Composer: BUCZYNSKI, WALTER

Title: LEGEND NO. 11

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

Duration: 3'

Availability: CMC

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of finger pattern changes. Patterns are Easy and Medium.

Positions: Violins I and II use First, Third and Fourth Positions. Viola uses First Position only. Cello uses First to Fifth Positions. Bass uses Half to Third-and-a-Half Positions.

Shifting: Violins I and II have some shifting, with time to prepare. They remain in one position long enough to establish the frame of the hand. No shifting is required for Viola. Cello has a moderate number of shifts, with rests usually providing time to prepare. Bass has a moderate number of shifts, with rests providing time to prepare.

Finger dexterity: Violins and Viola have generally slow to moderate speed of finger changes, with a few more rapid fingered passages. Moderate number of fingered string crossings and few wide leaps. Cello has slow to moderate speed of finger changes, with rests providing time to prepare for fingered string crossings. Bass has slow speed of finger changes and few fingered string crossings.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola use detache and slurs. Cello and Bass use detache only. Long sustained notes require staggered bow changes. There is some confusion in the score and parts between phrase and slur markings.

Tone production: Moderate number of changes of bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point to accommodate changes of dynamics and various lengths of notes. Long sustained bow strokes with staggered bow changes require good bow control.

Dynamics: Quite frequent dynamic changes. Wide dynamic range (ppp to fff). Some subtle dynamic changes.

String crossings: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola have a moderate number of string crossings mainly to adjacent strings. Cello and Bass have few string crossings, with only one to a nonadjacent string (Bass B).

Chords: Two-note chords should be played divisi.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Special care is needed to co-ordinate changes of left hand finger pattern with string crossings.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between moving figures and long sustained notes.

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

Fluency: Fluent playing is needed on short rhythmic-melodic fragments which must sound easy, not laboured.

Intonation: Dissonant tone clusters and melodic fragments involving awkward intervals require careful tuning.

Rhythm: Changing metres, tricky rhythms, long tied notes, entries and cut-offs require careful counting and ensemble precision.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Free form.

Harmony: Atonal. Dissonant chords, tone clusters.

Melody: Buczynski uses some short, angular melodic fragments, but no fully developed lyrical melodies. Some awkward leaps occur (e.g., major seventh, diminished fifth).

Rhythm: Frequent metre changes (4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 3/8, 6/4). Tempo is slow ( quarter note = 54). Groups of two, three, and four notes per beat are juxtaposed. Challenging rhythms featuring triplets and ties.

Texture: Varieties of texture from very thin to thick. Considerable independence of voices. Frequent use of divisi. (Each section of the orchestra is divided into A and B sections, and within those sections there is a good deal of divisi playing.)

Timbre: Timbre variations occur as dynamics and bowing styles change. (The piece begins pp, builds to a ff climax, then fades to a final ppp. Long sustained bow strokes and short detache strokes produce contrasting timbres.)

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Well crafted although somewhat contrived. Useful study in tone production (long tones, dynamic changes, smooth bow changes). Provides valuable rhythmic and ensemble training (counting carefully on long tied notes and changing metres, moving precisely on tricky rhythms, achieving good blend and balance). Useful for ear training (hearing and tuning dissonant tone clusters and angular melodic figures).

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "CHORALE"

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

Duration: 1'40''

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Only Easy and Medium patterns are used.

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

Shifting: Bass has some simple shifts between First and Second Positions. Other instruments are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Violin A eighth notes require fairly rapid speed of finger changes. Moderate speed of finger changes for the other instruments. Violin C has no fingered string crossings. Violin B has only one fingered string crossing. Viola and Cello A have few fingered string crossings. Violin A, Cello B, and Bass have a moderate number of fingered string crossings.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

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

Tone production: Bow changes must be smooth. Bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point are generally quite constant (usually half a bow per beat).

Dynamics: Range is from p to f with some cresc. and dim. Moderate number of dynamic changes. Voices change dynamic level together.

String crossings: Violin A has a moderate number of string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Cello B and Bass have a moderate number of string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings. The other instruments have a few string crossings, all to adjacent strings.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Violin A must co-ordinate bow changes with left hand finger changes on eighth notes. This is especially challenging when string crossings are required.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Violin A melody must not be overpowered by the accompanying voices. This requires particular care because of the thick texture (six accompanying voices).

Blend: The accompanying voices must blend. No single line should stick out.

Fluency: Smooth bow changes are needed to produce the required nowing cantabile style. Violin A eighth notes must be fluently played.

Intonation: B-flats must be low enough.

Phrasing: Phrases should be well shaped.

Rhythm: Eighth notes must be steady. All voices must cut off together in bars 19, 28, and 39. Ritards must be well controlled.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A' form. Considerable use of repetition. Similar to a chorale prelude in that simple melodic material is varied and developed.

Harmony: F+. Traditional harmonization.

Melody: Chorale-style melody with limited range (one octave). No large leaps. Much conjunct movement. The opening melody is somewhat ornamented as the piece develops. (Compare, for example, bars 2 and 10.)

Rhythm: Metre is 4/4. Tempo is quarter note = 108. Ritards occur in bars 18-19 and 37-39. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring whole, half, dotted half, quarter, and eighth note values.

Texture: Homophonic texture with melody in Violin A. Texture is full for all but four bars. (Bars 20-21 and 24-25 feature Viola and Violins only.)

Timbre: No exploitation of timbre changes.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Effective use of simple musical materials. All parts have some musical interest, although the main melodic interest is in Violin A. Useful for developing smooth bow changes and cantabile style. Aids ensemble development because players must listen sensitively to achieve good balance and blend.

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "FINGER PICKS"

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

Duration: I'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Only Easy and Medium patterns are used.

Positions: Violin A uses First Position throughout except for bars 52-53 which require Second or Third Position. Bars 54 and 55 can be played in First Position or can remain in the same position used for bars 52-53. The other instruments use First Position only.

Shifting: Rests in bars 50 and 51 provide time for Violin A to prepare for the shift from First Position to Second or Third Position. Rests in bars 53 and 54 provide time for a shift back to First Position if such a shift is desired.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. No chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger. Violins A and B have a few fingered string crossings. The other instruments have no fingered string crossings.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Bows are not used in this piece.

Tone production: Some unusual methods of tone production are used. (Rhythmic patterns are played by Cello B with a beater on the lower side of the instrument, by Bass with a bass drum mallet near the bridge, and by Violin C with a xylophone beater alternating between the lower and upper back of the instrument.)

Dynamics: Infrequent dynamic changes. Range for Violin A and B, Viola, and Bass is p to f. Range for Violin C and Cellos is narrow (mf to f).

String crossings: There are no bowed string crossings.

Pizzicato: Extensive use of pizzicato at a lively tempo.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Melodic fragments moving from voice to voice in bars 45-49 must not be overpowered by the repeated accompanying figure played in octaves by Violin A and B.

Blend: Voices moving in rhythmic unison must blend well.

Fluency: Lively pizzicato passages must be fluently played.

Rhythm: Pizzicato must not rush. Rests must be carefully counted.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. The opening four-bar melodic figure played by Violin A provides the basic material for the piece. This melodic figure and fragments from it are passed from voice to voice and are varied in rhythm and pitch.

Harmony: Tonality is somewhat ambiguous. A and D are tonal centres. There is frequent movement in unison, octaves, and fifths.

Melody: Simple melody which moves mainly by step. The opening four-bar melody played by Violin A provides the basic melodic material for the piece.

Rhythm: Metre is 2/4. Tempo is lively ( quarter = 152). Elementary rhythmic patterns using quarter, dotted quarter, and eighth note values only. Some repeated syncopated patterns (e.g. zCello B, bars 10-19).

Texture: Considerable variation in texture from a single line (e.g., bars 1-3) to tutti (seven voices). Moderate amount of independence of parts.

Timbre: Pizzicato and various unusual percussive effects are used. Bass plays with a bass drum mallet near the bridge. Cello B uses a beater on the lower side of the instrument. Violin C plays with a xylophone beater, alternating between the lower back and upper back of the instrument. Rests provide time to prepare for timbre changes.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Skilful use of simple musical materials. Useful for rhythmic and ensemble development. An interesting study in unusual timbre effects.

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "FOLK DANCE"

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

Duration: 2'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENCES

Finger patterns: Violin A uses Easy and Medium patterns. The other instruments use only open strings.

Positions: Violin A uses First Position. The other instruments have no fingered notes.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Violin A has moderate to rapid speed of finger changes, with few fingered string crossings. The largest leap is an octave from open A to third finger A on E string. There are two chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Violin A uses detache, accented detache, spiccato, and two-note slurs. The other instruments use only detache and martele.

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

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

String crossings: Violin A has a moderate number of string crossings between A and E strings at a moderate tempo. Violin B has frequent string crossings. Some are quite rapid but all arc to adjacent strings. Violin C has frequent string crossings at a moderate tempo, but only one crossing is to a non-adjacent string. Viola has frequent string crossings, usually at a moderate tempo. All are to adjacent strings. Cello A has a moderate number of string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Cello B has few string crossings at a moderate tempo. All are to adjacent strings. Bass has frequent string crossings at a moderate tempo. Only one is to a non-adjacent string.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENCES

Violin A has some tricky passages involving rapid left hand finger action and rapid bowing with changing articulation and string crossings.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENCES

Balance: Accompanying voices must not overpower the Violin A melody.

Blend: Good blend of sound must be sought among the accompanying voices.

Fluency: Violin A passage work must be fluently played.

Intonation: No special intonation challenges for the ensemble because only Violin A plays fingered notes. Violin A intonation of course must be accurate.

Rhythm: A steady rhythmic pulse must be maintained. Voices must be precisely together when they move in rhythmic unison. Off-beat alternating quarter rest, quarter note figures require care. Violin A sixteenth notes must not rush.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A form.

Harmony: Melody centres on D (D Dorian and D+). Repeated D to A figures and G to D figures in the Bass reinforce the D tonal centre. There are many mild dissonances as various open strings are sounded together. The upper accompanying voices feature movement in fifths as they cross from one open string to another. Bass moves in fourths from one string to the next.

Melody: Melody moves mainly in conjunct motion or by major or minor thirds. The largest leap is an octave.

Rhythm: 4/4 metre, with a quarter = 92. Dance-like rhythm with steady pulse. Elementary rhythmic patterns using whole, half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth note values. No dotted notes. Syncopation in the lower voices, bars 18 and 19.

Texture: Mainly thick texture, with Violin B and C and the lower voices providing accompaniment for Violin A. Some thinning of texture. (Violin A does not play in bars 1-2 and 26-27. Violin A plays alone in bars 24 and 25. Viola, Cellos, and Bass drop out in bars 16 and 17.)

Timbre: Changes of timbre are not exploited.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Melodic interest is in Violin A. The other voices have some rhythmic interest. Violin A is more technically challenging than the other voices. Pedagogically useful for rhythmic and ensemble development.

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "SCALY THINGS"

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

Duration: 1 ' 15 ''

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

.I LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins and Cello use only one pattern (Easy). Viola uses only one pattern (Medium).

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

Shifting: Bass has quite frequent shifting, but the ascending shift is always the same, moving in scale motion. The descending shift is either in scale motion or is a straight forward shift from second to first finger. The other instruments do not have to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Finger movement is mainly by step, with no changes of finger pattern. Open strings can be used to avoid fingered string crossings. No wide leaps.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

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

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. No extremely slow bow strokes. (Longest is four beats per bow.) Patterns of bow distribution tend to be established.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from p to ff with some use of cresc. and dim.

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

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Bow changes and left hand finger changes must be well co-ordinated on eighth note, triplet eighth note, and dotted eighth and sixteenth note runs.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Moving lines must not be overbalanced by long sustained notes (e.g., bars 7, 9, 10, 11, 12).

Blend: When voices move in unison and octaves, they must blend well.

Fluency: Smooth, fluent bow changes are needed to avoid a choppy, mechanical effect. Runs in eighth notes, triplet eighths, and dotted eighths and sixteenths must be fluently played.

Intonation: Unisons and octaves must be carerully tuned.

Phrasing: Phrases must be well shaped, following the rise and fall of the melody, to avoid a mechanical effect.

Rhythm: Players must move from one rhythmic pattern to another with precision. Care is needed so that dotted eighth, sixteenth figures do not sound like a triplets. Rhythmic unisons must be exactly together.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. Form could be considered theme and variations since the whole piece is built on the opening D+ scale. There is also a suggestion of A B A form in Coakley's direction: "like a scale–like a chorale–like a scale." The middle (chorale) section, bars 13-23, is broader and more sustained in style than the opening section (bars 1-12) and the final section (bars 23-36), but all three sections are based on the D+ scale.

Harmony: D+ tonality. Considerable use of unisons and octaves. Simple tonic and dominant harmonies are featured in the chorale-like section.

