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Digital Sheet Music [PDF]: Score

Balkan-Batik! : for string quartet [eScore] / Sally Greenaway.

by Sally Greenaway (2021)


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Balkan-Batik! is an energetic delight, and the viola is given its due centre of attention!

Scored for string quartet, Balkan-Batik! brings together two musical worlds in a bright and quirky rhythmic dance, which sews together the stories and backgrounds of commissioners Ed and Charlie Le Brocq in a joyous and buoyant work to celebrate their marriage!

Ed's inner gypsy (his love of folk fiddle music and his many travels across the globe, particularly through South-Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia) provided a clear compass towards exploring Balkan musical influences. Ed requested a piece that danced, had strong rhythmic conviction and tended towards folk and ethnic music over the traditional classical music approach.

And the viola part was to be the star! (of course!)

Charlie has a close affinity for Javanese culture, philosophies of life and Hindu artwork (she studied Eastern Philosophy in Java). As a result, Balkan-Batik! gives a nod to Javanese gamelan music and Batik textiles. The piece's melodic material, especially for the Viola, is descended from the Pelog scale of Javanese gamelan. The melodic contours in Balkan-Batik! are loosely inspired by the significance and meaning embedded into this scale which are linked to the cosmos, deities, colours, sound, thoughts and philosophies in Javanese culture.

Balkan-Batik! builds up layers of musical textures, rhythms and timbres, with each string instrument given a special role within the layering of the ensemble, akin to the layering of wax and inks in Batik.

Balkan-Batik!'s layered rhythms and grooves are a cross-pollination of Balkan brass dance band music and Javanese gamelan music. The melodies feature glissandi smears between notes and ornamentation inspired by the gadulka, fiddles and clarinets which feature heavily in Balkan Gypsy bands. The viola and first violin dance around intertwining melodies, whilst the second violin has a repeating ostinato pattern. The cellist is required to be the rhythm section of drums and bassline, and asked to make percussive sounds to mimic a drum.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 digital (PDF) facsimile score (14p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced — Viola has some virtuosic moments

Duration: 4 min.

Commission info: Balkan-Batik! was commissioned by Ed and Carol Le Brocq in honour of their wedding.

Includes program notes.

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc in relation to this work:
Balkan music, Eastern European music, Javanese music, Gamelan music, Pelog music, Irish jigs, Gypsy music,

Typeset edition.

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

Parts: Balkan-Batik! : for string quartet / Sally Greenaway.

Score: Balkan-Batik! : for string quartet / Sally Greenaway.


- Browse other works for String Quartets

- Browse other works by Sally Greenaway

Analysis & Media

- Video: Balkan-Batik!

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