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Musical Instruments of the Orchestra in the Western Tradition

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1 Musical Instruments of the Orchestra in the Western Tradition

2 What is an Orchestra ? Orchestra is an old Greek word which means ‘a dancing place’. In Greece, during the 5th century B.C., orchestra was the name given to the space in front of the main acting area which was used by the chorus, who danced as well as sang, and by the instrumentalists of open air theatres. Today we use the word orchestra to mean a reasonably large collection of instruments playing together as a group. Greek Theatre 2 of 26

3 The Orchestra The orchestra has grown up gradually from early 17th century and is now a very wonderful and varied combination of instruments, which falls into four group. 3 of 26

4 Woodwind Instruments As the name ‘woodwind’ suggests, the instruments of this section of the orchestra are mostly made of wood, though flutes are now often made of metal instead. In each woodwind instruments there is a series of holes bored along the length of the tube. When all the holes are covered, the instrument sounds its lowest note. But if the player uncovers the bottom hole, a higher note is sounded. Flute Oboe Clarinet Bassoon 4 of 26

5 Woodwind Instrument Flute Nowadays, it is made of metal.
It is easy to recognize the flute among the instruments of the woodwind section, as it is held sideways rather than straight in front of the player. The low notes are soft and mellow, but higher notes become brighter and more brilliant. 5 of 26

6 Woodwind Instrument Oboe
It is a double-reed instrument. It has reedy sound and can express pastoral feeling. 6 of 26

7 Woodwind Instrument Clarinet
Of the four main woodwind instruments, the clarinet was last to join the orchestra. The clarinet has a single reed -- a flat piece of cane. The latest part of its range has a hollow but rich sound. The middle part of the range is smooth. High up, the clarinet sounds rather sharp. 7 of 26

8 Woodwind Instrument Bassoon
It is a double-reed instrument with a conical tube 9 feet long. The low notes are very reedy. The higher notes are more flute-like and sound lovely. 8 of 26

9 Brass Instruments The sounds of the brass section, like those of the woodwind, are made by blowing. Brass instruments are long, hollow brass tubes blown from one end. They are curved or bent into various shapes. Trumpet French Horn Trombone Tuba 9 of 26

10 Brass Instrument Trumpet
Of the instruments in the brass section, the trumpet is the most ancient. It is one of the most powerful and colorful musical instruments in the orchestra. The tone quality is really brilliant. 10 of 26

11 Brass Instrument French Horn
It is a long conical tube coiled into a circular shape and ends in a large bell shape. It has a beautiful mellow tone of pure and lofty character. 11 of 26

12 Brass Instrument Trombone
The Italian name means ‘big trumpet’, and the trombone is in fact a long, folded trumpet with a more deeply cupped mouth-piece. It has a rich, noble tone. 12 of 26

13 Brass Instrument Trombone
The Italian name means ‘big trumpet’, and the trombone is in fact a long, folded trumpet with a more deeply cupped mouth-piece. It has a rich, noble tone. 12 of 26

14 String Instruments The strings are the ‘backbone’ of the orchestra. More than half the members of an orchestra play string instruments. The sound is produced by bowing, plucking or striking the string. Violin, viola, cello and double bass are similar in shape and each has four strings, but in different sizes; all tuned in fifth except the double bass that is fourth. Violin Viola Cello Double Bass 14 of 26

15 String Instrument Violin It is about 23.5 inches long.
The violins of the orchestra are divided into two groups: first vioins and second violins. The difference is not in the music they play -- the first violins usually playing higher notes than the seconds. 15 of 26

16 String Instrument Viola
It is about 25 inches long and is pitched a fifth lower than violin. 16 of 26

17 String Instrument Cello
The correct name for this instrument is really, as in Italian, violoncello -- but it is always called cello for short. It is around 5 feet in height and is pitched one octave lower than the viola. 17 of 26

18 String Instrument Double Bass
The double bass, sometimes just called bass for short. It is the largest in size (around 6.5 feet in height) and has the deepest tone (one octave below the cello) in the string family. 18 of 26

19 Percussion Instruments
Percussion instruments are those which are struck or shaken. Percussion instruments can be divided into two groups. They are ‘tuned’ and ‘non-tuned’. Tuned: Non-tuned: Timpani Xylophone Tambourine Castanets 19 of 26

20 Percussion Instrument
Timpani It can also be called kettle drum. These are often used in sets of two, three, or four each tuned to a different note. The instrument is played with two sticks. The player can tighten or loosen the parchment with pedals for tuning. 20 of 26

21 Percussion Instrument
Xylophone It consists of blocks of hard wood, each tuned to a note. The player strikes the wooden blocks with wooden beaters to produce a bright, dry, hard sound. 21 of 26

22 Percussion Instrument
Tambourine Small metal plates are loosely inserted around the shell. When the player hits or shakes it with his hand, the mental plates give a jingling effect. 22 of 26

23 Percussion Instrument
Castanets These consist of little wooden clappers moved by the thumb and forefinger of the player. In the orchestra, they are placed on a stick. 23 of 26

24 Seating Plan Because of their family likenesses, the instruments of each section are grouped together. The platform is usually terraced, and the sections are positioned in such instrumental sounds and tone-colors. 24 of 26

25 Orchestra Instruments Brass Strings Percussion Woodwind With pitch
French Horn Double Bass With pitch Without pitch Flute Oboe Clarinet Bassoon Trumpet Trombone Tuba Violin Viola Cello Timpani Xylophone Tambourine Castanets 25 of 26

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