Chamber music teachers around the world have expressed a pressing need for new high quality works for beginning and intermediate string quartets. The Quartet Project meets that need with a wealth of exciting new music for quartets of all ages and abilities. International response to The Quartet Project has been enthusiastic.
Level of Difficulty
The Quartet Project is divided into six volumes, each containing approximately 40 minutes of music. Volume 1 is for beginners, suitable for players at roughly the level of Suzuki Book 2 and above. The first two volumes can be played in first position throughout. Unison passages and homophonic writing (rhythmic unison) abound. From there, the music grows more demanding, in terms of both individual technique and ensemble skills. Volume 6 is roughly equivalent in difficulty to a Bartók or middle Beethoven quartet.
To get a sense of the level of difficulty, check out these sample pieces. If you want some advice on which volume to order, send us an email. If you’re looking for a specific piece from The Quartet Project, here’s a list of each volume’s contents.
Optional Violin 3
Since young violists can be scarce, Volumes 1, 2, and 3 include an optional third violin part, which can be used in place of a viola. It is always preferable to use a viola if that option exists.
About the Music
The Quartet Project offers beginning string quartets a chance to taste the harmonies, textures, and rhythms of today’s music. Clearly-defined themes and engaging melodies are the building blocks of The Quartet Project. For the most part, key signatures are not used. While triadic harmonies and modal thinking are certainly present, they usually occur outside of a traditional tonal structure.
Rhythmic independence and flexibility are also major themes in The Quartet Project. Shifting meters are introduced in Volume 3 and they play a prominent role from then on. In the later volumes, imitation of speech rhythms comes to the fore.
Each book begins with approximately 20 “miniatures” — short character pieces, many of which last for less than a minute. These miniatures can be used in several ways: to focus on specific ensemble skills, to practice sight-reading, or as pieces that can be learned in one or two sittings (an antidote to spending an entire semester on a single movement from the standard repertory). For purposes of performances, several miniatures may be grouped together to form little suites.
The Full-length Quartets
Each book concludes with a full-length quartet—three to six longer movements similar to a standard four-movement string quartet. To get a better sense of the music, you can listen to selections and download sample scores and parts.
Most of the pieces in The Quartet Project has been “field-tested” and we’ve made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the printed scores and parts. That said, when producing a new work of this scale, there are bound to be errors. If you discover any or have questions about anything, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for a list of errors.
About the Cover Art
Who’s responsible for the beautiful paintings on the cover? William Mead is a painter who lives and works in Woodstock, NY. See more of his work at his website.