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The Orchestra

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Introduction

The Orchestra The orchestra began to be used more from the time of Haydn and Mozart (the classical era), who wrote a total of 150 symphonies. It grew larger as composers added more parts for new instruments, and eventually it became the large symphony orchestra of the present day. The orchestra is made up of four main families of instruments; strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion. The string family is made up of violins, violas, cellos, and double basses. There are usually around fifteen first violins, fifteen second violins, twelve violas, ten cellos, and eight basses. In Mozart's time, sometimes only one or two were used. ...read more.

Middle

Today the brass family consists mainly of trumpets, French horns and trombones. There are other brass instruments which are not often found in the orchestra, but make up part of a brass band, such as the tuba, euphonium, and cornet. All of these instruments now use a system of valves and tubing to achieve their different notes, except the trombone, which has a slide. On any brass instrument the player can play several notes (harmonics) just by altering the shape of his lips. By making the tube longer, either by using valves or a slide, the whole range of notes can be played. Bach and Handel (baroque composers) ...read more.

Conclusion

Until Beethoven's time the timpani only played in the loud parts of a piece, often when the trumpets were playing. But Beethoven encouraged their use during the soft passages too, instructing the timpanist to play rabid beats softly. In this way the timpani could play a continuous soft note, which proved to be very effective. Gradually the timpani were used more and more, until today there are often several of these playing in an orchestra and sometimes more than one player for them. There are two other main types of orchestral percussion: the unpitched sort (instruments which do not play any particular note), such as other drums, cymbals and triangles; and pitched percussion, such as glockenspiels, xylophones, etc. These other instruments have not been used in orchestras very much until more recent times. Oliver Rojas 11W 25th September 2002 Music Homework ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

4 star(s)

I like the way that the writer has split this essay up into the four families of the orchestra. The writer could have referred to the roles of the different families of instruments. The information is accurate and well explained.

Marked by teacher Nathan Smith 08/01/2013

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