Quartet (music)

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A quartet (from Latin quartus 'fourth' ) is in music a group of four performers or a piece of music for such a group.

The quartet in classical music

In classical music , the most common line- up is the string quartet with two violins , viola and cello . Well-known quartets for this line-up come from Ludwig van Beethoven , Joseph Haydn (e.g. the Kaiserquartett ), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (e.g. the dissonance quartet ) or Franz Schubert (e.g. the Variations on Death and the Maiden ) .

One sub-genre is the quatuor brilliant , which is basically a concerto for violin accompanied by a string trio consisting of violin, viola and cello. A number of Louis Spohr's string quartets belong to this category.

There is also the piano quartet and various quartet formations with wind instruments, which are usually referred to as flute quartet (flute with accompaniment of strings) etc. Examples of different occupations:

Wind quartet in a rock cavern

A distinction must be made between this and the wind quartets that are written for four wind instruments.

A rather unusual line-up consists of oboe instruments, bassoon , viola and guitar , for example “So to speak” by Jean-Luc Darbellay .

Sometimes you come across works for a double quartet (for example by Louis Spohr). In contrast to the octet , these are based on the fact that two closed sound groups, namely two string quartets, play music with each other according to the principle of double choirs .

In large-scale vocal music , especially in the oratorio , the vocal soloist quartet, consisting of soprano , alto , tenor and bass , is important. There are numerous compositions for solo vocal quartet, both equal and mixed voices, from the time of house music, especially from the 19th century. In the field of opera there are also many quartet compositions, some of the best-known examples can be found in Mozart's Die Entführung aus dem Serail , Beethoven's Fidelio , Verdi's Rigoletto and Puccini's La Bohème .

The quartet in jazz

In jazz there are numerous ways a quartet can be put together. Above all, a wind instrument (saxophone, trumpet, trombone) is combined with a rhythm trio consisting of piano or guitar, double bass and drums (Dave Brubeck Quartet: saxophone, piano, double bass, drums). The (piano-free) combination of two wind instruments with double bass and drums (Gerry Mulligan Quartet / Ornette Coleman Quartet) is less common. With the advent of free jazz, there are hardly any limits to the possible combinations.

Some examples are:

Well-known jazz quartets

The barbershop quartet

In barbershop singing, a quartet of four singers always consists of one gender. The ensemble is divided into tenor or alto, lead (sings the melody in tenor or baritone), baritone and bass.

Web links

Commons : Quartet  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Justus Frantz: 50 Simple Things You Should Know About Music. Westend Verlag, 2015, ISBN 978-3-864-89614-9 ( limited preview in Google book search).