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​A string quartet comprises of four instruments. These are two violins, a viola and a cello. The two most important parts of a string quartet are the top solo line and the accompanying bass, which are the 1st violin and cello parts. The two inner parts that allow for greater harmonies, are the 2nd violin and viola parts. We always recommend hiring a complete string quartet, as it allows for the fullest and richest harmonies. Most songs are written for a full string quartet, which means that trios and duos will be reductions, and as a result, will be missing harmonies and some moving parts. 
All our recordings on our website are of our string quartet. For those who are more budget conscious, we offer trio and duo options. A string duo consists of two instruments - a violin and a cello, whilst a string trio consists of three instruments - two violins and a cello. The range of music that a duo can perform is limited, so a violin and cello duo would be best for short bookings and only specific classical music songs would work as a duo. We'd recommend hiring a string duo for no longer than a 1 hour booking. A string trio is a better option to the duo, as it includes the 2nd violin part, which allows for an extra harmonic layer. 
Violins are the smallest out of the three instruments, and as a result, the sound produced is the highest pitch. Violins are played on the shoulder, with strings G, D, A and E. The viola is also played on the shoulder, but it is larger. As a result, the sound is lower pitched than the violin, with strings C, G, D and A. On the violin, the G is the lowest string, and on the viola, the C is the lowest string. The strings that are shared on the violin and viola are G, D and A. They are the same pitch on the viola and violin. While the viola has an extra C string on the bottom for lower notes, the violin has an extra E string on the top, allowing for higher notes. The cellos is the largest of the three fore-mentioned instruments, and is held between the cellist's legs. The strings on the cello are the same as the viola (C, G, D and A) but because of the longer length of the strings and larger area inside the instrument for resonance, it is pitched an octave lower.
Though a string quartet consists of two violins, a viola and cello, there is another instruments which can be added to make a string quintet. This is the double bass. The double bass is much larger than the cello, and so the double bassist often either stands or sits on a high stool to play the instrument. The double bass has the same strings as the violin, but in the opposite order (instead of G, D, A, E going upwards in pitch, they are E, A, D, G). As a result, the strings on the double bass are a 4th interval apartment, rather than a 5th apart, as is on the violin, viola and cello. 
We usually perform acoustically as a string quartet, string trio or string duo, however many of our clients have organised amplification to allow our sound to travel further. This can simply be done with microphones on stands setup near our instruments. Alternatively, we can also increase the size of the string band by having extra musicians per part. For example, hiring eight musicians would allow two musicians per part. That would comprise of 2 x 1st violins, 2 x 2nd violins, 2 x violas and 2 x cellos. This will add much more sound and a more impressive look. It effectively changes the small ensemble to become a small orchestra. 

Posted by on in SMA Musician Profiles


Performing in a string quartet is unlike many other professions. The hours are often irregular and the work can be emotionally and physically draining. So why do we do it?




String quartets comprise of four unique people with personalities that must equally mesh and deviate. Finding four personalities that can work in close proximity over a long period of time with an intense emotional output is a holy grail for many musicians, often a labour of love. 


Apart from technical details, which as with anything must always be discussed, there is an element of “magic” for lack of a better word that must exist when performing. Beyond the notes on the page, four musicians strive for many goals, including the following: 


  1. To communicate the intention of the music with integrity towards the composer
  2. To communicate every emotion in each section of the music to the audience as well as each other
  3. To communicate with each other on stage with music as the language


These three elements are often what string quartets strive for, and the intimacy that they cultivate between musicians and their audience is unique. 


When you hear your favourite music, there is an emotional and physical reaction to what you are hearing, thus heightening your senses. It is the same with taste, sight and smell. 


So the next time you see a string quartet perform, imagine they are four chefs, four visual artists, four perfumers, striving to inspire you through sound.



The Guarneri String Quartet was founded in 1964. They performed for 45 years together before finally disbanding in 2009. To find out more about life in a String Quartet, check out "Indivisible By Four" authored by Arnold Steinhardt, the First Violinist of the Guarneri String Quartet.

SMA Musician Profile - Cameron Jamieson



I started working for String Musicians Australia in Brisbane about 5 years ago. I’m really enjoying working with such a great team of players and I’m happy to be a regular with the company as this is the kind of work that really gets me going. I also love recording sessions for TV and playing with the MSO.

I’m originally from Brisbane but moved to Melbourne in 2012 and have really fallen in love with the city. That said, there’s certainly a part of me that stays in Brisbane and I love to go back to Queensland for some of Summer to see family and spend some time at the beach.

I’d have to say I associate travel with music strongly because it's taken me around the country and across the world. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some great teachers and mentors over the years but can’t deny how great it is being your own boss and working out the best way to play for me and my style.

After 20 years playing the violin I’d say we’ve gotten to know each other quite well. This particular instrument, Charlotte, has been very cooperative over the last 5 years and has taken me through some pretty full on experiences

What a lot of people in the classical world don't know about me is that “by night” I write and produce electronic and acoustic music in various forms under the name ‘seejay’. Just yesterday I was laying down 22 violin and vocal tracks for a pretty strange film-score/pop rock fusion track. Not sure if that’ll see the light of day but it’s a lot of fun working with various real-life and digital elements in the studio. I’d say I don't have a specific style to stick to but certainly a recognizable sound. Those minor 7th chords, they’re everywhere, I can’t escape it. It’s almost embarrassing! I turn over a new album about once or twice a year which gives me goals and publishes the latest tricks I’ve learnt.

When I’m working, I’m usually grinning or laughing because I get a real kick out of performing with good people and there’s something particularly fun about the event string quartet business.

Cameron Jamieson, December 1st 2014

Stay tuned for more updates on Cameron and check out his fantastic work.


Posted by on in Events



String Musicians Australia musicians Jennen Ngiau-Keng, Yuhki Mayne, Nelson Yarwood and Anna Pokorny provided chamber music for guests as they waited to be seated for lunch. The Orchid Room, a beautiful follow on from Red Spice next door, provided a wonderful atmosphere for us to play excellent music for Damien and his guests.

Thank you to Damien Grace for having us again, we look forward to next time!


String Musicians Australia. 




Posted by on in Events




Welcome to the String Musicians Australia Backstage Blog

With musicians all across Australia, come backstage and meet the musicians that make us who we are. 

You'll find the latest updates on where we are and what we are doing as well as interviews, v-blogs and much more. 

Stay tuned for updates!


Posted by on in Events

Blog Coming Soon!

Posted by on in Events

String Musicians Blog Coming Soon


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