Melody: Based on ascending D+ scale and descending D+ scale and chord.

Rhythm: Metre is 4/4. Tempo is moderate, with a quarter note = 95. Various basic rhythmic patterns are used, featuring whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, triplet eighth, and sixteenth note values. Voices often move in rhythmic unison on repeated rhythmic patterns.

Texture: Generally thick texture but with some answering back and forth between upper and lower voices (e.g., bars 9-12). Violin A, B, and C move in unison except for the chorale section. Cello A and B also play in unison except for the chorale section.

Timbre: Timbre changes are not exploited.

 

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Interesting treatment of very simple basic material (D+ scale). All voices are interesting and important in the ensemble. Much movement in octaves and in rhythmic unison. Notes are easy but the bowings and rhythms are challenging. Presents opportunities for scale practice in a musically interesting context. Since the left hand finger pattern does not change, each player can focus on right hand and ensemble challenges. Useful for developing ensemble precision. Provides valuable bowing and rhythmic training because bowing and rhythm patterns change frequently. Also provides intonation training (tuning octaves, unisons, and chords in a simple, obvious harmonic context).

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "SUNRISE"

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

Duration: 3'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Only Easy patterns are used.

Positions: First Position only.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Few fingered string crossings. No chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: All instruments play detache, two-note slurs, and sul ponticello tremolo. Violins also use a special bowing effect which is described in the score as follows: "Rapid movement of the bow between the bridge and the tailpiece. Movement is continuous and should be played at the tip of the bow. There should be a minimum of pressure on the strings."

Tone production: Sounding point must be well controlled to produce the required special effects (sul ponticello and bowing between bridge and tailpiece).

Dynamics: Wide range (ppp to f). Long diminuendo markings to "fade out" are featured.

String crossings: Violins must make rapid string crossings to produce the special sound of the bow moving between bridge and tailpiece. The other instruments have few string crossings.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges. Players can focus on right hand challenges since left hand demands are minimal.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Moving voices must not be overbalanced by voices playing tremolo. Violin A shimmering effect (bowing between bridge and tailpiece) must not overpower the moving Violin B and C melodic line (bars 22-26).

Blend: Voices must blend when moving together in unison or octaves. Tremolo accompanying voices also must blend well.

Fluency: Wave-like melodic figures must be fluently played. They must not bog down.

Intonation: Players must hear and carefully tune the tone clusters.

Rhythm: Players must count carefully on long tremolo notes.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Free form. Unity is provided by repeated melodic fragments and timbre effects (sul ponticello tremolo, and bowing between bridge and tailpiece).

Harmony: No use of traditional harmony. Tone clusters are built up as voices enter one by one with sustained notes. A cluster of G F-sharp E B D A is built up in the opening seven bars. Major and minor seconds are featured frequently. Voices move in octaves in bars 27-31.

Melody: Simple repeated melodic fragments, based mainly on major and minor seconds, produce wave-like effects.

Rhythm: Slow tempo ( quarter = 62). 4/4 metre. Many long tied notes (tremolo or sustained long notes) against which simple rhythmic figures are featured. Moving rhythmic patterns are based on dotted half, half, quarter, and eighth note values. Rhythmic diminution effects are

featured.

Texture: Various textures are featured. In the opening seven bars, voices enter one by one at one-bar intervals. One or more moving voices are often highlighted against a tremolo background. Texture is full in bars 27-31, with voices moving in unison and octaves.

Timbre: Sul ponticello tremolo and shimmering eerie sound created by bowing between the bridge and tailpiece contrast with more usual sounds produced by detache and slurred bow strokes.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Effective, imaginative use of simple musical materials. All parts have opportunities to explore string timbres. Useful for ensemble development and for tone production training. Provides interesting and enjoyable experience with descriPtive music for strings.

 

 

Composer: COAKLEY, DONALD

Title: FIFTEEN STRING PIECES, "WANDERING WALTZ"

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

Duration: 1'30''

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violin A uses two Easy patterns plus three occurrences of low 1 placement. Violin B has one Easy pattern with no change of pattern. Violin C and Viola use Easy and Medium patterns. Cellos A and B use a single Easy pattern.

Positions: Violins, Viola, and Cellos use First Position only. Bass uses Half or First Position.

Shifting: No shifting is required.

Finger dexterity: Violin A has moderate speed of finger changes and moderate number of fingered string crossings, with no wide leaps. Finger movement is mainly by step. The other instruments have slow speed of finger changes, with few fingered string crossings and no wide leaps.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing All instruments use detache, accented detache, and detache porte. Violin A also uses slurs (two and three notes per bow). Violin B, Violin C, and Viola use spiccato.

Tone production: Violin A has a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. The other instruments have few changes in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from mp to f. Some subtle changes involving cresc. and dim.

String crossings: Violin A has a moderate number of string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Violins B and C have few string crossings, all to adjacent strings. Viola has no string crossings. Cello A, Cello B, and Bass have frequent string crossings at a moderate tempo, all to adjacent strings.

Pizzicato: All voices except Violin A play pizzicato in bars 22-39. Rests provide time to prepare for the change from arco to pizzicato and back to arco.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Violin A melody must not be overpowered by the accompanying voices. Cellos and Bass in octaves on dotted half notes must not be too heavy.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed when voices move in rhythmic unison (e.g., Violin B, Violin C, and Viola as they move together in thirds; Cellos and Bass as they move in octaves).

Fluency: Violin A melody must be fluently played.

Intonation: Chromatic alterations must be carefully observed. Players must hear and tune dissonances.

Phrasing: Violin A must shape the phrases, following the rise and fall of the melodic line as well as the cresc. and dim. markings.

Rhythm: Violin B, Violin C, and Viola must move exactly together on their rhythmic unison accompanying figures. All players must be alert on ritards and pauses.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: There is considerable use of repetition. Violin A melody moves over ostinato patterns in the lower voices. (The dotted half note pattern in Cello A, Cello B, and Bass, featuring alternating D and A, occurs in bars 1-20, 41-44, 52-67, and 74-77. With this bass line goes a repeated two-bar pattern in Violin B, Violin C, and Viola. A second ostinato pattern, featuring alternating B and E, occurs in bars 22-39 and 68-73.) The opening melodic material recurs in bar 61 ff. and also appears in inverted form in bar 26 ff. and bar 56 ff.

Harmony: Shifting ("wandering") tonality in the melody (eg., D+, D-, D Dorian, G+). Bitonality in the accompanying voices. The D A ostinato in Bass and Cellos suggests D tonality while the B G to C A repeated pattern in Violin B, Violin C, and Viola suggests G+. The piece concludes on a G+ chord.

Melody: Mainly conjunct motion. No large leaps.

Rhythm: Metre is 3/4, with a quarter = 132. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring half, dotted half, quarter, and eighth note values. Hemiola rhythm occurs in bars 49-50. There are three ritards (bar 20, bars 49-51, and bars 77-79).

Texture: Homophonic texture. Melody is in Violin A. The other voices provide accompaniment.

Timbre: Contrasts are exploited between arco and pizzicato and between various bowing styles (e.g., on- and off-the-string bowings; slurred and detached bowings; accented and unaccented bowings).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Melodic interest is confined to Violin A. There is a lack of variety in rhythm and notes in the other voices (mainly repeated patterns), but the piece is useful for developing ensemble precision and aural skills (e.g. hearing dissonances and changes of tonality). Provides opportunities to work on a variety of bowing styles.

 

 

Composer: DEEGAN, ROGER

Title: MIRKWOOD MARCH

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

Duration: 3'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violin I uses only two patterns, both Easy. Violin II has a moderate number of changes of finger pattern (Easy and Medium patterns). Viola uses only two finger patterns (Easy and Medium). Cello has frequent forward extensions.

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

Shifting: Bass has some simple shifting. The other instruments are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Frequent use of open strings and movement by step reduce the difficulty of the fingering. Few fingered string crossings. No leaps greater than an octave.

Special effects: For Viola and Cello, use of left hand pizzicato on open D in bar 43 would simplify the change from pizzicato to arco. Violin I and Violin II harmonics are playable with the hand in First Position. Rests provide time to prepare for the harmonics.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, martele, sul tasto, col legno.

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Good bow control is needed to produce dynamic changes.

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

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.

Pizzicato: Viola and Cello have two short pizzicato passages, the first of which involves a quick change from arco to pizzicato and back to arco. Bass has quite frequent changes between arco and pizzicato, with some of the changes being quite rapid.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Bow and finger changes must be well co-ordinated on the running eighth notes.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed as thematic material passes from voice to voice.

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

Fluency: Eighth notes must be fluently played.

Phrasing: Players should work to achieve a seamless effect.

Rhythm: A steady rhythmic pulse must be maintained throughout. Accents must be carefully observed. Entries must be precise.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. The piece develops out of the opening theme which is repeated, passing from voice to voice, with various fugal techniques used (e.g., inversion, augmentation, stretto). Counter melodies are also repeated. (The Violin I counter melody which begins in bar 11 is repeated by Violin II, beginning at bar 15.) Some repetitions produce ostinato effects. (The Bass figure played in bars 8-11 is repeated in bars 12-15, 16-19, and 20-23.) Short melodic fragments are also repeated (e.g., descending one-bar scale figures which pass between Violin I and II, bars 28-32).

Harmony: Begins in E-. Key changes to B-, then returns to E-.

Melody: Considerable use of conjunct motion. No large leaps.

Rhythm: Elementary rhythmic patterns. Some use of syncopation. Metre is 4/4, with a quarter note = 112-116.

Texture: Polyphonic. Voices enter one by one at the beginning (Bass, then Cello, then Viola, then Violin I, then Violin II).

Timbre: Various timbres are exploited. Contrasts between arco and pizzicato are featured. Dynamic changes and accents help to produce changes of timbre. Violin I and II play sul tasto or con sordino, bars 58-70. Viola, Cello, and Bass play col legno at bar 68. Violin I and II play harmonics in the final bars.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing bow control (changing dynamics and timbres). Excellent for ensemble training because each voice has an independent musical line, and melodic interest passes from voice to voice. Valuable for developing musical understanding. Students can analyse the form of the piece, noting the compositional techniques used by Deegan.

 

 

Composer: DOOLITTLE, QUENTEN

Title: VARIATION SUITE IN THE FORM OF ETUDES FOR STRINGS

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

Duration: 10'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern (Easy and Medium patterns).

Positions: Violin I has 3 passages in Movement IV which require Third Position unless the lower alternative bracketed notes are played. Bass uses all positions up to and including Third Position. The other instruments use only First Position.

Shifting: Violin I has 3 simple shifts to Third Position. Bass has some straight forward shifting. The other instruments are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Largest leap is an octave. Violin I, Violin II, and Viola have occasional simple chromatic alterations requiring the slide of a finger.

Special effects: All instruments have some glissando effects in Movement II (semitone or full tone slides).

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slurred staccato (2 notes per bow), slur (up to 4 notes per bow).

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

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

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings to adjacent strings. Exploited especially in Movements I and IV.

Chords: Viola and Cello have some 2-note chords at a moderate tempo. Bass chords in Movement I should be played divisi.

Pizzicato: 2 pizzicato notes end Movement I. Movement II is pizzicato throughout, including 2 notes requiring Bartok pizzicato using forefinger and thumb. Tempo for the pizzicato is moderate.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

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

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between melody and harmony in homophonic passages polyphonic passages, the melody must be heard as it passes from voice to voice.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed, especially where voices are paired.

Fluency: Players must feel and project the musical flow without becoming bogged down in repeated eighth, quarter, and half notes.

Intonation: Cross relations in Movement III require careful listening and tuning.

Phrasing Players must feel the on-going musical phrases, even when rests occur and one voice takes over from another.

Rhythm: Voices often move together rhythmically. This requires ensemble precision so that a ragged effect does not result. Syncopations in Viola, Cello, and Bass in Movement I must be accurate and confident. Rests must be carefully counted.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Four short movements, with Movement I repeated after Movement IV. Movement I (Grand Detache with Bells) is built of 2-bar phrases, each with a different bell-like effect. Movement II (Pizzicato Blues) features imitative treatment of short "blues" motives. There is a canon at the octave at letter A. Movement III (Staccato on Parade) begins with a 4-bar theme in Violin I. The theme then appears successively in Violin II, Viola, and Cello-Bass. Melodic and rhythmic motives from the theme are developed in the remainder of the movement. Movement IV (Strings Double Crossed) is based on a 2-bar motive involving string crossings.

Harmony: Generally tonal with some use of dissonances. Movement I features recurrent open fifths. Movement II is in G- with major as well as minor thirds contributing to the blues effect. Movement III begins and ends in G+, although other keys are briefly introduced (e.g., F+, D+, A+). Cross relations are introduced as voices enter in different keys (bitonality). Movement IV begins and ends in G+, but there is frequent alternation between G+ and F+. Frequent movement in open parallel fifths.

