Bariolage in Haydn's string quartet

November 7, 2016 at 12:31 AM · The menuetto for the second violin in Haydn's Op. 2, No.2, string quartet has a bariolage passage of two Bs:

In other instances, I have always played bariolage passages drawing the bow across the lower string(s) first and then over the upper string(s).

I've looked at every version of the quartet I could locate and they all render the passage without fingerings or string indications. Is there a convention dictating that one should play the note on the lower string first and then the upper string? I need to practice this passage to get out the unevenness, but I might have an easier time starting on the A string. Nevertheless, I recognize that no matter what I do, the notes have to be played evenly and that the tonal qualities of both should be nearly the same, allowing for the differences between the two strings.

I would be interested in learning how others would approach this.

Replies (21)

November 7, 2016 at 03:41 AM · Interesting question. I'd have thought the beaming here suggested starting on the upper string. On the other hand, starting on the lower might help in grabbing the E that follows all the B's.

(Probably not too relevant, but this kind of lick was a favourite of Chuck Berry's, and he always played the lower string on the beat.)

November 7, 2016 at 12:40 PM · yes I also think you should start on the A-string.

November 7, 2016 at 08:21 PM · I prefer to play this passage starting on the A string as well, and try to get the B's to sound as different as possible (tonally) to make the effect more pronounced. :)

November 7, 2016 at 08:31 PM · Seeing as this is bariolage in the baroque style, you want the notes to sound different in tone.

Regarding bowing: Because dotted notes in the Classical period indicate playing at the tip of the bow rather than staccato, starting up bow on the A preserves the light feeling of the passage, as gut strings would have meant that the E sounded like a higher register of the gut A.

Also, the rhythm of many classical composers such as Mozart sound light and fleeting appropriate with bowing if started up bow. :)

November 7, 2016 at 09:20 PM · Actually I would start with the 4th finger on the "d" string for 2 reasons. First the stretch of the 4th finger on the d string to the first finger on the A string (you always stretch down with the 1st finger and not try to reach up with the 4th finger. You could set your hand before beginning to play so it's possible to play beginning with the A but I wouldn't do it. Second being on the A string with the 1st finger will make it easier to play the E. Also the bowing is better going from the d string to the a string (it's a more natural approach).

November 7, 2016 at 10:21 PM · Actually, looking at the music, it does make sense to play it in 2nd pos, then shift down to first during the quarter rest between the low E and open D, as would have worked before chinrests existed. :)

November 8, 2016 at 08:50 AM · hi Joel Arthur, the bowing is better going from the d string to the a string: but the notes are slurred, so during the passage you have to go from a to d as well as from d to a. by the way, I would start up-bow because then the string crossings are indeed more natural (the bow following the curve of the bridge). about the E: it can be played with 3rd finger. on this forum I find this kind of discussions on how to play a detailed passage always very interesting and I learn a lot from the different perspectives.

November 8, 2016 at 01:17 PM · Not sure if it helps, but when my quartet played Haydn No. 2 and 50 all of the bariolage sections had fingerings written in starting on the lower string.

November 8, 2016 at 02:35 PM · Look at the score and see what other players are having.

Baroque minuet had the 1st beat stressed and the rest 2 not. (Heavy-light-light). During classicism, some composers intentionally stressed the 2nd beat; in case of papa Haydn probably as a musical joke (ridiculing the form?!).

The choice of bowing will follow musical intention of a composer.

Also, consult the Urtext edition; odd bowing are sometimes result of The Heifetz effect.

November 8, 2016 at 04:10 PM · Rocky, please see my (2) posts above for a baroquer perspective. :)

November 8, 2016 at 07:23 PM · Jean Dubuisson wrote: "the bowing is better going from the d string to the a string: but the notes are slurred, so during the passage you have to go from a to d as well as from d to a. by the way, I would start up-bow because then the string crossings are indeed more natural (the bow following the curve of the bridge)."

Of course the passage goes from one string to another (because the B's are slurred), but I was referring about starting the passage on the D string (down bow). You could play the E with the 3rd finger but you're complicating things with another shift (although a small shift) to get back to 1st position. It's easier to play the passage in 1st position and the B on the D string is an extension with the 4th finger (but not reaching up as already discussed). The color of the B's will be different since they are played on 2 different strings but the bowing should not be awkward.

November 9, 2016 at 12:27 AM · Does nobody want the actual baroque mentality fingering or bowing?!

It is a baroque piece, you know... ;-)

November 9, 2016 at 08:11 AM · There were a few different kinds/styles of menuets, at least one of which had steps that would occasional balky trace the hemiola pattern (ONE two THREE one TWO three). Which is not to say that it has any relevance here.

November 9, 2016 at 02:04 PM · @A.O. ". . .dotted notes in the Classical period indicate playing at the tip of the bow rather than staccato . . ."

Do you have a source for this? I mentioned it last night to the CM of my symphony orchestra (he is a professional, a graduate of one of the colleges in London), and he said it isn't so.

November 9, 2016 at 03:05 PM · Is he a baroque/Classical specialist?

I heard it from my baroque violin teacher...

November 9, 2016 at 03:23 PM · Haydn is firmly in the classical period, not the baroque. I'm also dubious about the quote Trevor mentioned - maybe it applies to the baroque, I'm not experienced with performance practice, but the classical period is a whole new ballgame (with a different type of bow!).

November 9, 2016 at 05:47 PM · @Irene: No, it is not a baroque thing, or my teacher would have told me so. I'm assuming she knows about the Classical period convention from a colleague of sorts, though I did not ask at the time. :)

November 10, 2016 at 06:43 PM · In that invaluable book "A Performer's Guide to Music of the Baroque Period", published by ABRSM and edited by Anthony Burton, I have not been able find any mention of staccato in Andrew Manze's chapter on "Strings".

I'll find out if Dennis Simons, our chamber orchestra conductor, has information about any alternative interpretation of dots over notes in Baroque/Classical string playing.

November 11, 2016 at 01:14 PM · On the subject of staccato: Geminiani talked about this at some length in The Art of Playing on the Violin in 1751. Worth looking at his examples of what "good staccato" is in different kinds of passages.

November 11, 2016 at 01:14 PM · On the subject of staccato: Geminiani talked about this at some length in The Art of Playing on the Violin in 1751. Worth looking at his examples of what "good staccato" is in different kinds of passages.

November 12, 2016 at 01:48 AM · Did anyone say you had to do it the same way right the way through? You could add to the interest by ringing the changes, e.g., A-string first one bar then D-String first the next - cf Brahms D-minor Sonata.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Email

Violinist.com is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Yamaha Silent Violin
Yamaha Silent Violin

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

ArmSymphony AI Violin Competition
ArmSymphony AI Violin Competition

Find a Summer Music Program
Find a Summer Music Program

Violinist.com Business Directory
Violinist.com Business Directory

Dominant Pro Strings

Antonio Strad Violin

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop

Bobelock Cases

Fiddlerman.com

Fiddlershop

Los Angeles Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Violin-Strings.com

Metzler Violin Shop

Leatherwood Bespoke Rosin

Warchal

Barenreiter

Johnson String Instrument and Carriage House Violins

Potter Violins

String Masters

Bein & Company

Annapolis Bows & Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of Violinist.com in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews.

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn

Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2
Violinist.com Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine

Subscribe