Wedding String Quartet – Accompanying A Singer……Occasionally the Manor House String Quartet are asked by clients to accompany a singer performing a song at a wedding or partnership ceremony the singer could be either a friend of the couple or a professional wedding singer, booked for the occasion.
With the string quartet accompanying, this can be a really special touch to the day although as with anything important on the big day, preparation can be key.
Virtually all of our arrangements of popular songs for string quartet are done by listening to the original track and notating the piece on a ‘note for note basis’, so it’s as accurate to the recording as possible (see our FAQs page for more information on this). If a singer is going to perform the song in an identical way to the recording (the same pitch, tempo, emphasis and phrasing) then the whole process can be fairly smooth. Some score preparation may need to be done in advance however because the main melody line (which will be sung instead by the singer) has been written into the quartet arrangement and often spread around between different instruments to add variety and texture. The quartet would need to rehearse with the singer in advance of the wedding, going through the parts and marking out any places where the ‘main melody instrument’ is to drop out and be replaced by a voice.
Problems can also arise when a singer wishes to perform in a different key to the original as the scores will need to be changed before the day to cater for this. Score preparation and rehearsing with the singer can be quite time consuming and as we would not wish to do this in view of any early guests, it means the quartet arriving about an hour before the wedding to find a private place (pre-arranged with the venue) to rehearse with the singer.
With the string duo, one problem with accompanying a singer is that although our arrangements are written to sound full for two instruments, when one of them drops out to allow the vocal line to take over, it can risk sounding empty – (imagine a singer accompanied by only a bass line provided by a cello), so again a score may need to be especially prepared and rehearsal time scheduled in.
If a couple wish to have a series of several songs performed at a wedding and are considering a live accompaniment rather than a backing tape, it might be worth getting a pianist in for that part of the day rather than the quartet. With all the score preparation and rehearsal time needed, the time involved can be quite considerable and costs can easily escalate.