Melody: Opening melodic motive of Movement I is treated in various ways in each successive movement. Considerable repetition of melodic figures. Largest leap is an octave.

Rhythm: Mainly elementary rhythmic patterns are used. Movement I is Moderato. Common time. Syncopation in Viola and Cello-Bass. Accents are important. Movement II is in C metre, Moderato. Movement III is Allegretto. 2/4 metre. Movement IV is Allegro. 2/4 metre. Much use of eighth notes.

Texture: Variety of homophonic and polyphonic textures. Movement I is basically homophonic with some pairing of voices. (Violin I and II are paired, Viola and Cello-Bass are paired.) Movement II features contrasts of texture throughout (e.g., pairing of Violin I and II, and of Viola and Cello-Bass; short homophonic sections; canon). Movement III begins with polyphonic texture as voices enter one by one with 4-bar theme. Various textures follow, including some homophonic texture and some pairing of voices. Movement IV features some homophonic texture, and some pairing of voices (Violin I and II, then Violin II and Viola).

Timbre: Contrasts between arco and pizzicato.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Particularly valuable for developing basic string playing techniques (e.g., grand detache in Movement I, pizzicato and glissando in Movement II, staccato in Movement III, string crossings in Movement IV). Useful for developing ensemble playing skills because textures vary and each voice must play important roles rhythmically, melodically, and harmonically. Also useful for developing musical understanding. Students can analyse style, noting the stylistic contrasts between movements, and can analyse the basic musical material and how it is varied from one movement to the next.

 

 

Composer: FLEMING, ROBERT

Title: ANDANTE

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

Duration: 3'

Availability: CMC

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern (Easy and Medium patterns).

Positions: Violin A and B use First to Fourth Positions. Violin C and D use First and Second Positions. Viola remains in First Position. Cello uses Half to Third-and-a-Half Positions. Bass uses Half, First, and Second Positions.

Shifting Violin A, Violin B and Cello have a moderate number of shifts. Slow tempo and rests provide preparation time. Violins C and D have one simple shift from First Position to Second Position, then back to First Position (bars 16-17). A simple shift to Second Position in bar 4 could be used to avoid string crossings in bars 4-7. Bass has a few simple shifts. No shifting is required for Viola.

Finger dexterity: Slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Some chromatic alteration involving the slide of a finger.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

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

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Smooth bow changes and rich, warm, sustained tone should be sought.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes, ranging from p to f.

String crossings: Moderate number of bowed string crossings, including some to non-adjacent strings.

Chords: 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 string crossings, especially when crossings are to non-adjacent strings.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between melody and accompaniment. Moving lines in the accompanying voices must be brought out.

Blend: Good blend of sustained, cantabile sound is essential to the style of the piece.

Fluency: Fluent playing is needed throughout in order to produce a smooth, flowing effect.

Intonation: Care is needed in tuning dissonant chords, especially where chromatic alterations and finger pattern changes occur. Violin A and B leaps must be carefully tuned.

Phrasing: Players must feel the flow of the phrases to avoid a plodding, note-by-note effect. Eighth rests in Violin A and B should be treated as breath marks and should not be allowed to disrupt the musical flow, especially since the accompanying voices usually have moving lines or sustained notes during those short Violin rests.

Rhythm: The slow tempo must not be allowed to bog down. A sense of on-going motion must be preserved. Careful counting is needed in order to fit voices together where dotted notes and ties are involved. Metre changes require attention.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Free form with some use of repetition. The opening bars are repeated at bar 18 ff.

Harmony: Tonal but with much chromaticism. Ends on a sustained C+ chord.

Melody: Conjunct and disjunct movement. Some large leaps (e.g., major seventh, perfect twelfth). Frequent perfect fifth leaps. Wide range (over two octaves).

Rhythm: Tempo is "Slow." There are several metre changes. (The piece begins with two bars of 3/4. A change to common time occurs at bar 3. Two bars of 3/4 recur at bars 18-19, and a return to common time follows.) Rhythms are generally straight forward, featuring whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, and sixteenth note values. There are some fairly complex rhythmic interrelations among voices where tied and dotted notes are featured.

Texture: Generally quite thick homophonic texture, with melody in Violin A and B, but with some independence of voices and some variation in texture. There are four Violin parts, but Violin A and B play mainly in unison, and Violin C and D also have a good deal of unison playing. There are some divisi passages for Viola and Cello, and there is a short unison passage for all Violins.

Timbre: Sustained cantabile sound is required throughout. Dynamic changes produce some variations in timbre.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing smooth bow changes and rich, sustained tone. Provides opportunities for sensitive, expressive ensemble playing.

 

 

Composer: FLEMING, ROBERT

Title: GAVOTTE AND MUSSETTE

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello

Duration: 3'

Availability: CMC

Level: Medium

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

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

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

Shifting: Some simple shifts to Second and Third Positions are recommended for Violins I and II. No shifting is required for Viola. Cello has some simple shifts.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Violin II has some chromatic alteration involving the slide of a finger.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, martele, slur (up to five notes per bow).

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

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from p to ff for Violins, and p to f for Viola and Cello.

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

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

Pizzicato: Cello has six pizzicato notes at a slow tempo in "Mussette." Use of left hand pizzicato on the Cello open Ds at the beginning and end of the pizzicato section would simplify the quick change from arco to pizzicato and back to arco.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left and right hands must be well co-ordinated on string crossings, especially when changes of finger pattern occur.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between melody and accompaniment as melody passes from voice to voice.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed on cadences.

Fluency: Fluent playing is needed on the eighth notes in the "Mussette."

Intonation: Special care in tuning is needed when chromatic alterations occur.

Phrasing: Players should be aware that phrases begin on the third beat of the bar.

Rhythm: Long tied notes must be carefully counted. Eighth notes in the Mussette must be steady.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A (Gavotte, Mussette, then D.C. to Gavotte).

Harmony: G- with some chromatic alterations and some modulations (e.g., to D+ and D-). Frequent use of pedal notes (G pedal at the end of the Gavotte, in the first section of the Mussette, and at the end of the Mussette; D pedal at the beginning of the second section of the Mussette).

Melody: Gavotte melody features mainly disjunct motion as it outlines chords. (Intervals of thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, and octaves dominate.) Mussette melody features more conjunct motion. There are no melodic leaps greater than an octave.

Rhythm: Metre is common time. Gavotte tempo is Adagio. Mussette is marked con moto. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, and eighth note values. Frequent ties over the barline. A few syncopations.

Texture: Varieties of texture (homophonic and polyphonic, thick and thin). Moderate amount of independence of voices. Melodic interest passes from voice to voice, especially in the Mussette.

Timbre: Contrasting bowing styles (short martele strokes, smooth legato slurs) produce timbre variations.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing bow control (contrasting bowing styles, articulations, accents, dynamics) and for developing left hand facility in changing finger patterns. Provides opportunities for ensemble development as textures change and melodic interest passes from voice to voice.

 

 

Composer: FLEMING, ROBERT

Title: INVOCATION

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

Duration: 1'40"

Availability: CMC

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern, including Easy and Medium patterns.

Positions: All Violin I notes are playable in First Position, but Third Position would be preferable in the first two bars. All Violin II notes are playable in First Position, but some use of Second and Third Positions would be preferable. Viola uses First Position only. Cello uses Half to Third Positions. Bass uses Half and First Positions.

Shiftlng: For Violins, no shifts are essential, but it would be preferable for Violin I to begin in Third Position, making a simple shift back to First Position at the end of bar 2, and for Violin II to make some simple shifts between First, Second, and Third Positions. No shifts are required for Viola. Cello and Bass have a moderate number of simple shifts.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Largest leaps are octaves (Violin I and Cello).

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing Detache, slur (up to four 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 mf to ff.

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings.

Chords: Violin II has one two-note chord which is to be played divisi.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Sensitive listening is needed in order to balance the voices in chords and to bring out moving voices.

Blend: Good blend of warm, rich string sound is needed throughout.

Fluency: Playing must be fluent in order to achieve the flowing cantabile style required in this piece.

Intonation: Special care is needed in tuning the rich chromatic harmonies. All accidentals must be carefully observed.

Phrasing: Phrases must be well shaped. Special care and sensitivity are needed on the beginnings and ends of phrases.

Rhythm: Changing metres require attention. Violin I triplet against two quarter notes in Viola (bar 2) must be precise.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Short free form piece (only thirty-three bars).

Harmony: Rich chromatic harmonies.

Melody: Conjunct and disjunct movement. Largest leaps are octaves.

Rhythm: Moderate tempo (Moderato), with a rallentando in the final bars. Metre is common time, changing to 3/4 and 2/4. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, and eighth note values.

Texture: Mainly homophonic, but with some variety of texture and some independence of voices. There is no independent Bass line. Where Bass plays, it doubles the Cello line, sounding an octave lower.

Timbre: Warm, rich, sustained string tone quality is needed throughout.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing sustained cantabile tone with smooth bow changes and warm vibrato. Provides valuable training in hearing and tuning rich chromatic chord progressions.

 

 

Composer: FLEMING, ROBERT

Title: SNUFF BOX

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

Duration: 1'55 ''

Availability: CMC

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern. Patterns are mainly Easy and Medium.

Positions: Violins I and II use only First Position. Viola can remain in First Position, but some use of Half Position is advisable. Cello uses First Position except for one shift to Fourth Position. Bass uses positions up to and including Second-and-a-Half Position.

Shifting. Violins do not need to shift. Viola has some simple shifts between First and Half Positions. Cello has one straight forward shift between First and Fourth Positions. Bass has straight forward shifts, generally involving small, easy-to-hear intervals.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Violin II and Viola have occasional changes of finger pattern requiring the slide of a finger.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slur (up to four notes per bow), martele.

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

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes, including small cresc. and dim. effects. Range is from p to f.

String crossings: Violin I, Violin II and Viola have a moderate number of string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings. Cello and Bass have quite frequent string crossings, including crossings to non-adjacent strings.

Chords: Moderate use of two-note chords at moderate tempo and dynamic levels.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Left and right hands must be well co-ordinated on string crossings and fingered two-note chords.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Accompanying parts must not overpower Violin I melody. Moving eighth notes in Violin II and Viola must be brought out.

Blend. Homophonic texture requires a good blend of voices throughout.

Fluency: A good sense of musical flow is essential in order to avoid a plodding effect, especially on the repeated quarter notes in the accompanying voices.

Intonation: Changes of key must be carefully observed. Changes of finger placement for C and C-sharp, F and F-sharp require particular attention.

Phrasing Accompanying parts should follow the phrasing of the Violin I melody (mainly four-bar phrases). Players should be aware of how Violin II moving eighth notes are used to link phrases.

Rhythm: Tempo changes at letters C and D must be carefully observed. Players must be aware of the change of metre from 3/4 to 2/4 for one bar after letter B.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. Form is basically A B A (shortened). The first A section is itself in A B A form (a twelve-bar section in A-, followed by a similar thirteen-bar section in A+, followed by a repetition of the A- section). The B section consists of two parts: eight bars in A+ followed by eleven bars which begin like the previous eight bars but in E+ over an A pedal, and which conclude in A+. A shortened twelve-bar A section in A+ returns after the B section.

Harmony: Conventional harmony. Alternation between A- and A+. One move to E+ but with A pedal in Cello and Bass.

Melody: Conjunct and disjunct movement. Largest leap is a minor seventh. The melody moves mainly be step or outlines major or minor chords.

Rhythm: Elementary rhythmic patterns using half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, and eighth note values. 3/4 metre throughout except for one bar of 2/4. Moderate tempi. The A section is marked quarter note = 120. The B section is "Piu lento."

Texture: Homophonic throughout with melody in Violin I.

Timbre: The main contrast is of articulation rather than timbre. (The A section features mainly detached bowing while the B section is more legato.)

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing control of bowing and intonation, and for developing ensemble sensitivity and precision. Interesting as a study in changing keys.

 

 

Composer: FLEMING, ROBERT

Title: A STRING THING

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

Duration: 2'25''

Availability: CMC

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern (Easy and Medium patterns).

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

Shifting: Violin I, Cello, and Bass have a moderate amount of shifting, with rests and moderate tempo providinß some preparation time. For Violin II, a few simple shifts between First and Third Positions are advisable although no shifts are essential. No shifting is required for Viola.

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

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing Detache, slur (up to five notes per bow).

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Rich, warm, sustained tone is required. Bow changes must be smooth.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Range is from p to ff. Some subtle cresc. and dim. effects.

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

Chords: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Cello two-note chords are to be played divisi. Cello three-note chords in the final bars are to be performed with one player on the top note, one player on the bottom two notes.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance between melodic and accompanying lines must be sought. Although Violin I has most of the melodic interest, some moving lines in the other voices must also be brought out.

Blend. Good blend of warm, rich, sustained sound should be sought.

