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47 String Quartet Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ 2021

I managed a string quartet for over 10 years. They played at over 500 events. These included wedding ceremonies, corporate events, private parties, TV commercials and funerals. I trust you’ll find the answers you’re looking for!

47 String Quartet Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ 2021

General Questions

1. What instruments are in a string quartet?

If we are to be technical about this then a “String quartet, is a musical composition for two violins, viola, and cello in several (usually four) movements. It has been the predominant genre of chamber music since about 1750.” according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.

What instruments are in a string quartet?

Possibly the most famous contemporary string quartet is the Vitamin String Quartet.

Vitamin String Quartet | ChurchMusic.ie

They record covers of pop music. My own personal favourite would be their cover of ‘Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. Have a listen!

2. What is the difference between the quartet and a trio?

Well you might have guessed it already because it in the name. Typically, you’ll find a trio made up of a violin, viola and cello. There are some considerations to keep in mind though.

1. The repertoire available for a string trio is less than for a string quartet
2. The volume and density of sound is not as rich
3. Cost for a string trio is less 😊

What kind of events do string quartets play for?

String Quartets in Ireland can play a variety of events and occasions including:
– Wedding Ceremonies
– Champagne Receptions
– Corporate Events
– Private Functions or Parties
– Funerals

What kind of events do string quartets play for?

3. Can a string quartet provide testimonials and reviews from past clients?

Normally you will be able to find the testimonials for a quartet on their own website. Another good place to find their reviews is on their Google listing. All you have to do is a quick search for the name of the quartet, and you should be able to view their reviews.

4. How does a string quartet dress?

Professional string quartets in Ireland will normally dress in black tie for your event. If you are having particular theme to your event, then this is something that a quartet might be able to facilitate.

How does a string quartet dress? | ChurchMusic.ie

5. What areas does a string quartet usually cover?

It is best to find a quartet that is based locally. This will reduce the cost of hiring the quartet. That said a string quartet in Dublin will typically travel up to 2 hours from Dublin. The further a quartet has to travel the greater the cost will be due to fuel costs and extra time needed.

6. What time will the quartet arrive?

A well-organized quartet will aim to arrive 1 hour in advance of your event. This will be enough time to allow the quartet to setup. If you are hiring a string quartet for a wedding in Ireland, then this will also be ample time for the quartet to be in place for when your guests start to arrive.

How much does it cost to hire a string quartet? | ChurchMusic.ie

7. What happens if a member of the quartet gets sick?

This will not be a problem for the quartet to resolve. This is something that quartets encounter now and again. In this case they will arrange for a deputy to fill in for the missing musician.

Equipment & Setup | Venue Questions | What do you require to perform?

8. How much space does a string quartet need?

A string quartet will need roughly 2 metres by 3 metres to setup. This area should be flat surface with good light.

How much space does a string quartet need? | ChurchMusic.ie

9. Can a string quartet play outdoors?

The simple answer to this is YES! Once the weather is good enough and you can provide some shade then quartets can play outdoors. If it is sunny then some shade will be needed. This is to protect musicians and their instruments from direct sunlight.

Can a string quartet play outdoors?

10. Would a tent be sufficient backup in case of rain?

If the weather is bad, then even the use of a tent will probably not do. String instruments such as violins don’t like damp conditions. It is best in this scenario to have a backup plan.

11. Does a quartet need chairs to be provided?

A quartet will need four armless chairs to sit on. A venue will almost always be able to provide this.

Does a quartet need chairs to be provided? | ChurchMusic.ie

12. My wedding ceremony and the reception are in two different locations. How do string quartets charge for that?

This is a common scenario. String quartets will provide you with a quote that includes the travel time needed between the different locations.

13. Do I need to provide food?

This is totally at your own discretion. The quartet would be thankful though for a cup of tea or coffee. If you hire a string quartet for your wedding ceremony, reception and meal then it would be thoughtful to include them in the meal arrangements with your venue.

14. Does a string quartet need a PA system?

This is not necessary for wedding ceremonies or parties. However, for bigger corporate events then they might need to arrange with the light and sound team on this.

Booking Questions

15. How much does it cost to hire a string quartet?

As a rule of thumb, a quartet will cost from roughly €600. This will then depend on the length of time required, the distance that is travelled and if special musical requests are required. You may also pay extra for more established quartets that are in high demand.

How much does it cost to hire a string quartet? | ChurchMusic.ie

16. Do a string quartet charge travel fees?

When you ask for a quote from a string quartet then travel fees will be included. Sometimes this will be detailed on your quote. Otherwise, it will be included in the total hiring cost.

