Orchestra
Overview
 
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

 that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 reserved for the Greek chorus
Greek chorus
A Greek chorus is a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action....

. The orchestra grew by accretion throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, but changed very little in composition during the course of the 20th century.
A smaller-sized orchestra for this time period (of about fifty players or fewer) is called a chamber orchestra.
A full-size orchestra (about 100 players) may sometimes be called a "symphony orchestra" or "philharmonic orchestra"; these modifiers do not necessarily indicate any strict difference in either the instrumental
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

 constitution or role of the orchestra, but can be useful to distinguish different ensembles based in the same city (for instance, the London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

 and the London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra , based in London, is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom, and is based in the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, the LPO is the main resident orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera...

).
Encyclopedia
An orchestra is a sizable instrumental ensemble
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

 that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments. The term orchestra derives from the Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 ορχήστρα, the name for the area in front of an ancient Greek stage
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 reserved for the Greek chorus
Greek chorus
A Greek chorus is a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action....

. The orchestra grew by accretion throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, but changed very little in composition during the course of the 20th century.
A smaller-sized orchestra for this time period (of about fifty players or fewer) is called a chamber orchestra.
A full-size orchestra (about 100 players) may sometimes be called a "symphony orchestra" or "philharmonic orchestra"; these modifiers do not necessarily indicate any strict difference in either the instrumental
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

 constitution or role of the orchestra, but can be useful to distinguish different ensembles based in the same city (for instance, the London Symphony Orchestra
London Symphony Orchestra
The London Symphony Orchestra is a major orchestra of the United Kingdom, as well as one of the best-known orchestras in the world. Since 1982, the LSO has been based in London's Barbican Centre.-History:...

 and the London Philharmonic Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra , based in London, is one of the major orchestras of the United Kingdom, and is based in the Royal Festival Hall. In addition, the LPO is the main resident orchestra of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera...

). A symphony orchestra will usually have over eighty musicians on its roster, in some cases over a hundred, but the actual number of musicians employed in a particular performance may vary according to the work being played and the size of the venue. A leading chamber orchestra might employ as many as fifty musicians; some are much smaller than that. Orchestras can also be found in schools. The term concert orchestra may sometimes be used - no distinction is made on size of orchestra by use of this term, although their use is generally distinguished as for live concert. As such they are commonly chamber orchestras.

Instrumentation

The typical symphony orchestra consists of four proportionate groups of similar musical instrument
Musical instrument
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted for the purpose of making musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can serve as a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. The history of musical instruments dates back to the...

s called the woodwinds
Woodwind instrument
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument which produces sound when the player blows air against a sharp edge or through a reed, causing the air within its resonator to vibrate...

, brass
Brass instrument
A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose sound is produced by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips...

, percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

, and strings
String section
The string section is the largest body of the standard orchestra and consists of bowed string instruments of the violin family.It normally comprises five sections: the first violins, the second violins, the violas, the cellos, and the double basses...

, and also the fifth proportionate group of similar musical instruments like the rhythm section
Rhythm section
A rhythm section is a collection of musicians who make up a section of instruments which provides the accompaniment section of the music, giving the music its rhythmic texture and pulse, also serving as a rhythmic reference for the rest of the band...

 in modern times. The orchestra, depending on the size, contains almost all of the standard instruments in each group. In the history of the orchestra, its instrumentation has been expanded over time, often agreed to have been standardized by the classical period and Beethoven's influence on the classical model.

Beethoven's influence

The so-called "standard complement" of double winds and brass in the orchestra from the first half of the 19th century is generally attributed to the forces called for by Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

. The exceptions to this are his Symphony No. 4
Symphony No. 4 (Beethoven)
Symphony No. 4 in B Flat Major , is a symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven, written in the summer of 1806. It was premiered in March of 1807 at a private concert of the home of Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz...

, Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 61, was written in 1806.The work was premiered on 23 December 1806 in the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. Beethoven wrote the concerto for his colleague Franz Clement, a leading violinist of the day, who had earlier given him helpful advice on...

, and Piano Concerto No. 4
Piano Concerto No. 4 (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, was composed in 1805–1806, although no autograph copy survives.-Musical forces and movements:...

, which each specify a single flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

. The composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

's instrumentation almost always included paired flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns and trumpets. Beethoven carefully calculated the expansion of this particular timbral "palette" in Symphonies 3, 5, 6, and 9 for an innovative effect. The third horn in the "Eroica"
Symphony No. 3 (Beethoven)
Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat major , also known as the Eroica , is a landmark musical work marking the full arrival of the composer's "middle-period," a series of unprecedented large scale works of emotional depth and structural rigor.The symphony is widely regarded as a mature...

 Symphony arrives to provide not only some harmonic flexibility, but also the effect of "choral" brass in the Trio. Piccolo, contrabassoon, and trombones add to the triumphal finale of his Symphony No. 5
Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven in 1804–08. This symphony is one of the most popular and best-known compositions in all of classical music, and one of the most often played symphonies. It comprises four movements: an opening sonata, an andante, and a fast...