Fluency: Playing must be fluent in order to produce the required smoothly flowing effect.

Intonation: Care is needed in tuning dissonant chords, especially when chromatic alterations occur.

Phrasing Players should work at shaping the phrases, following not only the dynamic markings but also the natural rise and fall of the melodic line. Connections between phrases must be smooth. Jerky cut-offs at the ends of phrases must be avoided. Violin I often has an eighth rest at the end of a phrase, but other voices often have a moving line which helps to connect one phrase to the next.

Rhythm: A sense of on-going musical flow must be maintained. Care is needed on tempo and metre changes. Entrances and cut-offs must be precise.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A single free form movement, with some use of repetition. The opening Violin I melody is repeated a perfect fourth higher, beginning at the pick-up to bar 10, and a perfect fifth higher beginning at the pick-up to bar 45.

Harmony: Tonal but with a good deal of rich chromaticism. Some parallel movement of voices (e.g., octaves between Violin II and Viola, bar 41 ff.; fourths between Violin I and II, bars 26-28).

Melody: Considerable use of conjunct motion which is in keeping with the flowing legato style of the piece. Few large leaps.

Rhythm: Metre is common time, with one bar of 2/4 (bar 22). Moderate tempo (andante), with some tempo changes (poco rit., bars 18 and 48; poco meno mosso, bar 19 ff.; Tempo 1, bar 45; allargando, bar 49 to the end).

Texture: Textures vary. Violin I usually carries the melody, but there is considerable independence of movement in the other voices. Some divisi passages thicken the texture.

Timbre: Varieties of timbre are not exploited. Rich, warm, cantabile string sound should be used throughout.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing smooth bow changes and control of tone production. Provides valuable ensemble training (achieving balance and blend of sound, shaping musical phrases expressively).

 

 

Composer: FLEMING, ROBERT

Title: VESPER

Instrumentation: Violin 1, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: I'

Availability: Adaskin Project

Level: Medium

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern (Easy and Medium patterns). Cello uses some backward and forward extensions.

Positions: Cello uses First to Fourth Positions. Bass uses Half, First, Second, and Fourth Positions. The other instruments can remain in First Position.

Shifting: Cello and Bass have several shifts at a slow tempo. The other instruments do not need to shift.

Finger dexterity: Slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Few fingered string crossings.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slur (up to five notes per bow), portato (two notes per bow).

Tone productlon: Moderate number of changes of bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Tone must be well sustained, and bow changes must be smooth.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Narrow dynamic range (mf to n. Some subtle cresc. and dim. effects.

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

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: The melodic line must be brought out as it passes from voice to voice.

Blend: Good blend is needed to produce the rich, sustained ensemble sound which is called for in this piece.

Fluency: Playing must be fluent in order to produce the required smoothly flowing, cantabile style. Smooth bow changcs are necessary.

Intonation: Careful tuning is needed where chromatic changes occur.

Phrasing: Players should feel the lyrical rise and fall of the phrases and the smooth connection as one voice takes over from another without a break in the phrase.

Rhythm: The tempo is slow, but it must not bog down. A sense of on-going movement must be felt. Careful counting is needed when metre changes occur.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A short, free form piece (only 25 bars in length), featuring considerable use of repetition. (The rising and falling quarter note figure which is played by the Cello in bar 11, recurs in bars 12, 13, 14, and 15, passing from voice to voice and changing key. The melody of the opening two bars returns in bars 18 and 19.)

Harmony: Tonal with some use of chromaticism. Begins and ends in G+, but moves briefly through other keys.

Melody: Considerable use of conjunct movement. No large leaps (mainly thirds and fourths).

Rhythm: Slow tempo. Some metre changes (4/4 and 6/4). Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring whole, dotted whole, half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, and eighth note values.

Texture: Varied textures (homophonic and polyphonic, moving from a single line to full orchestra). Where Bass plays, it doubles the Cello line, sounding an octave lower than the Cello.

Timbre: No exploitation of timbre variations.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing smooth bow changes and a warm, sustained tone. Provides valuable opportunities for working on expressive ensemble playing.

 

 

Composer: GRATTON, HECTOR

Title: CHANSON INTIME

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

Duration: 3'45''

Availability: Adaskin Project

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violin I has a moderate number of changes of finger pattern (Easy and Medium patterns). The other instruments have quite frequent changes of finger pattern (mainly Easy and Medium patterns). Cello has frequent use of extensions.

Positions: Violin I and Cello use First to Fourth Positions. Bass uses Half to Fifth-and-a-Half Positions. Violin II and Viola can remain in First Position.

Shifting: Violin I and Cello have some straight forward shifting. Bass has quite frequent shifting, with some large shifts. For Violin II and Viola, no shifting is required, although some could be used.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Violin II and Viola have quite frequent chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger.

Special effects: Violin I upper mordents ornament the melodic line.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

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

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Tone must be warm, resonant, cantabile.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (pp to f). Quite frequent dynamic changes. Frequent use of crescendo and diminuendo, requiring good dynamic control.

String crossings: Moderate number of bowed string crossings.

Chords: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola have a few two-note chords at a moderate tempo. These could be played as chords or divisi.

Pizzicato: There are several Bass pizzicato passages in the score. (The Bass part is not the same as the Bass line in the score.) Quick changes from arco to pizzicato are required. Rests provide time to prepare for changes from pizzicato to arco.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Occasional demanding techniques in two hands simultaneously, at a moderate tempo.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Moving melodic lines must be brought out. Special care is needed when Viola and Violin II have melodic material.

Blend: Voices must blend well when they move in melodic and/or rhythmic unison or in octaves.

Fluency: Players must work to achieve a smoothly flowing cantabile style throughout.

Intonation: Special care is needed when chromatic alterations occur. Players must learn to hear dissonances and resolutions.

Phrasing: Phrases must be well shaped. Breath marks at the ends of phrases should be observed.

Rhythm: Care is needed on syncopations and tempo changes.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Considerable use of repetition. Melodic material is repeated exactly or with variations (e.g., the opening melody, played by Violin I and II in unison, recurs in Violin II and Viola in bar 9 ff., in Viola at letter A, in Violin I and II at letter C, and in Violin I and II at lettter G; the melodic material played in octaves by Violin I and II at letter A recurs transposed and rhythmically varied in Violin I and II at letter F and in Viola in the seventh bar of letter F anq fragments of it recur in Cello at letter B). Rhythmic figures are also repeated.

Harmony: Tonal. Begins in D+, and moves through F-sharp minor and A+ before returning to D+. Bass provides the harmonic foundation. Cello and Bass are sometimes doubled.

Melody: Lyrical melodic material featuring conjunct and disjunct movement. Few large leaps. Some simple ornamentation. Melodic material passes from voice to voice, repeated and varied.

Rhythm: Metre is 3/4. Tempo varies (e.g., Andantino at the beginning, Appassionata, poco piu vivo at letter A, Allegretto at letter D, plus ritards). Rhythm patterns feature half, dotted half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, and sixteenth note values. Syncopations are frequently used. Violin I mordents are written out.

Texture: Generally thick texture. Some contrapuntal, imitative writing (e.g., the opening section), some more homophonic (eg., letter D). Quite frequent use of unison and octaves (e.g., Violin I and II, Violin II and Viola, Cello and Bass).

Timbre: Warm, rich, resonant string timbre is required. Some use of Bass pizzicato, contrasting with the sustained bowing style.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for developing bow control (sustained cantabile style, dynamic changes) and ensemble sensitivity.

 

 

Composer: KEANE, DAVID

Title: NOCTURNE

Instrumentation: "Any number of bowed string instruments in any proportion." The orchestra is to be divided into four equal parts.

Duration: 3-5'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: All Violin and Viola notes can be played using an Easy finger pattern, although more difficult patterns could be used since players have the option of playing the indicated pitches in any octave and of choosing their own pitches when X or pizz. is indicated in the score. A Cello backward or forward extension would be needed to play G-sharp in First Position. Cellists might elect to make more use of extensions, depending on their choice of octaves and pitches.

Positlons: Only First Position need be used, although players may choose to use other positions.

Shifting No shifting is required, although players may choose to shift.

Finger dexterity: Slow speed of finger changes. Ample time to prepare finger changes.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing Detache only.

Tone production: Long sustained bow strokes require good control of bow speed, pressure, and sounding point in order to produce the dynamic changes and "pleasing tone" called for in the score.

Dynamics: The first section is to be played pp throughout. Each note is to be played "as softly as possible on one bow, while maintaining a pleasing tone." In the second section there is a gradual crescendo from mp to ff. There is a gradual decrescendo from f to ppp in the third section.

String crossings: Since players can proceed at their own rate, they have time to prepare for string crossings. If students choose to make large leaps, crossings to non-adjacent strings will be required.

Pizzicato: Some pizzicato notes are used in section two. Since players can proceed at their own rate from one note to the next, they can take whatever time they need for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: No player should allow his sound to overbalance that of the other players. Sensitive listening is needed throughout. Experimentation with the instrumentation for each of the four groups may be necessary to achieve good balance.

Blend: Each player must listen carefully to make his sound blend with that of the other players.

Intonation: Each player must tune his own notes carefully. He cannot count on tuning to the other players in the ensemble since each player proceeds at his own rate and since there is

considerable freedom of choice of pitches in section two.

Rhythm: Players must watch the conductor for the cues to begin sections two and three.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Three sections. Sections one and three involve long sustained notes. Section two contrasts in that the length of notes becomes shorter and some pizzicato notes occur. The order of pitches for each group of instruments in section three is the reverse of that in section one. In the first section, the succession of pitches moves from the fourth group of instruments to group three to group two to group one. The reverse occurs in section three. In performance this effect may not be obvious since each player moves at his own rate.

Harmony: On the fermata note at the end of each section, perfect fifths and fourths are formed among the instruments as they play Ds and As. Sections one and three also begin with all instruments playing D or A. Section two begins with sustained Es in all instruments. Elsewhere, dissonances are formed as players sustain various indicated pitches, with each player proceeding at his own rate, or as each player selects his own pitch.

Melody: No conventional melodic line. Since players can choose the octave when a specific note name is indicated in the score, and since they are given free choice of pitch when X or pizz. is indicated, leaps may be large or small at the discretion of the individual player.

Rhythm: Free. No traditional rhythmic notation. All players begin together, but each player proceeds from one note to the next at his own rate until he reaches a fermata which he holds until all players reach the fermata, at which point the conductor gives a cue to proceed to the next series of notes. In sections one and three, each note is to be held as long as possible in one bow stroke by each player while maintaining a pleasing tone. In the second section, durations become shorter. Some pizzicato notes occur which of course will be shorter in duration than the bowed notes.

Texture: The orchestra is divided into four equal parts. Texture is thick with all instruments playing throughout and each player proceeding at his own rate. Texture will sound somewhat thinner in the second section because of the occurrence of some pizzicato notes.

Timbre: Contrasts between grand detache and pizzicato are featured. The choice of instrumentation in a given performance will affect the timbre. There is considerable freedom of choice since the piece is written for "any number of bowed string instruments in any proportion."

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Since each player has considerable freedom of choice, each can make his part as challenging as he wishes. Each part is equally important in creating a musical whole, although no part could stand on its own musically. The piece is valuable for developing bow control, aural awareness, and ensemble sensitivity. An interesting introduction to non-traditional notation. Provides useful opportunities for analysis.

 

 

Composer: KEANE, DAVID

Title: THE OREADS

Instrumentation: "Any number of bowed string instruments, in any proportion. The orchestra should be divided into two groups: 10 to 20 percent of the players in group 2 (reading the lower part) and the remaining players in group I reading the upper part."

Duration: 4'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Players have considerable freedom to choose pitches within the ranges specified in the score. (A note near the top of a box is to be played in the upper register of the instrument. A note near the bottom of a box is to be played in the bottom part of the instrument's range.) Players can choose simple finger patterns if they wish.

Posltions: Players can choose to perform the piece using only First Position, interpreting notes near the top of boxes as being on the instrument's top string, or players can elect to use higher positions.

Shifting: Players can choose the types and amount of shifting, if any.

Flnger dexterity: Slow to moderate speed of finger changes.

Special effects: Quite extensive use of glissando. Players are asked to follow graphically notated glissando patterns. Specific starting and stopping pitches are not indicated. Left hand pizzicato can be used when changes between arco and pizzicato must be done quickly. Other special effects might be used in the free improvisation section after letter C.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache. Free bow changes can be made on the glissando patterns. Other types of bowing may be used in the improvisatory section.

Tone productlon: Good control of bow speed, pressure, and sounding point is needed to produce the required dynamic changes.

Dynamlcs: Wide dynamic range (ppp to ff). Frequent dynamic changes.

Strlng crossings: Students have considerable freedom to determine the amount of string crossing which they will make.

Chords: No chords are specified, but some may be used in the improvisatory section.

