The Gypsy’s Violin

The Gypsy’s Violin is for young musicians alongside professionals or advanced students.  It exists in versions for strings (children with professionals) with optional percussion, and for full orchestra.  Duration 15 minutes.

The version for strings is scored for the following groups. (The Grades indicated for the young players are intended as a rough guide and was suggested by the original performers.)

  • LEADING NOTES – a string quartet. (Approximately Grade 7 to 8.)
  • DOMINANTS – (In Superstrings typically Grades 4 to 6.)
  • SUBDOMINANTS – (In Superstrings, Grades 1 to 4.)
  • TONICS – (optional beginners group.)
  • PROFESSIONAL GROUP or ADVANCED STUDENTS. (Minimum 2,2,2,2,1 but a larger number is preferable depending on the number of children playing)
  • PERCUSSION (three players – optional).  Claves, tambourine, triangle, high shaker, 2 wood blocks, finger cymbals, suspended cymbal, snare drum, tenor drum and bass drum.

The version for full orchestra is scored for the above, but without the LEADING NOTES string quartet.  It also has DOMINANT, SUBDOMINANT and PROFESSIONAL wind parts, DOMINANT and SUBDOMINANT brass parts, and an increased percussion section including timpani and optional pianos.  The orchestration is designed to be flexible.

The Gypsy’s Violin was commissioned by Superstrings with funds generously provided by Awards for All and Youth Music. It was first performed by Super Strings and Sarum Orchestra at the Salisbury Arts Centre on 2nd May 2009.  The suggestion that I should write some music for a combination of young and professional string players came from Howard Moody, and The Gypsy’s Violin is affectionately dedicated to him.