Perhaps you have friends who enjoy going to see live chamber music performances. Or you have heard that a chamber music performance will be coming to your town soon. However, many of us have no idea what chamber actually is, so we have put together a brief history of the beautiful art and a description of what exactly it is.
Chamber music is a beautiful form of classical music, what sets it apart is that it is composed for smaller groups for instruments. It has the name chamber because it was typically composed for a smaller group that could fit into a palace chamber or similar room, not a typical full-size orchestra that you would get a concert. It can be any music that is performed by a small number of musicians, but it doesn’t include solo instrumental performances. It is a very intimate style of music, it allows the performers to be close with the people who have come to watch, it allows those watching to see the more detailed aspects of the performance. For many years this style of music was played mostly by amateur performers so that they could practice in a smaller space before moving on to a larger stage. Many play the music for their own pleasure as much as for the pleasure of others listening to it as well. It requires a lot of special skills to be able to perform chamber music because you must be good at music of course, but you must also be great in social settings. You much have social skills and be comfortable playing in close quarters. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said this about chamber music it is “four rational people conversing.” This is such an appropriate description because the musicians work so close to each other and in such a way that each instrument plays off each other. Many other writers and composers have referred to this when talking about chamber music as well.
Chamber music has since taken a few twists and turns and changed over the decades. It has taken inspiration from folk music, or perhaps it has influence folk music in a way. And from other genres as well, each time it gets more and more complex and makes the music more dynamic and interesting at each twist and turn. At the beginning of the 20th century there was a flourish of chamber music throughout the United States, however, over the last few years this has diminished somewhat, other genres have risen up as more popular and less and less people go to see live performances of chamber music, However, if you can get to see a live performance you should most definitely do so. It is such an amazing experience, it always you to be up close and personal with the musicians and to see them at their craft and the skills that they have worked years to master. You will not be disappointed, and you will be helping to keep this art form alive.