. A piccolo and a pair of trombones help deliver storm and sunshine in the Sixth
Symphony No. 6 (Beethoven)
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, also known as the Pastoral Symphony , is a symphony composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, and was completed in 1808...

. The Ninth
Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven)
The Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, is the final complete symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven. Completed in 1824, the symphony is one of the best known works of the Western classical repertoire, and has been adapted for use as the European Anthem...

 asks for a second pair of horns, for reasons similar to the "Eroica" (four horns has since become standard); Beethoven's use of piccolo, contrabassoon, trombones, and untuned percussion – plus chorus
Choir
A choir, chorale or chorus is a musical ensemble of singers. Choral music, in turn, is the music written specifically for such an ensemble to perform.A body of singers who perform together as a group is called a choir or chorus...

 and vocal soloists – in his finale, are his earliest suggestion that the timbral boundaries of "symphony" might be expanded for good. But for several decades after his departure, symphonic instrumentation
Instrumentation (music)
In music, instrumentation refers to the particular combination of musical instruments employed in a composition, and to the properties of those instruments individually...

was faithful to Beethoven's well-established model, with few exceptions.

Expanded instrumentation

Apart from the core orchestral complement, various other instruments are called for occasionally. These include the classical guitar
Classical guitar
The classical guitar is a 6-stringed plucked string instrument from the family of instruments called chordophones...

, heckelphone
Heckelphone
The heckelphone is a musical instrument invented by Wilhelm Heckel and his sons. Introduced in 1904, it is similar to the oboe but pitched an octave lower.-General characteristics:...

, flugelhorn
Flugelhorn
The flugelhorn is a brass instrument resembling a trumpet but with a wider, conical bore. Some consider it to be a member of the saxhorn family developed by Adolphe Sax ; however, other historians assert that it derives from the valve bugle designed by Michael Saurle , Munich 1832 , thus...

, cornet
Cornet
The cornet is a brass instrument very similar to the trumpet, distinguished by its conical bore, compact shape, and mellower tone quality. The most common cornet is a transposing instrument in B. It is not related to the renaissance and early baroque cornett or cornetto.-History:The cornet was...

, harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

, and organ
Organ (music)
The organ , is a keyboard instrument of one or more divisions, each played with its own keyboard operated either with the hands or with the feet. The organ is a relatively old musical instrument in the Western musical tradition, dating from the time of Ctesibius of Alexandria who is credited with...

. Saxophone
Saxophone
The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

s, for example, appear in a limited range of 19th and 20th century scores. While appearing only as featured solo instruments in some works, for example Maurice Ravel
Maurice Ravel
Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects...

's orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Mussorgsky
Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky was a Russian composer, one of the group known as 'The Five'. He was an innovator of Russian music in the romantic period...

's Pictures at an Exhibition
Pictures at an Exhibition
Pictures at an Exhibition is a suite in ten movements composed for piano by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky in 1874.The suite is Mussorgsky's most famous piano composition, and has become a showpiece for virtuoso pianists...

and Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Sergei Vasilievich Rachmaninoff was a Russian composer, pianist, and conductor. Rachmaninoff is widely considered one of the finest pianists of his day and, as a composer, one of the last great representatives of Romanticism in Russian classical music...

's Symphonic Dances
Symphonic Dances (Rachmaninoff)
The Symphonic Dances, Op. 45, is an orchestral suite in three movements. Completed in 1940, it is Sergei Rachmaninoff's last composition. The work summarizes Rachmaninoff's compositional output....

, the saxophone is included in other works, such as Ravel's Boléro
Boléro
Boléro is a one-movement orchestral piece by Maurice Ravel . Originally composed as a ballet commissioned by Russian ballerina Ida Rubinstein, the piece, which premiered in 1928, is Ravel's most famous musical composition....

, Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suites 1 and 2, Vaughan Williams Symphony No.6
Symphony No. 6 (Vaughan Williams)
Ralph Vaughan Williams's Symphony in E minor, published as Symphony No. 6, was composed in 1946–47, during and immediately after World War II. Dedicated to Michael Mullinar, it was first performed by Sir Adrian Boult and the BBC Symphony Orchestra on April 21, 1948. Within a year it had received...

 and Symphony No.9
Symphony No. 9 (Vaughan Williams)
The Symphony No. 9 in E minor was the last symphony written by the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. He composed it from 1956 to 1957 and it was given its premiere performance in London by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Sargent on 2 April 1958, in the composer's...

 and William Walton
William Walton
Sir William Turner Walton OM was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera...

's Belshazzar's Feast
Belshazzar's Feast (Walton)
Belshazzar's Feast is an oratorio by the English composer William Walton. It was first performed at the Leeds Festival on 8 October 1931. The work has remained one of Walton's most celebrated compositions and one of the most popular works in the English choral repertoire...

