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Trio verses Quartet
What is the difference between a String Trio and a String Quartet?

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Do we need a Quartet or a trio?
We are often asked this question.  Both are a beautiful compliment to any occasion, but they are very different.  You should ignore everything anyone has told you, listen to both, then choose the one you like best.





quartet quartet studio recording

There are 3 recordings of the swan above  The first two were recorded in our living room with the same Mic on the same day.  The third was recorded in a sound studio for high quality audio using professional equipment.

Is a trio loud enough or do we need a quartet?
There is very little difference in volume between a Trio and a Quartet.   It takes 10 times the number of players to be twice as loud because volume is a logrhythmic function.  A string quartet has a more parts and a fuller sound which creates a richer texture.  Again, choose the sound you prefer. 

What music is available for Trio?
There is an incredible repertoire available for string quartet, most of which can be performed by a trio.  For centuries, master composers have leaned toward the string quartet.  Most of the literature can be arranged for a string trio.  

Mozart for example wrote 23 string quartets and only one trio.

What is the difference in cost between a trio and a quartet?
 A string trio is slightly less expensive than a string quartet, however it is not 30% less.  The fees are based on the number of players, the time required, the ensembles booking fees & overhead, plus travel charges if applicable.  Check with your vendor for exact pricing. 

Should we work directly with the quartet or use an event planner / booking agency? 
We would prefer  to work with you directly with us even if you have an agent  because:
   o   There are less errors without a middle man
   o   Planners & agents charge fees which often add to your cost.
   o   Some planners do not communicate enough while others shower musicians with so many details they don't need, that important information gets lost in the packets.
   o   We have had agents inform clients we are no longer available after we received a contract with a non refundable because some communication or payment was not made to them on their timetable.  This leaves you holding the bag, and possibly paying fees to two ensembles.  We cannot control when we receive a contract with a deposit and cannot reserve musicians and date until it is received.  Again communicating directly with you makes this type of error a non issue. 
   o   Some agents are wonderful to work with!  Some are not.


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Phoenix String Quartet Association
Copyright 1986