What is the “conversation à quatre?” How can the string quartet’s texture be defined and what are the constants? How can the texture in a quartet be assessed?
These questions give rise to considerable debate, which is set forth in two papers.
The present paper explains the method. First, a classification is drawn up arrangement, register, melodic distribution, participants based on the theoretical writings of Charles Koechlin, Arnold Schoenberg and Jan LaRue. Then, a system of statistical assessment is determined for all the defined features, built up using several Excel databases, and illustrated with an example of a musical work.
In the second paper (to be published by Musurgia in 2006), this method will be applied systematically to a set of string quartets.