scordatura (It.). Mistuning. Abnormal tuning of a str. instr. in order to obtain special chordal effects and changes of tonal quality. Prevalent in vn. mus. (e.g. of Heinrich Biber), of 17th and 18th cents., possibly originating with lute. Paganini and Bériot in 19th cent. tuned G string of vn. up a tone to increase vol. and to make certain passages easier. In andante movement of Schumann's Pf. Qt., the C string of the vc. is tuned down to B♭ to increase the compass. Mahler in the scherzo of his 4th sym. has a solo vn. tuned up a tone to represent the ‘dance of death’. Other 20th-cent. examples of scordatura occur in Kodály's sonata for unacc. vc., Stravinsky's Firebird, and Bartók's Contrasts (finale).
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