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String Quartets for a Modern Audience

String Quartets for a Modern Audience For a traditional wedding, corporate dinner or as tasteful background music for your function, there is nothing more elegant than a string quartet playing light and soothing classical music.

However, there are some quartets who are beginning to offer something just a little bit different... Imagine walking down the aisle to your favourite pop song or an evening's entertainment of disco classics or rock music performed by classical string players. By providing music for a modern audience, a few string quartets are coming firmly out of the background and becoming the main performance in their own right. Hugely entertaining and popular, with fresh and funky arrangements of well known songs arranged for quartet, it's now possible to give your guests a totally unique and memorable evening - without once hearing 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (unless you want to!).

So how is it done? Generally, pop and rock music scores are not available for string quartet so to create a quartet arrangement of each average four minute pop song takes approximately 6 to 8 hours of work, depending on the complexity. This is a skilled and laborious task but, by listening directly to the original track and orchestrating it for string quartet, it will sound original, fresh and alive. By rehearsing the track carefully, paying attention to all the detail of vocal inflections, guitar solos and rhythm, many songs are so instantly recognisable guests want to get up and dance, or even sing along.

Can I have a mixture of musical styles? One popular format is to have traditional classical music played for the first half of your event, then surprise everyone with something altogether different - perhaps after a meal or during a wedding reception. It also means you're able to walk up the aisle to 'Pachelbels Canon in D' and walk back down to the song you danced to on your first date.

The key to a successful string quartet performance for a modern audience is definitely variety. Many people today aren't familiar with classical music and can 'switch off' after a while. Throw in a few well known pop numbers to grab their attention and you'll have music that will keep people talking about your event for years to come.

This article was kindly contributed by Vaughan Jones of Contemporary String Quartet Manor House Music
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