String quartet

What is a string quartet?

In the Classical period, string quartets were a popular form of chamber music that was composed to be performed in the home of a monarch or aristocrat.

Oliver Heath discusses the string quartet before the Heath Quartet perform "String Quartet No. 12 Opus 127, 2nd Movement" by Ludwig van Beethoven, 1825


A string quartet is a small group of performers, made up of:

  • two violins
  • one viola
  • one cello

Structure and form

Most string quartets are in four movements. The standard Classical form is:

  • 1st movement: Allegro (fast) in sonata form
  • 2nd movement: Slow
  • 3rd movement: Minuet and Trio
  • 4th movement: Allegro