17. How much is a string quartet for a wedding ceremony or wedding reception?

Prices vary depending on the type of wedding ceremony you are having. Civil wedding ceremonies are slightly cheaper. If the quartet are based your locality then the cost will be more competitive also.
For example a string quartet based in Cork that are to play for your wedding in Cork then the following should be a rough estimate –

String Quartet Wedding Prices Cork | ChurchMusic.ie

    Civil Wedding Ceremony: €600 – €700
    Humanist Wedding Ceremony: €600 – €700
    Church Wedding Ceremony: €650 – €750
    Wedding Reception: €650 – €750
    Civil Wedding Cere & Recept: €950 – €1,100 (same venue)
    Church Wedding Cere & Recept: €1,050 – € 1,200 (2 separate locations)
18. Will a string quartet require a deposit?

Yes, you will be required to pay a deposit to secure your date. This can range from €50 up to €200. Some quartet will take online payments while others might ask for a bank transfer.

19. How far in advance should I book?

Ideally you should book your date as early as you can. If you are hiring a quartet for a wedding ceremony popular bank holiday weekends tend till fill up 12 months out. If you are having a mid-week wedding, then you will find that quartets will have greater availability. For evening corporate events string quartet should have good availability.

How far in advance should I book a string quartet? | ChurchMusic.ie

20. Why do prices vary between different string quartets?

Prices that you are quoted can vary for different reasons: distance that the quartet has to travel, the date that you would like to book and the popularity/experience of the quartet.

21. Do string quartets play for wedding receptions?

Yes, string quartets can be hired to play for wedding reception. In fact many couples opt to hire a string quartet for both their ceremony and reception. It is better value for money to have the quartet play for both. It also is nice as it brings a consistency to the music for the day part of the wedding.

Do string quartets play for wedding receptions? | ChurchMusic.ie

22. What cancellation policy do string quartets have?

Each quartet will be able to detail this for you. If you have booked a quartet and subsequently you need to cancel, then the booking deposit is generally lost. In the case where you need to reschedule your event date then a quartet should be happy to transfer your booking deposit to the new date. That is on the understanding that the quartet are available for the new date.

23. Do string quartets play at other events other than weddings?

Absolutely! You will find that quartets are available to hire for all types of events. Quartets are a popular option for graduation ceremonies, corporate parties and even can be hired for television productions. Not to mention being asked to record backing tracks for other musicians looking for a string ensemble.

Do string quartets play at other events other than weddings? | ChurchMusic.ie

24. Do I need to meet with a string quartet to discuss plans?

All details can be arranged with the string quartet by phone, email or Zoom. There’s no necessity to have to meet face to face. You will be able to view the string quartet’s repertoire on their website. You can choose your music from this.

Music & Repertoire Questions

25. What kind of music do a quartet play for a reception, dinner, or cocktail hour?

String quartet music for weddings will normally consist of a mixture of popular and classical music for these types of events. If you have a particular preference, then a good quartet should be able to accommodate this.

What kind of music do a quartet play for a reception, dinner, or cocktail hour? | ChurchMusic.ie

26. Can a string quartet play special requests?

This is possible but the sheet music needs to be available. Sometimes if the sheet music is not available then the quartet might be able to put together their own arrangement. There may be a charge for this service.

27. Can a quartet include music from particular culture or religion? (e.g. Jewish, Greek, Pagan, Celtic, other world music)

Yes, once the sheet music is available then this should not be an issue.

28. Is it possible for a string quartet to play seasonal music like Christmas carols?

This is possible and can add a nice ambiance to your event.

Is it possible for a string quartet to play seasonal music like Christmas carols? | ChurchMusic.ie

29. What is the most popular classical wedding repertoire for string quartets?

There is a wide variety of music to choose from. All good string quartets should be able to play the following pieces:

    – Pachelbel – Canon in D
    – Ave Maria – Bach or Gounod
    – Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – Bach
    – Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
    – Bridal Chorus (Wedding Entrance) – Wagner
    – Air – Bach
    – Amazing Grace – John Newton
    – Mendelssohn – Wedding March
30. What are the popular pop songs for wedding string quartets?
    – Marry You – Bruno Mars
    – All You Need is Love – The Beatles
    – Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
    – Dreams – Fleetwood Mac
    – Perfect – Ed Sheeran
    – Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) by Stevie Wonder
    – All of Me by John Legend
    – A Thousand Years by Christina Perri
31. I’m not sure what type of music I want. Where can I go for ideas?

