The Strictly Strings method book series, a traditional method that starts from the beginning with reading notes, is a favorite of school orchestras everywhere. Their Christmas & Chanukah Ensembles books are geared toward first or second year players, consisting of mostly simple bowings and rhythms, first position, easy key signatures, and simple forms. Each of the four instrument books (violin, viola, cello, and bass) includes a melody line and a harmony line for that instrument in score form - written on the same page so each book is essentially a stand-alone duet book. Those books can then be mixed and matched to form any ensemble, and an optional piano accompaniment book is also available. Here is an example of a page from the violin book, and a page from the score book:
On the left shows an example of a page from the Violin book. As you can see, comparing it to the score below, you get three lines of the 5-part harmony. All books contain the A part, violin and viola also include B and C, cello includes D and E, and Bass just has two parts - A and E. This makes it fool proof when telling groups of younger players which line to play!
Solo books (available for violin, viola, or cello) contain the melody for that instrument, and work best with the Piano Accompaniment book. Ensemble books (also available for violin, viola, or cello) contain the melody line above three harmony lines, making them useful on their own for duets, trios, or quartets of the same instrument, or in combination with any of the other ensemble books for mixed ensembles. The Ensemble books are the best bet if you may have to change instrumentation often!
The String Quartet/Orchestra books (score shown to the left) offer individual parts for violin 1 (melody), violin 2, viola (or violin 3), cello, and bass that match up to form a standard String Quartet (plus optional bass) or String Orchestra ensemble. While you don't get as many combinations with the Quartet/Orchestra books, they cost less, and are a bit easier to read than the score-form ensemble books, especially for younger students who aren't used to jumping four lines at a time. 2b1af7f3a8