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instruments of the orchestra
Transcript of instruments of the orchestra
(take notes) An orchestra is a large group or musicians, usually playing classical music.
A small orchestra, or chamber orchestra has 50 or fewer musicians.
A large, or symphony orchestra, has about 100 musicians.
A conductor or maestro stands at the front to 'conduct' or lead the orchestra. An orchestra is divided into 4 groups. Each group has different instruments.
(we will go through each group separately) The string section is the largest group, usually about 60 musicians.
Instruments in the string section are:
(Piano) First Violins(16-18): Usually plays the melody and the highest notes in the orchestra.
Second Violin(14-16): doesn't play the melody and usually plays notes a little lower than the first violins. Violas(12-14): Look like violins but are a little larger and play lower notes.
Cellos(10-12): rest on the ground and look like big violins. The player sits at a chair to play them. Cellos are much lower than violins, and use the bass clef.
Basses(8-10): are larger still and play very low notes Special terms for the string section:
Pizzicato - pluck the string with your fingers.
Arco - play the string with the bow.
Spiccato -bounce the bow on the strings.
Con legno - play with the wood of the bow, not the hair. Occasional String Instruments:
Piano(1) - Sometimes a composer will write a piano part for orchestra music, but not often.
Harp(1) - Harps are used sometimes to make music sound more light and airy. Woodwind Instruments:
Bassoons The woodwind family of instruments are given this name because they have developed from instruments that used to be made of wood.
Now though most are made of metal or plastic. What makes them all similar is that they have a length of tube covered with a series of holes.
Covering different holes causes the length of tube to lengthen and change the note. Flute and Piccolo: Play the highest notes. They are held off to the side of your head.
Oboe: Has two reeds that vibrate against each other when you blow through them. Usually if the melody is going to be played by the woodwind section, it will be be played by the oboe.
(Cor Anglais or English Horn: is very similar to an oboe, but plays a little lower.) Clarinets: come in many different sizes and keys, and different orchestras will use different ones. They are a little lower than oboes, and have only one reed.
Bassoons: are like the basses of the woodwind section. They are very low in pitch, big and funny looking. Brass Section:
Tubas The brass sections is situated at the back of the orchestra because they are so loud.
These instruments are much louder than the strings and woodwind and their notes can carry a long distance easily. Brass players change the way they shape their mouth to produce different notes.
They can produce 15 different notes with these different mouth positions, this is called the harmonic series. When a player presses a button on a brass instrument (or moves the slide on a trombone) they get a new harmonic series, and can then play different notes. Trumpet: early trumpets had just a straight piece of tube and it was very hard to play complex music. Later on they added three 'valves' or buttons and a bunch of extra tubing so more notes could be played. French Horn: it is lower in pitch than a trumpet and has a more mellow sound. It also have three valves.
Double Horn: is basically two french horns welded together. It has a much larger range than a french horn. Trombones: instead of valves like a trumpet or french horn, trombones have a 'slide', which is a length of tubing that goes in and out to get different harmonic series. It is lower in pitch than a french horn.
Tuba: is the lowest of the symphony brass instruments. It was invented in 1820 and is one of the youngest instruments in the orchestra. It almost never has a solo. Percussion Section:
Depending of the composer and the composition, only some of these will be used for a piece of music:
Drum Kit Timpani: is a great big drum with a foot pedal to change the pitch a little bit. It's the most common to hear in a symphony. Un-pitched Percussion:
drum kit Pitched percussion:
Glockenspiel: small with steel bars that are struck with rubber mallets.
Xylophone: hardwood bars of different lengths (like the strings in a piano) with tubes underneath (like an organ)
Vibraphone: like an xylophone except with steel bars instead of wood.
Marimba: a type of xylophone with a lower pitch. The conductor stands with his back to the audience, facing the musicians.
He helps keep time between all the instruments.
He also lets them know when to go faster or slower, or play louder or softer. Where does everyone sit?
Different orchestras will have slightly different arrangements, but they are all pretty similar.
Strings always sit in the front
Brass always sits in the back.
Percussion, if there is any, sits behind all the other musicians.
Higher pitch instruments generally sit on the left, lower pitch on the right. Except for the flute, all woodwind instruments use reeds to create the vibration of air into the tube.
A reed is a thin flexible sheet of cane.
As air is blown onto the tip of the reed it causes it to vibrate and the vibrating air goes through the instrument. Finally, on a separate piece of paper:
Draw a diagram of the orchestra (hint: it looks like a half circle). Label where each instrument goes. Don't forget the conductor.
On the back, write the four types of instruments in an orchestra. Under each type, write 4 instruments of that type. Color a picture of one instrument for each type and label it with its name