New string quartet: Oaks at Gloaming.

September 30, 2018, 5:05 PM · A new string quartet: Oaks at Gloaming. Short but dense. Some challenging harmonies. Slow doesn't mean easy. A series of chords where no individual has even one note as a solo. Each chord requires precise attack and release. See/hear the scrolling score at and print the parts free at

Raul Kottler
Ojai, CA

Note regarding theory: I am aware that technically, some of these chords should have been written with E#, B#, Cb, Fb, or double sharps/flats. I chose to use the appropriate unaltered enharmonic. Controversial, I know, and a quick search uncovers considerable relevant discussion already in this forum and elsewhere.

Replies (8)

October 1, 2018, 2:32 AM · I like that. I'll certainly print off the parts and give it a go. Gracias!
October 2, 2018, 4:04 AM · Raul, as a performer, I would much rather look at the enharmonic notation (and not the Fb, etc). The music itself is "not my cup of tea", to be honest, but that's all right: I'm sure many people are appreciative of the style you implemented.

It would be interesting to hear the comments of other cellists, who might play your quartet.

All the best.

October 2, 2018, 6:16 AM · I'm a little confused by the number of commas. I take it you're trying to indicate that there is no legato between the bars? Or are you indicating an actual gap or pause, or an abbreviation of the closing note?

Personally I'd prefer the double-sharps and so on, they're a pain to read but the harmonic structure is more obvious.

October 2, 2018, 5:51 PM · In my notation software (Finale) the comma (a.k.a. breath mark or luftpause) creates a very short pause before the subsequent note. I placed the comma where the piece requires consecutive down bows so that playback is more realistic. I know that pros can switch down/up/down/up without any audible separation for sustained notes (not me), but I don't think anybody can play two down bows in a row starting at the frog without a tiny pause. I had also tried making the last quarter note of the affected measures shorter and including a 1/64 rest, but I prefer the playback with the comma.
Edited: October 2, 2018, 5:59 PM · My notation software (Sibelius) allows you to insert performance directions for playback purposes and hide them in the printed score. I assume Finale, being the other of the two "professional" notation software packages, allows something similar? Hiding the commas would clean up the score.
October 2, 2018, 9:32 PM · You're right. Finale can do that too. But I forgot.
Edited: October 3, 2018, 2:06 AM · Those commas and downbow signs have an important influence on the phrasing. I thought the effect you were after was of a series of one- and two-bar statements stacked up like a staircase with little continuity and mostly step-wise dynamics. I'll try it both ways!
October 3, 2018, 3:37 PM · I like Steve's staircase description. But I think the commas are superfluous, as the consecutive downbows in a live performance would "organically" produce my desired effect of a teeny-tiny pause between statements.

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