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Old 10-06-2014, 12:29 AM
Evan_G Evan_G is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 8
Default Promoting the octet - what do they sound like?

One of the big deciding factors in encouraging me to look at playing an octet instrument was hearing what they sounded like. There are some excellent videos on YouTube put up by Bob Spear of the New Violin Family Orchestra, and also videos of the Hutchins Consort, which I think go a long way towards promoting the instruments.

I've found it a little frustrating, however, trying to find out what the individual instruments sound like. It's easy to hear examples of the treble and soprano violins being given prominence in a group, but the other instruments don't seem to have much on-line that show their distinctive voices. Perhaps this is just due to the relatively small number of violin octet videos on-line (compared to, say, viola da gamba family videos), or perhaps it is the continuing influence of the "old violin" family way of thinking on violin octet arrangements. I'm not sure.

A simple way to promote the entire octet might be to plug this gap and produce short (3-4 minute) videos of each instrument being played by good players. I'm not sure how much work this would involve but I think it would be excellent for those looking at whether to take the plunge an give an octet instrument a go, or even those of us who are just curious as to the unique voice of each instrument.

It would also be interesting to compile a list of albums in which octet instruments are played. For example, I'm aware that Yo Yo Ma played the alto violin in the New York Album (1994). Another cellist, Ted Mook, also plays the tenor violin in the 17 Lyrics of Li Po (1995). Are there others people know of?

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