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History of Chamber Music What is chamber music?It is ensemble instrumental music for up to about ten performers with typically one performer to a part.

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History of Chamber Music What is chamber music? It is ensemble instrumental music for up to about ten performers with typically one performer to a part. Since circa 1450, there has been instrumental music designed for private playing. These pieces used many instruments and (in Germany) it was common that the folk songs would contain 2-3 countermelodies to expand and elaborate the whole, and to arrange the outcome for groups of instruments. Although the pieces were never written for particular instruments, we can, through art/paintings, reasonably guess that the viol was a predominant early chamber music instrument. A more important source of later chamber music is to be found in the arrangements of sixteenth-century chansons (songs of French origin composed usually for four voices on a variety of secular texts), some for voices and lute, and others for lute alone. A generic convention of a chanson was that they used to use contrasting metres and also contrasts in musical texture; the effect of the whole was that of a short composition in several even shorter sections. ...read more.


The French version of the dance suite became the prototype for later chamber-music forms. It was not until the middle of the seventeenth century that two types of composition - one a mature version of the canzona and composed in sectional form, the other derived from the dance suite and consisting of several movements - appeared as works for small instrumental ensembles. In Italy small groups of stringed instruments were often employed in Roman Catholic churches to perform appropriate music; thus canzonas came to be widely used for church purposes. For church use the dance movements were omitted and what came to be called a church sonata (sonata da chiesa) resulted. And a set of sonate da chiesa composed in 1667 by Giovanni Battista Vitaii marked the beginning of the form as a separate entity. *(extra)* In the same year Johann Rosenm�ller, a German composer working in Venice, published a set of Sonate da camera cio� Sinfonie (Chamber Sonatas, that is, symphonies), each consisting of four to six dance movements with an introductory movement (sinfonia) ...read more.


Composers of serious music then adopted this new combination of two violins, viola, and cello, and from about 1750 the string quartet took its place as the principal medium for chamber music. Owing its development largely to the Austrian composer Joseph Haydn, it has reigned supreme to the present day. About 1760, other combinations for strings alone began to play important but relatively smaller roles in the field: the string trio (violin, viola, cello), string quintet (quartet plus a second viola), and string sextet (quintet plus a second cello) are chief among them. Finally, works for individual combinations exist in considerable number after about the 1780s. Representative compositions of that non-standard group include the clarinet quintets (string quartet and clarinet) by Mozart (K. 581) and Brahms (Opus 115); the Septet, Opus 20 (violin, viola, cello, bass, clarinet, bassoon, and horn), by Beethoven; the Octet, Opus 166 (as in the septet plus a second violin), the Trout Quintet, Opus 114 (violin, viola, cello, bass, and piano and the String Quintet in C Major 0 us 163 violins viola and two cello all by Schubert; and the Horn Trio, Opus 40 (violin, horn, and piano), by Brahms. 19/9/05 ...read more.

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