Chamber Music Etiquette

March 27, 2006 at 05:47 AM · I think its high time someone posted a thread on Chamber Music rehearsal etiquette.

How do you tell your fellow musicians that they are out of tune, or out of time? How do you take criticisms like this without harboring resentment?

Does anyone have any stories of really unhelpful musicians that we can avoid their ways? Or stories of very "team-player" musicians who are very easy to work with that we may emulate their examples?

Replies (38)

March 27, 2006 at 06:56 AM · Stephen, since intonation is, like Milstein says, akin to the matter of pregnancy (one either is or is not), that's not usually the issue that starts trouble. It's when there are stylistic differences, in which case it's important to be diplomatic.

"Have you considered doing an upbow here"? In the end, it can be annoying to not have your way, but if something works better, 4 intelligent people will usually pick something for the benefit of the sound rather than politics. As much as it might trouble you, you have to consider that people's musical intuition is very much in line with the workings of the soul, so you should tread lightly around the issue of expression and ideas.

March 27, 2006 at 01:07 PM · Hi,

That is an interesting topic that I go through very often these days. There are ways of avoiding problems.

Pieter makes a good point about intonation. You are in tune or not - that is in the ideal world. The best way to get around that is (should a colleague play out of tune) to suggest working on intonation note by note for the passage. Never works, but can improve things slightly, and it brings attention to the problem without pointing fingers. One can say "I think that we should do this for intonation as a group."

Rhythmic issues are hard. Depends on the origin of the problem, whether one doesn't know the part well, or lacks the technique or confidence to play in time. I have actually seen (and done) rehearsals with a metronome. The key to bring that is to have things fall apart and suggest that tempo might be unstable, or that different versions might be envisaged, and to see if a compromise can be acheived. Sometimes, the metrononme trick is a subtle way of helping each person be aware of their shortcomings in this regard. In the end, tempi are a compromise. You will never get what you want. I find best myself to take whatever tempo I am given (unless I am responsible for setting it) and deal with it.

Look, fights occur in chamber music as tensions do too. It's normal. It's life and we're all different and stuff happens. The biggest problem is the refusal to compromise. Personally, I never fight for bowings. Down-bow, up-bow who cares - I can make them sound the same anyway, so if anyone cares, I let them have their way. Makes both parties happy - they are happy to do their bowing, I am happy not to argue. Lastly, one should not be dogmatic. Preset ideas of tempi, and other matters are at the source of the problem. Chamber music is about the moment. I find that the best rehearsals happen after we have had huge problems and I suggest that we should play once, not stopping for anything and helping each other out in case of need (like getting lost, etc.). Then, it flows - not perfectly, nothing ever is, but we get through it.

Hope this helps... Just basic ideas from more recent experiences.

Cheers!

March 27, 2006 at 05:27 PM · This is a great idea for a thread. Of course, the golden rule is treat others as you would like to be treated. Diplomacy is often essential in recently-formed groups, but as group chemistry and comfort grows, often diplomacy can be replaced by frankness, which is a very healthy step. It requires mutual respect between all members. Remember, there are twelve different one-to-one relationships in a quartet, and a lack of respect in even one of those relationships can lead to quartet hell.

I am going to have to disagree with the sentiment about intonation being one of those black-and-white issues. In fact, some of the most fruitful disagreements I've had in chamber music have been about intonation - how expressively to play a certain leading tone, how to color a particular harmony, where to place the third in the arpeggios... When it is truly a matter of simply being out of tune or in tune, as in octaves or fifths, usually slow practice works wonders. It is generally not helpful to single someone out - chamber music intonation takes more than one person to screw up. The group's intonation succeeds or fails as a group.

Remember the golden rule, remember respect, and remember humility - a serious group is like a marriage, and a marriage only succeeds (and only fails) with the help of all parties.

March 27, 2006 at 05:54 PM · This is a great idea. Thank you, Stephen. Could I throw in a remark about pianists? --Actually, this doesn't apply to only pianists, but to any piece where the levels of difficulty are not equally distributed throughout the parts.

I learned my lesson about pianists one time when I was working on the Franck sonata; at the first rehearsal (pianist had had the music about a week) we were doing the 2nd movement and I asked if we could go faster... actually I probably said something tactless like "this is supposed to go faster"... anyway, the pianist just flared up and said "Look, this is really hard and I can't play it yet, and we're just going to have to play at a tempo I can manage, so DEAL." I hadn't actually given any thought to the difficulty of piano parts before, amazingly, so then I started noticing how much busier they usually are than the rest of us, especially in the big 19th C. works.