Plzzicato: Some pizzicato at a moderate tempo. Some changes between arco and pizzicato occur quickly.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Balance between the 2 groups requires special care since the groups are uneven in numbers and are separated from each other according to Keane's directions. ("Group 2 should be placed as far away from group I as possible but where group 2 will still be able to see the conductor.")

Blend Good blend of sound must be sought within each group of instruments. Sensitive listening is required, and some experimentation with the instrumentation of each group may be needed.

Fluency: Smooth bow changes are needed on the glissando patterns in order to achieve fluency in these passages.

Intonation: Each player must tune his own notes carefully. He cannot count on tuning other players except where specific pitches are indicated (D and C in line 2).

Rhythm: Players must count carefully during the glissando passages. Group 2, which is placed at a distance from group I and from the conductor, must watch, listen, and count with special care.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Canonic. Group 2 echoes group I except in the final section (section D) where group I echoes group 2. Imitation is not exact since individual players choose their own pitches. As the composer indicates in the score, "if the direction of each interval follows that indicated by the score, the melodic contour along with the rhythm will be sufficiently precise to make effective echoes."

Harmony: No conventional harmonic movement. Players have considerable freedom to choose pitches within the ranges specified in the score. As the score suggests, "rather dense chords will be produced." Only in the second line of the score are specific notes named (D twice, C once). Octaves and unisons will result in the group playing those notes.

Melody: No conventional melody. Keane provides only a general melodic contour which each player interprets in his own way.

Rhythm: Moderate tempo (Andante). 4/4 metre except for the free improvisation section after letter C in which there is no steady beat indicated. Where traditional rhythmic notation occurs, simple patterns are used.

Texture: The orchestra is divided into 2 groups, with group 2 being considerably smaller than group 1. (Group 2 contains 10 to 20 percent of the players.) Physical set-up of the orchestra is specified in the score. "Group 2 should be placed as far away from group I as possible but where group 2 will still be able to see the conductor (for example: at the back of the audience; in a balcony; or off stage)." Textures vary. Sometimes the groups alternate bar by bar, one group playing while the other rests. Sometimes both groups play, with the echoing group following along one bar after the first group. There is a bar of silence 3 bars before letter A.

Timbre: Changes between detache notes, glissando effects, and pizzicato are exploited. Dynamic variations also affect timbre. Other variations in timbre may be used in the free improvisation section after letter C.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Effective organization of simple musical materials. Every player contributes to the musical whole although no one line is musically interesting in itself. Since players have considerable freedom in selecting pitches, they can make their parts more or less challenging. The piece is useful for developing aural sensitivity and ensemble playing skills. Provides opportunities to work on tone production and to analyse an avant-garde composition. An interesting introduction to graphic notation.

 

 

Composer: KEANE, DAVID

Title: SUR LE PONT

Instrumentation: Flexible ("Any number of bowed stringed instruments in any proportion")

Duration: 3'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFTHAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Except where specific open strings are indicated, players have freedom to choose which notes to play. Only simple finger patterns need be used.

Positions: Players need not move out of First Position unless they wish to do so.

Shifting: No shifting is necessary.

Finger dexterity: Players can limit the number and speed of finger changes, keeping technical demands to a minimum.

Special effects: None are specified.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: All instruments play long and short detache bow strokes using not only the normal contact point (between bridge and fingerboard) but also unusual contact points (near the bridge, on the bridge, and between the bridge and tailpiece). At the end of the piece, each player must move his bow without actually touching his instrument. Players in group 1 also use tremolo. Group 2 players also use accented detache.

Tone production: Good control of contact point is needed since considerable variation is required. Changes of bow speed and pressure are also needed.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (pp to ff). Some dynamic changes are sudden (e.g., pp mf ff pp on 4 successive notes at the end of line 2); some changes are gradual (e.g., crescendo from pp to ff through the fourth line, and decrescendo from ff to pp through the final line). The piece ends "one degree softer than playing as soft as possible" as players move their bows without touching their instruments.

String crossings: Where string crossings are required, they occur at a slow tempo, usually to adjacent strings. Where players can choose which pitches to play, the number and speed of string crossings can be limited.

Pizzicato: Pizzicato notes are written in the second line of the score for group 2. Included is one ff requiring a pizzicato "snap" of the string against the fingerboard.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATIONCHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance between the 2 groups of players should be sought.

Blend: Each player should blend his sound with that of the other players in his group. Special care is needed on the long crescendo in line 4 and the long diminuendo in line 5.

Rhythm: A steady rhythmic pulse should be maintained in lines 1, 3, and 5. In line 2, players must watch the conductor on the pauses.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: The piece is in 5 sections. There is considerable use of repetition. The first section features a 4-bar ascending open string pattern which is repeated sul ponticello, then again with the bow between the bridge and tailpiece. The fifth section features a 4-bar pattern similar to that in the first section except that descending open strings are used. The pattern is repeated near the bridge, then between the bridge and tailpiece, and then on the bridge. Finally the players move their bows as if playing the pattern, but without contacting the instruments. Section 3 features the same rhythmic pattern as the first and fifth lines except that group 1 now plays the rhythm previously played by group 2, and vice versa. The pattern is repeated as in the first line (sul ponticello, then between bridge and tailpiece). The second and fourth sections contrast with the steady rhythmic pulse of the other sections. The second section features many pauses. The fourth section builds dynamically and speeds up. In the middle 3 sections, players are free to choose their own pitches.

Harmony: No conventional harmonic movement. When open strings are indicated in the score, chords will be formed as each instrument plays its lowest string and ascends string by string to its highest string (line 1), or moves from its highest to lowest string (line 5). In line 1, E (Bass), C (Cello and Viola), and G (Violin) will sound simultaneously, followed by A G D, D A, and finally G A E. Where players can choose their own pitches (lines 2, 3, and 4), dissonant clusters of sound will result.

Melody: No conventional melody. In the first and final sections of the piece, only open strings are used. In the other sections, each player selects his own pitches.

Rhythm: Tempo is moderate and metre is 4/4 except in line 4 where each player chooses his own rhythm, "beginning with very quiet long tones and very gradually becoming louder and faster." Where conventional rhythmic notation is provided, patterns are simple, using whole, quarter, and eighth note values. The rhythm of lines 1, 3, and 5 is identical except that the 2 groups exchange parts in line 3. Line 2 features pauses in every bar.

Texture: The orchestra is divided into 2 groups of equal size. Texture will sound thicker than 2 parts since all the players in a group do not play the same pitch. Line 4 will sound particularly thick as players choose their own pitches, build dynamically, and speed up their rhythmic movement.

Timbre: Various contrasting timbres are used. Normal detache bowing contrasts with bowing near the bridge, on the bridge, and between the bridge and tailpiece. Also featured are contrasts between normal and "snap" pizzicato (produced by plucking the string so that it strikes the fingerboard).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Effective use of simple musical materials. All players have opportunities to make their own musical decisions. Since players have considerable freedom of choice, they can make their own parts more or less challenging as they wish. The piece is useful for developing bow control and listening skills. Aids ensemble development. Provides interesting exposure to contemporary sounds and notation. Useful in a situation where there is irregular instrumentation or an unusual balance in numbers of instruments.

 

 

Composer: KEANE, DAVID

Title: TONDO

Instrumentation: String ensemble (flexible instrumentation)

Duration: 3'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Since players have the freedom to choose their own notes, they can use only simple finger patterns if they wish.

Positions: Players can use only First Position if they wish.

Shifting: Players can avoid shifting if they wish.

Flnger dexterity: Slow to moderate speed of finger changes.

Special effects: None are specified in the score. Left hand pizzicato could be used for the single pizzicato note in line 4.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing Tremolo and long sustained bow strokes (changing bows where necessary on long held notes). In the free improvisation boxes in lines 2 and 3, players can choose whatever bowings they wish to use.

Tone production: Good control of bow speed, pressure, and sounding point is needed to produce the required dynamic changes. Bow changes must be smooth.

Dynamics: Wide dynamic range (pp to ff). Quite frequent dynamic changes. (In line 4, there is a dynamic change on each note.)

String crossings: Since players have considerable freedom of choice, they can control the amount of string crossing.

Pizzicato: One pizzicato note in line 4.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Since instruments are set up in a circle around the room, sensitive listening is needed to achieve good balance. Experimentation with instrumentation and physical set-up may be necessary.

Blend: Each player must work to blend his sound with that of the other players around the room.

Fluency: Smooth bow changes are needed to avoid a choppy effect.

Intonation: Each player must tune his own notes carefully. Where he enters playing the same note as the previous player (in unison or octaves), he must listen and adjust if necessary.

Rhythm: Each player must watch the conductor carefully for the cue to begin each successive box. Foot-tapping must be steady throughout.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: The piece consists of 5 sections, one per line of the score. The first section features a kind of canon as players enter one by one, following the conductor's cues as he turns around the circle in a clockwise direction. Each player follows the same written instruction in the score, but there is considerable individual freedom of choice. (Where a specific pitch is indicated, the individual can play the pitch in any octave. Where X is indicated, the player can choose whatever pitch he wishes.) The piece begins with slow steady foot-tapping as one player after another enters. The tapping continues throughout the piece. The final section (line 5) features a reverse of the instructions of the first section. The piece ends as it began with foot-tapping, with one player after another dropping out as the conductor cues the players in a clockwise direction. The second and fourth sections are not canonic. All players move together from one box to the next. The third section is canonic. Players enter one by one as the conductor cues in a counterclockwise direction.

Harmony: No traditional harmonic movement. The first and last pitch sounded is E. Where a specific pitch is indicated in the score, each instrument plays that pitch, but the choice of octave is free. Dissonances will be formed as players move one by one from one box to another. (In line 1, players move one by one from the E in box 2 to the F in box 3 as the conductor cues them in a clockwise direction around the circle.) Where X is indicated, each player has free choice of pitch. Clusters of sound will result.

Melody: No conventional melody.

Rhythm: Slow steady foot-tapping provides a rhythmic ostinato throughout. No conventional rhythmic notation is used. Players enter when cued by the conductor, and hold their notes until cued to begin the next box. Where three x's in a box are indicated, the player can select any series of pitches using any rhythm. Keane suggests: "It is best to keep the pitches and rhythms simple and repetitive."

Texture: Texture changes are exploited. Players sit in a circle around the audience. In the first and fifth sections, one player after another enters as the conductor cues the players around the circle in a clockwise direction. In the third section, players enter one by one as the conductor cues them around the circle in a counterclockwise direction. In the second and fourth sections, the texture is thick throughout as all players move together following the instructions in the series of boxes. The piece ends with a gradual thinning of texture as one player after another stops playing, and then as one by one they stop the foot-tapping.

Timbre: Various timbres are used: contrasting string sounds (e.g., tremolo, pizzicato, and long held bowed notes) and some non-string sounds (e.g., foot-tapping and sung "ah").

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Effective use of simple musical materials. Each part is interesting as it contributes to the musical whole. Each player makes his own musical decisions and can work at his own level of technical ability. The piece can aid the development of aural skills and ensemble sensitivity. Provides exposure to avant-garde sounds and graphic notation. Interesting for analysis. Useful for a group with irregular instrumentation or with an unusual balance in the numbers of instruments.

Composer: PEPA, MICHAEL

Title: "ENERGEIA" from ARCHE

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

Duration: 1'30''

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Only open strings are used.

Shifting: None.

Finger dexterity: No fingers are used.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing Tremolo (with normal contact point, and also "sul tasto" and "sul ponticello"), detache, and accented detache.

Tone production: Moderate amount of variety in bow speed, pressure, and sounding point. Controlled changes of sounding point are required on "sul tasto" and "sul ponticello" tremolo.

Dynamics: Moderate number of dynamic changes. Wide dynamic range (pppp to ff).

String crossings: Players generally stay on one string or move to an adjacent string.

Chords: Violin I has tremolo and pizzicato two-note chords, a few pizzicato four-note chords, and one detache four-note chord. The other instruments have tremolo two-note chords. Viola I and II, Cello I and Bass also have detache two-note chords. Viola II has one detache fournote chord, and Cello I has one detache three-note chord.

Pizzicato: Violin I and Bass have regular and snap pizzicato at a moderate tempo, with time to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Since no left hand fingering is required, players can concentrate on right hand challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLECHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between Bass and upper voices in the B section.

Blend: Tremolo chords require good blend of sound.

Fluency: In the B section, the quarter notes must be tossed back and forth fluently between sections of the orchestra.

Intonation: No intonation problems since only open strings are used.

Rhythm: Players must count carefully on the long tremolo notes and must watch the conductor for cues on entrances and cut-offs and on tempo changes. A steady quarter note pulse must be maintained in the B section. Metre changes must be observed.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Shows features of A B A and arch form. The section from bar 54 to the end is basically a mirror of bars 1-12, but extended. The "con energia" B section (bars 24-45) contrasts with the tremolo A section (bars 1-23 and bar 46 to the end). The overall dynamic shape (crescendo, diminuendo) reinforces the arch effect.

