chapter  8
4 Pages

The string quartet during the second half of the eighteenth century

The string quartet of the second half of the eighteenth century is not a single entity which reached its zenith with Haydn's Op. 33 and Mozart's "Haydn" quartets. More often than not, the string quartet is presented as a unified medium which undergoes a logical sequence of developmental steps. This is due in large part to the fact that Haydn and Mozart seemed to have arrived at certain approaches within close chronological proximity. While many composers may have indeed moved along a compositional path similar to that Haydn and Mozart, the landmarks may have been reached. The appearance of a specific texture is unpredictable and the idea of enforcing a chronology based on the Haydn and Mozart model is counterproductive. Of greater benefit to the student of eighteenth-century music, however, is the notion that as the end of the eighteenth-century drew near, composers increasingly incorporate more idiomatic and advanced string writing.