My partner (a pianist) was recently in a piano trio that dissolved thanks to the violinist. They were preparing a recital featuring the Beethoven op. 1 #1 trio (??? - E-flat major, anyway) and the Mendelssohn D minor. Both those pieces have fairly big piano parts, written for the composers to play themselves, with technically relatively easy string parts. The violinist kept saying things like "this is boring, the tempo is too slow" because her half notes & quarter notes were taking too long for her. My partner had just spent 3 months hardly playing at all while he dealt with a bout of tendonitis, and basically he had to fight with her to protect himself against re-injury. They had started out as friends, but ended up trading remarks like (violinist:)"Well this is too bad. I'm sorry if you can't play your instrument well enough to play this music properly" and (pianist:) "Listen, I don't have to take this crap from you." They got through the performance and went their ways.

Overall, it was a good demonstration of how NOT to participate in a chamber music group.

The lesson: IT'S ALL ABOUT COMPROMISE. Even if you're the one who formed the group, you are not the music director. The other members of the group are likely to have their own ideas, limitations and -- gasp -- personalities, which may be different from yours. Not only that, but **other people's ideas can sometimes be musically valid, even if they are different than yours.** Shocking, but true.

(And if you feel like an allegro movement MUST go at quarter = 160, try putting yourself in the shoes of the person who has to play pages & pages of 16th notes at that tempo, and see if you can sympathize to the point where 144 seems palatable.)

My own bit of advice is, don't get too personally attached to your own interpretation. Chamber music is about collaborating, which means you do not get veto power over all decisions (and neither does anyone else). Sometimes your ideas will "win," and other times they won't. Whatever happens, be sure to show respect for your colleagues by playing their ideas with commitment, just as you would want them to do with yours.

If you want to run the show, become a conductor.

March 27, 2006 at 06:47 PM · Great response, Jesse. I agree 100%.

March 27, 2006 at 07:14 PM · Good topic!

Sometimes the etiquette is just a matter of word choices. Imagine your quartet is rehearsing and one passage comes out sounding utterly dreadful, out of tune etc. Even if it's just one person who is out of tune, never just say to the offending party "YOU're out of tune!" Better to say "WE (the quartet) are out of tune in this passage, let's work on this." Quartet is always a group thing, it's usually best not to single anyone out.

March 27, 2006 at 08:07 PM · Jessie:

I think that at a certain level, people should know the difference between an F# and a Gb, and there should be no debate about making 3rds tight...

March 27, 2006 at 09:23 PM · Pieter:

I agree 100% with what you said, but I don't see how your statement is all that relevant to what I said about intonation. Intonation requires choices, and they are often, even usually, not black and white. I'm talking about the difference between an F# and an F#. If you took half of the Emersons and half of the Brentanos to create a Frankenquartet, you would have some very real intonation issues, at least initially. Those groups' approaches to intonation are profoundly different.

The point is that chamber musicians have to be prepared to compromise and learn and grow from the influence of their partners. There's no room for dogmas in chamber music, nor for high horses. Succeed or fail as a group... the proof is in the pudding!

-Jesse (no "i" please)

March 27, 2006 at 11:49 PM · Jesse:

Evidently I know too many Jesse/Jessis. My apologies. You are definately right, and I do concede to your reasoning. However, this does all depend on the group. I think that the Emerson has an approach that does not leave too much room for debate... I think what you're talking about applies much more to a newer group where all 4 members have never played together. That can be difficult.

March 27, 2006 at 11:58 PM · I tentatively agree with you about the Emersons, and also about how what we are discussing applies in particular to newer groups.

In fact, the whole thread probably really only applies to newer (first year or two) groups. Any group that manages to survive past that stage naturally develops its own code of conduct that is unique to the individuals that make up that particular group.

March 29, 2006 at 03:49 AM · Stephen & friends:

There are several issues that have been raised regarding this Chamber Music "thread" (great topic, btw), so I'll try to address most . . .

In my job as a member of the White House Marine Orchestra, we play chamber music quite frequently and in just about every combination of instruments you can imagine. Our public chamber music concerts consist of music from baroque to modern and this means that many different performing styles and personalities get together for different repertoire, often changing personnel from concert to concert.

