The music you're now listening to (on this page) is Sextet for Strings, Op. 36 by Johannes Brahms

What is a Chamber Music?
Most would define it to be 'music written for a small group'.

Image from Wikipedia

Chamber music is a form of classical music written for a small group of instruments. More broadly, it includes any art music that is performed by a small number of performers, with no two parts doubled and no conductor in sight.

In chamber music, long considered the most recondite of classical music’s manifestations, we can start slowly, with a few Beethoven string quartets, Mozart’s well known Dissonance string quartet, Schubert’s irresistible C major string Quintet, the Brahms string sextet, Mendelssohn’s string octet, the Debussy and Ravel string quartets, and the list should go on for another 100 pages or so. Chamber music has the reputation of being the ultimate egghead pursuit, but you’ will soon discover that the smaller the number of instruments, the more sublime and elegant and musical message.

A Chamber music was initially created for performances in a room environment or palace chamber, often in a private salon with an intimate atmosphere. It is an intimate and fashionable musical activities among friends.

Many great composers, such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert used chamber music as a vehicle to create their most profound and important works. Some used the medium as an outlet for fun and light-hearted entertainment, or for intimate friendly greetings as well as gatherings.

String Ensemble is only a chapter of chamber music.

A String ensemble means music written for a small group of string instruments or a small number of performers with one performer to a part. Instruments involved are violin, viola, cello and double bass. A string quartet, for instance, would consist of all 4 members of the string family. A String trio, would usually make up of violin, viola and double bass.

String quartet is one of the most common form of string ensemble. Haydn and Mozart had composed many string quartets that were of cheerful and humorous nature. These quartets were intended for intimate groups, of which they were each a member. Beethoven, however, had a different agenda altogether, creating in his late years some of the most challenging music for string quartets in the history of the genre.

The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma - a breathtaking performance. Read the Review.

Here are two recommendations of French String Quartet for beginners. Read about the brief history of String Quartet and the various combinations of a string ensemble.

These string ensembles can be rather functional. For fine elegant dinner parties, here are some recommendations. The string quartet and string octet of Mendelssohn, the string quintet of Schubert or the string sextets of Brahms.


Johannes Brahms
String Sextet, Op. 36


~Written by Boon Sin Ler