Stringsters
Home Up Hornist's Treasure Chest Horn Trio Stringsters

 

This site is primarily for young string players; but since much of the joy of learning an instrument is in making music with others the site aims to provide opportunities to play not just with fellow stringsters but also to join in with singers, recorders (and other wind instruments) and also percussion.

There are three distinct sections below:

row one - specifically teaching material for young violin and viola pupils - but with something for cellists too!
row two - providing occasions to join in classroom work and school assemblies with other instrumentalists and singers
row three - string orchestra and ensemble work with additional parts for recorders and percussion

and not forgetting:-    Footsteps in row four - a good introduction to chamber music, about grade seven, and versions for horn trio and also piano trio - including options for ’cello or viola!
                                 - nor theTelemann Canon Sonata in row five - with versions for 2 violins and 2 two violas - or even for violin and viola!
                                There are scores to download, and also recordings, with both parts sounding and also with one line muted.

The 42 'workshop' studies for technique owe much to the influence of the great American teacher Paul Rolland, and seek first and foremost to encourage a relaxed and uninhibited posture with both left and right arms moving freely and easily around the violin.  Intonation is stressed, both through the early use of harmonics, and by the regular part-playing wich is a built-in feature of the scheme since the studies combine with a similar number of progressive 'melody-time' tunes.  They first appeared in print in June 1982 as an appendix to my 1980-81 Associateship Report for London University's Institute of Education: "Aims and Methods in Group Instrumental Teaching with particular Reference to Strings, and its place within the General School Curriculum."

To these '42 Moments' were later added a range of complementary and at times highly original worksheets, (see also Images and Imagination) which include, interspersed thoughout the book:

* Creative Writing Sheets (3)    * Rhythm-Swap Sheets (3)      * Treble/Alto Switch Sheets (3)       *Pentatonic, Position and Chord Work,

together with a supplementary series of 'Tail-Piece' melodies and scalework to complete each page-long block of work.  Depending upon the circumstances these should take between two and four weeks to complete and as a guide to progress the date of introducing each new topic should be faithfully recorded on the back cover practice chart.

Some of these topics are also covered in the Images and Imagination pack; but in addition that also has pages headed, Spiccato-Tap (1), Slurs - the buoyant elbow (2) and Feeling the Harmony (2)
- and something especially for cellists: a new pack of Bass / Tenor Switch Sheets (3)
The Position Pack has four pages for violin and another four for viola.

The scheme is conceived as a three to four-year course for children being taught in groups, starting at second year junior.  It assumes that the various points of the lesson will always be introduced by the teacher, and includes a 'talking-point' section to reinforce what has been said in the class, and also to stress the need for revision of earlier material (sometimes with a new objective in mind) - another important aspect of the book.

Children who elect to proceed further with their instrumental studies should find they have acquired secure foundations for that invaluable combination of sound technique and musical awareness; but it is at least as great a concern that those children for whom this course will represent the limit of their instrumental involvement will equally have gained a worthwhile and enriching experience, both musically and educationally. (This introduction dated June 1987)

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<<view / downoad 42 Moments>>

 

<<view / download Viva Viola>>

<<view / download Images & Imagination>>

<<ditto commentary>>

Available now - "Riding the Bass / Tenor Switchback"

<<view / download Position Pack>>


There are over a hundred classroom and assembly pieces included in these four collections, which all include sound files, full performance and also melody lines with the appropriate accompanying violin parts.  When they were first published, there were also accompanying cassette tapes!  These, and some of the addresses listed, have obviously disappeared over the years!

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<<view / download Sing & Play Along violin>>

<ditto viola>>   <<ditto cello>>  <<ditto vocal>>

<<ditto words & piano>>  <<ditto percussion>>

There is also a dedicated website for Sing and Play Along which has not only the pdf files listed above, but also melody parts for flute, clarinet, alto saxophone and trumpet as well as sound files for all 28 songs.

visit the
"Sing and Play Along" [EXTERNAL]
site.

For some reason to do with missing codexes these sound files don't play using Microsoft Edge - other browsers are fine - as at October 2020

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<< view / download String Hosanna violin>>

<<ditto String Hosanna viola>>

<<ditto String Hosanna percussion>>

There is also a dedicated website for String and Percussion Hosanna! which has not only the pdf files listed above (10 pages of violin music, 10 pages for viola, and 13 for percussion) but also recordings of all 26 assembly favourites.