First, like in any professional situation where constructive criticism is necessary, respect is always the key. I would have to agree with Jesse that, in string quartets and other small ensembles (w/o piano), intonation is NOT a black and white issue. In fact, there couldn't be a better example of "many shades of gray" than in string chamber music. When considering that tone and articulation also play a role in pitch production, the essential issue at hand is the ability for ALL members of the ensemble to LISTEN and BLEND or ADJUST to each other. As long as the ensemble stays in tune with ITSELF, absolute pitch to A-440 or A-442 isn't entirely relevent (within reason, of course.)

Now, with this in mind, it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly WHO is out of tune, when intonation doesn't AGREE between two or more players. Here is where one can simply suggest "Could WE tune that section?" Then, what follows would perhaps involve the person inquiring playing with just ONE other member, then add an instrument, and so on.

If one really feels another is out of tune, here are some tactful ways of approaching: "Do I sound low to you? . . . because I think you sound higher than where I'm playing there." Here, one is stating an intonation problem while acknowledging that it might be him or herself at fault.

The same applies to rhythm and/or tempo: Rather than telling someone they are "rushing" (often sounds insulting), one can simply say "I feel you pushing ahead there, does it feel like I'm dragging?" Of course, the first half of that statement would be fine alone. You don't always have to throw out the PC self-deprecating possibilites.

Also, just on general terms, I read somewhere that either the Guarnari or the Juilliard Quartet had a strict policy that in rehearsals NO ONE was allowed to compliment another for how they played a particular passage, etc. This decision was made in an effort to avoid any unnecessary resentment between players who might feel THEY were somehow not performing well if a compliment didn't come their way. Interesting approach, but perhaps practical.

One final note in response to "Mister Brucie," is in regard to the Sonata repertoire. Not only is collaboration the essential word to remember, but also that in nearly every case of the standard literature, these sonatas are for PIANO and violin, NOT the other way around (in spite of what all those International Music Co. editions would have us believe). This IS significant when considering that the piano parts are usually WAY more difficult to play and are often more important than the Violin part. At BEST, they are equal. This is true of Beethoven, Mozart, Franck, Schumann, Schubert, Grieg, Faure, Lekeu, you name it. The pianist is NOT an accompanist. Yield to them . . . they will appreciate it! (Piano Trios are similar in this regard.)

Forgive the length here. Hope it was helpful to the discussion.

-Peter

March 29, 2006 at 09:09 AM · Thanks Peter - very constructive stuff, I must say.

I forgot to mention that my "lesson-learning" experience with the pianist on the Franck sonata happened 20 years ago, when I was just a pup.

March 29, 2006 at 01:54 PM · Hi,

I like your Post Peter. Jesse, while I agree with you that such discussions are useful regarding intonation, I think this becomes more relevant in the case of a permanent ensemble.

At this point, like many people, I often play chamber music with a variety of people and works, with not so much rehearsal time. This issue of intonation is of a different nature. That is perhaps why I described the approach in my post.

With a permanent group, it becomes more interesting. However, I have always prefered playing with piano in chamber music for long standing formations, since the piano solved the intonation debates that seemed often endless and pointless. Of course, I did not have always the advantage of players with equal ears where the difference between an F# and an F# is the real issue. It was more black and white.

I find that in sonatas, the piano part is really much more difficult. The pianist is NOT an accompanist. I much prefer the title in the United States, of refering to the pianist as the Collaborative Pianist. That is more appropriate. I find that there is in this formation a give and take and a constant exchange between leadership musically between the two collaborative artists. In this, listening, adapting, and leading take on a whole different nature.

Cheers!

March 29, 2006 at 09:45 PM · Hmm...great thread. Perhaps we should also consider another side of the issue. The side of the person who is constantly being "picked on," justifiably or otherwise. I have been in so many quartets, particularly with two specific individuals were I was placed as first violin, but the second violin and cello had decided opinions about how I should be playing. From their perspective, it was their job to hear themselves and internally notice personal mistakes while verbally mentioning other's problems. I was a "better" player than the second violin, but my music was harder and I was having a tolerably difficult time playing it "perfectly." It certainly didn't help for me to hear everytime we stopped: "Jenna, you rushed again," "Jenna, your articulation is incorrect," "Jenna, your rhythm is wrong." I ended up being so frusterated with myself and with their lack of sympathy that I freezed up, couldn't play to half of my potential, and was so focused on not making mistakes that I was unable to listen to the group as a whole and offer constructive comments myself. If a player has a technical issue, don't try to build the Eiffel tower in a day. Deal with it. Try to work within everybody's ability, and understand that progress comes in small steps. The world won't fall apart if your second violinist simply can't play off the string. Barring the situation where a member blantly does not work or care, everybody in the quartet deserves to work, receive praise as well as suggestions, and enjoy the collaboration.

