"Improvising String Quartets" Demonstration Videos

From December 28th-30th of 2008, I gathered together a group of students, teachers, former students, and professional string quartet players. The purpose of this gathering was to read through and test the new Improvising String Quartets book. Over a period of 20 hours, each exercise, variation, and quartet was tried. The false starts, the fun, the exhilaration and the powerfully beautiful music were captured on videotape by a Mom.

The sample videos provided here start at the beginning of the book with exercises and variations, continue with quartets and romantic quartets, and finish with the "Aleatoric" quartet.

The Players:

Eric, age 13; Hassler, age 15; Margaret, age 12; Daphne, age 13; Isabella, age 14; Donal, age 15; Rachel, age 17; Mike, age 19; Noah, age 20; Sherri and Max, Teachers; Jessie Montgomery, The Providence String Quartet; Sera Smolen, Teacher, Performer, and Editor of the ISQ book.

Alice Kanack, director
Sally Thurston, videographer

All textual excerpts from "Improvising String Quartets" by Alice Kay Kanack

Exercise 7a Modulating Cross Imitation

Purpose: To take the ideas from cross imitation and form smaller units tha...

Variation 19 Ostinati, Ostinati, Ostinati

A revolving trio Purpose: To create a piece of music comprised o...

Variation 24 Limitations 2+2+2

Purpose: To hear music in a new way using a different kind of pitch Limita...

Telephone Exercise

Purpose: To heighten each player's ability to communicate a shared musical...

Exercise 13 The Canon (C)

Purpose: To develop imitation skills so great that it is possible to creat...