Duo, Trio or String Quartet?

You know you want live music (Hooray)! Now let’s figure out and compare instruments and ensembles.

When choosing an ensemble, it is important to consider the venue, guest count, timeframe and acoustics. To make the right choice, first visualize the desired atmosphere.

Consider your venue and its acoustics, as this will play a large role in determining how an ensemble’s sound will project. A church can serve as our example. With tall ceilings, a church should have pretty decent acoustics. This allows for more options, as a duo and string quartet will both sound nice in this space. Budget is oftentimes the determining factor.

Budget aside, the main difference between a string duo and quartet is fullness of sound. A duet is typically comprised of melody and bass line or chords. Think violin and cello, or flute and guitar. A larger ensemble such as a string trio or quartet just has more voices that fill in the middle, the harmony. The more harmony added, the more cohesive and powerful the sound can be. That said, a string duo is definitely not a lesser ensemble. It can actually suit the atmosphere of a smaller, more intimate wedding ceremony, better in the end. A duet can often be a dialog or conversation between two instruments. This dialog offers a really nice intimate romantic quality.

Finally, let’s discuss Guest Count. Imagine the kind of repertoire you’d like performed in the event space with your guests there. Will guests be talking while music is being played, or will it be more of a concert environment? Will the guests be moving around, spread out over a large area, or seated in a more fixed space?

Should you have 50 people at an outdoor cocktail event, a duet may be a nice fit for a classy background touch. Your guests should still be able to talk over the music, but our duo’s goal will still be to turn heads from time to time. Strictly background music is boring, but picking the right ensemble, whether a duo, trio or quartet, will allow for a successful balancing act to occur. Music shouldn’t dominate, but it should certainly be able to shine from time to time!

Should you want to look into hiring a soloist, check out this post: Discussing Soloists. The article delves into more detail on specific instruments, as well.

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Andrew Mille
Andrew Mille

Andrew is a classically trained cellist and manages Charleston Entertainment. He is a South Carolina native of Franco/American heritage, married to Arlene Marie Felipe. When not performing and coordinating events, Andrew also runs Charleston Social F.C., a pickup soccer club that plays daily.