That’s easy – can go to ChurchMusic.ie string quartet page for ideas. You can listen to the string quartets audio and video clips and get some inspiration there.

I’m not sure what type of music I want. Where can I go for ideas? | ChurchMusic.ie

32. Can a string quartet play with a singer?

String quartets often accompany singers. If this is something that you are interested in they should be able to recommend a singer that they work with on a regular basis. They will be able to send some samples as well for you to listen to.
If you would like the quartet to accompany a singer that you’ve hired indepently then make sure and put them in contact. Between the singer and the quartet they will be able to arrange the finer details.
Additionally if you hoping to have a friend or relative sing a piece then the quartet should be able to accompany them.

Can a string quartet play with a singer? | ChurchMusic.ie

33. When should we make the music selections?

It would be recommended to start thinking about your music for your event roughly 6 months in advance. Generally the quartet won’t need the final selection until one month in advance.

String Quartet Wedding Music Questions

34. Which parts of a wedding ceremony will a string quartet play at?

You will need select 7-8 pieces of music for a traditional church ceremony:

    – Processional
    – Lighting of the Candles
    – Offertory
    – Sign of Peace
    – Communion X 2
    – Signing of The Register
    – Recessional

For a civil wedding ceremony, you will need 4-5 pieces. Here’s a possible choice

    – Processional
    – Candles (or similar)
    – Between Readings
    – Signing of Register
    – Recessional

35. My wedding is only 20 minutes long. Can I get a discount since it’s shorter?

When you hire a quartet for your wedding then this is the only booking the quartet can take for that day. As a result, the quartet have to charge you for a day rate.

36. I’m having a full Catholic wedding mass that will last longer than an hour. Does a string quartet charge extra for that?

String quartets in Ireland are familiar with playing at catholic wedding ceremonies. It is understood though that the ceremony should start roughly on time (within 15 minutes of the arranged start time).

I'm having a full Catholic wedding mass that will last longer than an hour.  Does a string quartet charge extra for that? | ChurchMusic.ie

37. Will the string quartet need to attend the wedding rehearsal?

It is not necessary for a string quartet to attend a wedding rehearsal. Quartets are experienced and understand the format of a wedding ceremony. If there is some important point that needs to be made, then this can be discussed with the quartet on the day with the celebrant.

38. How will the quartet know when to start the music for the ceremony?

The quartet will touch base with the celebrant and the photographer on the day. It is typically the photographer whom gives the nod on the day to signal the start of the ceremony. The photographer will be with the bride at the entrance to the wedding ceremony.

39. What happens if my selected processional music is longer/shorter than the processional length?

When this is the case then the quartet will adjust the length of the piece on the day to suit. They are used to doing this as no two processionals are exactly the same. They will finish the music at the most appropriate point.

40. Can you accompany a vocalist or solo instrument?

Once plenty of notice (ideally 3 months) is given then this can be arranged.

Can you accompany a vocalist or solo instrument?  | ChurchMusic.ie

Do you charge extra for a rehearsal with the vocalist / solo instrument?
Typically, the quartet will only need to rehearse on the day with the musician. They will arrange to arrive a little before to have a run through. If there needs to be a rehearsal in advance then the quartet will need to charge for this.

41. How long will the quartet play for the prelude (while guests are being seated)?

Normally a quartet will plan to play for 20 minutes before the arranged start time.

42. What if the wedding starts late?

It is reasonable that the wedding may start a few minutes late. However, anything over 30 minutes of a late start may incur an extra charge. Make sure and read any booking conditions to find this out.

43. How many pieces do we need for the recessional?

You only need to select one piece for the recessional. If you wanted a 2nd particular piece of music played then you might like to ask the quartet and they should be able to facilitate this.

String Quartet Funeral Music Questions

44. How much notice does a string quartet need for a funeral?

The more notice that you can give the better. If you can provide 24 hours notice this should suffice. It is best to ring the contact number as well as sending an email enquiry.

How much notice does a string quartet need for a funeral? | ChurchMusic.ie

45. What music can a quartet play for a funeral ceremony?

A quartet can play all of the regular pieces of church music for a funeral. The quartet should have a suggested list of pieces that they can play. If you are looking for a particular piece then once the sheet music is available then they will be able play it even with such short notice.

46. How much will a string quartet cost for a funeral?

The charge for a funeral ceremony should be in the region of €600 – €700. The cost will vary depending on where the quartet have to travel from.

47. Can String Quartets Organise a Singer for a Funeral?

Yes, string quartet regularly play with other musicians. If you contact them they should be able to arrange a singer as well.