Orchestra
(OR-ke-struh)


[Gr., dancing area]


A group of musicians who perform on a variety of instruments. Within Western art, the term is most commonly applied to the symphony orchestra. The modern symphony orchestra instrumentation includes:

Strings
Woodwinds
Brass
Percussion
18- 1st Violins
14 - 2nd Violins
12 - Violas
12 - Cellos
8 - Double Basses
4 - Flutes
3 - Oboes
1 - English Horn
3 - Clarinets
1 - Bass Clarinet
3 - Bassoons
1 - Contrabassoon
5 - French Horns
4 - Trumpets
3 - Trombones
1 - Tuba
2 - Timpani
3 - Untuned Percussion
1 - Tuned Percussion
2 - Harps

The actual instrumentation of the symphony orchestra is dictated by the composer's indications in the score. In fact, on any given performance of a symphony orchestra, the instrumentation may change on every composition performed. The instrumentation shown above is the result of dramatic changes throughout the centuries. There has been a great expansion from the Baroque orchestra to the modern symphony orchestra.


SUGGESTED LISTENING EXAMPLES:

Orchestra, modern size:
Brahms: Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, IV (main theme, strings)
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 1, Track 11
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 (Italian), I
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 1, Track 13
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 in A major, Op. 90 (Italian), IV
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 1, Track 40
Holst: The Planets, Op. 32, "Jupiter, The Bringer of Jollity"
W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 1, Track 50

Orchestra, Baroque:
Handel: Concerto Grosso in G major, Op. 6, No. 1, I

W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 1, Track 31

Orchestra, Classical:
Mozart: Symphony No. 40 an G minor, K. 550, I

W. W. Norton - 4-CD Musical Example Bank -- Disc 1, Track 32

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