String Quartet No. 1 (Carter)

String Quartet No. 1 (Carter)

The First String Quartet by American composer Elliott Carter (1908-) was written during a year spent in the Arizona desert from 1950-51. To some extent, it can be said that this was his first major breakthrough work as a composer.

A primary compositional technique used in the quartet is the principle of metric modulation (temporal modulation) - one for which Carter was to become particularly renowned. Although he was not the first composer to use this device (such as Stravinsky's "Symphonies of Wind Instruments", (1920)) he was seemingly the first to develop such complex transformations. It is said that Carter assigned to tempo the structural role that earlier composers gave to tonality.


[ Grove Music Online - Elliott Carter]

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