chapter  7
44 Pages

The conversation

The conversation presents the listener with four interchangeable lines of similar character and requirements. In this sense, it represents the string quartet in its most democratic form. Chronological distinctions are more likely to be based on either an individual composer's stylistic traits or advancements in string playing, than the evolution of the genre itself. Rather than restricting himself to the first-violin dominated approach found in the first movement and minuet, Boccherini explores a texture as far removed as possible–one which focuses on unity rather than stratification. Joseph Haydn is never content to simply feature one part or another; instead he combines longer lines of quick surface rhythm with dialogues consisting of short snippets, thereby requiring the listener to hear multiple parts simultaneously. The non-lecture movements are strategically placed to highlight conclusions of compositions and to provide relief from what would otherwise be a series of uniform textures.