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Quiz for String Quartets



1. How does Beethoven's Op. 18 No. 1 begin?
  • down bow
  • up bow
  • softly, but with character
  • every year

2. The best use for a metronome is to:
  • learn a composer's intent regarding tempo
  • determine appropriate tempo relationships
  • be a practice aid
  • humiliate a colleague

3. Many quartet players feel the most disconcerting audience distraction to be:
  • beeping watches during Beethoven's Cavatina
  • picture-taking (with flash) during Haydn's Seven Last Words of Christ
  • rustling of cellophane candy wrappers during the slow movement of Ravel's quartet
  • loud wagering between movements of Alban Berg's Lyric Suite

4. The most important function of a cellist's endpin is to:
  • keep the cello from sliding on stage during a performance
  • ruin one's colleagues' living room carpet
  • set off airport security alarms
  • restore order during arguments at rehearsal

5. What is the best edition of Mozart quartets and why?
  • Bärenreiter because of its superior scholarship
  • Henle because it's an Urtext edition
  • Peters because it's traditional
  • G. Schirmer because it's cheap

6. When it is best for the first violinist to take a solo bow?
  • after Haydn's "Lark" Quartet
  • after Mendelssohn's Octet
  • after an all-Bach solo recital
  • while everyone else is still backstage, arguing

7. The primary function of a music review is to:
  • educate and enlighten the public
  • promote local concerts
  • inspire performers to maintain their highest standards
  • make the paper thick enough to meet the demands of any untrained puppy

8. Amateur quartet players (especially doctors) have the following advantages over professional players:
  • they approach the music with freshness
  • they are more concerned with musical product than technical perfection
  • they own most of the world's great instruments

9. What is the most effect way to offend a concert sponsor?
  • don't show up at the reception
  • leave the reception after 5 minutes
  • arrive on a flight other than the one the sponsor was asked to meet

10. When do most quartet first violinists leave first position?
  • never
  • whenever string crossings produce unwanted timbres
  • only when the composer specifically indicates it (ex.: finale of Beethoven's Op. 50 No. 3)
  • when all but one string have broken

11. What is the most challenging audience?
  • New York
  • Vienna
  • London
  • any that includes present or former students

12. Certain French and Czech editions (as of Ravel and Janácek) are well known to quartet players because they are:
  • the most authoritative editions
  • too large to fit in one's case
  • printed on paper rejected by Charmin

13. When may a quartet second violinist be too loud?
  • in the slow movement of the Schubert two cello quintet (but only at the first rehearsal)
  • during the Grosse Fuge (when everyone else is playing as loudly as possible)
  • when playing at the first violinist's funeral
  • when his mother is in the audience

14. What should you do when you are lost in the Grosse Fuge during rehearsal?
  • try to find the place
  • stop immediately
  • play anything (concerto, solo sonata, études, etc.)
  • knock over your music stand so you have an excuse for another start

15. Most arguments in quartet rehearsals occur over:
  • intonation
  • phrasing
  • balance
  • and over.