompaniment (pizzicato). Section three features Violin I and II melody over a drone accompaniment with some off-beat Viola chords.

Timbre: Accents, tremolo, and pizzicato produce variations in timbre.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

A useful study in contrasts (e.g., changes of metre, rhythmic patterns, texture, tempo, style). Aids aural and ensemble development. (Players must listen and adjust to achieve good balance as melodic material passes from instrument to instrument.)

 

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: A HAUNTING MARCH

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

Duration: 1'30''

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Easy and Medium finger patterns are used. Positions: Bass uses Half and First Positions. The other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: Bass has some simple shifts.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. No large leaps.

II. RIGHT AND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, staccato (two notes per bow), tremolo (last note only).

Tone production: There is a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point to produce the required dynamics and to make the changes from short note values to long tied notes.

Dynamics: The dynamic range is wide (ppp to ff). Moderate number of dynamic changes.

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

Chords: Violin II has one two-note chord.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed so that the melody is always heard as it passes from voice to voice.

Blend: Voices must blend when they move together in unison or octaves, and when closely voiced chords occur.

Intonation: Chords must be well tuned, especially where chromatic alterations occur. Exposed octaves, fifths, and unisons must be carefully tuned.

Phrasing: Good connections between two-bar melodic and rhythmic accompanying figures are needed so that a choppy effect is not produced.

Rhythm: The recurring "dotted eighth, sixteenth" rhythm must be precise. Sections must move exactly together where rhythmic unisons occur.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition (e.g., repeated two-bar melodic figure which appears in all voices; repeated two-bar rhythmic figure).

Harmony: Key is D-. Frequent use of open fifths producing a drone effect in Cello and Bass. Some chromaticism and use of dominant and diminished seventh chords. Contrast betwecn open fifths and closely written chromatic chords. Unexpected ending on a D+ chord with added seventh (D F-sharp C).

Melody: Two-bar melodic figures pass from voice to voice. Frequent conjunct movement. Biggest leap is a perfect fifth. Melody always begins on tonic and usually ends on tonic (ends on dominant in bar 21). Limited melodic range.

Rhythm: Elementary rhythmic patterns using whole, half, dotted half, quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, and sixteenth note values. Frequent use of the "dotted eighth, sixteenth" rhythm. Two or more voices often move in rhythmic unison. Common time throughout, with a quarter = 120-132.

Texture: Considerable variety in textures (eg., Cello and Bass alone in unison; Violin I, Violin II, and Viola in octaves; all voices together in closely written chords). Violin I and II are often in unison, as are Violin II and Viola. Melody passes from voice to voice.

Timbre: Wide dynamic range produces some variety of timbre. Otherwise no exploitation of timbre changes.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for rhythmic training and development of bow control. Aids ensemble development because all instruments play melody and accompaniment in the course of the piece.

 

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: A LITTLE BEGUINE

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

Duration: 3'

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Mainly Easy finger patterns. A few occurrences of low 1 finger placement in Violin I, Violin II, and Viola.

Positions: Bass uses First Position except for one bar of Second Position. The other instruments use only First Position.

Shifting: Bass has one simple shift from First to Second Position and back to First Position. The other instruments do not need to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Open strings and repeated notes provide time to prepare fingers.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, spiccato, slur (two and three notes per bow), staccato (two notes per bow).

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

Dynamics: Infrequent dynamic changes. Range is p to f.

String crossings: Bass has quite frequent bowed string crossings, including some to nonadjacent strings. The other instruments have a moderate number of bowed string crossings, all to adjacent strings.

Chords: Bowed two-note chords are divisi except for two chords in Viola (bar 22). Violin II has a two-note pizzicato chord in the final bar.

Pizzicato: All instruments play pizzicato on beat three of the final bar. This requires a quick change from arco to pizzicato. Bass has a pizzicato passage, bars 19-26, with a quick change to arco required in bar 26.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance between melody and accompaniment should be sought as melody moves from voice to voice. Special care is needed when Viola plays the melody (bar 26 ff.).

Blend: Violin I and II must blend well as they move together in thirds and sixths (e.g., bars 10-18, bars 58-66). Blend between Cello and Bass is also important as they move together on the melody (bars 42-58).

Fluency: A sense of musical flow is essential on the melodic line throughout.

Intonation: Chords involving chromatic alteration must be carefully tuned.

Phrasing: Phrase markings should be observed in order to achieve the required musical flow on the melodic line.

