A Musical Score Presented to the
FACULTY OF THE THORNTON SCHOOL OF MUSIC
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
In Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree
MASTER OF MUSIC
Copyright 2008 Juhi Bansal
The string quartet can be an intimidating beast to approach as a composer, not only because of the vast history of this genre but also because, musically, there is so much one can do with the ensemble. The massive range afforded by these four instruments -- the changes in tone and timbre, the range of expression from sweet legato to furious appassionato, and more -- mean that it is sometimes easy to have a piece for the ensemble turn out too fragmentary. The guiding aesthetic with which I approached my quartet, in an attempt to keep it unified, was the idea of generating energy and rhythmic momentum. Shifting accents push the music forwards, even as the harmony shimmers, changing voicing subtly while remaining overall relatively stable.; The first movement features an intense driving rhythm, which disappears into a sense of melody and stasis in the second movement. In the final movement, these two different characters push and pull at one another, spilling over elements into each other, until they become a single distinct idea that hurtles, off kilter, towards the finish.