So, I am trying a second time to arrange K 545 for a string quartet. I think my second draft is better harmonically speaking than my previous attempt to arrange the same sonata. But there is a whole movement that makes it a tad difficult to arrange for string quartet. That would be the second Andante movement. And here is why the Andante is more difficult to arrange than the Allegro and Allegretto movements.
The Allegro and Allegretto both go into a 4 voice texture sometimes. The Andante however is like exclusively in a 3 voice texture, with those voices being:
- Upper voice - Melody
- Middle voice - Alberti bass except for the lowest note
- Lower voice - Bass line formed from lowest notes of the Alberti bass
And these voices fit conveniently into 3 out of 4 instruments in the quartet. The melody, I would be giving to the first violin. The middle and lower voices fit very well into the cello and viola. That leaves the second violin with basically none of Mozart's original notes except in a few chords. But, I can't just leave it out of the movement entirely, otherwise I will get a lot of feedback along these lines:
If your arrangement of the Andante is basically a trio, then why did you arrange for a string quartet in the first place?!
Can't you add a harmony part for the second violin to play? This is obviously one of those cases where you have to add notes to the original score.
So, I have to add a harmony part for the second violin. This is where the difficulty lies. I obviously would want to lean towards either parallel thirds and sixths or contrary motion and minimize parallel fourths, parallel fifths, and octave doublings. Quite a few people have told me that I shouldn't have the second violin go over the melody in the first violin. This limits my contrary motion by quite a bit. In my previous draft, I used contrary motion for measures like this one:
The problem I came across there though had to do with voice crossing(I was going in mostly parallel thirds before, so maybe that's why) between the 2 violins. The ideal voicing of the second violin in terms of avoiding voice crossing, if I wanted to use contrary motion and keep it consonant with the harmony would be:
G3 B3 D4
However, that makes the violin go into the very bottom of its range and I have heard that it isn't ideal for that to happen. If I go any higher though, I will either get a unison or voice crossing, neither of which is good. Voice crossing is obviously a bad thing to have happen because it makes the melody sound a bit more static instead of the way it is supposed to sound. Having a unison though is also bad if it is just the 2 violins in unison. I have been told something along these lines when it comes to violins in unison:
If you have 3 or more violins, you can have them in unison with no worries. If you have just 2 violins though, a unison is horrible because of slight tuning differences between the 2 violins. If a situation comes across where you can't avoid a unison between the 2 violins, then have the viola and cello be either in unison with the violins or in octaves so that the tuning differences aren't audible.
So, how can I make it easier for me to write the harmony part for the second violin in the second movement?