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My first composition for strings!!


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As the title implies, this is my first composition for strings. Coincidentally it's also my first thing in a sonata like form. Tell me what you think! I don't shy away from constructive criticism. 

As a note: I do enjoy dissonance, both as a composer and a performer, but I know that some people do not enjoy that in the same way.

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The first movement sounds so great, I don't mind all those seconds you have in there, because the bass makes the harmonies clear enough. I can see why some people didn't like your second, slow movement(or Scherzo?). The harmony sounds augmented, like it is based around the augmented triad and that naturally gives a sort of creepy ambiance. I don't mind the sound of the augmented triad at all, in fact, I have used it for distant modulations. The middle of the third movement, after the drama of the A section, is dialed back to a canon-like passage and I love it. The fourth movement I think uses tremolo to a great effect.

You are definitely better than me when it comes to writing for string quartet. I find string quartet to be the hardest ensemble to compose for because there's no place to hide, you have to get the balance just right and with 2 violins, that becomes much harder than with the string trio. And sure, there have been string quartets with 2 violas or 2 cellos instead, but they are very rare. And on top of all that, there are already hundreds if not thousands of pieces written for string quartet. Every other quartet besides vocal quartets has less repertoire than string quartet that is original compositions. I often get stuck in a "What am I going to do for Violin II?" state when I try to compose for string quartet and thus have never finished a string quartet piece. One way I combat this is to simply write for a bigger string ensemble or include the piano. Piano + String Quartet I can do perfectly fine. It's when I try to take out the Piano and just compose for a String Quartet by itself that it becomes super hard.

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Thank you very much! I will admit, I don't know a ton of music theory (something I'm trying hard to improve on), so this was a challenge for me. It was also the first thing I've ever written in a sonata form which added another layer of complexity as I've tried in the past and failed miserably. When it comes to writing for the Violin II part especially, I find that it can be quite effective to work with it as though it is almost like the Alto part of a vocal ensemble. It seems easy enough on paper, but its voice really determines the tone and the harmony that is present which can make it extremely difficult in practice.

I must have reworked this piece as a whole at least 6 times before I was satisfied with it. It was mostly because of balance issues, oddly enough I never reworked the first movement because I was almost entirely pleased with it from the very beginning. My process for that movement was writing the melody first (in this case in the Violin I part), and then the Viola, then Cello, and Violin II last. This allowed me to build the beginnings of chords before filling them out with the Violin II part. I'm not sure exactly why it worked but it did so... I'm certainly not complaining.

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