Today I am thrilled to share some fabulous advice from the Mairi Hunter Barr over at Strings aloud on how a String Quartet can enhance your Wedding Day or your Event.
String quartets as an ensemble originated in the days of Haydn who established this group of instruments, 2 violins, a viola and cello, performing his music in the classical genre.
String instruments are some of the most expressive instruments of the orchestra and nothing matches the full sound of the four instruments complimenting each other, with the first violin often providing the melody, harmonised by the second violin, the mellow sounds of the viola sit in the middle or alto pitch whilst the cello provides the bass part.
However it is not unusual in modern arrangements to “pass” the melody around the different instruments using their different “voices” to produce a totally unique arrangement.
Pachelbel Canon in D has become one of the most popular pieces performed by string quartets at weddings along with other wedding favourites such as Bach’s Air (on a G string), Mendelsohnn Wedding March and Handel’s Queen of Sheba.
Trends have certainly moved away in recent years from the “classical” genre to encompass arrangements of pop, jazz, film scores and Traditional Scottish music being requested at today’s modern wedding.
It is fair to say that ceremonies including classical music for when the guests are arriving and being seated certainly sets the scene for what is the most important day of the bride and groom’s lives.
Playing subtle and beautiful music at this point, the string quartet are part of the background yet they are providing a lovely atmosphere putting guests and the groom at ease before official proceedings start.
Ceremonial music choices are very personal to brides and grooms and their families, requests are often made for something special to be arranged for the Singing of the Register.
During this point in the ceremony a family member or close friend may be singing and be accompanied by the strings.
Hymns are also often accompanied by string quartets during religious ceremonies.
Putting Canon in D aside, “processionals” such as the Jeremiah Clarke Trumpet Voluntary can be used very much as an announcement that the bride is coming down the aisle.
Similarly Handel’s La Rejoussance uses punchy, march like rhythms that can also be used during the Exit of the Bridal party and no one can miss that the ceremony is over and it really is time to rejoice for the happy couple having completed their vows!
At any event where live music is required for example – champagne receptions, cocktail hours, afternoon business receptions a string quartet can provide background music to suit the clients’ needs.
Perhaps a client is looking to have a “summer garden party” theme, in this case jazz, rags, upbeat pop music can be played to give the feeling of happiness and the afternoon going with a swing.
High profile events with esteemed dignatories may require a more conservative approach with a classical only programme, however it is a great touch to add in some nationality appropriate music providing the guests with an interesting talking point and keeping traditional music alive.
For weddings the repertoire for the champagne reception is either going to be tailored to the couple’s theme, such as Film music, pop/rock, love songs, or they may just want a mixture of everything with there being mixed age groups amongst their guests.
A good ensemble will be aware of what style of music is appealing to their audience and select pieces to enhance the atmosphere of any event.
An encouraging sign is toe tapping, singing along and in some cases even dancing…definitely a sign of happy guests!
Thanks to Mairi for sharing such good advice on how a String Quartet can complement your Event.
My personal thoughts are that a String Quartet creates a lovely ambience at an Event whenever and whatever part of the day that it plays.
Note about the Author:
Stringsaloud was set up in 2005 by violinist Mairi Hunter-Barr.
Gillian Gracie (violinist) is Mairi’s best friend from university where they studied on the BA Applied Music course together, both girls specialised in the music industry with Mairitaking a particularly keen interest in events management and marketing.
Mairi and Gillian met Morag Currie (violist) at a teaching course in London and Rosamunde Preston (cellist) had performed with Gillian at various events previous to the creation of Stringsaloud.
Stringsaloud strive to provide excellent customer service, with a wealth of experience in providing music for weddings, corporate events and private parties.
The quartet’s repertoire list is totally unique to Stringsaloud with arrangements by Mairi Hunter-Barr which very much reflect the personalities of the group, their musical tastes and of course that of their clients commissioning music.
Having been involved with the wedding industry for just short of 10 years Stringsaloud are extremely experienced in providing the highest professional standard of musicianship on the day, with attention to detail on the lead up to the big day from Mairi in her managerial role.
Past clients have included Billy Boyd (actor, Lord of the Rings), Fred McAulay (comedian and broadcaster) and the Lord Provost of Glasgow Commonwealth Games General Assembly dinner.
Stringsaloud have teams in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Berkshire.
To Contact Stringsaloud
Image 2 Credit: Gordon McGowan Photography