There are also audio clips of  individual parts. These are small midi files which my browser downloads when clicked. Click the downloaded file and it plays, and if media player is minimised the music can be read at the same time!

visit the
String  & Percussion Hosanna! [EXTERNAL]

site.

For some reason to do with missing codexes these sound files don't play using Microsoft Edge - other browsers are fine - as at October 2020

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<<ditto Celebration String Hosanna Violin>>

There is also a dedicated website for Celebration String Hosanna!

There are recordings of 29 songs and carols - Spring, Pancake Day, Lent/Easter, Harvest/Autumn, Halloween/Guy Fawkes, Endings, Hindu and Jewish - for festival assemblies throught the year.

There are also audio clips of  individual parts. These are small midi files which my browser downloads when clicked. Click the downloaded file and it plays, and if media player is minimised the music can be read at the same time!

The melody parts are suitable for recorder, violin, flute etc, while the accompanying line is specifically for young violinists.

visit the
Celebration String Hosanna!  [EXTERNAL]
site.

For some reason to do with missing codexes these sound files don't play using Microsoft Edge - other browsers are fine - as at October 2020

Carolling Along

<<view / download Carolling Along violin>>

<<ditto viola>>   <<ditto cello>>

<<ditto piano>>  <<ditto percussion>>

There is also a dedicated website for
Carolling Along

As well as the above files, there are also parts for flute, clarinet, trumpet and E flat sax.  A simple percussion score is also included, with short, memorable parts for a variety of tuned and untuned percussion, which can even be listened to individually, simply by clicking on an instrument's name.

In response to many requests, a piano accompaniment book was also published, with new accompaniments by me to the 21 carols.

visit the Carolling Along [EXTERNAL] site.

For some reason to do with missing codexes these sound files don't play using Microsoft Edge - other browsers are fine - as at October 2020


In 1995 I was asked to provide music for a large gathering of schools in Stafford, which I remember included Jonah-Man Jazz Cantata, I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside, Don't Dilly Dally and even audience participation for Pack Up Your Troubles / Tipperary!  I think the Finale was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for which Stuart Johnson had done an arrangement.  The seven pieces here are arrangements of Daisy Bell, The Keeper and Offenbach's Galop, and then in Island Trundle four folk songs, Ye Banks and Braes, My Aunt Jane, The Ash Grove and The Drunken Sailor.
The final arrangement here, the Donauwellen Waltz, was made for a rather different occasion.   Staffordshire County Council music department at one glorious period had almost a hundred full-time peripatetic instrumental music teachers, who taught their instruments for four days each week, but who played in ensembles on Fridays, giving concerts each year to every school in the county, from small village schools up to the largest comprehensives.
Sometimes these were small chamber ensembles, at other times full orchestras, while at other times we went out in larger ensembles such as string orchestras and it was always a joy when some of a school’s pupils could join in for some of the items.
Josef Ivanovici’s Donauwellen Waltz was just one of a number of such works we would take into a school, with recorder and percussion parts having been sent on ahead earlier.
It truly did mean that the instrumental service reached all the county’s pupils, and every year too. The Donauwellen Waltz was especially arranged in 1991 and happily performed in schools throughout the Stafford and Cannock areas during 1991 and 1992, the catchy melodies being passed around the orchestra from one section to another.

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The photograph, which has just come to light after nearly 30 years, shows a very happy team, from a different world now, with our "Strings and Things" programme  including the newly arranged Donauwellen Waltz.

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<<view / download junior pack score & parts>>

<<view/download Island Trundle score/parts>>

<<hear the Donauwellen Waltz arrangment>>

<<view / download donauwellen score and parts>>

Horn Trio


One other piece worth mentioning at this point is a horn trio - horn, violin and piano - written with my grandchildren in mind, called Footsteps.
It is about grade 7 technically, and not too daunting musically either, and makes a good introduction to the world of chamber music.  Based on a song I wrote in 1997 telling of one young woman's feelings after the death of her partner following depression its haunting memories vie with a sense of despair and desolation.  Again the music can be downloaded for free and the violin part also has an alternative flute version.  As at June 2020 because of the  coronavirus Lockdown I have not seen the grandchildren to record the piece; but you can get a good idea of the work from this computer-generated recording:  <<<Listen to Footsteps>>>.    
And here are the parts:  <<< Download the Footsteps  parts>>>

And Stop Press on 14 July 2020 - a version of Footsteps for piano trio
       - hear it now <<Footsteps piano trio>>      <<Download the parts>>

Brahms of course was very much against his horn trio being arranged with cello; but was happier with the viola, and so I have also included a viola part!

