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A quartet is a group of four identical or similar objects, or a grouping of four persons for a common purpose.


In music, a quartet is a method of instrumentation (or a medium), used to perform a musical composition, and consisting of four parts. The most popular instrumentation is the string quartet.

Quartet also refers to a musical composition written for such a group.

A string quartet is a form of instrumentation, in Western music tradition, that consists of two violins, a viola, and a cello playing a multi-movement musical composition utilizing the sonata form. Another common instrumentation is the piano quartet, consisting of violin, viola, cello, and piano. The 'quartet' is a type of chamber music, which began in the 18th century when public concert-giving began, and has continued to the present day. It is considered the most important form in chamber music. One of the first contributors, Luigi Boccherini, wrote 100 string quartets. Other important contributors have been Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven.

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. In opera, a quartet refers to the use of four voices.

Many believe the four instrument arrangement to be one of the most difficult for which to compose, compared with a trio or quintet, for instance. It is suggested that the difficulty arises from the complex interplay of four distinct voices performing under large temporal and tonal constrasts. Many performers find it one of the most enjoyable of performance arrangements, allowing each player to perform their own distinct part, rarely playing a "background" or "blending" part, which is important only in connection to the larger whole.

Later, in musical styles outside of the classical forms, many artists have used the four part instrumentation such as in jazz saxophone quartets, guitar quartets, horn quartets, and barbershop quartets. The quartet form is constantly maturing and being experimented with, and is still in popular use.

See also

Home | Up | Band | All-women band | Virtual band | String quartet | Drum and bugle corps | Marching band | Musical collective | Orchestra | Percussion ensemble | Supergroup | Big band | Brass band | Clarinet-violin-piano trio | Community band | Concert band | Cover band | Cult band | Duet | Horn section | Jazz band | Jug band | Nonet | Octet | Power trio | Quartet | Quintet | Rock band | Septet | Sextet | Tribute band | String orchestra | Piano sextet

Music Sound, v. 2.0, by MultiMedia

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.