• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Topic: Question About Strings Interlocking

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Question About Strings Interlocking

    Dear Professor,

    Thank You for answering my question about winds doubling.

    If I may I have another question about strings interlocking and I have an example here which I'm hoping You could offer your thoughts on. This is an exerpt from a piece that I'm working on:

    Strings Interlocking


    What I did here is (referring to the first strings chord):

    div Vlns I + II playing D4 & F#3

    Vla playing B3

    div Vlc playing D3 & F#2

    My thought process was that the Vlns playing the D4 are in a fairly good register, the Vla playing the B3 are stronger there then the Vlns would be, finally the F#3 is where the Vlns are weaker and the 1st Vlns are enforcing them. The Cellos are playing a rhytmic pattern.
    This sounds good in the digital domain but would this work in a live setting?

    Another approach I was thinking about as I want to add a flowing Vlns melody was to do this:

    div Vlns II playing D4 & F#3

    div Vla playing B3 & F#3 (doubling Vlns at F#3 as they're starting to get into their weaker register)

    Vlc as they were

    This way I have the 1st Vlns free to play a melody


    Are the above approaches workable in a live setting?

    Thank you very much for your time.

    Respectfully,
    Tom Graczkowski

  2. #2

    Re: Question About Strings Interlocking

    Both are fine, and what difference there is will be very subtle. Strings are WAY more forgiving in this kind of situation than winds are!

    Quote Originally Posted by tommy2005
    Dear Professor,

    Thank You for answering my question about winds doubling.

    If I may I have another question about strings interlocking and I have an example here which I'm hoping You could offer your thoughts on. This is an exerpt from a piece that I'm working on:

    Strings Interlocking


    What I did here is (referring to the first strings chord):

    div Vlns I + II playing D4 & F#3

    Vla playing B3

    div Vlc playing D3 & F#2

    My thought process was that the Vlns playing the D4 are in a fairly good register, the Vla playing the B3 are stronger there then the Vlns would be, finally the F#3 is where the Vlns are weaker and the 1st Vlns are enforcing them. The Cellos are playing a rhytmic pattern.
    This sounds good in the digital domain but would this work in a live setting?

    Another approach I was thinking about as I want to add a flowing Vlns melody was to do this:

    div Vlns II playing D4 & F#3

    div Vla playing B3 & F#3 (doubling Vlns at F#3 as they're starting to get into their weaker register)

    Vlc as they were

    This way I have the 1st Vlns free to play a melody


    Are the above approaches workable in a live setting?

    Thank you very much for your time.

    Respectfully,
    Tom Graczkowski
    Alan Belkin, composer
    Professor of Composition
    University of Montreal

    http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/pers...n/e.index.html (links to examples of my music, as well as my online textbooks)

  3. #3

    Re: Question About Strings Interlocking

    Thank you for your time professor

    Tom

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    380

    Re: Question About Strings Interlocking

    Violas will tend to emphasize whatever degree of a triad they are on when the other two voices are violins (in any register and even at low or high volumes.) The reason for this is the difference in tone. If you experiment with samples/midi you will hear this immediatley. So it becomes a question of what you may want to emphasize or not as well as voice leading as well as many other considerations in the overall harmonic structure. It's true strings are far more forgiving yet at the same time capable of very distinct sound in the overall string fabric.

    Beethoven who is not often mentioned as a great string writer (as say Tchaikovsky is) shows in the slow movement of his ninth symphony an almost baffling counter-intuitive understanding of string resonance and what sounds well regardless of it's appearance on the page. A sort of perfect balance of linear and vertical considerations that belies any underlying formula. I say this to encourage experimentation once one seems to have a handle on the way things are generally done.

  5. #5

    Re: Question About Strings Interlocking

    This needs a bit of qualification: It depends a lot on the SPACING. If the violas are close to or interlocked with the violins it is very hard to tell them apart. This also assumes that the viola section os roughly proportional to the violins, which is not always the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by dpc
    Violas will tend to emphasize whatever degree of a triad they are on when the other two voices are violins (in any register and even at low or high volumes.) The reason for this is the difference in tone. If you experiment with samples/midi you will hear this immediatley. So it becomes a question of what you may want to emphasize or not as well as voice leading as well as many other considerations in the overall harmonic structure. It's true strings are far more forgiving yet at the same time capable of very distinct sound in the overall string fabric.

    Beethoven who is not often mentioned as a great string writer (as say Tchaikovsky is) shows in the slow movement of his ninth symphony an almost baffling counter-intuitive understanding of string resonance and what sounds well regardless of it's appearance on the page. A sort of perfect balance of linear and vertical considerations that belies any underlying formula. I say this to encourage experimentation once one seems to have a handle on the way things are generally done.
    Alan Belkin, composer
    Professor of Composition
    University of Montreal

    http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/pers...n/e.index.html (links to examples of my music, as well as my online textbooks)

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    380

    Re: Question About Strings Interlocking

    Quote Originally Posted by belkina
    This needs a bit of qualification: It depends a lot on the SPACING. If the violas are close to or interlocked with the violins it is very hard to tell them apart.
    As a static triad but if the violas begin to move with any expression they make one of the most distinct sounds of any instrument in the entire orchestra. Many times I've placed violas where I thought they would blend with no problem with the upper strings (interlocked etc.) only to find they sound like violas and not violins.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    380

    Re: Question About Strings Interlocking

    I've perused a few orchestration books which emphasize both the homogenous sound of the string orchestra and the individuality of each string group. So there you have it. My main point is that approaching the violas as a sort of third group of violins can be an unwelcome surprise at a live session (an experiance I've had.) So the novice should be encouraged to research this phenomenon so the final result will be what was intended. I recently divided the violins into three parts on a triadic formation so the harmony would sound perfectly balanced without any voices standing out and it worked very well although a little thinner than I would have liked - which is the trade off.

  8. #8

    Re: Question About Strings Interlocking

    The key to your observation is in the words "if the violas begin to move". A simple principle of perception: all other things being equal, the ear will follow CHANGE. Cellos would be just as noticeable.

    Quote Originally Posted by dpc
    As a static triad but if the violas begin to move with any expression they make one of the most distinct sounds of any instrument in the entire orchestra. Many times I've placed violas where I thought they would blend with no problem with the upper strings (interlocked etc.) only to find they sound like violas and not violins.
    Alan Belkin, composer
    Professor of Composition
    University of Montreal

    http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/pers...n/e.index.html (links to examples of my music, as well as my online textbooks)

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    380

    Re: Question About Strings Interlocking

    Quote Originally Posted by belkina
    The key to your observation is in the words "if the violas begin to move". A simple principle of perception: all other things being equal, the ear will follow CHANGE. Cellos would be just as noticeable.
    I suppose if he's writing a sort of John Cage piece where they hold a triad for twenty minutes ... (having a bit of fun. I was referring to the distinct tone showing itself.

    As I mentioned, three orchestration books talked about both points: the blending characteristics and unique sound of that instrument. I imagine one should be aware of both characteristics.

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •