Languages for All
Short Courses
Your basket
Your account

The String Quartet (1760 – Present)

Course Times & Enrolment

This course is currently unavailable.

Course Summary

This course follows the development of the string quartet, from its origins in around 1760, until the present day. We shall explore works by a wide variety of composers, and consider the features of the string quartet that make it such a long-lasting, well-loved and flexible musical genre.

Course Details

Content of Course

1. Vienna IHaydn, Mozart

2. Vienna IIBeethoven, Schubert: Schoenberg, Berg, Webern

3. Germany ( Schumann, Brahms, Stockhausen, Mendelssohn) &France (Debussy, Ravel, Faure, Boulez, Onslow)

4. Central Europe: Czech lands (Dvorak), Hungary (Bartok), Poland(Gorecki)

5. Russia (Borodin, Shostakovich, Stravinsky),  Britain (Britten, Ferneyhough, Crawford,) USA (Ives, Cage, Barber)


Teaching method(s)

The course will be taught in lecture format, with recordings/videos and discussion.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • identify the instruments in a string quartet;
  • trace the development of the string quartet from its origins in domestic music making, to become the central idiom of chamber music;
  • understand the variety of ways in which composers have written for the ensemble;
  • identify key composers of the genre.


Core Readings


Griffiths, P., 1986. The String Quartet. London: Thames & Hudson.

Class Handouts

Class handouts: weekly


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.