"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

String Quartet 11

Preparation: Choose a key and a bassline. This is intended as an 8-note slower styl...

String Quartet 16

Preparation: Choose a Leader and a round melody, making sure all players know it an...

String Quartet 19

1 pitch to whole tone to 1 pitch divided Preparation: The players choose one...

String Quartet 21

Explanation: Moving Drones: Begin by using moving drones in held who...

String Quartet 23

Preparation: Choose a key (Major or Minor), a round, and leaders one and t...