Chamber Music Combinations

Common Chamber Music Combinations

● Duos: any combination of two instruments is possible

● Trios (most common trio combinations):

○ String trio: the most common is viola, violin, cello

○ Piano trio: violin, cello, piano; or any two instruments and piano

● Quartets (most common):

○ String quartets: 2 violins, viola, cello

○ Piano quartet: violin, viola, cello, piano

● Quintet (most common):

○ String quintet: string quartet plus an extra viola or cello

○ Piano quintet: string quartet plus a piano

○ Brass quintet: 2 trumpets, trombone, french horn, tuba

○ Mixed quintet: string quartet plus a wind instrument

○ Woodwind quintet: flute, oboe, clarinet, french horn, bassoon

● Sextet (most common):

○ String sextet: 2 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos

● Septets:

○ Wind Septet: any combination of wind instruments

○ Beethoven’s Septet- violin, viola, clarinet, french horn, bassoon, cello, double bass.

● Octets:

○ Mendelssohn's Octet: 2 string quartets

○ Schubert’s Octet: clarinet, horn, bassoon, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass

● These are the best known combinations, but any combination is possible including all the instruments mentioned so far; plus voice, harp, saxophone, guitar, percussion, electronic instruments, or anything else that strikes the composer’s fancy.