March 29, 2006 at 11:17 PM · Greetings,

Christian, I don't find the piano that helpful in solving the tuning debate all of the time. I think there are many ocassions one has to play out of tune with the piano in piano trios. Casals was adamant this was necessary. If anything, I find groups with pianos more problematic....

Cheers,

Buri

March 29, 2006 at 11:26 PM · I just played this little Martinu piece for violin, piano and flute... tuning with the piano was hell.

March 30, 2006 at 01:23 AM · Very interesting...great thread, Stephen!

I feel like it's always important to let the first violinist have the final say. Really. Even if they may not be technically, musically, whatever, as advanced as you. (I say that after being both first and second violin in two different quartets.)

March 30, 2006 at 01:27 AM · Jenna:

I have to say that whether one player is "better" or "worse" than the rest doesn't concern me nearly as much as the comments you received: "Jenna, you rushed again," "Jenna, your articulation is incorrect," "Jenna, your rhythm is wrong." I cannot think of a more inappropriate environment in which to make music. I think steering clear of such people is the first move!

Carley: I must respectfully disagree that the 1st violin should have the final say. I, too, have played my share of both parts and, as long as everyone in the quartet is prepared and comes to the table with sound musical ideas (not necessarily the same ideas), then great discussions can begin regarding how the quartet as a whole should perform the music. Playing ability or position should have NO bearing on the discussion of IDEAS when it comes to interpretation. Now, this is not to say that there won't be disagreements. When this occurs, then a VOTE is necessary. There are other more specific rules that apply when dealing with "protocol" in quartet rehearsing, but one thing should be clear: All players have EQUAL VALUE and there is no one person who ever has the "final say."

Best,

Peter

April 1, 2006 at 09:05 PM · Thanks, Peter. Your comment allows me to clarify what I meant in my earlier post, I hope. I should have stated it with more clarity. I agree completely that there are going to be (at least four) different ideas about the music in general. A consensus must be reached. What I meant to say (and should have taken more time to type out, ha, ha) was that "teaming up" is really bad in a quartet. Three against one (especially when that "one" is the first violinist, although in all positions), or even two against two is not good. That's what I meant. It's hard when you're trying to rehearse and no one listens as you (who should be "leading", can I say?) as to ideas on where to start.

Hm...not sure if that said all I wanted it to, but I hope that does clarify it. :) Ciao!

April 1, 2006 at 11:20 PM · Ahh...*nod*. To be always rejecting the ideas of one member is really bad. Even if they are honestly "horrible," there has got to be something worthwhile about what they have to say...find it. If anything, at least encourage them!

April 3, 2006 at 03:35 AM · wow, i haven't been on violinist.com for a while- this is a great thread!

carley, are you trying to say that you think the 1st violinist should be presiding over how the rehearsal goes? it's still a bit unclear... but i gotta say- 'teaming up' isn't always 'teaming up'- i find that often we're split two and two- and the debte that comes out of that are some of the most rewarding things of playing in a string quartet. but we'll make a point of playing both ideas (or all ideas- sometimes there are more than two) and sometiems both will work, and other times one will clearly feel more natural than the other. when both ideas seem correct, we leave the 'final decision' to the flow of the piece.

but getting back to the whole etiquette, i find the one thing that has helped every chamber group i've ever played in (including sonatas) was the word 'we.' fenyves used to make a huge point of whenever you're in a small ensemble, everything is 'we'- i.e. "'we' use too much pedal" "'we' are out of tune'" "'we' are not articulating together" "'we' are rushing" it brings up the problems up while never singling any one person out. everyone is at fault in some way- even with the pedal thing- you may be playing in such a way that encourages the pianist to use more pedal. or maybe you're giving a quicker cue in a place that you're unaware of which is making your partner 'rush.' the possibilities are endless... as long as everyone keeps their ears open, and there is respect within the group, and you all trust each other to be able to hear one's faults, quartet playing doesn't have to be a frustrating string of arguments.

and when all else fails, bring out the tuner and the metronome.

-sharon

April 3, 2006 at 02:22 PM · Hi,

Good point Buri. Had overlooked that part.

