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String Quartet No. 3 in C minor

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My third Opus 2 quartet, it's particularly influenced by Haydn in the first and third movements. I wrote this back in September of 2017. I always appreciated feedback, so don't hesitate!

Sorry about the trills in the third movement, Musescore's trills are not so good.


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Good attempt, though not without very many problems. You have a reasonable grasp on the harmony and stock phrases of the style, but there's much to improve. Unfortunately, I don't have the time to look at this at any great detail.

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I agree, it's quite nice harmonically, there's very little that sounds 'wrong' to me. My issue is that it doesn't really do anything all that interesting. It doesn't tend to modulate, or go on journeys. I think bar 31 of the minuet was the first bar that really stood out colour-wise because of your harmonic choices. To be honest, I probably wouldn't enjoy an actual Haydn quartet all that much, so maybe I'm not the best judge here, but I would very much encourage you to start branching out and experimenting with the harmonies and structures of later periods, because you clearly have a very good foundation. Perhaps play around with sonata form.

One harmony that stood out in a bad way was the F in the cello in bar 12 of the adagio. I'm not sure exactly why it sounds out of place, but for me, leaving out the F and just going Bb for a crotchet, then leaping up to the other Bb would work better there. Bar 37 of the adagio also felt slightly off, probably because of the Ab in the second violin part.

The finale definitely felt the most 'fun' for me, and I think that's where you really started to play around a little with appoggiaturas and a little more experimental harmony. Keep going in that direction! I will also say though that the ending didn't feel satisfying, like it arrived too soon without a conclusive finish.

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Nicely done. You have clearly studied the Galant Style and the early Viennese Classic. One thing to consider for a string quartet how to make it interesting for all four players. It is a very intimate setting that requires great skill to balance the voices. You should think of the poor viola player who often has a very reduced supporting role. Perhaps you could lighten the burden of the two violin players and give the cello and viola a bit more to do. 

As @johnbucket hints at, there is also some room for improvement. E.g. in the menuetto, it would be nice if it modulated from c minor to either Es Major or g minor to add some tension at the end of the first strain, and then back to c minor before the trio. The tonal contrast of the trio is very nice, btw. Alas, I lack the time to comment your piece more thoroughly, but I hope this helps a bit.

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Posted (edited)

Nice classical-style piece. Harmny is generally good with some issues.
0:18 and similar spots: use first inversion instead of root position
1:33 and other similar spots: The second violin should play Ab while the viola should play Bb, sounds better
2:21: pause too long, fill it in a bit
I felt that the first movement lacked a development and the theme stuff was repeated too many times.
7:33 and similar spots: the cello part should play D3, Eb3, Bb2 and Eb3 (in that order) instead of F3, G3, Ab3 and G3 (in similar spots, you may have to transpose listed notes down an octave)
8:3 and similar spots: no need to change to first inversion here
8:21: middle C should preferrably be Bb, it's the one just before the chord with F in the bass
8:26: no need for the viola part to move from Bb to C to D, just stick with Bb
8:28: F instead of Eb in cello part
8:42: after Ab in violin 1, there should be an F, then Eb (F was missing)
8:51 and similar spots: F instead of Ab, viola part
9:2: third of Bb dominant 7th missing in harmony parts (I'd rather you omit the fifth)
9:59: violin 1 should fill pauses with 16th notes
10:1: second violin should harmonize first violin with 3rds instead of what's currently written
10:5: Ab doesn't fit, a typo, probably
10:38: G missing
Cello should end 3rd movement with Eb3 Bb2 Eb2 instead of just Eb2.
The 4th movement should start with more motion to make it sound like a more appealing finale movement.
12:26: the previous figure should repeat 2 instead of 3 times
Extent the coda and make it more exciting.

Edited by ilv
Add details.

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