Pleasing Pizzicatos (Johnstone) – String Quartet and ‘obligato’ Double Bass, or for String Orchestra


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David Johnstone – Pleasing Pizzicatos – String Quartet with Obligato Double Bass, or for complete String Orchestra

(Violin 1 & 2, Viola, Cello, and special interest part for Double Bass)

Performance time approx. 4.30 mins

Download Contents or Instructions:

PDF 1 – General Score
PDF 2 – part for Double Bass
PDF 3 – part for Violin 1
PDF 4 – part for Violin 2
PDF 5 – part for Viola
PDF 6 – part for Cello


People have always enjoyed pizzicato moments and movements in classical music – the famous ‘Pizzicato Polka’ and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony immediately spring to mind. There are other brief examples, too, hidden in the normal ‘arco’ movements. However, few pieces have ever given the pizzicato accompaniment to the less sonorous violins and viola, and coaxed out all the wonderfully open and deep vibrations of the Double-bass in pizzicato, as if they were the soloists, and this is also true to a lesser extent for the cello. That is what I have done here; that is why the piece description is truthfully – ‘Popular Miniature for Strings with special interest for Double-bass’.

It only lasts for about four minutes, but I hope that some of the Prokofiev-type humour will shine through, and that a couple of disguised themes might prove amusing. It is not at all hard technically, but the control of the fluctuating ‘tempo’ is very important to achieve convincing performances. In lighter music programmes or as an ‘encore’ is where this piece is so ideally placed, but it could be an interesting fun study-piece in the control of pizzicato techniques! However, it is well worth pointing out that this little composition works absolutely perfectly in string orchestral formations and in this way it might be very appealing to competent double-bass sections who all are too often ‘hidden away’ from the limelight, but are really non-acknowledged ‘stars’!

When I was writing this I could not help thinking of my colleague and friend, the extraordinary bassist Piotr Korewjo [Piotrowski], who for a number of years has been the Principal Double-bassist in the ‘Orquesta Sinfónica de Navarra’ (Spain). His improvisations in pizzicato (both in classical and jazz) and his image frequently came to my head whilst contemplating this little piece, which made it much easier to write. Taking this into account, obviously he had to be the dedicatee of this joyous composition!

The first performance of the piece was by the orchestral version, and given by the ‘Swinging Strings’ of the Basque National Orchestra (Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi) who immediately afterwards recorded the work on CD (on the ‘Entre Dos Mundos’ CD, available from Creighton’s Collection). On both occasions the conductor was Caroline Collier.



A note from David:

“If you wish to have a very professional quality copy of this music, set with high quality paper in a deluxe edition please contact the publisher CREIGHTON’S COLLECTION for a prompt delivery at an economical price – recommended for performance. It has a sharpness of image superior than you will find in the Johnstone-Music web shop”.

 [Creighton’s Collection
244 Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9JG, Wales, Great Britain
Tel. [+44] 29 2039 7711 (from within G.B. 029-2039-7711)
Or by Internet: / E-mail: tim/ at / ]



Welcome to Johnstone-Music! A big Anglo-Spanish web for MUSICIANS and especially CELLISTS – original music scores for orchestral instruments and keyboard. Plus articles, audios, videos, resources, catalogues, news etc. Official web of the professional cellist David Johnstone, principal cello Navarre Symphony Orchestra (Spain), chamber musician and soloist in many premieres. Hundreds of cello arrangements in the web for a symbolic charge per download or for free.

The following have taken his work onboard, sometimes with special collaborations as composer-arranger-performer: the Philadelphia Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Euskadi, Orquesta Sinfónica de Venezuela, Orchestre Nouvelle Generation de Montreal, the Gulbenkian Orchestra (Lisbon), Orchestra da Camera del Locarnese (Suiza), The Zagreb Soloists, the Saint Petersburg Musical Theatre “Zazerkalye” Chamber Orchestra, the Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra Leopoldinum (Poland), Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra (New Zealand), Camerata Cambrensis (Basque country), Ensemble Metamorphosis of Belgrade (Serbia), with Ara Malikian (Non Profit Music Chamber Orchestra – Madrid), and a long etc.. Currently, many courses, conservatoires and music schools, university String departments etc. use his repertoire; there are dozens of his arrangements on ‘You Tube’ …

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