Starboard | String Quartet | Isabel Goodwin, 2018
Starboard was written as part of a challenge in The Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s High School Composition Intensive. We were given four days to write a complete string quartet, and had rehearsals with the string quartet along the way. I started out with the motor in the cello, and developed the melody from there. Being a bassoon player, I was partial to the viola and cello’s ranges, and wanted to highlight them, so I started off in the violin and worked upwards with the melody until the cello and viola’s range was “different enough” that it stood out for their specific features. For the most interesting part of the piece, I put the violin 1, 2, and viola in their lowest range and the cello had the melody in its highest range. This created a new color that stood out distinctly from the rest of the piece. I also had a lot of fun experimenting with the live players and layering shorter note lengths on top of lower ones (for example, measures 61-77 with Violin 1’s sixteenth notes over Violin 2 and Viola’s long note countermelody). Finally, at the end, I experimented with layered pizzicato, which was a throwback to the motif I used to end many of the phrases. The melody was broken apart to make the plucking easier, and gave it more interest visually, as well. The title Starboard came from the pirate-y feel that the lower ranges of the violin and viola created.