Latest News: string quartet

Coming Soon: Vitamin String Quartet Performs The Nightmare Before Christmas

By 15

The memorably quirky tunes sung by Jack Skellington and the citizens of Halloween Town are reinterpreted with animated string arrangements by Vitamin String Quartet. Songs like “This is Halloween,” “What’s This?” and “Kidnap the Sandy Claws” are spun into a whirlwind of violin, viola and cello.

Available October 9th

Pre-order your copy now! http://bit.ly/vsqnbc

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Available Now: VSQ Performs Adele's "Rumour Has It"

By 15

Adele, one of today’s most versatile pop queens, has shed her vulnerability and stacked on the attitude for her international hit “Rumour Has It.” VSQ boldly tackles her blues-stomping gumption with a striking string arrangement that packs just as much of a punch.

Available now on iTunes

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The Little Things

By 13

Just like great books, movies and art,  you can keep re-visiting some songs to find new nuances you didn’t noticed before. Whether it’s a sigh between chords, a scratch on the strings or even a cough before the chorus, these small human elements can add an endearing quality to music, reminding us that songs are not magical, mechanical products but hand-crafted pieces of raw human creation.

Pink Floyd's "Mother"

Albums that also serve as movie soundtracks (e.g. Pink Floyd’s The Wall) can be expected to have more “human” elements to them, as they’re based on human stories. Some of the non-musical sounds from The Wall movie are left in the accompanying album for a more multi-dimensional sound: From cash registers “cha-chinging” and hearts thumping to school teachers screaming about meat and pudding. I recently noticed a more subtle sound – a deep sigh at the beginning of “Mother.” It’s a fitting auditory relief after the schoolyard chaos in "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" and a welcoming beacon to the initially soothing musings in “Mother.” While not entirely musical, the sigh fits perfectly within the song.

Fleetwood Mac's "I Don't Want to Know"

Another charmingly human moment in music is the squeak Lindsey Buckingham’s fingers make when they slide down the strings of his acoustic guitar five seconds into Fleetwood Mac’s “I Don’t Want to Know.” Author Chuck Klosterman pointed out this detail in Killing Yourself to Live, calling it “the definitive illustration of what we both loved about music; we loved hearing the inside of a song.” He told this to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy in an interview. Tweedy agreed, adding that he always thought of Buckingham as someone who wants to control every element of his music, so this little “crack he couldn’t sparkle over” was indicative of the greater truth that “nobody can control anything, really.” It’s amazing what a just a little scratch can do.

The White Stripes – “White Moon”

While The White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan earned them a Grammy Award and other accolades, it almost didn’t make it to the mixing room. Recorded in Jack White's semi-haunted Detroit home studio, the album seemed to be cursed with failing equipment, leaky ceilings and other misfortunes. Some of these “hauntings” are audible on songs like "White Moon" (a song that even references an ex-girlfriend “ghost”), where drummer Meg White’s bell set falls over with a crash near the end. Giving listeners a hint to the recording location, Jack White's house phone can be heard ringing about 2:50 minutes into "Take Take Take." Looking at more White Stripes songs like Elephant’s "I Wanna Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart," the band has a history of leaving in these little sounds that others might take out – and by keeping them in, The White Stripes distinguish themselves as charmingly true to the authentic, imperfect process of creating music from bare hands.

Check out Vitamin String Quartet tributes to all of these artists!

More Bricks: The String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

Available at iTunes and Amazon

The String Quartet Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

Available at iTunes and Amazon

The String Quartet Tribute to The White Stripes

Available at iTunes and Amazon

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Songs for Working Out

By 18

One of the most popular new year's resolution is the goal to get in shape, put on muscle, or drop some pounds.  As we make our way past the first month of the new year, however, we see a definite slump in our efforts to buff up and slim down. After spending the whole month of January in the gym pumping iron and sweating hours out on the treadmill, we're ready to trade it all in once February rolls around for a much comfier spot in your lazy boy, propped in front of the T.V. with a big bowl of chips and soda in hand. "Sianara, fitness aspirations. It's been fun but Ronnie from Jersey Shore can take it from here." If you've hit the February slump, don't worry. I've got some good news for the stray lifters and runners everywhere: I'm here for you. Allow me to help you with this VSQ-friendly playlist of songs that will help get back on that bench press and warm up the running muscles again. Remember: stretch beforehand, and keep your headphones cord away from moving parts. 1. A Perfect Circle - "Judith" We all know some angry, guitar-driven stuff is always good for extra energy, and with its driving bass line, sweeping riffs and vocals that toggle between soaring and growling, “Judith” is as good a candidate as any. It's the kind of rock song that would be a good soundtrack for a UFC fight promo. Just make sure that after you set down the weight, don't jump onto the bench and let out a vengeful howl, as tempting it may be. 2. Kanye West - "Good Morning" Look, we all know the obvious Kanye choice is “Stronger,” but if it's the obvious choice you don't need me to include it on my list of limited space. On the flip side, “Good Morning” has a minimalist, meditative beat that almost mimics a grandfather's clock pendulum. That makes it ideal for getting lost in its hypnotism, and that's all we're trying to do when we're on our third mile and up, right? Anything to divorce our mind from our bodies. 3. Linkin Park - "Session" The screeching emotional catharsis of a normal Linkin Park song might be a bit too much for someone just trying to do crunches, but this shiny instrumental offering should do the trick. Anything beat-based helps, and the drum machine/DJ scratching tag team definitely fills that role. All the elements come together to form a pretty ambient track that is oddly motivating and self-assured. Plus, you can pretend you're in a scene from The Matrix in your head. 4. Neil Young - "Harvest Moon" Because, shut up, I like to listen to softly swaying folk rock when I'm pumping iron. There's no conflict here at all. The sad, lovelorn lyrics will make your heart swell, and that's good for pumping blood through your body, right? Either way, you should try it, folk music will recontextualize your workout into a sad scene from an indie film. 5. Nine Inch Nails - "Down In It" Something about the electronic drums and synthy backing makes this seem like a great aerobics song. Sorry. Related: String Quartet Tribute To A Perfect Circle, The String Quartet Tribute to Kanye West, String Quartet Tribute to Linkin Park: Meteora, Rusted Moon: The String Quartet Tribute to Neil Young, String Quartet Tribute to Nine Inch Nails