Sharon - I saw on your bio page here that you are playing the Fauré Piano Quartet with the Gryphon Trio. Congrats! They are an awesome group!

Cheers!

April 3, 2006 at 03:08 PM · Great post, Sharon! Sometimes I have found, after criticising someone else for rushing or something else, that the problem is really myself.

Oh, yeah, and "chamber music doesn't have to be a frustrating string of arguments." Nice.

April 3, 2006 at 08:56 PM · I would like to add that in a quartet and any other small group, there must be a person that ultimitely desides what to do. It is this person that moves the rehearsal along and brings all the discussions to their mutually satisfactory conclusions. It is a very sensitive but necessary position and should not be abused.

Lucia

April 3, 2006 at 10:07 PM · I apologize for being a little off-topic, but the comments implying that ensembles should tune to the piano really reminded me of this joke:

-----

One night the captain of a tanker saw a light dead ahead. He directed his signalman to flash a signal to the light which went.....

'Change course 10 degrees South.'

The reply was quickly flashed back...

'You change course 10 degrees North.'

The captain was a little annoyed at this reply and sent a further message.....

'I am a captain. Change course 10 degrees South.'

Back came the reply....

'I am an able-seaman. Change course 10 degrees North.'

The captain was outraged at this reply and send a message....

'I am a 240,000 tonne tanker. CHANGE course 10 degrees South!'

Back came the reply.......

'I am a LIGHTHOUSE. Change course 10 degrees North!!!!'

April 3, 2006 at 11:13 PM · Lucia,

That's not necessarily true. Plenty of quartets make decisions without an "executive" member. Have you read "Indivisible by Four" by Arnold Steinhardt, first violin of the Guarneri quartet? It's a wonderful book in which the rehearsal process of the Guarneri is described (among many other things). The gist of it is, they discuss all the options, play everyone's ideas, and then the majority rules. In the case of a tie, they'll decide to try the problem spot one way in one performance, and perhaps another way another night, and see which one works in the vastly different world of the concert stage. He freely admits (and I think it's wonderful) that they still have ongoing debates about certain articulations and phrases. It shows that even after 30+ years of playing music together with the same people, Guarneri is still learning and experimenting. Prior to David Soyer's semi-retirement (I think he still plays a few concerts with them occasionally?), they held the record for the longest-running currently playing quartet which still had its original members. And they never had an executive vote.

April 4, 2006 at 03:36 AM · Echoing the others - great thread. Very pertinent to my current research. Thanks, Stephen!

April 4, 2006 at 05:16 AM · Lucia,

Respectfully, I must agree with Nicholas here. I is truly unadvisable to enter into a quartet experience with the intention of one person being the decision-maker or "final say" voice. Remember, we are not talking about the Concertmaster of an orchestra/string section or a conductor for that matter. Quartets should truly be a collaborative effort. If all FOUR players are not actively involved in the musical decisions then the quartet cannot be truly effective and solid. Sure, one person in the quartet can be in charge of marketing and booking, or even serve as the "front man" when performing and speaking to audiences; however, in the case of repertoire and interpretation, there must be joint decision-making. Otherwise, it's a soloist with trio accompaniment.

-Peter

April 4, 2006 at 01:48 PM · lol! glad you caught that, stephen.

oh, and thanks christian- the gryphon trio concert was an awesome experience! but it was a few months ago.. i guess i should update my bio...

lucia, i must also agree with nicholas-

but to your credit, there are quartets that function in the 'dictator' style.. i'm completely dead opposed to it, but it does exist. especially in the *very* early stages of chamber music performance (performance being the key word there- not jamming, not party music) you would often find that the quartet would be named after the first violinist, and with good reason- the first violinist would be acting as the 'artistic mastermind' of the group. i also remember an incident where the first violinist actually had two functioning string quartets in two different cities, both under the same (his) hame, and 'touring' meant playing with which ever quartet was closer to the city he needed to go to.

however, that school of thought, it seems, is slowly being phased out. chamber music is now more often seen as a conversation of equal voices- a democracy, if you will.

-sharon

April 4, 2006 at 06:39 PM · On the "to dictate or not to dictate" question, I think that ultimately, the results are more important than the specific decision-making process. While I fall in line with Sharon, Peter, and Nicholas as far as my personal preference, I cannot deny that I have heard absolutely breathtaking performances by groups that I know function with a "leader." Different strokes for different folks.

In the real world, democracies and dictatorships are not necessarily mutually exclusive, politically or in a chamber music sense. Like with intonation (ooh!) there's a certain amount of gray area. I've certainly been in groups where every member was equal, but some were more equal than others...

