String Orchestra 8 Violin I, 8 Violin II, 5 Viola, 5 Cello, 5 Bass - Grade 3
Composed by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Arranged by Kenneth Sarch. String Orchestra Music. Score and Set of Parts. Published by LudwigMasters Publications (LG.20250018).
Item Number: LG.20250018
A rather unique and charming string quartet by Benjamin Franklin was discovered in 1945 in the Music Division of the Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris, France). The instrumentation (three violins and violoncello) was certainly not standard for the eighteenth century, nor were the instructions to retune the open strings on each instrument to provide 16 different pitches. The five-movement dance suite could then be played without left hand fingering!
Benjamin Franklin was an extraordinarily gifted man. His work as scientist, author, and statesman are well known and documented. Few realize Franklin's musical gifts, however. In his youth, he penned a drinking song. Later, he published music, wrote an essay on the aesthetics of music, and made improvements to the glass harmonica (an instrument for which both Mozart and Gluck wrote). It is believed this string quartet was composed for the amusement of Franklin and his amateur music-loving friends. They did not have the expertise to finger string instruments by could have played the original version simply by moving the bow across the properly tuned open string.
Three of the original five movements were selected for this suite. None of Franklin's notes or rhythms have been changed, although some pitches were necessarily doubled to fill out the work for string orchestra. Traditional tuning has been maintained.