What is the course about?
In this workshop you will learn techniques of writing effectively for one or more orchestral string instuments (violin, viola, cello, bass) using a range of playing techniques and notation styles.
You will either develop your own original material or, given the intensive nature of the course, arrange existing music from another medium (e.g. piano, wind, vocal music).
What will we cover?
* range and tessitura of orchestral string instruments
* fingering and limitations of the human hand on string instruments
* chord voicing and spacing for one or more instruments
* basics of bowing: bow speed and pressure, legato and staccato bowings
* simple special effects such as tremolo, harmonics, pizzicato, glissando
* how to structure musical ideas into an effective short piece.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
* understand the basic mechanism of string instruments
* write idiomatic melodic and chordal music for strings
* know how and where to use the main bowing techniques
* write effective voicing and spacing for a string ensemble
* use simple special effects.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
You need fluent music reading and notation skills, and good knowledge of music theory including basic diatonic harmony, scale forms, time signatures (at least Grade 5 ABRSM standard recommended). You also need practical skills on an instrument or voice. If you play a string instrument, please bring it to class.
It is useful, but not essential, to be able to use a music notation program such as Sibelius. If you are notating your score by hand, it will need to be legible for performer(s).
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
• Guided analytical listening, score study, discussion and playing of examples
• Tutor explanation and demonstration of piano playing techniques
• string writing exercises in class, with tutor and peer feedback
• How to notate your music clearly and legibly.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please bring manscript paper, pencil and eraser. If you are string player, please bring your instrument.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
You may be interested in taking Composition techniques during the main academic year. Each term focusses on a different set of topics, developing your skills in original composition and arranging, in a variety of styles, techniques and media.
You may also be interested in Songwriting, or Music Technology courses, e.g. learnimg to notate using Sibelius, creative courses such as Sonic Arts and Arduino, and Music production courses on how to record, mix and master music.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details