A woodwind quartet, sometimes casually called wind quartet, is an ensemble of four woodwind instruments, or music written for four instruments. The usual scoring is flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon.
The instruments in a woodwind quartet usually have different ranges that allow for rich harmonies with high and low tones. Since these four instruments are from different subgroups of the instrument family, wind quartet music has timbral variety from each instrument's resonance.
In addition to its use as a chamber ensemble, the woodwind quartet may function as a concertino group in a concerto grosso. Examples are the Quadruple Concerto for woodwind quartet and orchestra (1935) by Jean Françaix, and the Concerto Grosso for woodwind quartet and wind ensemble (1959) by Heitor Villa-Lobos. Paul Hindemith added a harp to the woodwind quartet in his Concerto for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, harp, and orchestra (1949).
Woodwind quartet repertoire
- Karl Goepfart (1859–1942), Wind Quartet in D minor, Op. 93 (1907)
- Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959), Quartet, for flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon (1928)
- Jean René Désiré Françaix (1912–1997), Quartet for winds (1933)
- Frank Bridge (1879–1941), Divertimenti (Prelude, Nocturne, Scherzetto, and Bagatelle) (1934–1938)
- Arthur Berger (1912–2003), Quartet for Winds in C Major (1941)
- Elliott Carter (1908–2012), Eight Etudes and a Fantasy for woodwind quartet (1950)
- Milton Babbitt (1916–2011), Woodwind Quartet (1953)
- Tadeusz Baird (1928–1981), Divertimento for flute, oboe, clarinet & bassoon (1956)
- Mario Davidovsky (born 1934), Three Pieces for woodwind quartet (1956)
- Nancy Van de Vate (born 1930), Woodwind Quartet (1964)
- Steven R. Gerber (born 1948), Woodwind Quartet (1967)
- Gloria Coates (born 1938), Five Abstractions of the Poems by Emily Dickinson, for woodwind quartet (1975)
- Michael Edward Edgerton (born 1961), le Critérion, for woodwind quartet (2000/2008)
- David Carlson (born 1952), Woodwind Quartet (Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon) (2010)
Notable wind quartets
- Susan J. Maclagan, A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist (Lanham, MD; Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, 2009): 142. ISBN 978-0-8108-6728-4.
- Anon., "What Is a Woodwind Quartet?", WiseGeek.com (accessed 26 May 2015).[unreliable source?]