Four-part harmony is a traditional way of harmonizing a melody for four "voices" either literal human voices, or instruments. Many introductory harmony courses teach four-part writing because it is a straightforward method for learning chord voicing, good part motion, and proper treatment of dissonances. Contemporary arrangements and scores use variations of these techniques all the time.
Here I have some further thoughts that are often overlooked. String quartets require you to be careful about more than notes. Even though the three there are two violins in the quartet instruments belong to the same family, they have each their own perks: You can achieve various effects using the same notes.
The middle C will sound warm but a little bit scratchy on the violin. The viola will get a velvet-ish tone, very smooth and nice, responding well to virtually every bow pressure.
In the cello, you get a poignant, brittle, strained sound, carrying a very different emotional status. That said, we get into two very important considerations: The viola and the cello are there not just to "fill" into your voice leading You can and should call them into action every time you want to make a given note stand out and the violins are busy or cannot sound very clear on a low register, for instance.
The viola is often overlooked as a "long note, lower voice" instrument, but its higher register can be used to great dramatic effect, while letting room for the violins to get "dreamy" into their ethereal treblest notes think of harmonics, sul ponticello or low bow pressure [AKA flautando].
The same way of thinking is valid when you want some melody to "emerge" from the lower voices. The cello going up and getting to its highest register from G2 up gets even greater drama and aggregates more "weight" to any melody intended.
Second, there are two players, who can desire either some prominence in your arrangement and also some rest from rapid or intense solo passages. Other thoughts relate to the ways of playing. Aside from ordinary arco playing, you can resort to a wealth of different sounds. To name a few: These are not rules of thumb or guidelines, but the result of years of learning reading and listening to the masters that can turn into practical advice.
If writing for any other quartet (non-professional, amateur, student group, or unknown), here are some individual tips (I realize that a lot of this is more about general purpose string writing than . The string quartet is widely seen as one of the most important forms in chamber music, with most major composers, from the late 18th century onwards, writing string quartets. A composition for four players of stringed instruments may be in any form. When creating a string arrangement for real players, it's important to be clear in your mind what kind of ensemble you're writing for — after all, 'strings' can mean anything from a string quartet to a full‑sized string orchestra of 60 or more players.
I think the best way to get all from your quartet is by not overlooking any possibility and giving clear assessment of the role of each instrument. From this point, it is all bound to your creativity and skills.My favorite string quartet is Ravel’s. It has a ton of amazing techniques you can use in your own writing.
Most important, don’t start by reinventing the wheel. Just like the course, model a string quartet bar by bar, and copy out the original – you’ll learn a ton.
String quartets require you to be careful about more than notes. Even though the three (there are two violins in the quartet) instruments belong to the same family, they have each their own perks: they respond differently to dynamics; their articulation and enveloping (attack, decay, sustain, release) can vary a lot because of string gauges, region of the neck being pressed, bow size vs.
pressure etc. When creating a string arrangement for real players, it's important to be clear in your mind what kind of ensemble you're writing for — after all, 'strings' can mean anything from a string quartet to a full‑sized string orchestra of 60 or more players.
The string quartet came into existence because of this: it is group of many possibilities, from playing a simple melody that the other instruments accompany, through to pe rhaps writing four individual melodic lines that simultaneously fit together.
I've been taking arranging and composing classes at the college I'm attending and I have recently been tasked with writing a piece for a string quartet.
I would like to know in general, what should. A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players—two violin players, a viola player and a cellist—or a piece written to be performed by such a group.
The string quartet is one of the most prominent chamber ensembles in classical music, with most major composers, from the mid to late 18th century onwards, writing string quartets.