Catapulting into Classical

A headlong leap into music, history, and composing

Free Online Course: The World of the String Quartet


String Quartet

Here’s a valuable resource on the string quartet and its history.

Coursera offers an on-demand free course called The World of the String Quartet.  It was developed by the Curtis Institute of Music.  It is taught by Arnold Steinhardt, first violin of the Guarneri String Quartet, and Mia Chung, an interpretive analysis instructor at Curtis.

The seven-week course (this is a suggested timeframe, it is go at your own pace) covers the following topics:

Week 1: An Overview

Week 2: Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven

Week 3: Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms

Week 4: Smetana, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, and Bartok

Week 5:  Debussy Ravel, Barber, Shostakovich, and Britten

Week 6: Schönberg, Webern, Berg, Ives, Cage, and Reich

Week 7: The Next Frontier

In addition, the course has its own webpage that includes links to performances and other online music resources.  There are discussion forums so you can connect with others taking the course, and quizzes to check if you’re on the right track.

Individual videos are fairly short, typically under ten minutes, which makes it easy to watch one when you have a little spare time.  So pour yourself a cup of coffee and get to know the string quartet!

Here’s the Attacca Quartet performing Haydn’s Quartet Op. 64 No 3 Movement 1.


Image attribution:  Free clipart made available by

5 thoughts on “Free Online Course: The World of the String Quartet

  1. Oboyoboyoboyoboy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great resource! Does the whole Choir get these messages? I think they should- do you agree? Yet another reason to spend all one’s time in front of the computer.




    • No, they would have to subscribe to get the messages regularly, delivery is permission based. They could also follow the blog on Twitter or Facebook. But there is a prominent link to the blog on the choir webpage. It’s up to them, but of course I’d love to have them as readers!


  3. This is great stuff. Thank you for finding it and highlighting it in your blog!


  4. Pingback: Free Online Course: The World of the String Quartet – Defunctional Harmony

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