Piano Trio

VIOLIN VERSON

Both parts sounding

There are three movements, Vivace, Adagio andAllegro.

The first movement comes with a choice of two tempi, either crotchet = 130, or 138.

The Adagio is quaver = 66

The Allegro is crotchet = 104

<<play Vivace=130>>  

<<play Vivace=138>>

<<play Adagio>>       <<play Allegro>>

Telemann Canon Sonata no. 1 in G major

for two violins or two violas.

Georg Philipp Telemann

<<Download parts here>>

- and remember, it also works for violin and viola!

VIOLA VERSON

Both parts sounding

There are three movements, Vivace, Adagio andAllegro.

The Vivace is crotchet = 130

The Adagio is quaver = 66

The Allegro is crotchet = 104

<<play Vivace=130>>  

<<play Adagio>>       <<play Allegro>>

Just the first part sounding

<<play Vivace=130>>  

<<play Vivace=138>>

<<play Adagio>>       <<play Allegro>>

Just the first part sounding

<<play Vivace=130>>

<<play Adagio>>       <<play Allegro>>

Finally, a very brief mention of some of my music for professional stringsters!

Pippa Passes - five songs of Asolo is a work for Mezzo Soprano and Piano Trio.  Pippa Passes was by Robert Browning, first published in 1841.  These settings were recorded at All Saints Church East Finchley in 2010 by Yvonne Howard and the English Piano Trio, Jane Faulkner, Justin Pearson and Timothy Ravenscroft. 
More information on the  <<Pippa Passes [EXTERNAL]>> site

Violin Sonata in A minor "Affinities" - fairly difficult; but brilliantly recorded by Jane Faulkner and Timothy Ravenscroft

This is a substantial work at some 28 minutes, and should be a welcome addition to today's repertoire.

For both players the parts lie well, but the work is not without challenges,  not the least of them rhythmical.  It is a very satisfying and rewarding work - the whole work having been conceived as an emotional journey, from the violinist's first anguished cry to the last movement's idyllic happy ending.

Eight sample score pages are included in a pdf document.  You may also be interested in the notes that accompany the printed score. Just click to follow the links:

        <<sample pages from the piano score>>                   <<composer's note>>

"I am thoroughly enjoying playing it .... the whole sonata is really elegant and happy and characteristic of the composer"   !!  - a dear colleague who shall remain anonymous!

String Quartet in A minor "Echoes".  Following on from Stafford Music Festival's première of Pippa Passes in 2011 I had a request for a string quartet "with some kind of Greek idea behind it, or a Shugborough-related theme" to tie in with plans to celebrate its importance in the story of the Greek Revival and the 18th century's fascination with all things Asia Minor.  A minor, then, for the key!  And an Aeolian theme.  The first performance was at Shugborough in June 2012 by the Alard Quartet, who then recorded the work at a concert at St Mary's Stafford the following year.  The final minutes of this performance can be heard here: <<listen to final section>>and sample pages can also be viewed here: <<Echoes pages>> The full performance can be viewed on the vimeo channel: <<"Echoes" [EXTERNAL]>> with some dazzling playing by Nigel Stubbs.

A Rapture Suite - a tone poem for Horn Trio   The five movements are based on the music of the Rapture Song Cycle, which comprises settings of twenty of the poems by the then poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, part of a collection of 52 poems called Rapture.  Like the song cycle the Rapture Suite uses serial technique throughout.  The work was scheduled for recording in September by a splendid Scottish trio, the brilliant pianist Scott Mitchell, Christopher Gough, principal horn with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Maya Iwabuchi,  leader of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra since 2011, her playing described in The Strad as "simply brilliant" and in the Times as "gorgeous".

-and new October 2020 - a version of the Rapture Suite tone poem for Piano Trio - details with the Horn Trio.

And this brings us neatly back to the top of this page, with its link to the Horn Trio's own dedicated pages, including sound samples and background notes.

The music, in print and / or  download form, for these last four works is available from the splendid classical music site tutti.co.uk   Tutti.co.uk logo
as too are the accompanying audio CDs.
                                                                                                                                                                Kerry Milan, June 2020, Stafford - in lockdown.