String Quartet Textures (Page 2)

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 6 Beethoven, Quartet op. 59 no. 1, I bb. 1-19

Melody appears first in cello and then in first violin, with a quaver accompaniment in both cases. The quavers keep a sense of energy that would otherwise be lacking.


SQ Model 7 Beethoven, Quartet op. 18 no. 4, I bb. 1-13

  • Tension created by quaver pedal in cello with inner part initially just filling in with long notes
  • As the the passage builds to a climax, the inner parts start playing quavers too and towards the end the viola plays two notes so that the violin II can reinforce the high violin I part an octave below


SQ Model 8 Mozart, String Quartet KV 458  IV: Allegro assai, bb 1-24

  • Begins monophonic
  • Bars 3 and 7 adds violin and viola
  • Bar 11 adds cello to reinforce the same basic texture
  • From bar 17 the question and answer texture is basically two-part writing for four instruments as the violins are in octaves as are the viola and cello


SQ Model 9 Beethoven, Quartet op. 18 no. 1, I bb. 1-8

  • Octave unison texture in first four bars contrasts with fuller homophonic texture in second half of phrase
  • Note how the second half of the extract takes the opening motif as its starting point


SQ Model 10 Beethoven, Quartet op. 18 no. 4, I bb. 21-29

This passage plays with the motif from the opening of the previous extract

  • Bars 2-6 is basically a sequence in the second violin but the first violin adds a repetition of the same idea over the top of the appoggiatura figure
  • Bars 7-9 is similar but is a one-bar sequence rather than a two-bar sequence
  • The rest of the passage is a sort of counterpoint between violin one and cello, whilst the inner parts play repeated quavers


SQ Model 11 Mozart, String Quartet KV 156, I: Presto, bb. 72-94

This looks complicated but the second violin is basically just a decorated pedal note that acts as an ostinato whilst other instruents play in parallel sixths around it. There is also an element of imitation in the between the viola and the others.


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