All Things Strings
An Illustrated Dictionary
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About the author
Violinist and violist Jo Nardolillo has performed throughout the United States and in Europe. She has commissioned, recorded, and given the world premieres of many new works, and is a founding member of the innovative new-music ensemble TangleTown Trio and the eclectic jazz sextet Touché. She is author of The Canon of Violin Literature (Scarecrow Press, 2011), and holds a doctorate from the Eastman School of Music.
Illustrator T. M. Larsen is a professional double bass player active in the Pacific Northwest. He has performed with the Seattle Symphony, the Seattle Opera, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Seattle Baroque Orchestra, the Northwest Chamber Orchestra, and the Northwest Sinfonietta. As a jazz bassist, Mr. Larsen has been a member of the Jim Baker Band and the Northwest Sinfonietta Jazz Quintet.
String players face a bewildering array of terms related to their instruments. Because string playing is a living art form, passed directly from master to student, the words used to convey complex concepts such as bow techniques and fingering systems have developed into an extensive vocabulary that can be complicated, vague, and even contradictory. Many of these terms are derived from French, Italian, or German, yet few appear in any standard music dictionary. Moreover, the gulf separating classical playing from fiddle, bluegrass, jazz, and other genres has generated style-specific terms rarely codified into any reference work. All Things Strings: An Illustrated Dictionary bridges this gap, serving as the only comprehensive resource for the terminology used by the modern string family of instruments. All of the terms pertaining to violin, viola, cello, and double bass, inclusive of all genres and playing styles, are defined, explained, and illustrated in a single text.
Entries include techniques from shifting to fingerboard mapping to thumb position; the entire gamut of bowstrokes; terms found in orchestral parts; instrument structure and repair; accessories and equipment; ornaments (including those used in jazz and bluegrass); explanations of various bow holds; conventions of orchestral playing; and types of strings, as well as information on a select number of famous luthiers, influential pedagogues, and legendary performers. All Thing Strings is expertly illustrated with original drawings by T. M. Larsen and musical examples from the standard literature. Appendixes include an extensive bibliography of recommended reading for string players and a detailed chart of bowstrokes showing notation and explaining execution.
As the single best source for understanding string instruments and referencing all necessary terminology, All Things Strings is an essential tool for performers, private teachers, college professors, and students at all levels. It is also an invaluable addition to the libraries of orchestra directors and composers wishing to better understand the complexities of string playing. With the inclusion of terms relevant to all four modern string instruments played in all genres—from jazz to bluegrass to historically informed performance—this resource serves the needs of every string musician.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
; March 2014
158 pages; ISBN 9780810884441Read online
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Title: All Things Strings
Author: Jo Nardolillo; T.M. Larsen
In the press
Players of bowed stringed instruments–violin, viola, violoncello, double bass–have a well-developed yet complex array of terminology related to the construction of, composition for, and performance on their instruments. While these instruments have long and well-documented histories, a dictionary of formal and vernacular terminology has been lacking. Nardolillo's long-overdue work includes terms ranging from parts of instruments through biographical entries for key performers, composers, and builders of instruments. The volume's concise definitions include language of origin, boldfaced cross-references, and see also references. In addition to biographies, entries include terminology, instrument names, titles of musical works and books, and performance techniques unique to the bowed string literature. Accompanying some entries are drawings by T. M. Larsen, depicting instruments and parts of instruments, that help readers visualize the related definitions or concepts. Musical examples illustrate, for example, the performance of ornaments, articulations, and bowings. The author is a violinist and violist with numerous concerts, premieres, and writings to her credit. A table of bow strokes relates terminology to actual performance. This work concludes with an excellent list of additional readings. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.