Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Music A composition for five voices or five instruments.
  • n. Music A group of five singers or five instrumentalists.
  • n. A group of five.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A composition (a type of chamber music) in five parts (typically each a singer or instrumentalist, sometimes several musicians)
  • n. A group of five musicians, fit to play such a piece of music together
  • n. Any group of five members

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A composition for five voices or instruments; also, the set of five persons who sing or play five-part music.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In music: A movement for five solo parts, either vocal or instrumental. Instrumental quintets are essentially similar to quartets.
  • n. A company of five singers or players who perform quintets.
  • n. A bicycle made to carry five.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a musical composition for five performers
  • n. five performers or singers who perform together
  • n. the cardinal number that is the sum of four and one
  • n. five people considered as a unit
  • n. a set of five similar things considered as a unit

Etymologies

Probably from Italian quintetto, diminutive of quinto, fifth, from Latin quīntus; see penkwe in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Italian quintetto, diminutive of quinto ("fifth"), itself from Latin quintus, related to quīnque ("five"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • As wonderful as the big-band album is, Mr. Watson's ongoing quintet is no less carefully orchestrated: Horizon is one of those rare groups of any size where every element, every solo, every melody, every drum break, seems precisely in place and serves a direct purpose; you feel that the composition is growing and developing even during the improvisations.

    Masters and Young Bloods

  • The quintet is back at full force for the first time in 15 years as they reconcile with Bizzy and welcome back Flesh after eight years in prison.

    Listen Up: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony reunite in 'Uni-5'

  • M5, a brass quintet from the Manhattan School of Music, will be among the exciting young ensembles that perform live.

    WQXR’s Young Artists Showcase in The Greene Space «

  • The reality of the local parish and its guitar quintet is likely to be disappointing by comparison.

    The Music in Angels and Demons

  • The Motown quintet is known for signature harmony songs such as "My Girl" and "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)."

    Archive 2007-05-01

  • Mount McGinnis, the tallest, most difficult, and most rewarding of the mountain quintet.

    Scaling Alaska's Heights

  • The fifth member of the quintet was the most terrible of them all.

    Kid Wolf of Texas

  • Walter, and then as Eva, David, Magdalena, and Beckmesser successively enter, the scene develops into a magnificent quintet, which is one of the most charming numbers in the opera.

    The Standard Operas (12th edition) Their Plots, Their Music, and Their Composers

  • In the next scene occurs a dialogue quintet, which is followed by a long aria ( "Sempre gridi") by the duenna Bertha, called by the Italians the "Aria de Sorbetto," because the people used to eat ices while it was sung; reminding one of the great aria from

    The Standard Operas (12th edition) Their Plots, Their Music, and Their Composers

  • The personnel of the Shearing quintet changed many times over the years, but except for the addition of a percussionist in 1953 - the band continued to be called a quintet even after it became a sextet - the instrumentation and the sound remained the same for almost three decades.

    NYT > Home Page

Comments

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  • My father never held a tennis racket or a golf club, and he couldn't kick a football or catch a swift pitch, but he bowled whenever he got a chance – tenpins, duckpins, candlepins, cocked hat, and quintet, a difficult game, the rules for which I was told he had helped to make up.
    —James Thurber, 1952, 'Gentleman from Indiana', in The Thurber Album

    July 18, 2008