Duet

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The Duet (1628), by Hendrick ter Brugghen

A duet is a musical composition for two performers in which the performers have equal importance to the piece. It is often used to describe a composition involving two vocalists. It differs from a harmony, as the performers take turns playing a solo section rather than playing simultaneously. In classical music, the term is most often used for a composition for two singers or pianists. A piece performed by two pianists performing together on the same piano is referred to as "piano duet" or "piano four hands".[1] A piece for two pianists performing together on separate pianos is referred to as a "piano duo".

"Duet" is also used as a verb for the act of performing a musical duet, or colloquially as a noun to refer to the performers of a duet. The word is also occasionally used in reference to non-musical activities performed together by two people.

In opera[edit]

Duets have always been a part of the structure of operas. Early operas such as L'Orfeo and L'incoronazione di Poppea involve duets throughout.[2]

History[edit]

When Mozart was young, he and his sister Marianne played a duet of his composition at a London concert in 1765. The four-hand, described as a duet, was in many of his compositions which included five sonatas; a set of variations, two performers and one instrument, and a sonata for two pianos. The first published sonata or duet was in 1777.[3]

In Renaissance music, a duet specifically intended as a teaching tool, to be performed by teacher and student, was called a bicinium (see Étude).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Christensen, T. (1999). "Four-Hand Piano". Journal of the American Musicological Society, 52(2) 255–298
  2. ^ Tilmouth, Michael. "Duet". Grove Music Online. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  3. ^ Miller, H.-M. (1943). The Earliest Keyboard Duets. The Musical Quarterly, 29(4), 438–457.

External links[edit]

  • The dictionary definition of duet at Wiktionary