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Spoon284

Fast Rotation Between Pizz and Arco

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Hello everyone!

This is my first post here. I'm writing a piece for string quartet and I have written a number of passages with fast rotation between pizz and arco. I'm just wondering if these passages are playable, and if so, how difficult are they? I'm also a bit concerned about my use of multiple stops - pretty much all of them use open strings but I'm not sure of that makes them easy or playable. Here are a few excerpts of what I've done so far (basically the bits I'm worried about). Please don't yell at me about my sloppy notation - I will get around to fixing that eventually. The tempo is crotchet = 100, all treble clef examples are from first violin and all bass clef examples are from cello. Oh, and there's a small error in the first example. The high F and everything after the second pizz in the second bar is supposed to be arco but I've obviously chopped those markings off by accident.

pizzarcolv3.jpg

Thanks, Spoon284.

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Hello, Spoon284, welcome to Young Composers!

Clearly, this is the kind of piece where you'd have quite advanced performers. Personally, I'd avoid changes as quick as that, especially if you want all the notes to come out clearly. If you're getting this performed, speak with the performers closely about it to get an indication of what's comfortable for them specifically (not the most helpful advice, I know..).

As for the triple/quadruple stops, it depends on the dynamics, really. To play them, the performers need to be playing quite loudly (arco. anyway), otherwise it won't come out properly.

Anyway, I'm not a strings player, that's just my general advice as a composer, but I thought I'd try to help, anyway, since it's nice to see a new face in the forum!

Welcome again,

Michael.

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As a strings player myself, its a lot easier to switch to pizz than to arco than the other way but ive only been playing for about 6 years and my experience is mostly on bass. You're writings for switching to plucking are quite feasible but when you have to pluck three strings like you called for in the first example it is rather difficult.

The second example is probably a little more difficult than I would ask even a professional to play but if its VERY important than leave it and if a player questions it just tell them to practice it until they can do it

The 3rd example isn't to bad but asking for four strings to be plucked is always somewhat frustrating while maneuvering a bow, especially when going right back to bowing.

4th example is fine as well.

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Ok, cool. Thanks for your responses - I'll try to keep my use of triple and quadruple stops to a minimum. The second example is kind of important but I'll see what I can do to get around it. I should be able to write in some snap pizz. in the viola part which should work fine.

Thanks again, Spoon284.

EDIT: Wait, I think you've skipped one of the examples. By "the second example" do you mean the no. 2 (cello) or no. 3 (violin)?

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First excerpt: That switch in the second bar is pretty impossible, I would keep it all arco or pizz (probably arco for clarity), you could have the second beat pizz but you just can't really change between pizz and arco when using semiquavers.

The chord on the first beat, if you chose to do it arco, I would write the G and C as a grace note before the A. Unless you really want it played differently, it'd just be easier that way because the player will feel they can use open strings. If you would like me to explain that further.. I will..

The second excerpt, there's no time for snap pizz there, you could use normal pizz because it's an open string so the player can use their left hand. But otherwise you can't fit a snap pizz in that time. If you choose to do normal pizz just write "L.H" above it, or I think there may be a symbol.. not sure.. The player would likely do that without it being indicated, anyway.

For the third one, the pizz in the second bar is not possible, I don't think. Again, not enough time. If it was an open string or something, left hand pizz would work there again.

Fourth one is fine. As is the fifth. Although all of them will indeed need very high standard players for everything to be clear and accurate!

Hope this was helpful.

Camilla

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I've just had a random thought - col legno might work in place of some of the snap pizz. Would that be playable in the second excerpt? I know it's a different effect but I think it would work.

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Hmm.. it'd still be pretty difficult. I think you'd be better off going for the left hand pizz. See what other people have to say. I can try playing it that way tomorrow if you'd like and I can get back to you. I just won't be home before then.

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Ferkungamabooboo: Interesting idea, but I would be hesitant to do that for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the pizz. group wouldn't really have a huge amount to do. Most of the pizzicato consists of one note interjections. Secondly, I would be hesitant to write anything for a double string quartets since there aren't too many of those around. Still, an interesting suggestion. It could potentially have worked if I had used the pizz. a bit differently.

Anyway, I will hopefully get around to fixing the piece at some point soon and I will post what I have done in the incomplete works forum.

Thanks again everyone,

Spoon284.

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