I have several wedding gigs booked over the next few months. Being that I live in a town where people go to have destination weddings, I had better get my wedding music chops in order. My favorite collections are listed here:
Weddings for Two – arranged by Lynne Latham This collection has a large number of pieces and can be played with two instruments of any kind (such as two cellos, two violins, two violas, or any combination thereof.) I have purchased the Violin I book as well as second part for violin, viola, and cello so I can play with any instrumentalist I can find for a particular date. I do not like the Pachelbel’s Canon in these editions. It is quite comical for a cellist to look at the Pachelbel part written in these books. The Shubert Ave Maria part is in tenor clef (unnecessarily) for cello. Both the Bach-Gounod and Schubert Ave Maria settings have the melody in the second part, so make sure you have a strong player on these. If your violist can read treble clef, there is no need to get the viola book; they can just play off of the violin II part. It stays on the G, D, and A strings. You should get some bowings and fingerings in these parts before playing them.
Wedding Music for String Quartet – arranged by Cleo Aufderhaar – Southern Music Company This collection of quartet music is very nicely arranged. I have played them at gigs before and they always seem to run smoothly even with few rehearsals. The parts are not like the wedding duet book. All four parts should be present. There is no mix-and-match, however, the melody stays primarily in the first violin. Cello and viola parts seem to be quite accessible. Second violin parts generally have the undulating parts that are present in the Ave Maria settings by Bach-Gounod and Schubert, so make sure that player is a strong one. These pieces are generally longer than other arrangements I have seen.
- More Wedding Music for String Quartet – arranged by Cleo Aufderhaar – Southern Music Company This contains even more classic wedding tunes for quartets. I recommend putting both of these in your quartet album and running them a bit before just to check for roadmap and tricky key signature issues. Beware of Mediation from Thais if your first violinist isn’t a good solo player. This piece is not sight readable.
- Wedding Collection for String Quartet from Virtual Sheet Music This collection has many great pieces, however, the parts are much more difficult than other albums I have seen. They would need to be rehearsed, but would be much less boring for an advanced quartet. The drawback is that you have to print the music out. There is an option of having third violin or viola, so that might be of benefit to some who have difficulty finding violists.
- Pachelbel Canon from Virtual Sheet Music This is a great arrangement. I think the viola part is a bit too challenging for most intermediate players. It has treble clef and some shifting. It would take somebody who knew what they were doing to pull this one off, but the parts don’t have notes that go below the instruments range some free version I have seen of this piece.