April 4, 2006 at 06:58 PM · Very good points Sharon & Jesse:

It is definitely worth mentioning that, particularly when quartets have one player who is significantly more advanced than the others, a "leader" often is necessary. This is often the case at universities where a graduate student might need to play with undergrads or quartets are assigned with levels of playing mixed.

Clearly, the MUSIC is the most important element here, so whatever works to present the best possible performance while honoring the score--would be the preferred outcome.

However, particularly on the professional or advanced level, it is ideal when all the players in the ensemble can contribute equally to the end result of that best performance.

-Peter

April 5, 2006 at 10:40 PM · Hi,

I feel compelled to add my own two cents and state that dictatorship and leadership are two different things. It is hard for any group in whatever field of life to work without leadership. I find that even in chamber music, people seek leadership on some level in some places. I often get cast in a leadership role by my own colleagues in concerts (or before). Is that because I am a better player or more advanced? No! We are all professionals. But, there is something about it that brings security - perhaps some personality trait or approach, or something. Leadership inspires and brings together, and sometimes removes uncertainty. That is different than dictatorship which I agree is not good.

My own very personal own two cents...

Cheers!

April 5, 2006 at 07:43 PM · Thanks Christian for your clarification. I definitely should have been more careful with my wording - and I agree 110% with everything you said.

April 6, 2006 at 12:16 AM · Ha, ha, I must have been very tired or something when I wrote the last couple of times. I guess what I was mainly trying to say was that all quartet members should all respect each other, and never make the other one feel like they aren't important. (Everything that everyone else said.) I guess the reason I entered the first violinist into it especially was just because usually (and I mean, usually) the first violinist is generally leading the rehearsal time (in the sense of, "Shall we start at measure 10?") and if people don't pay attention (/listen/cooperate/whatever), then it makes it even more difficult.

Hopefully that's the last time I have to clarify! ;-)

April 6, 2006 at 02:10 AM · Christian & friends:

It would be fair to say that at this point we now have several issues on the table with regard to string quartets, personnel, protocol, etiquette, and general approach to rehearsing.

Let me be clear about my take on each point:

When we were discussing the issue of "leadership" in previous dicussion, the context was that of who was in charge of making musical decisions with regard to repertoire and interpretation. My feeling on this is that ALL members of the ensemble should exhibit leadership in THIS regard--equally. The repertoire and interpretation should be the COLLECTIVE opinions of the entire group. In other words, the "dictator" as mentioned before would be a person undesirable in a chamber music setting.

That said, this "collective leadership" should not be confused with the traditional role of the 1st Violinist in the quartet as the "head" of the ensemble or group leader. This person serves as the "front man" for the ensemble, which can include serving as spokesperson in public forums. It certainly can be decided by the ensemble that the 1st violinist will also choose HOW the rehearsal shall be conducted. However, the MUSICAL decisions for the group should be made together.

-Peter

April 6, 2006 at 04:31 AM · Hi,

I think that by now we all agree that all the members need to be involved in the creative process. It just makes sense, otherwise what is the point in playing together?

Now, let us be practical.

Who calls everyone and sets up the rehearsal times? Who deals with the agent if there is one? Who orders the music? Who makes sure that the tax forms are in order? Does the quartet have a spokesperson and who is it?

Does it make me a leader if I am the one who says lets start at meassure 54 today? I don't know, but it is important that someone does say it.

Does it make me a leader if I am the one that makes sure that the rehearsal times are set and the music has been ordered? I don't know, but again it is important that someone does do it.

In my experience, there are usually different quartet members in charge of different tasks. As long as everyone feels that they are as much involved as everyone else in the quartet without being overloaded with responsibilities, the group will function well. One person should not do it all! If they do do it alone, they are either a control freak or just plain stupid.

By the way, have you ever played with someone who just loves to talk, or to discuss points endlessly, or someone who keeps forgeting their reading glasses, or keeps getting lost on the way to the gig, or looses the directions, or forgets the concert blouse at home? These are also the things that quartet members must deal with. They need to learn how to watch out for each other and how to help each other.

Lucia

April 6, 2006 at 01:31 PM · Hi,

Peter - I see you point. I agree with it most assuredly.

Cheers!

April 6, 2006 at 06:58 PM · There is a terrific book available on this topic, "The Ill-tempered Quartet." Hilarious and useful.

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