Four Are Better Than One

Four Are Better Than One

You and your fiancé have finally come to a decision regarding the wedding music for your big day.  You agree on a DJ to play music for your reception because a live band, while super-cool, is a bit out of your budget.  You then decide that you want a string quartet to perform for your ceremony and perhaps cocktail hour.  Sounds elegant and awesome.  You know that your guests will appreciate your sense of style and class.  You then get a quote for a professional string quartet and begin to pare down your original idea.  “Whoa this is way more than I thought it would be”, you say.  So in an attempt to get the best of both worlds, you contact the owner of the string quartet and ask for a soloist instead.  You mention that you would like popular music performed during the wedding ceremony and/or cocktail hour. 

While this is not what you originally had wanted, you feel that it is a nice compromise and in the end say, “Well, we have a violinist who agreed to play all of our requests, how different could it sound”? 


For the following reasons…

·      When string quartets perform popular music, all of the musical lines are represented: A typical band is comprised of a drummer, bass guitarist, lead guitarist, singer and perhaps a rhythm guitarist.  The instruments of the string quartet function in these same capacities.  The cello part typically replicates the bass line and sometimes drums. The violist tends to play (at different times), harmony, rhythm guitar, and bass line parts. The second violinist tends to play harmony to the first violin part and also tends to act like a rhythm guitarist at times.  The first violin part most frequently carries the melody (vocals).  Of course, this depends on the arrangement and the experience of the arranger, but all parts of the original song will be represented accurately. 

·      Volume: A string quartet is more appropriate for a wedding cocktail hour because they will be better heard than a soloist or duet.  Keep in mind; the music needs to be in the background but still audible during a time where many people are talking simultaneously.  A soloist would be totally covered if 75 or more guests were talking, catching up and having a few cocktails.  

·      The quartet will sound more full: Having all of the lines represented (as discussed above) the quartet will sound more complex and fuller than a soloist.  A soloist will only be able to perform the melody (vocal) line with no harmony or bass line.  This gives the impression of being rather empty and lacking. 

I have included two videos.  The first is Luminous Sounds - Illuminate String Quartet’s version of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years”.  The second video is of Kimberly Musial performing the same song as a solo violist. 

As you can see there is a major difference in sound and overall feel.  Ceremony and cocktail hour music typically accounts for 3% of your overall budget.  Why skimp?  Time and time again wedding guests most frequently rave about three things after attending weddings:

  1. The Food
  2. The Music
  3. The Venue

It is crucial that you select the type of entertainment that reflects your vision and your overall style.  If you want popular music performed by strings at your wedding, do it right.  I guarantee that your guests will appreciate the unique and special touch.