Viola from Pavane: Belle que tiens ma vie (String Quintet - 3 violins, viola, and cello)

from Orchesography by Thoinot Arbeau (Jehan Tabourot) 1588
2 minutes
Classical music
Other parts

This is another of the arrangements I have done for the Horsley Family String Quintet. It is the pavane (a slow dance from Padua, Italy) "Belle que tiens ma vie" taken from a 1589 book on dancing titled "Orchesography" written by a man named Jehan Tabourot under the pseudonym Thoinot Arbeau. It is quite well known. In this arrangement, the viola plays the part of the tambour (drum). While the part can be played pizzicato, it is really better "col legno". "Col legno" means "with the wood". To play "col legno" one holds the bow inverted from its normal position, with the hair up and the wood down, and the player drops the wooden shaft of the bow onto the strings, striking the strings to produce the sound. With most student bows this is not a problem. For players with really expensive bows, they prefer not to take a chance on damaging their bows, and they either use a cheap bow whenever "col legno" is called for in a score, or they use another thing to "hit" the strings, like a pencil or a Chinese chopstick.

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