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The Development of the Orchestra

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Introduction

Lucy Burbridge The Development of the Orchestra The Baroque orchestra was a typically a string group. It used around 12 players, divided into first violins, second violins, violas and the bass parts - cellos and double basses. This was often supported by an instrument that could fill in the chords such as harpsichord or organ. Sometimes the conductor would even conduct the orchestra whilst playing the harpsichord from a figured bass line. Occasionally instruments such as oboe and bassoon were used, and sometimes flutes (used at times instead of oboes), recorders and horns were added. During this time trumpets and timpani were inseparable, and these were added if the music was ceremonial. ...read more.

Middle

The clarinet was at first, like flute, used instead of the oboe, but by 1800 the orchestra had become standardised into the double-wind orchestra. This consisted of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, timpani, first violins, second violins, violas, cellos and double basses. The variety of instruments meant a wide range of tones and colours could be achieved, which would in turn lead to the romantic period. Because the woodwind section had increased so much since the baroque orchestra the string section also had to increase to balance the sound. Many continued to increase as the venues for concerts were getting bigger. In the baroque period many of the concerts took place in house of the nobility but by the classical period they had moved to public concert halls and large theatres. ...read more.

Conclusion

In 1817 the ophicleide was introduced and used to strengthen the bottom end of the brass section. The tuba was introduced around 1835 and the ophicleide faded out of use. In Symphonie Fantastique, Belioz uses valved instruments that were just starting to appear by 1830. At this time trumpet, horn and timpani parts were written without a key signature. Timpani at the time had to be tuned beforehand so there was a very limited amount of notes they could play. Also in the Symphonie Fantastique we see the use of an enlarged percussion section. Berlioz calls for Timpani, cymbals, bass drum, a snare and little bells. These however are not all used in all the movements, in the 4th movement the little bells aren't use, and neither are the harps that he calls for. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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This is a short but accurate description of how the orchestra has developed since the Baroque period. It is eloquently written and applied musical terms correctly. The analysis of Symphonie Fantastique is so brief I question it usefulness.

Marked by teacher Nathan Smith 08/01/2013

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