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Topic: Carterian String Quartet MM I

  1. #1

    Carterian String Quartet MM I, II and III

    This piece is movement I of my latest String Quartet, Op 2

    I am trying to 'discover' the inner ideas of how Elliott Carter composes. This piece is another stab at that process. I am not as free with my lines as he is, but I am trying to capture some of his concepts.

    I looked up info on Carter (born in 1908 and still very much alive and composing) on the internet and at the local library. Wikepedia is a grand source, albeit not always accurate, and I quote that here as a reference to this 1st movement of the my string quartet.

    Carter developed his technique to further his artistic goals. His use of rhythm allows his music a structured fluidity and sense of time perhaps unique in classical music. The music also is overtly expressive and dramatic. He has said that "I regard my scores as scenarios, auditory scenarios, for performers to act out with their instruments, dramatizing the players as individuals and participants in the ensemble." He has also talked about his desire to portray a "different form of motion," in which players are not locked in step with the downbeat of every measure.
    He has said that such steady pulses remind him of soldiers marching or horses trotting, sounds that are not heard anymore in the late 20th century, and he wants his music to capture the sort of continuous acceleration or deceleration experienced in an automobile or an airplane.

    Take it for what it is worth and enjoy or hit the stop button and move on to soemthing more familiar. One never learns if one doesn't take a step forward (of course, often times that requires a lot of route changes and rethinks...)

    Here is the 1st movement of my Second String Quartet

    Movement I

    I have already presented earlier the second movement called

    Movement II - Adagio

    I have just completed my first rough draft of the third movement:

    Movement III

    Leave a comment about the music not the rendering. This was done all in Finale '09 using the Garritan Solo KS Strings.

    Best Regards,
    Last edited by wrayer; 03-30-2009 at 12:53 PM. Reason: New title and movement
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  2. #2

    Thumbs up Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I

    wonderful piece of music.........love carter

  3. #3

    Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I


    Some people hear dissonace and just can't handle it. I know that this is true, but I don't understand it. When dissonace is handled correctly, as you have done here, the notes all seem to belong to the key.

    But then I sometimes wonder if 12 tones are enough. There is a scale used in India that has 18 tones.

    Very nice work on this and congratulations on getting your book published.

    "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." Albert Einstein


  4. #4

    Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I

    Fredrik - Yes I am very aware of the "5 Pieces for String Orchestra" - I had my high school strings students play a couple of those movements (the easier ones). I had not heard "Ameriques" by Varese though I am familiar with his writting. I enjoyed the Youtube presentation. Thank you. As always thanks for listening and I am glad you enjoyed it.

    vosoxo - Thanks - Carter is beginning to grow on me. Though, I am a far cry from his level of writing .

    Ron - Thanks for the listen. "There is a scale used in India that has 18 tones." I think I play that scale when I practice my violin . I am not really using all twelve tones in this. The technique is more based on a series of intervals and I use that as the basic motivic structure of the work. Thanks for listening.

    Best Regards,
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  5. #5

    Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I

    Love Carter or hate him, it's hard not to admire someone who has passed the century mark and is still writing as fluently and uncompromisingly as ever.

    I love Carter's music, especially his quartets (though I still haven't heard the fifth).

    I enjoyed your quartet and look forward to hearing more of it.
    Dan Powers

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  6. #6

    Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I


    I fully agree with all of the comments above. Your handling
    of the disonance was unobtrusive and kept the melodic lines

    I also liked the pizzicato effect. It gave the piece the movement
    it needed. It's amazing how an effect like this can enhance a
    section or even an entire piece of music, but yours did this
    without being tiresome or overused.

    I'm glad that you used Finale 2009 to write this movement. I think
    it is important to analyze one's compositional ideas as they are
    penned. To be able to see what is going on and to be able to
    modify as needed. No problem with the rendering. When GPO
    ARIA comes out, you can record it again. It will be even better


    Jack Cannon--MacBook Pro (2015, 13") GPO4/5, JABB3, Auth. STEINWAY, YAMAHA CFX, Gofriller CELLO, Stradivari VIOLIN, COMB2, WORLD, HARPS, PIPE ORGANS, FINALE 25.5, DORICO 1.2.10, Mac Pro 2.66 GHz CPU, 8 GB RAM, DP 9.51, MOTU Traveler, MOTU Micro Express, MacBook Pro (2012, 13") 2.2 Ghz CPU, 8 GB RAM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bigears's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    Central Illinois

    Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I

    Hi Bill, I know this is a serious piece, but I couldn't help but picturing some cartoons characters tip-toeing around in those pizz sections.

    This is out of my league, but I do appreciate the good writing and a good recording. Thanks! John

  8. #8

    Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I

    Dan - Yes, a little Carter goes a long way. He is a marvel in his ability to free the surly bonds of metric music. Thank you for the listen

    Jack - Yes, I did use the pizzcatti to balance the atonal quality of the music line. It helps to thrust the piece forward keeping the piece lighter. Finale 09 does a great job with the included samples and its Aria engine. I haven't played a lot yet with the controls, but will soon. Thanks for the listen.

    John - Thanks for the listen and the imagery. Now, I can't get the image of little characters bouncing over the strings when I listen to the piece. It would be interesting to see an animation of this piece. Thanks for the listen.

    Best regards,
    We dream to write and we write to dream.

    Challenge #10 Winner

  9. #9

    Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I

    Very nice Bill. I thoroughly enjoyed this. It held my interest throughout. Clear motifs, clear development. Can't wait to hear more.

    Steve Winkler

  10. #10

    Re: Carterian String Quartet MM I

    Hi, Bill - Please take a bow, because your work here deserves hearty applause. It's not an overly long piece - I wonder how long this mood could be sustained?--but what there is I found to be exciting to listen to. The Pizz accomplished well the rhythmic drive mentioned in the Wikipedia quote you posted. Triggering the image of tip-toeing cartoon characters is always to be expected when so much Pizz is used. We constantly make associations in music which actually take us far afield from the composer's intentions.

    And you said, "...my Adagio did not attract many listeners, so this next piece may fair no better..."

    Well - I'm sure everyone would prefer for their posts here in The Listening Room to be listened to and perhaps even commented on, but we mustn't fall into the trap of thinking that the amount of response here is indicative of a piece's relative worth.

    Thanks much for the exciting music!


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