String quintet

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Viola quintet
Cello quintet

A string quintet is a musical composition for five string players. As an extension to the string quartet (two violins, a viola, and a cello), a string quintet includes a fifth string instrument, usually a second viola (a so-called "viola quintet") or a second cello (a "cello quintet"), but occasionally a double bass. The form was standard in 17th century Italy and can be seen as early as 1607 in Claudio Monteverdi's opera, L'Orfeo.[1] Most famous of the cello quintets is Franz Schubert's Quintet in C major. Antonín Dvořák's Quintet Op. 77 uses a double bass, and Mozart's famous Eine kleine Nachtmusik may be performed with this instrumentation (the double bass being optional). Alternative additions include clarinet or piano (see clarinet quintet, piano quintet); and other closely related chamber music genres include the string quartet (much more common), the string trio, and the string sextet.

A more unusual form of string quintet is the violin quintet composed of 3 violins, a viola and a cello (thus a string quartet with an additional violin). In some cases the first violin has a soloist role: such works may be labeled as "for violin and string quartet".

Many composers famous for their string quartets – such as Joseph Haydn (pioneer of the quartet genre), Béla Bartók, Paul Hindemith, and Dmitri Shostakovich – never composed a string quintet.

The term string quintet may refer to a group of five players that performs such works. It can also be applied to the standard five-part orchestral string section: first violins, second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses.

List of viola quintets[edit]

List of cello quintets[edit]

String quintets for 3 violins, viola and cello[edit]

List of double bass quintets[edit]

String quintets for other combinations[edit]

  • Felix Draeseke – one Quintet in A for Two Violins, Viola, Violotta, and Cello (the Stelzner-Quintett; 1897) ; one Cello Quintet in F, Op. 77 (1901)

Works making use of a string quintet[edit]


  1. ^ Myers, Herbert W. (2000). "When Is a Violino Not a Viola da Braccio?" The Galpin Society Journal 53, 335–39.
  2. ^ Parlett, David. "Catalog of music by Bax (1930-1939)". Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
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  10. ^ a b "Merton Catalog". Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  11. ^ "Frank Martin Worklist". Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
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  13. ^ NY Public Library reference