The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet by Robin Stowell

By Robin Stowell

This significant other deals a concise and authoritative survey of the string quartet through 11 chamber tune experts. Its fifteen conscientiously dependent chapters supply assurance of a stimulating diversity of views formerly unavailable in a single quantity. It specializes in 4 major parts: the social and musical heritage to the quartet's improvement; the main celebrated ensembles; string quartet taking part in, together with facets of up to date and historic appearing perform; and the mainstream repertory, together with major 'mixed ensemble' compositions concerning string quartet. numerous musical and pictorial illustrations and informative appendixes, together with a chronology of the main major works, entire this quintessential consultant. Written for all string quartet lovers, this better half will improve readers' knowing of the background of the style, the context and value of quartets as cultural phenomena, and the musical, technical and interpretative difficulties of chamber track functionality. it's going to additionally improve their adventure of hearing quartets in functionality and on recordings.

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6 cm) remained essentially unchanged. 02 cm) and thinner (by c. 18 mm) neck and set it at an angle of 4–5 degrees from the body of the instrument (with the level of the nut just below that of the table),6 thus eliminating the need for an impossibly cumbersome wedge between fingerboard and neck, in order to enable the fingerboard closely to follow the angle of the strings for clear tone production (see Fig. 1). 25 cm) and resultant tonal benefits. The typical neck of most original Baroque and early Classical violins protruded from the instrument roughly at right angles to the ribs; it was generally glued to the body and secured by three nails driven from inside the block.

He eventually concluded that pernambuco wood (Caesalpinia echinata) best satisfied these requirements. 50 Tourte also standardised the length and weight of bows of the violin family, determining the ideal length of the violin bowstick to be 74–5 cm (providing a playing length of approximately 65 cm and a balance point about 19 cm above the frog) and the optimum overall weight as about 56– 60 g, somewhat lightweight by modern standards. Viola bows were slightly shorter (c. 3–61 cm) and heavier still.

The leader dominated the quartet, unless it was one of the all-star ensembles which arose from time to time. One famous Viennese group headed its programmes: ‘Hellmesberger Quartet with the assistance of Messrs Math. Durst, Carl Heissler, Carl Schlesinger’. The role of the primarius was often blatantly superior musically, as such composers as Spohr and Rode favoured the quatuor brillant in which the other three parts provided little more than a background for the first violin. If the players in professional quartets gradually became more equal, this change was due as much to the kind of music being written as to any democratisation of the musical profession.

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