A big favour

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by mikelyons, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I'm writing a piece for my HoD. She bullied me into doing it. She's a flautist so I've written a piece for Flute + String Quartet.

    Now, at least a flute is a wind instrument. The solo part is completely finished and Rachel has said it's OK. The string parts are another matter.

    What I know about writing for strings could be written on one of the hairs from the bow :oops:

    In particular it's the bowing marks that throw me. I don't know any brass player who actually has to be told when to breathe. However, string players appear to need to be told when to move their arm in the other direction. :shock:

    Is there anyone on here who would be prepared to look at the score and make suggestions about the bowing. And, if possible, say whether the parts are playable by semi-pro/pro players.

    I would be very grateful (2 or 3 pints worth at least :guiness ) for any help.
  2. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    You might try pm'ing cornetgirl, viola player extraordinaire :wink:
  3. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    I dont think you need to do that all the time... it's only an option...
    I guess if it was a huge symphony orchestra bowing would be written in so that all the players are bowing in the same direction.... shouldn't matter so much for a 4tet... they can work it out I'm sure! :lol:

  4. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Don't bet on it Naomi. I had to remind one to breathe in the last week of term! :lol:
  5. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    uh huh... but breathing is sliiightly different to bowing directions!! :wink:
  6. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Now you see my problem! :oops: :lol:
  7. choirmaster

    choirmaster Member

    I've got a copy of Walter Piston's epic ' Orchestration' which says quite a lot about bowing (probably too much really). If you're desperate I could maybe copy (you didn't see that) the relevant 20 pages or so, for you.
  8. WHAT??!!! you mean to say that when I was doin my coursework at college (I did it sometimes, honest!) and you kept ranting on to me and jo bout putting directions on the score for all the instruments in the orchestra that we knew absolutley sod all about - especially strings - you didn't know anything bout it either!!! Och what an injustice!! :x

    Incidently have you tried tapping into sources on the internet that end up giving you no information whatsoever (like we had to do), or books from the library (if Mrs Oddie will let you), or skip all that and ask Mr Galloway, king of all instruments under the sun - he definately helped me!
  9. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    That's the sign of a good teacher- being able to convice your pupils you know everything under the sun...and then some!
  10. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Thanks for the offer, but we do have the piston at school. I read the first couple of pages and had to be slapped awake :shock:

    To be honest, what I'm really after is a professional player's opinion - from a real, Live player on the instrument.

    Ah, Carina, have you still not learned life's most important lesson yet?

    Besides, it is a different situation. I need to prepare this piece for publication, which is quite a different situation from doing A levels. Besides which, if you had attended enough lectures, both you and Jo would have had more than a smattering of technical information on these things. Even if you'd managed enough attendance between you! :eek:
  11. Lauradoll

    Lauradoll Active Member

    Eek Mike, your pupils are much scarier than mine were! :shock: :D
  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Tell me about it. But the odd thing is, they still love me and keep coming back to help out the ailing school band.

    Anyway, they can't pin me down to it. I never actually said I knew everything, they just assumed :lol:

    I'm still waiting for the big penny to drop with them though.

    (NOT holding breath) :D
  13. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    Bowing your strings!

    Well I can't give you expert advice on bowing as I haven't picked up my violin for, lets see, about 3 years! :oops: but I can assure you it DOES matter!

    It is a lot more difficult to play a ff accented note on an up bow rather than on a down bow!
    If you think about, say, a waltz. A simple 3 crotchets in a bar kind of thing in the melody. You would usually have the first beat of the bar slightly accented so a down bow would be ideal (especially if its ff!!). This then causes a prob though because it would make every other bar begin on an up bow (due to the odd number of beats). This is where bowing technique comes in. To solve this problem you would use down, up ,up so then landing on a down bow for the following bar. (Of course you need not write this above every bar!) And then if the rythem becomes say 6 quavers in a bar then regular bowing would be fine.
    This probably hasn't been much help unless you have composed a waltz but I hope it explains a bit about why strings sometimes need a little help with their bowing :!:
  14. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Thanks Taffy, it has actually been a lot of help. Especially as the first movement, although not a waltz, is in 3/4 and does have Oom-PahPah accompaniment in several places, though the violins/viola mostly have the pah's and the cello has the oom's

    I would have thought that an experienced player might work out their own bowing, though. After all, brass and w/w players work out their own phrasing/breathing most of the time. :)

    But thanks anyway. It makes me think I definitely need a few explanations from a working violinist.
  15. flugel_fancy

    flugel_fancy Member

    glad to be of assistance!
    i think you are probably right about the working it out themselves. I guess it's probably more for the big orchestras with loads of the things! not to sound against strings of course but composers seem to give us brass and woodwind players a lot more flexability on phrasing etc. Never really had to think about it until I started playing cornet!

    Anyway good luck with your piece, I'll look out for it on next years proms maybe??
  16. Och the cheek!! I actually used to turn up to your lessons, it was the other subjects that suffered!! Although I think I probably would've learned alot more if jo had actually turned up (sorry jo!) and we didn't spend the lessons when she did come in goin over the stuff she missed! Ok i admit i wasn't the perfect pupil but at least I got my Full A-level in Music unlike some of us in the class. Not that it meant much to the music department.

    Anyho, hope you're feelin better soon and maybe see u in Harrogate
  17. I sincerely apologise for the previous message.

    It was 2.20am, I was tired but I couldn't sleep. I didn't mean to offend anybody it was just that at 2am this morning, after no sleep for about 28hrs it seemed like a very good idea. Now after a 4hrs sleep I realise its wasn't such a good thing to say on this forum, I should leave my personal feelings out of this.

    By the way, the penny dropped a while back during my A levels - I was just trying to give u a taste of your own medicine (hehe getting my own back now u ain't my teacher) As u may have noticed my sarcasm is often mis-read as intentional criticism and sometimes even slander. I'm very sorry! :)
  18. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Have I missed something? You should know me well enough by now Caz to realise that I'm quite difficult to offend. Your apology is not accepted, because as far as I'm concerned there was no intention to offend. After all, one of my successes with your group was to teach you about sarcasm and wit (musically as well as in your native tongue). If you choose to exercise what you have learned it's not my fault if you occasionally get it wrong :p
    (That's what passes for wit in Wigan). :)

    You can get me a drink at Harrogate - you never know, I might even buy you one back :lol:
  19. cornetgirl

    cornetgirl Active Member

    I'd be glad to help - pm me if you still need me!

    Rach x
  20. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Thanks Rach, but I've had quite a lot of help, including the leader of a fairly local string quartet.

    Thanks anyway, it's appreciated.

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