Last month, I decided to browse through and listen to about 20 string quartets in order to select a few to study more closely. Here are the pieces I have decided to study in the most depth:
- Rochberg, George, String Quartet No. 3 (1972)
- Husa, Karel, String Quartet No. 3 (1968)
As well as a few others:
- Martinů, Bohusla, String Quartet No. 6 (1946) (I plan to focus on movement one.)
- Lutosławski, Witold, String Quartet (1964)
- Penderecki, Krzystof, Quartetto Per Archi (1960)
I’ve chosen to study these pieces for several different reasons. Many of them include experimental notation that I may try to toy with or modify. All of them have contrapuntal textures that I would like to learn from. However, one of the main techniques that I have been inspired to explore is the use of extremes in tessitura, such as voicing a passage in such a way that all of the instruments are playing sky-high pitches within the same register and therefore colored in completely different ways. An A5 coming out of a cello, for example, is much different in character than the same pitch coming out of a violin. It is my strong interest in coloring notes in innovative ways that also contributes to my desire to explore these pieces.
I’m thinking of finding a way to create some type of “toolkit”–an ongoing journal–of the techniques I’d like to remember.