Definitions

Quintet

Quintet

[kwin-tet]

A quintet is a group containing five members. It is commonly associated with musical groups, such as a string quintet, or a group of five singers, but can be applied to any situation where five similar or related objects are considered a single unit.

In classical instrumental music, any additional instrument (such as a piano, clarinet, oboe, etc.) joined to the usual string quartet (two violins, a viola, and a cello), gives the resulting ensemble its name, such as "piano quintet", "clarinet quintet", etc. A piece of music written for such a group is similarly named.

In jazz music a quintet is group of five players, usually consisting of two of any of the following instruments, guitar, trumpet, saxophone, clarinet, flute or trombone in addition to traditional jazz trio - piano, double bass, drums.

In some modern bands there are quintets formed from the same family of instruments with various voices, as an all brass ensemble, or all saxophones, in soprano, alto, baritone, and bass, and sometimes double bass. The standard woodwind quintet, for example, consists of one player each on flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and French horn, while the standard brass quintet has two trumpets, French horn, trombone, and tuba or bass trombone. Any combination, however, is possible.

Many rock, pop and metal bands are made up of five people, usually made up of two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer and a lead singer. This is usually the maximum size of most bands – to have more members than five is uncommon.

It is becoming increasingly common in a cappella and barbershop music circles to use the fifth voice as vocal percussionist, with the remainder being a traditional SATB (soprano alto tenor bass) quartette, or perhaps SSAA or TTBB.

Notable quintets

Classical Music

  • Mozart: quintet for piano and winds K. 452 (oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn) (1784)
  • Reicha: wind quintets, among the first for the medium (starting in 1811)
  • Schubert: piano quintet in A major, D.667 (1819), popularely known as the 'Trout Quintet', based on his Lied "Die Forelle" ("the trout"); this piece in part inspired future efforts in the composition of piano quintets, especially those of Schumann and Dvorak. The piece is scored for violin, viola, cello, bass instead of an additional violin, and piano, unlike the usual arrangement of the piano quintet.
  • Schubert: string quintet in C-major, op.163 (D.956, 1828).
  • Schumann: piano quintet in E-flat, op.44 (1842)
  • Brahms: piano quintet in F minor, op.34 (1862)
  • Dvorak: piano quintets in A, op.5 (1872), and Op. 81 (1887), heavily influenced by both the Schubert and Schumann pieces of the same name.
  • Bizet: opera Carmen contains a particularly engaging quintet (not always performed), by singers playing some of the smugglers. (1873–4)
  • Bruckner: string quintet in F major (1879)
  • Brahms: string quintet in F, op.88 (1882)
  • Shostakovich: piano quintet in G minor, op.57 (1940)

Jazz

Rock, pop and metal

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