Harmony: Only open strings are used. These form a diatonic pentatonic scale on C (C D E G A). Frequent open fifths (in Violins, Violas, Cellos), and open fourths (Basses). No conventional harmonic movement.

Melody: No melodic interest. Only open strings are used, and these are sustained or repeated. The focus is on timbre and rhythm rather than on melody.

Rhythm: The A section is in 2/4, but there is little sense of rhythmic pulse because tremolo notes are maintained throughout. The B section features changes of metre (2/4, 3/4) with a strong constant quarter note pulse. Bass and upper voices answer back and forth with quarter notes separa,ted by rests. The piece begins and ends with quarter note = 84. An accelerando at bar 21 leads into quarter note = 112 in the B section (bar 24 ff.), and a ritard beginning in bar 50 leads back to quarter note = 84 in bar 54. Rhythmic patterns are easy, featuring half, dotted half, and quarter note values. There are many tied notes and many accents.

Texture: Textures vary. Layered effects are featured. The piece begins and ends with a sustained tremolo note. In the opening bars, texture gradually thickens as voices enter one by one, and each section of the orchestra moves from tremolo on a single pitch to tremolo on a two-note chord. The use of divisi Viola, Cello, and Bass contributes to the thickening texture. From bar 54 to the end, texture becomes gradually thinner. Section B features voices answering back and forth.

Timbre: Timbre changes are exploited. The A section features tremolo using a normal sounding point, and also "sul tasto" and "sul ponticello." The B section features contrasts between normal pizzicato, snap pizzicato, detache, accented detache, and tremolo.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Provides useful rhythmic and ensemble training. Aids the development of bow control. Interesting for formal analysis.

 

Composer: PEPA, MICHAEL

Title: PRELUDE AND FUGUE

Instrumentation: Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass

Duration: 3'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern in "Prelude." More frequent and rapid changes of finger pattern in "Fugue." Patterns are mainly Easy or Medium.

Positions: All Violin and Viola notes are playable in First Position. Some use of Violin Second and Third Positions and Viola Third Position would help avoid open strings and string crossings. Cello must make one shift to Second Position in "Prelude." Bass uses Half, First, and Second Positions in "Prelude," First and Third Positions in "Fugue."

Shifting: Shifting is not essential for Violin and Viola, but some shifts to Second and Third Positions are advisable for Violin, and occasional shifts to Third Position are advisable for Viola. Cello must make one shift between First and Second Positions in "Prelude." Bass has some straight forward shifts in "Prelude" and "Fugue."

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes in "Prelude," with a moderate number of fingered string crossings. In the "Fugue," running sixteenths require good dexterity. Rapid changes of finger and frequent fingered string crossings need special attention.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, slur (up to 5 notes per bow), portato (2 notes per bow).

Tone production: "Prelude" requires a moderate amount of variety in bow distribution, speed, pressure, and sounding point. Good control of tone is needed on cantabile passages. Tone in the "Fugue" must be clean and clear. Changes from running sixteenths to longer note values require careful changes of bow speed, pressure, and sounding point. Added weight is needed on accents.

Dynamics: Narrow dynamic range (p to mf) in the "Prelude," with some subtle changes (e.g., mp cresc. mf dim. mp) following the natural rise and fall of the melodic line. Wider dynamic range (p to ff) in the "Fugue," with some gradual dynamic changes (cresc. and dim.) and some terraced dynamics. Dynamic changes often occur after a rest, allowing time to prepare.

String crossings: Moderate number of crossings to adjacent strings in the "Prelude." Some of these can be avoided by use of Violin Second and Third Positions. Bass has some pizzicato crossings from A to G string. "Fugue" requires quite frequent crossings to adjacent strings. Crossings on running sixteenths require good control of right hand and arm level. Bass has some crossings to non-adjacent strings, mainly pizz.

Chords: Two-note Viola and Cello chords in "Prelude" are to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Only Bass has pizz. The "Prelude" features pizz. quarter and eighth notes at a slow tempo, with time to prepare for changes between pizz. and arco. "Fugue" tempo is lively, but there are no pizz. notes shorter than an eighth, and rests provide time to prepare.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

"Fugue" is challenging because of the speed of right and left hand movements which must be exactly co-ordinated, especially when finger pattern changes and string crossings occur simultaneously.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Balance between melody and accompaniment requires sensitive listening and adjusting in the "Prelude." "Fugue" subject must be prominent as it passes from voice to voice.

Blend: In the "Prelude," Viola and Cello require good blend of tone on divisi accompanying quarter notes. Blend is also important on the melodic line. In the "Fugue," each voice must achieve a good blend of tone to aid the clarity of the polyphonic movement of voices.

Fluency: In the "Prelude," the melodic line must be smooth and fluent. Accompanying parts must follow the flow of the melody. In the "Fugue," running sixteenth notes must be very fluent. Players must feel the on-going musical flow of the fugue subject.

Intonation: Players must think vertically and horizontally when considering tuning. Intonation within each section and between sections requires work.

Phrasing: In the "Prelude," players should think in 4-bar phrases and should be aware that moving eighths link one phrase to the next. In the "Fugue," players should feel the phrasing of the subject to avoid a mechanical note-by-note effect.

Rhythm: In the "Prelude," the accompanying quarter notes must be steady but not too metronomic, and must follow the flow of the melodic line. Bass pizz. notes must not rush. In the "Fugue," a steady tempo must be maintained. Fugal entries must be clean and precise. Entries after rests require special care.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: A B A "Prelude." Three-voiced "Fugue."

Harmony: "Prelude" begins and ends in A-, with modulation to C+ (relative major) at the end of the first section. "Fugue" begins in A-. There is considerable chromatic alteration, especially between C and C-sharp, F and F-sharp, D and D-sharp, G and G-sharp, B and B-flat. In the final 3 bars, Cello and Bass play an A pedal. The final chord is A+.

Melody: "Prelude" features a cantabile melody in Violin with considerable use of melodic sequences. At letter A the cantabile melodic figure appears in Viola, contrasted with ascending arpeggio figures in Cello. A descending scale figure recurs throughout the B section (letters A to B), passing from voice to voice. In the "Fugue" subject, descending perfect fourth and ascending minor third are answered by descending perfect fifth and ascending perfect fourth. There is considerable conjunct motion in running sixteenth passages, with prominent ascending leap of a perfect fifth.

Rhythm: "Prelude" is Lento, 4/4 ( quarter note = 54). There is a ritard before letter B, and an "a tempo" at letter B. "Fugue" is Allegro, 3/4( quarter note = 80). There is a poco rit. in the final 2 bars.

Texture: "Prelude" features thick homophonic texture in A section. Divisi Viola and Cello provide chordal accompaniment to Violin melody. Thinner texture and more independence of voices in B section. Fugue texture is polyphonic. Viola begins, followed 2 bars later by Violin. Cello enters in bar 6. Bass sometimes doubles Cello but never plays the full subject.

Timbre: Contrasts between the cantabile style of the "Prelude" and the more rhythmic detache running sixteenths of the "Fugue," and between Bass pizz. and arco in the other instruments.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for teaching prelude and fugue form and for studying sequences. An interesting example of twentieth-century use of Baroque form and style. Valuable for developing aural and ensemble skills because the melody passes from part to part in both movements. Players must listen to the other voices, get their cues for entries from other voices, and work on balance between voices. "Fugue" is useful for developing technical facility in running sixteenths.

 

 

Composer: PEPA, MICHAEL

Title: SIMPLE SUITE FOR STRINGS

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

Duration: 6'30''

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFTHAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Patterns are mainly Easy and Medium.

Positions: Upper strings use only First Position, except where Violin II and Viola have free "echo glissando" slides. Cello uses Half and First Positions. Bass uses Half, First, Second and Third Positions.

Shifting: In Movement IV, all instruments except Violin I have free shifts up for "echo glissando." In Movements III and IV, Cello shifts between First and Half Positions. Movements IV and V require some Bass shifting.

Finger dexterity: Generally slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Trill figure in bars 1317 of Movement III requires good control. 8-bar Cello repeated figure in bars 2-9 of Movement III requires increased dexterity as the accelerando occurs.

Special effects: Movement IV "echo glissando" involves free slides up from given notes. Bass glissando-type effect is produced by rubbing the back of the instrument with the hand.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing: Detache, accented detache, martele, slur, ricochet, tremolo, staccato.

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

Dynamics: Range is from ppp to ff. Quite frequent dynamic changes, some rapid, some subtle.

String crossings: Movements I and V have a moderate number of bowed string crossings. Cello has repeated slurred crossings in Movement III. Elsewhere in Movements II and III, there are few string crossings. Movement IV has repeated slurred crossings.

Chords: Some pizz. chords in Movements I and II. Violins have bowed 2-note chords in Movements III and IV. 3 and 4-note ricochet chords in Movement III should be divisi. In Movement III, Viola and Cello have 2-note tremolo chords but other chords should be divisi.

Pizzicato: Movements I and II require some pizz. All instruments have some pizz. in Movement IV, including 2 snap pizz. notes. Bass has one pizz. passage in Movement V.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Generally, there are minimal technical demands in one hand when the other hand has a demanding technique. In Movement V, Violin I finger pattern changes and string crossings must be well co-ordinated.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed between moving melodic lines and accompanying voices, especially in Movement II where Viola plays the melody. In the pizz. passages in Movement IV, there must be good balance among the various instruments so that a unified ensemble effect is produced from the assorted pizz. notes played by Violin II, Viola, Cello and Bass.

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

Fluency: Fluency is needed in Movement III on the Cello repeated chromatic figure (bars 29) and measured accel. figures (bars 13-17); in Movement IV on repeated string crossings; in Movement V on Violin I eighth notes involving string crossings and finger pattern changes.

Intonation: Dissonances must be carefully tuned.

Phrasing: Players should observe dynamic markings which indicate the rise and fall of phrases.

Rhythm: Players must observe accents, count rests carefully, move together on rhythmic unisons, and observe metre and tempo changes. In Movement III, players must watch the conductor for cues following pauses or bars where the duration is indicated in seconds. Movement IV pizz. notes must be accurately placed.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: 5 short contrasting movements. Movement I (Entrada) and Movement II (In Phrygian Mode) feature repetition and development of melodic and rhythmic motives. Movement III (Rhythmic Fancies) is in free form. Movement IV (Kaleidosonic Images) has a short introduction followed by 3 brief Images which explore various string timbres. Movement V (Twelve Note Melody) uses dodecaphonic technique.

Harmony: Movement I lacks conventional harmonic motion. It is built on a simple pentatonic melody. Movement II is in the Phrygian mode on A (A Bb C D E F G). Movement III uses many dissonant chords. Repeated Cello chromatic figure in bars 2-9. Bass line centres on D and A. Movement IV lacks conventional harmonic motion. It opens with the building up of a dissonant tone cluster. Image I features isolated pizz. notes and concludes with B-flat octaves moving to A-flat octaves. Image II features percussive sounds followed by a repeated C-sharp G pattern in Cello and Bass. This pattern continues throughout Image III, over which wavering figures in upper voices move. These figures use minor and major sevenths. Movement V is atonal, based on a 12-note row.

Melody: Movement I features mainly repeated pitches and conjunct motion. Movement II has a smoothly flowing melodic line. Movements III and IV lack conventional melodic lines. Movement V features a dodecaphonic melody, quite angular in construction.

Rhythm: Movement I is in 2/2 with a steady pulse, Alla marcia, half note = 72. Simple rhythmic figures are repeated. Movement II is in 4/4 ( quarter note = 60-66). Elementary rhythmic patterns. Frequent ties over the barline. Movement III explores accel. effects. Some are precisely notated, others are freely notated. Metre changes occur (6/8 with the indication " dotted quarter note = slow to fast" in bar 2; 4/4 with quarter = 88 in bar 13; 5/4, 4/4, 3/4, 2/4 in bars 22-25 with the quarter note constant, producing an accel. effect since the orchestra plays only on beat one of each of these bars). Some rhythmic unisons. Movement IV begins in 4/4 ( quarter note = 60). Some freely notated bars, interspersed with 4 bars. The final bars of Image II and all of Image III are in 9/8 (2+2+2+3), eighth = 120. Viola and Violins produce free wavering effects over steady Cello eighths. Players are asked to "project the impression of spontaneity" in Movement IV. Movement V is in 4/4 ( quarter = 76-88). Elementary rhythmic patterns. Steady quarter note pulse in at least one voice in all but the final 3 bars.

