What is the "conversation à quatre?" How can the string quartet's texture be defined and be assessed? These questions give rise to considerable debate, which is set forth in two papers.
The first paper, published in Musurgia XII/3 (2005), sets forth an analytical method for defining the texture used in string quartet literature: a classification, followed by a system of statistical assessment, which is then put into place for each determined category.
In the present paper, this method is applied systematically to a number of different string quartets. This paper, as well as the first series of results issuing from this research, gives important information on a subject hitherto rarely studied. These results show the main statistical facts, thus making it possible to grasp the most outstanding features of the string quartet's texture. This study, once again, questions some of the stereotypes concerning the "conversation à quatre".