What would the ideal app for string quartets? Maybe an app isn’t the first thing you would think of in connection with a musical form that goes back to the 18th century. But actually the composers of that period, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, would probably have been fascinated an app for string quartets. After all the 18th century was very interested in technology. The people of that age loved the idea of mechanisms and automata, and devised musical machines of all kinds; the musical box and the metronome to name but two.
With today’s technology, music apps, especially a chamber music app can provide new ways to make string quartet playing more rewarding, more productive and more enjoyable.
For beginners, those playing string quartets for the first time, and who are still on the way to becoming good sight readers, what could be better than an app that can play a page of music? How many times has a student struggled over a difficult rhythm, maybe practicing it incorrectly over and over before realising their mistake? Well that is something that never need happen again.
And again, how many students struggle with intonation? Well once again, if you have an app that can accompany you, how much easier is it to stay in tune? In short an app for string quartets. Then there is what used to be known as music-minus-one’. Years ago one could buy practice recordings of popular pieces with one instrument left out. Well now, with an app for string quartet players, or more generally an app for chamber music, you can have an instant music-minus-one for any piece: straight from the score.
But a chamber music app for string quartets is not only useful for the beginner. How often in a string quartet rehearsal do you rehearse a subset of the group, say the inner parts to practice a passage. You might be focusing on intonation, or on a dovetailed passage; or maybe you want to find out just who it is that is a fraction late (2nd violin??). Now with the PlayScore 2 app for string quartets you can snap a couple of pages of score, and select just the 2nd violin and viola. Or maybe just the viola for the 2nd violin to play against, and then the 2nd violin for the viola to play against. Now each part is playing perfectly in time we can put them together. All of a sudden, nobody is late!
Another way an app for string quartets, and in particular PlayScore 2 can be invaluable is in the study of harmony an counterpoint, and of the examples of the great composers. By taking a photo of the score, or by importing the PDF you can study any combination of parts, at any speed, or in a loop. You can even see what the quartet sounds like played by a wind band, or on the organ.
The possibilities of a chamber music app like PlayScore 2 are endless. I wonder what Beethoven have said?