Rhythm: The repeated beguine rhythm must be crisp and steady. Good bow control is needed on the two up bows. Where voices move in rhythmic unison, special care is needed to achieve precision.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Nine-bar introduction featuring beguine rhythm. Then A B A form with the repeated rhythm unifying the whole composition.

Harmony: G+ with some use of secondary dominants, diminished and augmented chords.

Melody: Considerable conjunct movement in the melody. No leap greater than an octave. Sustained flowing style. Melody passes from voice to voice.

Rhythm: Metre is indicated in the score as (cut time) common time. Tempo is half note = 60. The beguine rhythm is repeated throughout, contrasting with the sustained melody moving mainly in quarter, half, and whole notes. Frequently two or more voices move in rhythmic unison.

Texture: Textures vary as melody and rhythmic accompaniment pass from voice to voice.

Timbre: The contrasting timbres of the four stringed instruments are exploited as the sustained, singing melody passes from one section of the orchestra to another. In contrast to the lyrical sound of the melody is the crisp, light sound of the beguine rhythmic accompaniment which also passes from voice to voice. The contrast between arco and pizzicato is also exploited.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for development of bow control (sustained on-the-string bowings and short, crisp bowings off and on the string). Contributes to ensemble development because each section of the orchestra has the opportunity to play melody and rhythmic accompaniment in the course of this composition.

 

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: MARCH

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

Duration: 1'

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Easy finger patterns are used.

Positions: First Position only.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Use of repeated notes and open strings allows time to prepare finger changes.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Easy bowings are used (detache and two-note slurs).

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

Dynamics: Obvious dynamic changes, ranging from p to ff.

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings.

Chords: Where two-note chords are written, they are to be played divisi.

III LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left hand fingers and bow must change exactly together on running eighth notes.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between melody and accompaniment. Special care must be taken in the coda where Bass melody must not be overpowered by the other voices.

Blend: Good blend of accompanying voices and of Violin I and II on unison passages should be sought.

Fluency: Eighth notes must be fluently played. They must be steady but not mechanical.

Intonation: Careful tuning is needed on chords where chromatic alterations occur.

Phrasing: Players must feel the music moving in eight-bar phrases in order to achieve a musical flow on this piece. Otherwise, the repeated quarter notes and running eighth notes will tend to produce a mechanical effect.

Rhythm: Eighth notes must be rhythmically precise. Players with eighth notes must listen to the quarter notes in the othcr voices, and players with quarter notes must provide a steady rhythmic pulse.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A B' form. Regular eight-bar phrases. Considerable use of repetition.

Harmony: Key of G+. Conventional harmonic treatment with some use of secondary dominants.

Melody: Mainly conjunct movement in the melody, with no large leaps.

Rhythm: Elementary rhythmic patterns using whole, half, quarter, and eighth note values. Metre is 4/4. Tempo is Allegro, with a quarter = 120-132.

Texture: Homophonic texture. Melody is in Violin I or Violin I and II in unison, except in the coda where Bass plays the melody.

Timbre: Except for dynamic changes, no timbre variations occur.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing left hand finger dexterity and steady rhythm. An enjoyable study in detache bowing.

 

 

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: SPACED OUT

Instrumentation: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 2’

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Easy finger patterns are used.

Positions: Violin plays in First Position except for the final two bars where a simple shift to Third Position is required. The other instruments remain in First Position throughout.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Repeated notes, open strings, and rests provide time to prepare finger changes. Few fingered string crossings.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENCES

Types of Bowing: Detache, martele, staccato (two notes per bow).

Tone production: Bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point are generally quite constant.

Dynamics: No dynamics are marked in the score or parts. Some dynamics should be added to increase musical interest.

String crossings: Violin, Viola, and Cello have a moderate number of bowed string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Bass has quite frequent bowed string crossings, including some to nonadjacent strings.

Chords: Violin and Viola two-note chords are divisi.

Pizzicato: Violin and Viola have a pizzicato section from letter F to G. A quick change from arco to pizzicato is required at letter F.

III LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance between melody and accompaniment is needed. Special care is needed when Viola plays the melody so that Viola line is not overpowered.

Blend: Voices must blend well when they move together. During the first eight bars, Violin and Viola move together rhythmically, mainly in parallel thirds. At letter F, Cello and Bass move together on the melody.

Intonation: C-sharp and C-natural must be carefully differentiated when the key changes from D+ to G+ and back to D+.