Texture: Movement I features some rhythmic unison and some independent voice movement. Movement II has moving melodic lines in the upper voices with Cello and Bass harmonic and rhythmic support. Movement III textures vary from a single line to full texture including some divisi chords. Movement IV begins with a layered effect as a tone cluster is built up. Image I texture is thin. Image II features 2 thinly scored percussive bars separated by 2 bars with 4-part texture. Concludes with 4 bars of repeated Cello eighth notes with Bass punctuation at the beginning of each bar. Texture becomes thicker in Image III as wavering figures are added in upper voices over the Cello and Bass ostinato. Movement V has Violin I and Bass melodic lines with a repeated quarter note figure in Viola, joined sometimes by Cello, sometimes by Violin II. All voices move together on the final 3 chords.

Timbre: Various timbres are explored (e.g., tremolo with normal sounding point and sul ponticello; ricochet; smooth slurs; accented detache; regular and snap pizz., with gliss. effects on some pizz. notes; effects produced by "wavering" between strings; knuckle taps on the back of the instrument; gliss. effects produced by rubbing the back of the instrument with the hand).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

This suite aids rhythmic, aural, and ensemble development. Provides opportunities to explore unusual string timbres and to analyse contemporary notation and compositional techniques.

Composer: PEPA, MICHAEL

Title: "VARIATIONS AND FUGUE ON A PENTATONIC THEME" from ARCHE

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

Duration: 5'30''

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

1. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

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

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

Shifting. Bass rests provide time for shifts between Half and First Positions. The other instruments are not required to shift.

Finger dexterity: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, and Cello have generally moderate speed of finger changes and a moderate number of fingered string crossings. Bass has generally slow speed of finger changes and few fingered string crossings.

Special effects: Some grace notes in Fugue.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing Bass uses only detache and accented detache. The other instruments use detache, accented detache, tremolo, spiccato, flying spiccato (2 notes per bow), slur (2, 3, and 4 notes per bow).

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

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

String crossings: Moderate number of bowed string crossings, almost all to adjacent strings. Violin II and Cello have some repeated pizz. string crossings.

Chords: Violin I has one non-divisi 2-note chord in Variation II. Violin II has repeated 4-note pizz. chords in Fugue. Viola has 3 and 4-note pizz. chords. Cello 2-note pizz. chord at the end of Theme is to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Theme involves isolated pizz. notes in all voices. Violin II has repeated pizz. figures in the Fugue, with time to prepare for changes between arco and pizz. Viola has repeated 3-note pizz. chords throughout Variation I, and repeated 4-note pizz. chords in Fugue, with one quick change from pizz. to arco. Cello plays pizz. in the final bars of Variation III. Quick change from arco to pizz. may necessitate the use of left hand pizz. on the first open D of the pizz. passage. Bass has slow pizz. (whole notes) in Variation I, with a quick change to arco for the final note. Variations II and III require Bass pizz. at a moderate tempo with rests providing ample time for changes. Bass pizz. passage in Fugue requires some rapid crossings to non-adjacent strings, and one quick change from pizz. to arco.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Theme requires pizz. notes in all voices to be well balanced to produce a unified melodic line. Variations and Fugue require good balance so melody can be heard as it passes from voice to voice.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed when voices move in rhythmic unison. Fluency: The Frere Jacques melody must be fluently played in all its various guises.

Intonation: Dissonances must be carefully tuned.

Phrasing: Theme requires a well shaped phrase line even though each voice plays only individual notes. Variations and Fugue need well shaped phrases, following the dynamic markings.

Rhythm: Theme requires accuracy in placing the pizz. notes in each voice, exactly in tempo. Players must count rests and make entries accurately in Variations and Fugue. Grace notes in Fugue must be carefully played before the beat. Players must watch the conductor for tempo changes. Metre changes must be observed. 7/8 metre in Fugue needs special care.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Theme with 3 variations, followed by a fugue. Variation I is constructed on a ground bass. Variation II consists of 3 sections and a coda. (Sections 1 and 2 are binary in form. Section 3 features augmentation of the theme.) Variation III is a round with a Bass ostinato. Fugue features exposition, episodes, and stretti.

Harmony: Theme is in C diatonic pentatonic (C D E G A). Theme is treated pointillistically with only single notes or octaves, no chordal harmonization. Variation I uses the Hirajoshi pentatonic scale on G (G A B-flat D E-flat), and is built on a ground bass (B-flat E-flat G D A). Pepa notes on page 132 of Arche that Variation I "resolves on a chord that includes B", thus creating a quasi 'tierce di picardie effect."' Variation II alternates between 2 pentatonic scales: D Kumoi (D E F A B) and D Hirajoshi (D E F A B-flat). It ends in D diatonic pentatonic (D E F-sharp A B). Variation III features bitonality: G diatonic pentatonic (G A B D E) and D Pelog (D E-flat F A B-flat), with a D A ostinato. Fugue subject is in G Kumoi (G A Bb D E), and the answer is in D diatonic pentatonic (D E F-sharp A B), and thus, Pepa notes, "the tonic-dominant relationship is implied" (Arche, p. 133).

Melody: Theme is a pentatonic version of Frere Jacques, treated pointillistically, using open strings only. There are wide leaps as notes are passed from voice to voice. The 3 variations are based on the theme. Fugue subject and answer are ornamented versions of the theme.

Rhythm: Theme is in 4/8 ( eighth= 68) with a rallentando in the final 2 bars. Variation I is in 4/4 (quarter= 68) with a poco rit. in the final 2 bars. Variation II begins in 6/8 ( dotted quarter = 72); the second section changes to 2/4 ( quarter = 108); the third section changes to 4/4 (quarter = 54); the coda returns to 2/4 ( quarter = 108). Variation III is in 4/4 ( quarter = 68). Fugue is in 7/8 metre (3+2+2), with eighth = 172, and a poco rit. in the final 2 bars.

Texture: Varieties of texture are used. Theme is pointillistically orchestrated, passing note by note from one voice to another. Variation I features melody in Violin over a ground bass (Cello and Bass). Variation II, section 1, moves from 2-part texture to 3, 4 and 5 parts. Section 2 features solo Violin I, Viola, and Cello, with tutti Violin I, Viola, and Cello on the repeat. Section 3 features Bass theme with the other voices providing tremolo accompaniment. Coda features layered effects as it moves from 2 parts to 3, 4 and 5. Variation III also features layered effects. Viola begins the round, followed 2 bars later by Cello. In bar 7 Violin I enters, followed 2 bars later by Violin II. Bass provides an ostinato. Fugue features gradually thickening polyphonic textures. Violin I begins with the fugue subject, answered in bar 5 by Viola. Cello enters with the subject at letter A. Violin II answers 2 bars before letter B. Bass plays the subject augmented, beginning the seventh bar of B.

Timbre: Theme uses pizz. throughout. Variations I and III and Fugue feature contrasts between arco and pizz. Variation II features varieties of bowing styles (e.g., on- and off-the-string bowings, and muted tremolo).

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

This composition provides useful aural, rhythmic, and ensemble training. It is interesting for the study of pentatonic scales. Useful for analysis of compositional techniques and forms (e.g., pointillism, bitonality, theme and variations, fugue).

 

Composer: SCHIPIZKY, FREDERICK

Title: CHILDREN'S SUITE

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Bass (optional)

Duration: 4'

Availability: CMC

Level: Medium

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Easy finger patterns. Violin I has limited changes of pattern. The other instruments use a single pattern throughout.

Positions: Playable throughout in First Position. Violin I could use Third Position in Movement III on sixteenth note passages to avoid repeated string crossings.

Shifting: No shifting is required, although Violin I could shift to Third Position in Movement III for sixteenth note passages.

Finger dexterity: Sixteenth notes in Movement III require good finger dexterity.

Special effects: Violin I and Viola have some two-note fingered chords in Movement III.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

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

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

Dynamics: Quite frequent dynamic changes. Range is from p to ff.

String crossings: Violin I has repeated crossings between A and E strings on sixteenth note passages if First Position is used. (Repeated crossings can be avoided if Third Position is used.)

Chords: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola have some two-note chords.

Pizzicato: All instruments play Bartok pizzicato in Movement III. Quick change required between arco and pizzicato. Half the Cello section plays two pizzicato notes in Movement II. There is sufficient time to prepare for the change between arco and pizzicato. Bass has frequent use of pizzicato, usually with ample time to prepare for changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDlNATlON CHALLENGES

Violin I, Violin II, and Viola need good co-ordination between left and right hands on fingered sixteenth notes in Movement III.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance between melody and accompaniment is needed.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed, especially where voices move in rhythmic unison.

Fluency: Fingered sixteenth notes in the upper strings in Movement III must be fluently played.

Phrasing: Special care is needed where commas are indicated at the ends of phrases.

Rhythm: Bass entries after rests must be rhythmically accurate. "Hoe-down" (Movement III) must be rhythmically steady, precise.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Three short contrasting movements, with considerable use of repetition.

Harmony: Easy keys (D+ in Movements I and III, G+ in Movement II).

Melody: Simple melodies, featuring much conjunct movement.

Rhythm: Rhythmic patterns are generally simple. Movement I (Folk Song) is in 3/2 metre, with a quarter note = ca. 60. Movement II (Chorale) is an Adagio, in 4/4 metre. Movement III (HoeDown) is in 4/4 metre, with a quarter note = ca. 69.

Texture: Generally thick texture, except that Bass is not used in some sections of the piece. Some doubling of Violin I and II, and of Cello and Bass (sounding in octaves).

Timbre: Some variety in timbre is provided by changes of dynamic level, and changes between arco and pizzicato.

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: PATTERNS

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

Duration: 4'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of finger pattern changes. Patterns are mainly Easy and Medium.

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

Shifting: Bass has some simple shifts between Half and First Positions, and between First and Second Positions. The other instruments do not need to shift.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENGES

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

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

Dynamics: No dynamics are marked in the parts. The only marking in the score is a pp on the repeat of Movement II. Additional dynamics should be added to increase musical interest.

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings.

Chords: Viola has three three-note chords in Movement IV. These can be performed with one note in Viola I, two notes in Viola II. Cello has four three-note chords in Movement IV. These can be divided with one player on the upper note, one player on the lower two notes.

Pizzicato: Movement II is played pizzicato throughout except for the final three notes which are marked "arco, if wished."

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance between melody and accompaniment is needed.

Blend: Good blend of sound is needed when voices move together (eg., Viola, Cello, and Bass on accompanying chords in Movement I; all voices on block chords in Movement III; accompanying voices in Movement IV).

Fluency: Running eighth notes in Movement IV must be fluently played.

Intonation: Special care is needed when chromatic alterations occur.

Phrasing: Players must shape phrases to avoid a mechanical note-by-note effect, especially on the quarter notes which occur throughout Movement I and on the running eighth notes in Movement IV.

Rhythm: Tied notes must be carefully counted, and rests must get full value. In Movement III, the alternation between 3 and 2 requires careful counting and constant alertness. The running eighths in Movement IV must be steady.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Four short movements. The first is a free form movement, based on a repeated descending three-note pattern. Movement II features considerable use of repetition. Movement III uses A A' Coda form. The Violin melody of the first sixteen bars is repeated in the following sixteen bars, but with the rhythm and harmony changed. A short coda, based on the opening melody, concludes the movement. Movement IV also uses A A' Coda form. The eighth note melody of the opening sixteen bars is repeated in the following sixteen bars but in D+ instead of the original G+. A short coda concludes the movement.

Harmony: Movement I uses E- and G+, with some chromatic changes (e.g., alternation between B and B-flat, E and E-flat). Movement II is in A-. Movement III is in E-, with frequent parallel movement (e.g., parallel fifths, sixths, octaves). Movement IV is in G+, with change of key to D+ at bar 17. Some augmented and added sixth chords are used.

Melody: Generally small melodic range. Movements I and II are based on descending three-note patterns, and feature mainly conjunct motion. Movement III is based on the interval of a third (ascending and descending). Movement IV features running scale patterns, often ascending only four notes before descending.

Rhythm: For Movement I, metre is cut time, tempo is half note = 96. Based on descending three-note pattern in quarter notes, with the accent falling on different notes of the pattern from bar to bar. For Movement II, metre is 3/4. Movement III alternates between 3/4 and 2/4 metres. For the first sixteen bars, the pattern is a bar of 3/4 followed by a bar of 2/4 . At bar 17, the pattern is reversed (2/4 3/4). Beginning at bar 33, the 3+2 pattern alternates with 2+3. Voices almost always move in rhythmic unison. Movement IV metre is 3/4. Running eighth notes are passed from voice to voice, sometimes appearing in two or three voices at once.

Texture: Generally thick homophonic texture, although melodic interest passes from voice to voice.

Timbre: The pizzicato sounds of Movement II contrast with the sustained bowed sounds of the other movements.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Provides useful rhythmic training (e.g., alternation between 3/4 and 2/4 metres in Movement III; hemiola rhythm in Movement II; three-note patterns in cut time metre in Movement I). Aids ensemble development as all instruments have opportunities to play melody and rhythmic accompaniment. Aids the development of musical understanding. (Students can identify the melodic and rhythmic patterns and can analyse how they are used.) Work on chromatic alterations (e.g., B, B-flat, A-sharp in Movement I) can build students' aural skills.

