I need some violin duos for Suzuki level 5 (or so).

February 23, 2007 at 07:06 PM · I need to find some violin duos for a couple of high school students at about Suzuki level 5. They can play the Bach double concerto and need a few challenging pieces for two violins. Suggestions? Thank you!

Replies (21)

February 23, 2007 at 07:18 PM · Vivaldi Concerto #8 in A minor- The international music company version is best. I had a couple of students who were in Suzuki books 4 and 5 do that duet together. There are some tough sixteenth note runs, but it is a fun piece. There is a good recording on itunes. The CD is called l'estro armonico.

Hope this helps.

February 23, 2007 at 08:17 PM · The Bartok duos are great because they are not wildly technical, but they contain so many possibilities of exploring rhythm, sound, texture, and chamber music sensibilities.

Telemann Canonic Sonatas are great. Maybe even Leclair, though those might be a little more difficult physically.

February 23, 2007 at 09:45 PM · Thank you so much, Hope and Nicholas. Anyone, more suggestions???

February 23, 2007 at 09:56 PM · Greetins,

go with the Bartok. Its among the greatest works for violin ever written.



February 23, 2007 at 10:36 PM · Another vote for the Bartok. :) My teacher started me on those when I was about 8 years old, reasoning that students need to be introduced early to unusual harmonies and rhythms. Well, he was 100% right. :)

The other great thing about them is, although they are simple enough (technique-wise) to be learned and played by even relatively inexperienced students, they are also great chamber music fit for any concert hall.

February 24, 2007 at 12:28 AM · Greetings,

Maura, my fellow Bartok fan. Its interesting that one still makes this divide between technical difficulty and good music. To play every articulation marking that Bartok wrote, to switch tempos, to calculate those wretched , relenless ralentandos and accelerandos spread over whole pages. To play in the right key rather than just thinking enharmonically; it juts goes on and on.

That is why frankly I am not overly impressed by the two recordings I have of thes eworks although the palyers are superb in their own right. No t getting that close to what Bartok actually wrote. Lookingv forwrad to hearing what that great guy Kellerman does with them. Profoundly regret Szigeti never recorded them with say, Szekely,



February 24, 2007 at 01:56 AM · Buri,

Have I got foot-in-mouth disease or what....

Sorry if I was unclear/mixed up. Of course I didn't mean to say that they are "simple" pieces or that playing them absolutely brilliantly is easy. If I had thought a bit more before posting I would have said something more like: they are good pieces for players of many levels. For beginners/intermediates, they are a great introduction to the aforementioned unusual rhythms and harmonies one finds in modern music. For advanced students, there's the subtleties and nuances of articulation and dynamics. And there's always more you can do with them, which is why even great players like Kelemen+Kokas perform them regularly.

They're like Bartok's pedagogical piano books, A Gyermekeknék and Mikrokoszmosz. They are (until volumes 5+6 of Mikrokoszmosz) essentialy simple pieces--that is NOT to say "simplistic". They can be approached by young beginners (or clumsy adolescent beginners like yours truly), but they are also great music worthy of being played in concert. Case in point, pieces from both those sets habitually show up on Zoltan Kocsis's recital programs.

Anyway, hope I've done a bit of a better job explaining my thoughts this time....

February 24, 2007 at 02:23 AM · Just to be clear about Bartok violin duets, there are the "44 Duos", published in two volumes by Boosey & Hawkes, and another set called "Duos", published by Editio Musica Budapest, edited by Endre Szervanszky.

There are some really nice Viotti duets. I have "Six Duets Op. 20" and "Three Duets Op. 29", both published by Schirmer, and edited by Lichtenberg. These would be great for Bach Double level.

Also, I teach Bartok's "44 Duos" not only because they are great teaching material, but I like to play them too! Great fun. And the second violin parts are usually trickier.

February 24, 2007 at 02:12 PM · Wait, Anna, there's MORE of them?! Off to check the EMB website now...

February 24, 2007 at 03:13 PM · I bought my Bartok "Duos" from Shar, but there are many other retailers that would have this music. They are published by EMB, but are distributed here in the US by Hal Leonard.

The blurb in the front of the book reads:

"Bela Bartok planned in 1939 to arrange for two violins and three violins his choral works (for equal voices). He was prevented from doing so by his early death.