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Available Now! Blizzard of Strings: VSQ Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne

By 15

Available now at iTunes

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The Best In Feel-Bad Breakups

By 18

According to data gathered from Facebook, there are two peak times for break ups: Just after Valentine's day, and right about now. The anti-cupid has already struck Zooey Deschanel & Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and, even worse, the iconic relationship of Thurstoon Moore & Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. Just in case you're at risk, here's a Vitamin String Quartet-friendly playlist that will help you through your tough times. Separation is obviously a well-tread topic in pop music and the source of infinite songs, so no list will ever feel definitive. But it doesn't hurt to have one on hand, does it? Incubus – "Oil & Water" The summary of all your problems is right there in the title! This is an easy way to rock out to you and your partner's irreconcilable differences. The lyrics are full of common metaphors – heavy with anchors, shelter from the weather – but that just aids in its universal appeal. Let Brandon Boyd's big voice lead you up the dramatic arc. Def Leppard – "Bringin' On The Heartbreak" For those of you that require a little bit of edge in your breakup. This is strictly a song on the receiving end of emotional pain, and it has the added bonus of being ideal for singing along to in the sealed privacy of your car. Turn it up on the freeway and be a fearless, heart heavy rock star. Weezer – "No Other One" Maybe it's not strictly a song about splitting, but the song's portrayal of a codependent, desperate relationship may be all you need to snap out of your funk. Get uncomfortable with lines like, “My girl's a liar but I'll stand beside her” and realize that perhaps your attachment was unhealthy. Bright Eyes – "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)" Of course, it would be remiss to pretend break ups were all about rejection. Sometimes it's about guilt, or the scary apathy you have about being the ruiner of hearts. “She'll probably feel cheap/ But I'll just feel free/ And a little bit empty.” Were it not for those delightful drum machines and Wurlitzers, this would be a much darker affair. Fiona Apple – "Slow Like Honey" You might be thinking “Fast As You Can” from the Fiona Apple camp, but that's always sounded more like a preventative song rather than an end. This one, though? This is one sultry stab to the heart, reminding us that splitting up is just the beginning. Even if you're bitterly rejected, “Slow Like Honey” offers comfort in knowing that your memory will be a vengeful ghost. Related: VSQ Tribute to Incubus Vol. 3(2011), VSQ Performs Power Ballads (2011), VSQ Performs Weezer's Pinkerton (2010), The String Quartet Tribute to Bright Eyes: Beautiful in the Morning (2005), Strung Out On Fiona Apple: The String Quartet Tribue (2006)

Be sure to check out:

VSQ Tribute to Incubus Vol. 3 Available now at iTunes and Amazon

VSQ Performs Power Ballads Available now at iTunes and Amazon

VSQ Performs Weezer's Pinkerton Available now at iTunes and Amazon

The String Quartet Tribute to Bright Eyes: Beatiful in the Morning Available now at iTunes and Amazon

String Out On Fiona Apple: The String Quartet Tribute Available now at Amazon

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The VSQ Study Hall Companion

By 23

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If you still want to rock out to your favorite songs but fear being shushed in the study hall, The Vitamin String Quartet has transformed dance party anthems into sophisticated string arrangements to accompany you and your homework assignments. Violin, viola and cello minimize the racket yet maintain the raw energy in songs such as "15 Step," "Sex on Fire," and "Viva la Vida." You'll be living the good life with this instrumental tribute as you get your tunes and your A+. Tracklist: 1. 15 Step - Radiohead 2. The Way We Get By - Spoon 3. Sex on Fire - Kings of Leon 4. Soul Meets Body - Death Cab for Cutie 5. Viva La Vida - Coldplay 6. Good Life - Kanye West 7. Across The Universe - The Beatles 8. Blister in The Sun - Violent Femmes 9. Rebellion - The Arcade Fire 10. Between The Bars - Elliot Smith

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VSQ: Emo Makeout Compilation

By 23

DOWNLOAD The Vitamin String Quartet reinvents some of your favorite make out songs as they keep the emotion in tact. Whether you're a Romeo who's found his Juliet or you're left with memories of misery, feel free to let those feelings spill over. Moods are enhanced as violin, viola, and cello create a swirl of melodrama in songs such as "I Don't Care," "17 Forever," "The Swiss Army Romance," and more. This is one instrumental tribute you just won't be able to live without afterward. Check out the tracklist for our upcoming digital compilation album, The VSQ Emo Makeout Compilation, out 11/01/09. We've put all your favorite emo songs together to create the perfect makeout soundtrack. from Paramore to Dashboard, we've got you covered! Tracklist
    1. Dashboard Confessional: Swiss Army Confessionals 2. Hawthorne Heights: Niki FM 3. Linkin Park: What I’ve Done 4. We The Kings: Check Yes Juliet 5. 30 Seconds to Mars: The Kill 6. Plain White T’s: 1,2,3,4 7. Fall Out Boy: I don’t Care 8. Paramore: Misery Business 9. Metro Station: 17 Forever

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