Definition of quintet in US English:



  • 1A group of five people playing music or singing together.

    • ‘The contemporary music quintet was founded in August 1996.’
    • ‘And, in a day of sound-alike rap rockers and indistinguishable pop-leaning pretty boys, it's not often that a band comes out with the confidence and talent to take musical risks like this quintet does.’
    • ‘Music is provided by a quintet comprising piano, flute, clarinet and two violins.’
    • ‘To get around this he would have only a double string quintet play during a very quiet flute or oboe solo.’
    • ‘The quintet have released easy listening tunes that people of all ages can appreciate.’
    • ‘As the title may imply, this is a quintet of Canadian jazz musicians, all of whom have busy careers south of the border.’
    • ‘Visitors can be entranced by the different sounds of a trio, quartet or quintet.’
    • ‘Incorporating various styles of rock, jazz, blues and folk music, the quintet is lead by Matthews on guitar and vocals.’
    • ‘The ensemble was established to explore a very varied repertoire for the brass quintet, through a wide-ranging selection of music from Renaissance to twentieth Century.’
    • ‘The third great album from this Ohio quintet sees them in melancholy mood, easing out songs packed with coy observations and lyrical moments.’
    • ‘It's the only word you could apply to all of the Denver quintet's music, from their loudest, fastest moment to their iciest piano passage.’
    • ‘Immediately, the musical and human chemistry of the quintet proved itself a winner, but there was always violence at their shows, mostly sparked by the singer.’
    • ‘While their chart career has been on hold, they've remained a highly respected live act and one with all five of the original quintet at the heart of the performance.’
    • ‘So, if you imagine, in the quintet, all five players have the leading voice at different points and you have to be confident enough and love the other four enough to trust them to take you where they want.’
    • ‘Visitors were also entertained by a quintet of musicians from the Bolton School of Music.’
    • ‘In these conditions he managed also to compose a nonet for wind quintet and string quartet before being transferred in February 1945 to Terezín, where he died a month later of dysentery.’
    • ‘He believes that you increase your understanding by playing in small ensembles - three, four or five people in trios, quartets and quintets.’
    • ‘Then as well we were treated to beautiful Mozart and Strauss music by a delightful quintet in traditional costume.’
    group, band, orchestra, combo
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A musical composition for a quintet.
      • ‘Mozart and Weber quintets are two of her favourites, and it has been several years since these two masterworks have experienced such authorative performances.’
      • ‘Renowned for flexibility, performing familiar and less well-known chamber pieces, the ensemble pairs the supreme string quintets of Mozart and Mendelsshon.’
      • ‘Two-cello quintets and string quartets poured from him, but for grander occasions there were symphonies of a robust charm that had every late-eighteenth-century ingredient except Haydn's daring and bubbling originality.’
      • ‘At the same time, they are as refined as any of the string quartets and quintets he composed during that period.’
      • ‘The first movement revolves around a haunting ostinato which forms the motto theme of the quintet (a typical Franckian device) and develops throughout the movement.’
      • ‘We also learn that the quintets were composed for the Spanish Royal Family to be played in the splendid retreat of El Escorial which was apparently quite a musical haven in the 18th century.’
      • ‘The repertoire of piano quartets and quintets is not a huge one, so good ones should not be jettisoned.’
      • ‘This collection of a string quintet and two quartets does not provide a clear cut answer.’
      • ‘These two quintets contain music that is extremely pleasant and also very relaxing without being too troublesome on the intellectual side.’
      • ‘Here we are presented with two French piano quintets from the first quarter of the last century, written within a decade of each other, so the coupling seems an apt one.’
      • ‘Look, no-one's about to hold up a handful of Boccherini Quintets and suggest that they're measured against Mozart's, and when it comes to string quintets with two cellos, a certain C major work by Schubert tends to top the polls.’
      • ‘There is a great deal of Dvorak chamber music - 14 string quartets and three quintets, as well as 10 trios, quartets and quintets with piano - and only a fraction of it is heard regularly in recitals.’
      • ‘These sisters were not only good comic performers, they could sing too, with superb solos, duets, trios, quartets, quintets and harmony, backed by a small musical ensemble.’
    2. 1.2 Any group of five people or things.
      ‘a novel about a quintet of interrelated lovers’


Late 18th century: from French quintette or Italian quintetto, from quinto ‘fifth’, from Latin quintus.