Quartet Definition

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    Definition

    • According to thefreedictionary.com, a musical quartet is defined as "a group of four singers or instrumentalists of music composed for such a group." It is either four voices or four instruments that perform a piece of music.

    String Quartet

    • The Classical String Quartet from the late 1700s to the early 1800s is one of the most popular quartets of all time. Modern day string quartets still perform musical compositions from the Classical String Quartet. It consisted of two violins, viola and violoncello. Viennese composers such as Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven contributed their works.

    Brass Quartet

    • Typically, a brass instrument quartet is made up of mixed instruments (two trumpets, french horn, trombone) to get a well-rounded and blended sound. Other times, brass quartets will consist of four of the same brass instruments such as four trumpets or four trombones. Even the largest low-brass instrument, the tuba, will make up a quartet.

    Vocal Quartet

    • Similar to brass quartets, mixing male voices with female voices (two males, two females) is used for vocal quartets. Vocal quartets can also be four females or four males and are made up of the soprano, alto, tenor and bass voices when they sing a capella (unaccompanied by instruments).

    Famous Vocal Quartet

    • One of the most famous vocal gospel quartets is The Golden Gate Quartet, who got their start in Norfolk, Virginia in 1934. Their first recordings came out in 1937 after they signed to Bluebird Records (a division of RCA). The group toured America and sang at popular concert halls, including Carnegie Hall, and for special events such as Franklin D. Roosevelt's 1941 inauguration.

    Modern Quartet

    • The Blackwood Brothers Quartet has been in existence since 1934 and is still touring as of 2010. The original group consisted of Roy, Doyle, James and Roy's son, R.W. However, after 1950, James was the only brother that continued to be a part of the quartet, and propelled the group to become "the best-known quartet in the history of gospel music," according to the quartet's website (Blackwoodbrothers.com). Since 2002, James' son, Jimmy (James Jr.), has kept the quartet's tradition alive. The quartet now consists of Wayne Little, Randy Byrd, Billy Blackwood and MIke Hammontree.

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