Monday, August 3, 2015

String Quartet No. 2

This is an older piece, which I had not posted previously because I couldn't get an acceptable quality virtual performance with my old sound library. The new sound library, while not perfect, made about as close an approximation to a decent performance as possible without professional players. It's far from what I'd call a good performance, but as I don't personally know a professional string quartet, this will have to do for now. I'm not sure if the sul ponticello effects are noticeable enough but left them all in, and I didn't like the quality of the col legno sounds, so removed them.

It's a four movement quartet, based on the octatonic scale. The first movement, slow and restrained, follows it strictly, using only the notes E-F#-G-A-Bb-C-C#-D#. The second movement, fast and rather violent, adds the F, and is the only movement that maintains a single time signature throughout. The third movement, opening on a B, starts as a cello solo for about the first half, and once all the others join in picks up speed and intensity, then the instruments drop out one by one, leaving the end as a shorter viola solo along the lines of the cello's opening. This is the movement that suffers most from lack of live players. The quartet closes with another fast movement, slightly faster and more scherzo-like than the second, adding the D near the beginning and finally G# around the middle.

Overall, the entire piece is a good bit less "user friendly" than my more recent stuff, the final movement probably being the most accessible. The best thing about posting this is the encouragement it gives me to finish my SQ#3, which employs a more traditional tonality (mostly) and more regular time signatures (mostly).

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