chapter  5
55 Pages

The polite conversation

The polite conversation, most closely associated with the quatuor concertant, shares certain characteristics with the lecture. Both feature a homophonie texture thereby allowing the listener to focus on one melody at a time, if any, distraction. Polite conversations can be identified by the presence of long, uninterrupted melodies, part or voice exchange, and a strong contrast–both visually and aurally–between melody and accompaniment. Such is the case with Antoine Laurent Baudron's Sei Quartetti. Although most of Baudron's works are for the theater, he did write at least one set of quartets–Sei quartetti–during the 1760s. A polite conversation may also occur between the members of quartet. The characteristics of a two-voice conversation easily allow for an additional participant. Many of Italian-born Giuseppe Maria Cambini's more than 170 quartets are fine illustrations. The polite conversation remained an attractive means of organizing the four voices of string quartet up through the end of the eighteenth century.