I have just started arranging music for cello quartet. This is new for me.Previously I have only written music for two instruments: string duet or cello and piano.

How is quartet writing different?

As far as I can see so far it is essential that there is a clear tune in the quartet throughout. Unlike duos, where there are two soloistic parts alternately accompanying and playing the tune, in a quartet most of the parts are accompaniment at any time. It’s important that the melodic line in the accompaniment, as well as in the tune, makes sense. And, as you see in Puccini scores – you can sometimes double the line of the tune with another part and it’s effective. Having two or one people playing on their own in places varies the texture. Special effects – like tremolos, col legno, slides, pizz – are just as effective as in duets.And rhythm – as in all chamber music – is crucial. You can see many of these aspects of good quartet writing in the cello quartet arrangement below:

Repertoire so far

So far I am in the middle of arranging three short quartets for an ensemble that is starting at the beginning of February. If you are interested in having a bespoke cello or violin quartet, or indeed a standard quartet, arranged or composed for you, contact us here
arranging music for cello quartet                                                                                   The Prague Cello Quartet

Some inspiring cello quartets

Below are some inspiring (though varied) examples of cello quartets.

I love the improvisation at the beginning of this…  and the sunglasses…

Joanna Borrett

Author Joanna Borrett

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