Hymns for String Quartet
By vaughan • 22nd April 2009 • Posted in: Wedding String Quartet Useful Info
Some of the more unexpected side effects of the ‘financial crisis’ are the inventive ways in which couples getting married save money on their wedding plans and find ways to get the most out of all their wedding suppliers.
One such example would be a recent trend to get the best value out of hiring a string quartet for the wedding ceremony – as after all, we’re there for the whole of the service anyway whether we’re playing or not. Rather than asking us to play just for the entrance of the bride and signing of the register, some couples are saving money by not hiring a church organist and having the hymns also accompanied by string quartet.
This has been a very straightforward procedure and actually works brilliantly. We’re given a list of hymns a few weeks before the wedding and if they’re not ones we already have, we set to work arranging the parts for string quartet and filling out the chords so that the accompaniment will sound vibrant and full.
So far, whenever we’ve played to accompany hymns, guests and clergy have been very enthusiastic, because the strings sound so beautiful in the acoustic of a church and it makes the ceremony very personalised.
For a church service, we usually provide 15-20 minutes of classical music to set the atmosphere as guests are seated, play for the entrance of the bride, accompany the hymns, signing of the register and exit of the bride and groom at the end, before dashing off to the reception venue to be set up ready to play as the bridal couple and guests arrive.
Although the sound of a church organ is absolutely glorious and a very traditional part of a wedding which many couples would not want to do without, if an organ needs restoration work or is unavailable, a string quartet may be a stunning and original alternative.
One sensible question we have been asked is that with the sound of the guests singing, whether a string quartet would be loud enough to really carry, or if we’d need any amplification. This is a good point to make as it’s important to ‘play out’ enough to be heard above the singing. I think though that we’re particularly lucky to have a lineup of very strong players in the quartet, with all of us used to projecting our sound in both solo and ensemble work. In the acoustic of a church, the sound of the strings will ring out clearly – after all, the volume of a very good string quartet can fill a huge concert hall without amplification.
So far, popular requests have been ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, ‘He Who Would Valiant Be’ and ‘Praise My Soul The King of Heaven’, but it’s relatively simple to arrange just about any hymn for string quartet, and we’re working hard to expand the repertoire in this direction.
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