I’m a self-taught wannabe composer who’s playing with strings in Sibelius and I’m trying to learn the intricacies of writing for different techniques, such as con sordino, sul pont., etc. My question is: In a passage where the strings change from natural/open to a technique that requires a physical modification to the instrument (such as installing a mute for sordino), must the composer write a pause/rest to give the players time to put the mute in place, or can the strings change technique fluidly with uninterrupted playing? And if there must be a break, how long should it be as a rule of thumb? A second? Five?
Here’s an image to illustrate the idea: A continuous passage …
… vs. a break before the technique change:
Any thoughts would be appreciated.