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The Classical String Quartet

Violin
The first story about music here in patrickWeb was called "Running with Mozart" and it was published on August 17, 1997. There are quite a few other music related stories since. Some are about concerts, some about my conducting experiences, and many about the digital music.
Most of us think of MP3 or iPods when we hear the term digital music, but there is another kind of digital music. Actual music scores from hundreds of years of ago have been located, scanned and made available as PDF files for anyone who wants to examine them or perform them. The string quartet was one of the most widely-cultivated genres of chamber music during the Classical period, with Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven all being substantial contributors. The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University Library has made a fantastic collection of sheet music for the string quartet published between 1770 and 1840 available online. I found it quite interesting to check out the crisp PDFs of some very old works — the oldest published piece of music in the collection is from 1770 by Antonin Kammel (Czech Republic). Click on the link “Explore the Collection” on the left hand side of the homepage. Thanks to the Scout Report for uncovering this great resource.