Musical Instuments: Ensambles: Chamber Music: Quartet: 4 players or voices

In music, a quartet or quartette is an ensemble of four singers or instrumental performers; or a musical composition for four voices or instruments.

  • String quartet – In Classical music, the most important combination of four instruments in chamber music is the string quartet. String quartets most often consist of two violins, a viola, and a cello. The particular choice and number of instruments derives from the registers of the human voice: soprano, alto, tenor and bass. In the string quartet, two violins play the soprano and alto vocal registers, the viola plays the tenor register and the cello plays the bass register.

Haydn: String Quartets Op. 9 (Nos. 1-3)

  • Piano quartet – Another common standard classical quartet is the piano quartet, consisting of violin, viola, cello, and piano. Romantic composers Beethoven, Brahms, and Mendelssohn each wrote three important compositions in this form, and Mozart, Dvořák, and Gabriel Fauré each wrote two.

Saint-Saëns: Piano Quartet No. 1 in B♭ major, Op.41

  • Other instrumental quartets –Wind quartets are scored either the same as a string quartet with the wind instrument replacing the first violin (i.e. scored for wind, violin, viola and cello) or are groups of four wind instruments. Among the latter, the SATB format woodwind quartet of flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon is relatively common.An example of a wind quartet featuring four of the same types of wind instruments is the “Saxophone Quartet”, consisting of Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone and Baritone Saxophone or (SATB). Often a second alto may be substituted for the Soprano part (AATB) or a Bass Saxophone may be substituted for the Bari. The groups usually perform a mix of classical and jazz. Saxophone Quartet literature is limited and most of the traditional style classical sheet music is transcribed from string quartet charts.

Samuel Barber – Summer Music for Wind Quintet

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