Music Lesson – The Orchestra by Carlinton Singh
Today I want to share some information on the orchestra.
The orchestra can be described as a large instrumental ensemble with a wide variety of musical instruments. It is made of four families of musical instruments; they are string, woodwind, brass and percussion. The strings are often refers to as the core of the orchestra.
The organization of this unique ensemble can be traced back as far as the 1600s and have developed during the baroque period. During this period there were smaller orchestra groups that range from about 15 to 40 persons. However, as music changes over the centuries, the size has grown immensely. Some time over 100 musicians are used in an orchestra.
Now let us take a look at the different families of instruments that make up the orchestra.
The String Family
The string family is made of string instruments. The strings on these instruments are plucked or bowed in order for them to produce sound. The main string instruments that are used in an orchestra are violins, violas, cellos and double bass.
The Woodwind Family
In this family the instruments are referred to as woodwind because they were traditionally made of wood. These instruments can be described as a long tube with holes on them. The holes are covered by the fingers or by pads that are controlled by our fingers. Some of these instruments carry a small strip of wood on the mouth piece called a reed. Some woodwind instruments are piccolo, flute, clarinet, oboe and bassoon.
The Brass Family
Instruments of the brass family are wind instruments that are loud and bright in tone color. These instruments are mostly used when the music climaxes. The range of pitches created by a brass wind instrument is controlled by the mouth piece, valves and slides. Brass instruments are often referred to as the horn section of the orchestra. Some instruments that make up the brass family are trumpet, cornet, french horn, trombone, euphonium and tuba.
The Percussion Family
Percussion instruments are those that you hit and shake to produce sound. These instruments play a vital role in the orchestra. There are several percussion instruments that are often used in an orchestra. They are xylophone, glockenspiel, timpani, gongs, cymbal, chimes, triangle, bass drum, snare drum, tenor drums among others.
Even though modern instruments are sometimes included in the orchestra, we can all say that it has not lost its flavor. The elements of music are still expressed in modern orchestras.
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