String Quartet vs String Trio / by Stanislav Nikolov

String Quartet

A string quartet will always be the louder ensemble as there is one extra part, so if you’re in a large space — particularly outside — or have many guests you will generally need the extra volume. A string quartet arrangement will also create a more balanced sound as there are 4 even parts — melody, harmony, rhythm and beat — which musically always sounds better. The 'string' in string quartet refers to the fact that all of the instruments in the group make a vibrating sound with the strings. The connotation of quartet means that there are four musicians in the group. The term 'string quartet' can also refer to a piece of music written for that group of musicians.

  • Instruments: A string quartet is made up of certain string instruments. The four instruments played in a string quartet integrates two violins, a viola, and a cello. All of these instruments are played by plucking the strings or by using a bow. A bow is a long and thin piece of wood that is strung with horse hair that rubs against the strings of the instrument. This causes them to vibrate and produce musical notes.
  • Music: The term 'string quartet' not only refers to the group of musicians, but also to a piece of music that uses the particular instrumentation of two violins, a viola and cello. The form of a piece of music is how the music is organized. A classic string quartet is organized into four movements, or shorter pieces that are played one after another. Many composers have written string quartets and they are still being composed today.

String Trio

A string trio on the other hand, although still producing a glorious, elegant sound is considered the smaller group because there is one less musician. Because of this, the sound level is decreased, which is why it tends to be suitable for smaller venues or weddings with 50 or less guests. Having one less part also means there is one less harmony in the music, but if you’re not worried about how ‘full’ the songs sound harmonically then chooses a trio.

  • Instruments: In terms of wedding music, a “String Trio” is usually comprised of flute, violin and cello. That’s two treble — high — instruments and one bass — low — instrument.  It seems that many people love the mix of flute and strings, and a ton of excellent wedding trio music arrangements exist with this combo. So flute/violin/cello has naturally evolved as the dominant trio type–simply by popular demand. Generally speaking, a “String Trio” for weddings would consist of two violins and a cello. This combination can perform the same arrangements as the flute/violin/cello mix. But some favor the rich, melded sound of pure strings.
  • Music: The melody is accompanied in direct harmony by another part along with cello bass line. The string trio would work well for basically any outside event and can accommodate up to 150 or more guests and depending on the placement, being more centrally located for the enjoyment of all. 

String quartet vs. String trio

A string trio is slightly cheaper than a string quartet. The fees are based on the number of players, the time required, the booking fees & overhead, plus travel charges if applicable. Check with us for exact pricing. Larger weddings benefit from the increased volume that is available when a trio or quartet performs. For events of 150 guests or more, we recommend a string quartet.