Phrasing: Breaths should be taken at the ends of phrases. This is particularly important when bow retakes are necessary in order to begin the next phrase on a down bow.

Rhythm: A steady quarter note pulse must be maintained. Players with the eighth notes figure must listen for the quarter notes in the accompanying voices. Quarter rests must receive full value on alternating quarter note, quarter rest figures. Bow retakes at the ends of phrases must be well controlled so that each new phrase begins exactly together in all voices.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Eight sections of eight bars each. Considerable use of repetition. (Sections one, three, five, seven, and eight are marked with repeat signs. The opening eight-bar Violin melody in D+ is repeated at letter D in Cello in G+ but with a slightly different ending. Violin melody at letter A is repeated almost exactly in Viola at letter C.)

Harmony: The piece begins in D+, changes to G+ at letter D, and returns to D+ at letter F. Conventionat tonic-dominant harmony.

Melody: Melody centres on tonic and dominant, moving within the range of one octave (tonic to tonic). Considerable conjunct melodic motion and repetition of pitches. Prominent melodic leap of a perfect fifth (between dominant and tonic).

Rhythm: Tempo is half note = 76, Lively. Metre is cut time. Elementary rhythmic patterns using half, quarter, and eighth note values. Familiar Suzuki rhythms are featured

Texture: Generally thick, homophonic texture except at letter G where Violin plays alone for two bars before being joined by Viola and Cello, and two bars later by Bass. Divisi pizzicato chords in Violin and Viola (letter F to G). Melody passes from voice to voice, beginning in Violin and moving to Viola, then to Cello, and finally to Cello and Bass.

Timbre: Contrasts between arco and pizzicato are featured.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Provides useful drill on basic Suzuki bowings and simple key changes. Aids rhythmic and ensemble development as each section of the orchestra has the opportunity to play the melody and the rhythmic accompaniment.

 

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: UPPER BOW SQUARE REEL

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

Duration: l'

Availability: Composer

Level: Easy

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Each instrument uses only a single Easy finger pattern.

Positions: All instruments remain in First Position.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Repeated fingered notes and open strings give players time to prepare the next rlnger. Few fingered string crossings.

II RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache and slurred staccato (two notes per bow).

Tone production: Bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point are generally quite constant, since the piece consists mainly of eighth notes in the upper half of the bow.

Dynamics: No dynamics are indicated in the score or parts. Dynamics should be added for musical interest. The accents must be brought out.

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

Chords: Violin I, Violin II, and Cello two-note chords should be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola have a pizzicato accompaniment to Cello and Bass melody, beginning in bar 29. A quick change from arco to pizzicato is required.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance between melody and accompaniment should be sought.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed in accompanying voices and in unison passages (eg., the opening where Violin I, Violin II, and Viola are in unison on the melody).

Fluency: Playing must be fluent or the piece will bog down on the repeated eighth notes.

Phrasing: Good sense of phrasing is essential to give shape to the on-going eighth notes. One four-bar phrase must lead naturally into the next so that a perpetual motion effect is achieved without sounding mechanical.

Rhythm: A steady rhythmic pulse must be maintained, with accents punctuating the on-going eighth note motion. Off-beat accents on up bows require especially good bow control. Pizzicato accompaniment must not rush. Violin I, Violin II, and Viola must begin exactly together on the opening pick-up.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A C A form. Considerable use of repetition.

Harmony: In D+ throughout, with no modulation or chromatic alteration. Mainly I, IV, and V chords.

Melody: The melody is based on the D+ triad and scale. Range is limited (one octave), and there is considerable repetition of pitches.

Rhythm: Metre is 2/4. No tempo indication in the score, but the piece should be played quickly enough to preserve its square dance character. Rhythmic patterns are simple. Only half, quarter, and eighth notes are used. The melody moves in eighth notes throughout, with some off-beat accents adding musical interest.

Texture: Sections A and B feature melody in the upper voices, with rhythmic chordal accompaniment in the lower voices. Roles are reversed in section C. There is considerable use of unison playing. Violins and Viola begin in unison on the melody. Violin II and Viola are often in unison on accompanying parts. Cello and Bass are in unison throughout most of section C.

Timbre: Contrasts between arco and pizzicato are featured in section C (bar 29 ff.). The timbre of the upper voices is contrasted with that of the lower voices as the melody passes from Violins and Viola to Cello and Bass.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing detache in the upper half of the bow, and for developing rhythmic precision as an ensemble. All instruments have the opportunity to play melody and accompaniment.

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