Chamber Music

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Chamber Music

Chamer music is music composed for small groups. It's the kind of thing you hear at fancy weddings....

Chamber music was orignally 'Home Entertainment'

  • 'Chamber' is an old word for a room is a posh building like a palace of mansion
  • Rich people could afford to pay musicians to come and play in their 'chambers'. Musical families could play the music for themselves. The music written for these private performances is what's called chamber music
  • Nowadays, you're more likely to hear chanber music is a concert hall or on a CD than live at someone's house. 
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Chamber Music

Chamber Music is played by small groups

  • The rooms where musicians came to play weren't enormous, so there wasn't room for a full orchestra. This meant that chamber music was written for a small number of musicians-between two and eight
  • There's a name for each size of group

Duet=two players, Trio=three players, Quartet=four players, Quintet-five players, Sextet=six players, Septet=seven players, Octet=eight players

  • With so few people in chamber groups, you don't need a conductor. Instead, one of the players lead. The others have to watch and listen carefully, to make sure timing, dynamics and interpretation are right
  • Each part in the music is played by just one person
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Chamber Music

Some Chamber Groups are extra-popular with composers

Chamber music is written more often for some instrumental groups than other.

These are some of the most popular types of chamber group:

  • String trio=violin, viola, cello
  • String quartet=first violin, second violin, viola, cello
  • Piano trio=piano, violin, cello (not three pianos)
  • Clarinet quintet=clarinet, first violin, second violin, viola, cello (not five clarinets)
  • Wind quinet=usually flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and basson
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