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: RONDO

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

Duration: 3'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medlum

 

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Violins and Viola use Easy and Medium finger patterns. Cello uses frequent backward extensions.

Positions: Violin II, Viola, and Cello use First Position only. Violin I can play everything in First Position, but some use of Half Position is recommended in bars 50-57 in order to avoid repeated first finger chromatic alterations. Bass uses First Position throughout except in the third bar of letter B where Half Position is needed.

Shifting: Violin II, Viola, and Cello are not required to shift. One simple shift from First Position to Half Position and back to First Position is recommended for Violin I. Bass has one shift from First to Half Position and back to First Position. Open strings provide time to prepare.

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

II. RIGHTHAND CHALLENGES

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

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

Dynamics: Few dynamics are indicated in the score. They are used only to indicate where the moving line or the melody is to be brought out. Some other dynamics should be added to make the piece more interesting musically.

String crossings: Moderate number of crossings.

Chords: Violin II, Viola, and Cello two-note chords are to be played divisi. The score indicates no chords for Bass, but the part indicates divisi octaves in bars 2-4 of letter B.

Pizzicato: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola play pizzicato at letter F, and return to arco at letter G. Quick changes from arco to pizzicato and vice versa. (There is only an eighth rest during which to make the change.) The final note for Cello and Bass is pizzicato. Rests provide time to prepare for the change from arco to pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDlNATlON CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Cello melody at letter F must be clearly heard.

Blend: Accompanying voices must blend well.

Intonation: Special care is needed when modulations occur.

Phrasing: Cut-offs on rests at the ends of phrases must be exactly together.

Rhythm: Sixteenth notes must be steady. They must fit precisely with the accompanying eighth notes.

 

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Rondo form (A B A bridge C A C bridge A D A coda).

Harmony: D+ with some modulations to closely related keys. Contrasts between major and minor tonalities are featured (D+ contrasting with D- and B-).

Melody: The melody moves mainly by step or by small skips. There is frequent use of repeated pitches. The largest leap is an octave. Simple chords are often outlined (e.g., D F-sharp A in bars 1,3,5,7,etc.).

Rhythm: Metre is C. There is no indication of tempo in the score. A moderate tempo would seem appropriate. Elementary rhythmic patterns featuring half, quarter, dotted quarter, eighth, dotted eighth, and sixteenth note values.

Texture: Generally thick homophonic texture. Melody is in Violin I except at letter F where Cello has the melody. Other voices sometimes double Violin I (e.g., Violin II, Viola)..

Timbre Pizzicato at letter F and in the final bar ontrasts with the on-the-string bowing used throughout the rest of the piece.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for teaching chromatic alterations, extensions, and changes between major and minor tonality. Valuable for analysis of rondo form.

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: SONG FOR A SUMMER DAY

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

Duration: 5'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFTHAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of finger pattern changes. Patterns are Easy and Medium.

Positions: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola use only First Position. Bass uses Half and First Positions. All Cello notes are playable in First Position except for one note in bar 28 which requires the use of a higher position (Second or Fourth Position).

Shifting: Violin I, Violin II, and Viola do not need to shift. Bass has some simple shifts between Half and First Position. One simple Cello shift out of First Position is required in bar 28.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Violin I, Violin II, and Viola have a few chromatic alterations involving the slide of a finger.

II. RIGHT-HAND CHALLENGES

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

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

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

String crossings: Moderate number of bowed string crossings.

Chords: Viola and Cello two-note chords are to be played divisi.

Pizzicato: Some pizzicato at a moderate pace. Some quick changes between arco and pizzicato.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

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

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

Fluency: The simple folk melody should be played lightly and fluently, and the accompanying voices should follow the flow of the melody.

Intonation: Careful tuning is needed when chromatic alterations occur.

Phrasing: All students, whether playing the melody or an accompanying line, should observe the four-bar phrases of the folk melody. The phrases should be shaped to follow the rise and fall of the melodic line.

Rhythm: The repeated syncopated rhythm ( eighth-quarter-eighth) must be played precisely. Precision is especially important when voices move in rhythmic unison. Players must follow the conductor on tempo changes.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: This piece consists of a variety of treatments of a simple folk melody. The introduction, bridge sections, and coda feature rhythmic and/or melodic fragments derived from the folk tune. Augmentation and canonic treatment of the melody are used. Metre changes are also used to provide variety.

Harmony: The folk melody is in the Aeolian mode. Strachan's setting centres on E- but with some use of chromaticism and seventh chords. Open fifths and parallel fifths are frequently used. Repeated bass notes produce pedal effects (e.g., bars 13-20, 21-24, and 41-47). The Bass ostinato (bars 25-31) recurs in 5/4 metre in bars 89-95.

Melody: Simple, familiar Canadian folk melody, Land of the Silver Birch.

Rhythm: Metre is C with a change to 3/4 for bars 69-88, to 5/4 for bars 89-96, and to 4/4 for bar 97 to the end. There is no tempo indication in the score at the beginning, but bar 101 is marked slower, bar 102 is marked ritard, bar 103 is marked lively, and bar 108 is marked slow. There is a pause on the half note in the final bar. The eighth-quarter-eighth syncopated rhythm recurs throughout the piece in the melody and in the accompaniment. There is some use of rhythmic augmentation ( eighth-quarter-eighth becomes quarter-half-quarter and half-whole-half). Rhythmic ostinato effects are used in the accompanying voices.

Texture: Generally thick homophonic texture, but with some independence of voices. Melody passes from voice to voice and is treated canonically in bar 42 ff.

Timbre: Contrasts between arco and pizzicato are featured.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Useful for analysing various compositional techniques for treating a melody (e.g., canon, augmentation, changing metres). Provides valuable rhythmic training (e.g., changing metres, syncopation, augmentation).

 

Composer: STRACHAN, BRIAN

Title: STILE CONCERTANTE

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

Duration: 2'

Availability: Composer

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENCES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern. Patterns are mainly Easy and Medium.

Positions: Violins have no notes outside the range of First Position, but occasional use of Second and Third Positions is recommended. Viola and Cello use only First Position. Bass uses Half and First Positions.

Shifting: A few simple shifts are recommended for Violin I and II. Viola and Cello are not required to shift. Bass has some straight forward shifts.

Finger dexterity: Moderate speed of finger changes. Considerable use of repeated notes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Only Cello has a leap greater than an octave, and that occurs during a rest, giving time to prepare. Violin I has some simple chromatic alterations requiring the slide of a finger (A-sharp to B with first finger).

Special effects: Violin I has some two-note chords which involve two fingered notes, but the finger combinations are not difficult. Violin I and II have some half note trills.

II. RIGHT HAND CHALLENCES

Types of bowing: Violins play detache, two-note slurs and slurred staccato. Viola, Cello, and Bass play detache only.

Tone production: Bow distribution is generally quite constant (mainly repeated patterns of detache eighth or sixteenth notes).

Dynamics: Obvious dynamic changes. Mainly contrasts between f and p, creating the tutti vs. concertante effect. Dynamic changes often occur after a rest, allowing time to prepare.

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings, mainly to adjacent strings, often in ascending or descending scale passages.

Chords: Violin I has a short passage of two-note chords requiring short detache bow strokes.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

Bow and left hand finger changes must be exactly together in passages where the pitch changes on each eighth note.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Viola, Cello, and Bass must not overpower Violin I and II.

Blend: The homophonic texture requires a good blend of sound. Where Cello and Bass are answered by Violin I, Violin II, and Viola (at letter D and after letter I), Cello and Bass must blend well, as must the upper instruments. Uniformity of bowing should help the players to achieve the required blend of tone.

Fluency: Players must move together, feeling the flow of the eighth and sixteenth notes so the piece does not bog down.

Intonation: Players must tune the chords carefully, adjusting if necessary on repeated notes. Unisons and octaves require careful listening and tuning.

Phrasing: Thinking in four-bar phrases will help players to keep the repeated eighth notes moving musically.

Rhythm: Rhythm must be precise since voices often move together. Rhythmic pairing of voices at letter D and after letter I requires precision. Eighth notes must be very even. Sixteenth notes must not rush. Rests must be carefully counted. There are no tempo indications in the score. A moderate tempo would seem appropriate to accommodate the sixteenth notes.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Three main sections, with considerable use of repetition. The A section (from the beginning to letter C) features repeated sixteenth notes in Violins and Viola. This is contrasted with a more lyrical B section (letter C), featuring a slurred "dotted quarter to eighth" figure in Violins and a more articulated C section (letter D), where Cello and Bass are answered by Violins and Viola. There is a return to material from the A section at letter E. The B section recurs in the relative minor at letter F. Ideas from the C section are developed at letter H. The A section returns with the Da Capo, and this is followed by a coda again based on section A.

Harmony: Straight forward use of conventional harmony. Begins and ends in D+ with modulation to B- (relative minor) at letter F.

Melody: The A section has little melodic interest. It features considerable use of repeated notes and much conjunct motion. The B section has more melodic interest. The Violin melody is derived from the underlying chords and features skips of thirds, fourths, and fifths. The C section uses ascending scale figures in Cello and Bass, answered by descending scale figures in Violins and Viola.

Rhythm: Straight forward rhythmically. Steady eighth note pulse throughout. Metre is C. No tempo changes. Much use of rhythmic unison.

Texture: Mainly thick homophonic texture. Violins and Viola answer Cello and Bass at letter D and after letter I. Some divisi in Violin I and Viola.

Timbre: Dynamics provide the only variety.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

Valuable for developing string playing techniques and ensemble playing skills. Useful study in detache bowing, dynamics, maintaining a steady eighth note pulse, moving together rhythmically, and tuning repeated notes, unisons, and octaves.

 

Composer: WILLAN, HEALEY

Title: FUGUE IN G MINOR

Instrumentation: Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello

Duration: 3'

Availability: CMC

Level: Medium

TECHNICAL CHALLENGES

I. LEFT HAND CHALLENGES

Finger patterns: Moderate number of changes of finger pattern for Violins and Viola, with patterns being Easy and Medium. Cello uses some forward and backward extensions.

Positions: Violin I uses First, Second, and Third Positions. Cello uses First and Second Positions. All Violin II and Viola notes are playable in First Position, but some use of Second and Third Positions in Violin II and some use of Viola Third Position may be used to help avoid string crossings.

Shifting Violin I must make a few simple shifts. Cello has one simple shift from First to Second Position and back to First Position. No shifts are essential for Violin II and Viola, but a few simple shifts are recommended.

Finger dexterity: Slow to moderate speed of finger changes. Moderate number of fingered string crossings. Largest leaps are octaves (Violin II, Viola, and Cello). Viola has one chromatic alteration involving the slide of a finger.

Special effects: None except for a written-out turn in the second last bar (Violin I).

II. RIGHTHAND CHALLENGES

Types of bowing Detache, slur (up to four 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 f.

String crossings: Moderate number of string crossings.

III. LEFT-RIGHT HAND CO-ORDINATION CHALLENGES

No special challenges.

IV. ENSEMBLE CHALLENGES

Balance: Good balance is needed so that the fugue subject can be heard clearly, especially in the thickly scored sections.

Blend: A good blend of sound within each section of the orchestra is needed to achieve clarity of contrapuntal voice movement.

Fluency: A smooth, flowing musical effect should be sought. The fugue subject should pass smoothly from voice to voice to avoid a choppy, disjointed effect.

Intonation: Care is needed when chromatic alterations occur.

Phrasing: Phrases must be well shaped and sustained.

Rhythm: The tempo should be slow but it should not be allowed to drag. Tied notes should be carefully counted.

MUSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Form: Short four-voice fugue.

Harmony: Tonal. Fugue subject enters in G- (Cello) and is answered in D- (Viola). Then Violin II plays the subject in G-, answered by Violin I in D-. The fugue ends in G- but with a raised third in the final tonic chord.

Melody: Fugue subject features the interval of a third ascending and descending. There are no leaps greater than an octave and there is considerable use of conjunct motion.

Rhythm: Metre is 4/4. Tempo is slow (lento), with a molto rall. in the final four bars. Straight forward rhythms featuring whole, half, dotted half, quarter, eighth, and sixteenth note values.

Texture: Polyphonic. The instruments enter in ascending order (Cello, Viola, Violin II, Violin I), after which the texture remains generally thick.

Timbre: Rich, warm, sustained string sound is required throughout.

PEDAGOGICAL VALUE

All parts are musically interesting since the fugue subject passes from voice to voice. Useful for developing sustained tone and smooth bow changes. Presents an opportunity for students to analyse fugue form. Aids in the development of aural skills and ensemble playing skills because all players must listen carefully and adjust sensitively in order to achieve good balance.

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