Music for Violin Duo, Trio, and Quartet

Updated on April 8, 2020
dumdummy profile image

Tong Keat has an M.A. in Violin Performance from MTSU, TN. He is the founder of Just Violin—a free resources site for violinists.

Violin Duo: Two is Company

  • Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1761) – Six Canonic Sonatas, TWV 40:118-123

The six canonic sonatas were written to be played by two flutes or two violins. Each sonata contains three movements, all to be played in strict canon where the second player begins to play the exact same part when the first player reaches the spot marked with the sign (il segno). Both players will end together with the second player omitting the final segment.

  • Béla Bartók (1881-1945) – Forty-four Duos for Two Violins, Sz. 98, BB 104

Bartók’s 44 Duos was commissioned by Erich Doflein, a German violin teacher, for teaching. Besides serving as technical and rhythmical studies, these duos are also meant to introduce young players to folk music. While the melodies are based mainly on folk tunes, the compositions are constructed using Bartók’s modern idioms of polytonalities, polyrhythms, and plenty of dissonances.

  • Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) - Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 56

This four-movement sonata follows a slow-fast-slow-fast structure. It was written in 1932 for the inaugural concert of Triton, a Paris-based association dedicated to promote new music. Prokofiev, in his autobiography, wrote the following:

“Listening to bad music sometimes inspires good ideas... After once hearing an unsuccessful piece [unspecified] for two violins without piano accompaniment, it struck me that in spite of the apparent limitations of such a duet one could make it interesting enough to listen to for ten or fifteen minutes….”

  • Eugene Ysaÿe (1858-1931) – Sonata for Two Violins, Op. posth.

Belgian violinist and composer Ysaÿe was better known for his six sonatas for solo violin, each dedicated to a great violinist of his time. The sonata for two violins was only published after the composer’s death. This highly challenging piece of music was composed during the composer’s self-imposed exile in London, where he was taking refuge from the war.

List of other composers with extensive works for violin duo:

  • Jean-Marie Leclair

  • Ignaz Pleyel

  • Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda

  • Louis Spohr

  • Charles Dancla

  • Giovanni Battista Viotti

  • Federigo Fiorillo

Violin Trio: Three is A Crowd

  • Charles Dancla (1817-1907) - 6 Petits trios faciles et concertants, Op.99

Dancla was a French violinist who, upon the recommendation of Rode, studied at the Paris Conservatoire with Pierre Baillot. In 1857, he became the professor at the Paris Conservatoire and taught there for over 35 years. Each of the six trios for three violins contains two movements, and they are suitable to be played by intermediate-level students. The parts can be played mostly in the first position, and they involve shiftings only up to the third position.

  • Karol/Charles Mikuli (1821-1897) – Scherzino in C minor for Three Violins, Op.25

Mikuli was a Polish pianist, composer, and most notably, a student of Chopin. The Scherzino published in 1880, was dedicated to Joseph Joachim. It follows the form of a Scherzo and Trio. The melody of the scherzo section is very lyrical and emotionally intense, while the trio section has more of a dance-like character.

Mikuli's Scherzino in C minor for Three Violins, Op.25

Violin Quartet: Four is A Party

  • Richard Hofmann (1844-1918) – Quartet for Four Violins, Op. 98

Hofmann was a German composer and a professor at the Leipzig Conservatory. The quartet has four movements and, despite its unusual instrumentation, resembles a string quartet piece of the Classical period.

  • Jakob Dont (1815-1888) - Quartet for Four Violins in E minor, Op. 42 and F major, Op. 45

Dont was a Viennese violinist and composer. His technical works, particularly 24 Etudes and Caprices, Op.35, along with 24 Preparatory Exercises, Op.37, are some of the most important etudes found in the violin literature. Among his modest output of chamber music, he composed two quartets for four violins.

  • Charles Dancla - Three Pieces for Four Violins, Op.178

The three pieces carry a title each, namely Departure, Arrival, and The Return. It was published in 1890 and like a lot Dancla's other works, it is suitable for intermediate-level students.

  • Grażyna Bacewicz - Quartet for Four Violins

Polish woman composer and violinist Bacewicz composed this quartet in 1949. It has three movements. Many of Bacewicz music features the violin, and this quartet is one of her most important violin works. This quartet has three movements and it follows a fast-slow-fast structure.

Hofmann's Quartet for Four Violins, Op.98, 1st mvmt

"Even though I started playing the violin when I was four, my early chamber music experiences helped build a strong foundation for my solo work, as all music is a rich language and dialogue that is shared on stage, no matter what the size of the ensemble." - Anne Akiko Meyers

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Goh Tong Keat


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • dumdummy profile imageAUTHOR

        Goh Tong Keat 

        2 years ago from Malaysia

        Yes, definitely. Very beautiful concertos. Thanks for suggesting!

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        What about Telemann's 4 Concertos for 4 violins. They are unaccompanied.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)