What's chamber music?

Can someone give me a list of them?

Answer #1

The term “chamber music” is usually used to describe ( predominantly “classical” ) music that has been composed for a small group of musicians e.g. a quartet (rather than a large group of musicians like and orchestra).

Chamber music was normally composed to be played to a (smallish) group of people in a private room, or “chamber”, rather than a (usually larger) group of people in a public theatre / concert hall.

Here is an example: J. S. Bach - Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord in A Major BWV 1032 - 1. Vivace (1/3) 05m : 11s YouTube Audio

Answer #2

As to a list of them: that is almost like asking for a list of the books in a library. If you want a specific number of examples, please let us know how many you would like listed.

– Majikthise.

Answer #3

can you list chamber songs that has any singing?

Answer #4

Well strangely, although I think in terms of certain specific music being “chamber music”, I don’t really think of “songs” as being specifically “chamber songs”

Here is the problem:

There has not really been much need to classify choral pieces for choirs or solo singers as being “chamber” or otherwise. Whereas there has for the musical scores (whether or not there was any vocal participation)

Prior to the 20th century, music was written to be performed live (recording did not exist) and the greater the size of the auditorium it was being written for, the greater the number of instruments were generally needed in order to provide adequate volume (amplification did not exist).

Public performances usually involved either many instrumentalists (as in the case of an orchestra) or large and/or loud instruments (e.g. pipe organ & trumpets). Chamber ensembles performed in a smaller environment, using music written for smaller and quieter instruments (e.g. harpsichord, violin, flute, etc.). This usually required totally different “scores” to be written for the different types of instrument and auditoria.

Imagine the huge difference between the score written for a 40 piece orchestra and that for a 4 instrument chamber quartet.

Choral music was mostly written for “SATB” choirs (soprano/alto/tenor/bass) or fewer “voices” which could in principle be performed by four (or fewer) singers performing either “a cappella” (unaccompanied) or with instrumental accompaniment suitable for the auditorium, and most “chambers” (moderate sized rooms) would be large enough to accommodate four or fewer singers, and a piano / violin / flute etc. with no problem.

Large choral productions, such as an opera, frequently spawned sheet music with lyrics to enable a small household to perform selections as private entertainment pieces, but ….. (I think) ….. it would be rare to class such music as “choral chamber music” - even thought that is what it would in fact be.

I hope this sequence of examples will illustrate the points:

Gloria In Excelsis Deo performed in a large public space with a huge SATB choir:


Now the same piece sung by a more modest ensemble that could be accommodated in the “Musical Chamber” or “Private Chapel” of a grand house:

sung by “Collegium Vocale Gent” (typically comprising about 20 vocalists) where each individual voice can be distinguished.


Now something performed (as written) in Mozart’s opera “the Magic Flute” - certainly not the sort of production that one would expect in a “Chamber”:


That is the sort of song that one would expect to be sold as sheet music e.g. for piano with lyrics, so that it could be performed at home in one’s private chamber …..

Like this:


If I have to give something as an example of what I might class as a chamber song, I can’t do any better than this:

Felix Mendelssohn - Oh For the Wings of a Dove performer Katie Price with piano accompaniment -


Two people entertaining a select group of people to the best of their ability - or maybe just entertaining themselves.

– Best wishes - Majikthise.

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