Woodwind quartet

A woodwind quartet, sometimes casually called wind quartet, is an ensemble of four woodwind instruments, or music written for four instruments. The usual scoring is flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon.[1]

The instruments in a woodwind quartet usually have different ranges that allow for rich harmonies with high and low tones.[2] Since these four instruments are from different subgroups of the instrument family, wind quartet music has timbral variety from each instrument's resonance.

In addition to its use as a chamber ensemble, the woodwind quartet may function as a concertino group in a concerto grosso. Examples are the Quadruple Concerto for woodwind quartet and orchestra (1935) by Jean Françaix, and the Concerto Grosso for woodwind quartet and wind ensemble (1959) by Heitor Villa-Lobos. Paul Hindemith added a harp to the woodwind quartet in his Concerto for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, harp, and orchestra (1949).

Woodwind quartet repertoire

20th century

  • Karl Goepfart (1859–1942), Wind Quartet in D minor, Op. 93 (1907)
  • Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887–1959), Quartet, for flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon (1928)
  • Jean René Désiré Françaix (1912–1997), Quartet for winds (1933)
  • Frank Bridge (1879–1941), Divertimenti (Prelude, Nocturne, Scherzetto, and Bagatelle) (1934–1938)
  • Arthur Berger (1912–2003), Quartet for Winds in C Major (1941)
  • Jesús Bal y Gay (1905-1993), Divertimento para cuatro instrumentos de viento (1942)
  • Elliott Carter (1908–2012), Eight Etudes and a Fantasy for woodwind quartet (1950)
  • Milton Babbitt (1916–2011), Woodwind Quartet (1953)
  • Tadeusz Baird (1928–1981), Divertimento for flute, oboe, clarinet & bassoon (1956)
  • Mario Davidovsky (born 1934), Three Pieces for woodwind quartet (1956)
  • Nancy Van de Vate (born 1930), Woodwind Quartet (1964)
  • Steven R. Gerber (born 1948), Woodwind Quartet (1967)
  • Gloria Coates (born 1938), Five Abstractions of the Poems by Emily Dickinson, for woodwind quartet (1975)

21st century

Notable wind quartets

  • Tetrawind[3]
  • BHS wind quartet[4]

See also


  1. Susan J. Maclagan, A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist (Lanham, MD; Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, 2009): 142. ISBN 978-0-8108-6728-4.
  2. Anon., "What Is a Woodwind Quartet?", WiseGeek.com (accessed 26 May 2015).
  3. https://sites.google.com/site/tetrawind/
  4. http://amightywindquartet.com/
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