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String Quartet Texture Models (Page 1)

Look at and listen to a wide variety of WCT string quartet textures that you can steal ideas from. Many of these textures are different ways of presenting what might otherwise be just held block chords, a texture that is very rare  …

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SQ Model 1 – Mozart, String Quartet KV 156, I: Presto, bb. 1-19

  • Melody dominated homophony with melody in first violin
  • Oom-cha-cha accompaniment with second violin and viola filling in the harmonies. You could rhythmically adapt this to any time signature


SQ Model 2 – Mozart String Quartet KV 157 I: bb. 1-8

  • Top two parts mostly in thirds
  • Simple bass line adds energy with repeated quavers
  • Note how viola fills in the gaps at the end of the second and fourth bars.


SQ Model 3a – Haydn, Quartet op. 2 no. 5, Menuetto, bb. 1-10

  • Melody-dominated homophony at opening
  • Texture is lightened and rhythm given a lift by lack of accompaniment on first beat
  • parallel thirds between second violin and viola in bar 5 and 7 acts as a filler in between the fragments of melody in the first violin
  • violins are in octave unison for the cadence – very common in early Haydn


SQ Model 3b – Haydn, Quartet op. 77 no. 1 I: Allegro moderato, bb. 1-20

  • Simple homophonic texture energised by staccato crotchets
  • Note echo of main melody in second violin in bar 4
  • Note how the idea and texture is developed from the upbeat to bar 9 for the second half of the phrase.
  • Note how the viola can play in thirds where necessary to fill out the texture (and the second violin could too)


SQ Model 4 – Haydn, Quartet op. 3 no. 5, Andante Cantabile

  • Gentle pizzicato accompaniment in which the
  • the violin II and viola move in quavers and this rhythmic idea is grounded by a slower bass part
  • Notice that all the notes of the chord are covered all of the time


SQ Model 5 – Haydn, Quartet op. 76 no. 5 IV: Presto, bb. 1-20

Alternation of two contrasting ideas:

  1. Homophonic repeated cadential idea (bb. 1-6)
  2. Double pedal with melody first over the top in the violin and then underneath in the cello


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