Serious music performed by a small group of musicians.
Music intended for performance in a small room or chamber, rather than in the concert hall, and usually written for instrumental combinations, played with one instrument to a part, as in the string quartet.
Chamber music developed as an instrumental alternative to earlier music for voices such as the madrigal, which allowed accompanying instruments little freedom for technical display. At first a purely instrumental style, it developed through Haydn and Beethoven into a private and often experimental medium, making unusual demands on players and audiences alike. During the 20th century, the limitations of recording and radio encouraged many composers to scale down their orchestras to chamber proportions, as in Alban Berg’s Chamber Concerto 1923–25 and Stravinsky’s Agon 1953–57.
The string quartet of Allegri is believed to be the first example of its kind, while among English composers who wrote “fantasy trios”, or “fancies”, were Byrd and Gibbons. In the 17th and early 18th centuries the harpsichord generally provided a bass line. The chamber sonata with a figured bass accompaniment was established by the great Italian school of violinists—such as Vivaldi and Corelli. From the 18th century, a new type of chamber music was tried out by Haydn, in which members of a string quartet play on equal terms, with no additional keyboard instrument. Haydn also developed the classical sonata form in his chamber music. His quartets influenced those of Mozart, who in turn influenced Haydn’s later works. The last quartets of Beethoven show many striking departures from the original classical framework. In the 19th century chamber music found its way into the concert hall, sometimes taking on a quasi-orchestral quality, even in the work of Brahms. The early 20th-century French school of Impressionis
ts, such as Debussy and Ravel, experimented with chamber music forms, and, during the period which followed, developments such as atonality and polytonality have found expression in chamber music. Twentieth-century composers of chamber music include Berg, Webern, Hindemith, Stravinsky, Prokoviev, Shostakovich, Kodály, Bartók, Ireland, Bliss, Tippett, Rubbra, Copland, and Roy Harris.
Muzika za manji broj instrumenata, od kojih svaki izvodi vlastitu ariju (lat.)
Sobna muzika, tj. muzika koja je namenjena za uži prostor i ući krug slušalaca, i koja se zbog toga izvodi sa manjim brojem instrumenata, naročito solo-instrumenata.