I briefly describe the development of the string quartet. How would you relate this chamber ensemble to modern performing groups such as the jazz quartet? Or to a rock ensemble? What are some of the similarities and differences?
Quarter stands for "four" (4), and likewise the string quartet represents four solo instruments [cello, two violins, and viola]. Oxford's Music Dictionary references, "The [string quartet] genre was not firmly established until the time of Haydn, though its origin may be located in various late Baroque compositions..."
>>>>>See: Reference provided below for a FULL description of the historical development.
String quartet. (n.d.). The [Oxford] Concise Grove Dictionary of Music. Retrieved July 29, 2008, from Answers.com Web site: http://www.answers.com/topic/string-quartet
Britannica (n.d.) references, that the string quartet "was principally developed (if not quite invented) by Joseph Haydn, who wrote some 70 quartets between 1757 and 1803. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, ...
The development of the string quartet is discussed.