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String quintet

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Title: String quintet  
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Subject: String quartet, Fugue for String Quintet, Op. 137 (Beethoven), String Quintet, Op. 104 (Beethoven), Octet (Beethoven), Melos Ensemble
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String quintet

A string quintet is a musical composition for a standard string quartet (two violins, a viola, and a cello) supplemented by a fifth string instrument, usually a second viola (a so-called "viola quintet") or a second cello (a "cello quintet"), but occasionally a double bass. The form was standard in 17th century Italy and can be seen as early as 1607 in Claudio Monteverdi's opera, L'Orfeo.[1] Most famous of the cello quintets is Franz Schubert's Quintet in C major. Antonín Dvořák's Quintet Op. 77 uses a double bass, and Mozart's famous Eine kleine Nachtmusik may be performed with this instrumentation (the double bass being optional). Alternative additions include clarinet or piano (see Clarinet quintet, Piano quintet); and other closely related chamber music genres include the string quartet (much more common), the string trio, and the string sextet.

A more unusual form of string quintet is the violin quintet composed of 3 violins, a viola and a cello (thus a string quartet with an additional violin). In some cases the first violin has a soloist role: such works may be labeled as "for violin and string quartet".

Many composers famous for their string quartets – such as Joseph Haydn (pioneer of the quartet genre), Béla Bartók, Paul Hindemith, and Dmitri Shostakovich – never composed a string quintet.

The term string quintet may refer to a group of five players that performs such works. It can also be applied to the standard five-part orchestral string section: first violins, second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses.

List of viola quintets

List of cello quintets

String quintets for 3 violins, viola and cello

List of double bass quintets

String quintets for other combinations

  • Felix Draeseke – one Quintet in A for Two Violins, Viola, Violotta, and Cello (the Stelzner-Quintett; 1897) ; one Cello Quintet in F, Op. 77 (1901)

Works making use of a string quintet

  • Nigel Keay – one Double Bass Quintet with Contralto, Tango Suite (2002) ([1])


  1. ^ Myers, H. W. (2000). When is a violino not a viola da braccio? The Galpin Society Journal, 53, 335-339.
  2. ^ Parlett, David. "Catalog of music by Bax (1930-1939)". Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
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  10. ^ a b "Merton Catalog". Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  11. ^ "Frank Martin Worklist". Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  12. ^ [9]
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  14. ^ NY Public Library reference
  15. ^ [11]
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