At the request of the Editio Musica, Endre Szervanszky has undertaken this task. His arrangements, which we are bringing out in two volumes, offer valuable material both to violin teaching and group music-making."

February 24, 2007 at 07:25 PM · Other easy duo pieces:

Mozart Duets

Leclair sonatas for two violins (op 3)

Spohr Duo Concertante (op 67)

and this one is almost as easy as Bartok:

Sarasate Navarra :)

February 25, 2007 at 02:08 AM · LeClaire Duets are great fun and modestly technical.

February 25, 2007 at 03:42 PM · I agree about the Bartok 44 and the Telemann Canonic Sonatas.Those are especially neat, because they are complete canons, meaning both players play the same part. Handy to teach to a pair or group, avoids some hassles over who plays 1st & 2nd, though some kids will still hassle over who goes first! Nobody mentioned Pleyel yet. The Gearhardt book Fiddle Sessions, has an interesting variety of chamber music. Can't go wrong with Applebaum Beautiful Music series, either, vol.3&4, for a lot of choices at modest cost. There's for "Two Violins" and for "Two Stringed Insts." Different selections. Sue

February 27, 2007 at 03:49 AM · Maybe for these students the J.F. Mazas Op. 39 "Six duets". These are full of gusto and style; larger, meatier pieces than the Op. 38 "Twelve Little Duets". But there's something ever fresh and charming about those Twelve Littles-- first movements are gems of miniature sonata-allegro form; second movements quite varied and satisfying; delightful final movement rondos, usu., which respond well to breakneck tempi or stylish mid-tempo or anything in between. Always remember with Mazas that he also wrote opera-- I really enjoy the vivid, mercurial character changes in his duo writing!! The Op. 46 duets average somewhere between the Op. 38's and the Op. 39's in most characteristics, and in Op. 46 the technique gradation is steeper (more steady, gentle upgrade in the other Opii... [what's the plural of "Opus"?]) Or: really a kick: Kalliwoda violin duos, Op. 116 (are they in print?) (almost as much fun as his Two Duets for VN and VA, Op. 208!)

February 27, 2007 at 04:15 AM · Anne-- Thanks for the clarification on the Bartok duos-- How exciting! I didn't realize Szervanszky made these Bartok arrangements. I really like Szervansky's work in EMB's Violin Tutor volumes by Sandor, Jardanyi, and Szervanszky. These Violin Tutor volumes, btw, are good for teaching from and to have around for duo repertoire-- every piece is arranged for VN duo, usually with a tougher (teacher's) "2nd" violin part, and the volumes comprise a fabulous anthology of 16th through 20th century music, with more interesting rhythms and more of 20th century and diverse folk musics than most methods! Some of the pieces by Jardanyi and another collaborator Albert Renyi I find just stunning.

February 27, 2007 at 04:09 AM · Which reminds me of my favorite!!! Pal Jardanyi! Get your dose of Hungarian, more fun than Bartok (you heard it here first). EMB Z. 8812 Hegeduduok / "Violinduos" by Jardanyi. Unbelievable satisfying!

February 27, 2007 at 02:20 PM · Some more not mentioned yet:

Bruni "Six Duets Op. 34" (I have the International Edition)

"Violin Masters Duet Repertoire" compilation by Harvey Whistler and Herman Hummel, published by Rubank/Hal Leonard.

February 27, 2007 at 07:54 PM · Hi,

I would like to add these to the duet list:

Mozart's "Magic Flute" are a lot of fun to do and definitively challenging for an advanced student.

Vivaldi's 4 Sonate a due violini are a true gem. The full title by Vivaldi is: Suonata da camera, a 2 violini anco senza basso se piace. I am not sure if they are available in the US. I brought them with me from Prague. My edition is Editio Musica Budapest, edited by Arpad Pejtsik.


February 27, 2007 at 09:11 PM · What? There are violin duet arrangements of pieces from "The Magic Flute"? Please give detail on publisher, difficulty, etc. I love the music of this opera and I'm looking for some duets myself.

February 28, 2007 at 05:50 AM · Karin,

I have the Universal Edition UE 15966 of the Magic Flute (it has 17 lovely arias). I picked it up in my then local music shop in Maryland.

My version happens to be for two flutes, but they also have a violin version. They are identical in every way. I hope you can find it without trouble. I enjoy playing these tremendously.


February 28, 2007 at 07:44 PM · Thanks for the information, Lucia! I'll check it out.

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