What is a string quartet?:
Although, any combination of four stringed instruments can be called a string quartet, the term usually denotes a musical ensemble that consists of two violins, one viola, and one cello.
Generally, the music composed for the usual instrumentation reflects the four movement form of an orchestra: a fast movement followed by a slow movement, a dance-like movement, and another fast movement. String Quartets became popular in the late 1700's after famous composers, such as Haydn, began composing hundreds of works for them. In fact, Haydn is known as the father of the string quartet. His model of composition after his Opus 9 quartets, became the standard string quartet form.
Notable String Quartet Composers:
These composers represent a fraction of a fraction of the many composers whove written music for a string quartet.
Popular Uses of the String Quartet:
Apart from concert halls and small theaters, string quartets are extremely popular at weddings and other special events. Why? Their small instrumentation is quiet enough for conversation, they are able to play indoors and outdoors, and their music is sophisticated and elegant enough for any formal event. String quartets for hire can easily be found by searching the yellow pages, Internet, or bulletin boards at music stores, churches, and public/private event halls.