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The Orchestra. What is an Orchestra?. A large group of musicians that includes string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Also called a symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra.

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The Orchestra

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what is an orchestra
What is an Orchestra?
  • A large group of musicians that includes string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Also called a symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra.
  • Orchestra (means “a dancing place in Greek)comes from the area in front of the stage in ancient Greek drama reserved for the chorus.
components of the orchestra
Components of the Orchestra
  • An orchestra generally has 80 to 100 musicians.
  • A chamber orchestra is smaller, with about 40

or fewer musicians.

  • The conductor directs the musical performance

with visible gestures, e.g. hands and facial

expressions. The conductor is also called

the musical director.

- The concertmaster is the 1st principle violin player. This person is second in command to the conductor.

  • Each instrumental section has a leader known as the principle.
instrument families
Instrument Families


Produce sound (pitch) by plucking strings with fingers or using a bow


Produce sound when air is blown through a reed or across an opening; pitch is modified by finger holes or keys


Produce sound when the lips are buzzed and air is forced into tubes or coils; pitch is modified by lengthening or shortening air flow with valves or a slide


Produce sound by shaking, hitting or scraping.

instruments of the orchestra strings
Instruments of the Orchestra - Strings

Violin, viola, cello, double bass,

instruments of the orchestra woodwinds
Instruments of the Orchestra - Woodwinds

piccolo, flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon.

instruments of the orchestra brass
Instruments of the Orchestra - Brass

Trumpet, Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba

instruments of the orchestra percussion
Instruments of the Orchestra - Percussion

Timpani, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle

what do they play
What do they play?
  • The repertoire (collection of musical pieces) of a symphony orchestra is usually classical music or opera.
  • Orchestras sometimes play popular music
  • Symphony orchestras also commonly used to perform film scores
    • Score: the sheet music for a composition. It includes all parts written for each instrument
musical compositions
Musical Compositions

Symphony: composition for orchestra in 4 movements

1. fast, dramatic

2. lyrical, slow

3. dance – minuet or scherzo

4. brilliant/heroic, fast


musical work for solo instrument or small group & orchestra

musical compositions1
Musical Compositions

Concerto grosso:

composition that alternates between a soloist and the orchestra

Theme & Variation:

composition where one theme is stated then altered in successive statements


composition in several movements for soloist or small ensemble

musical compositions2
Musical Compositions


musical form with a recurring theme


Vocal genre for solo singers, chorus and instrumentalists based on a lyric or dramatic poetic narrative


Large-scale dramatic piece, based on a text of religious or serious character, performed by solo voices, chorus and orchestra; similar to opera but without scenery, costumes or action.


composition where the theme is imitated and overlaps