, and many other works as a member of the orchestral ensemble. The euphonium
Euphonium
The euphonium is a conical-bore, tenor-voiced brass instrument. It derives its name from the Greek word euphonos, meaning "well-sounding" or "sweet-voiced"...

 is featured in a few late Romantic
Romantic music
Romantic music or music in the Romantic Period is a musicological and artistic term referring to a particular period, theory, compositional practice, and canon in Western music history, from 1810 to 1900....

 and 20th century works, usually playing parts marked "tenor tuba", including Gustav Holst
Gustav Holst
Gustav Theodore Holst was an English composer. He is most famous for his orchestral suite The Planets....

's The Planets
The Planets
The Planets, Op. 32, is a seven-movement orchestral suite by the English composer Gustav Holst, written between 1914 and 1916. Each movement of the suite is named after a planet of the Solar System and its corresponding astrological character as defined by Holst...

, and Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

's Ein Heldenleben
Ein Heldenleben
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40, is a tone poem by Richard Strauss. The work was completed in 1898, and heralds the composer's more mature period in this genre...

. The Wagner tuba
Wagner tuba
The Wagner tuba is a comparatively rare brass instrument that combines elements of both the French horn and the tuba. Also referred to as the "Bayreuth Tuba", it was originally created for Richard Wagner's operatic cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Since then, other composers have written for it, most...

, a modified member of the horn
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

 family, appears in Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen
Der Ring des Nibelungen is a cycle of four epic operas by the German composer Richard Wagner . The works are based loosely on characters from the Norse sagas and the Nibelungenlied...

and several other works by Richard Strauss
Richard Strauss
Richard Georg Strauss was a leading German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras. He is known for his operas, which include Der Rosenkavalier and Salome; his Lieder, especially his Four Last Songs; and his tone poems and orchestral works, such as Death and Transfiguration, Till...

, Béla Bartók
Béla Bartók
Béla Viktor János Bartók was a Hungarian composer and pianist. He is considered one of the most important composers of the 20th century and is regarded, along with Liszt, as Hungary's greatest composer...

, and others; it has a prominent role in Anton Bruckner
Anton Bruckner
Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer known for his symphonies, masses, and motets. The first are considered emblematic of the final stage of Austro-German Romanticism because of their rich harmonic language, complex polyphony, and considerable length...

's Symphony No. 7 in E Major
Symphony No. 7 (Bruckner)
Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E major is one of his best-known symphonies. It was written between 1881 and 1883 and was revised in 1885. It is dedicated to Ludwig II of Bavaria. The premiere, given under Arthur Nikisch and the Gewandhaus Orchestra in the opera house at Leipzig on 30...

. Cornets appear in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's ballet Swan Lake
Swan Lake
Swan Lake ballet, op. 20, by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, composed 1875–1876. The scenario, initially in four acts, was fashioned from Russian folk tales and tells the story of Odette, a princess turned into a swan by an evil sorcerer's curse. The choreographer of the original production was Julius Reisinger...

, Claude Debussy
Claude Debussy
Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer. Along with Maurice Ravel, he was one of the most prominent figures working within the field of impressionist music, though he himself intensely disliked the term when applied to his compositions...

's La Mer
La Mer (Debussy)
La mer, trois esquisses symphoniques pour orchestre , or simply La mer , is an orchestral composition by the French composer Claude Debussy. It was started in 1903 in France and completed in 1905 on the English Channel coast in Eastbourne...

, and several orchestral works by Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

. Unless these instruments are played by members doubling on another instrument (for example, a trombone player changing to euphonium for a certain passage), orchestras will use freelance musicians to augment their regular rosters.

The 20th century orchestra was far more flexible than its predecessors. During composers Beethoven and Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

's time, the orchestra was composed of a fairly standard core of instruments which was very rarely modified. As time progressed, and as the Romantic period saw changes in accepted modification with composers such as Berlioz, followed by Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 and eventually Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

, the 20th century saw that instrumentation could practically be hand-picked by the composer. Today, however, the modern orchestra has generally been considered standardized with the modern instrumentation listed below.

With this history in mind, the orchestra can be seen to have a general evolution as outlined below. The first is a typical classical orchestra (i.e. Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of...

/Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

), the second is typical of an early/mid- romantic (i.e. Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

/Dvořák
Antonín Dvorák
Antonín Leopold Dvořák was a Czech composer of late Romantic music, who employed the idioms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia. Dvořák’s own style is sometimes called "romantic-classicist synthesis". His works include symphonic, choral and chamber music, concerti, operas and many...

/Tchaikovsky), late romantic/early 20th century (i.e. Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

/Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

/Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

), to the common complement of a present day modern orchestras (i.e. Adams/Barber
Samuel Barber
Samuel Osborne Barber II was an American composer of orchestral, opera, choral, and piano music. His Adagio for Strings is his most popular composition and widely considered a masterpiece of modern classical music...

/Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

/Glass
Philip Glass
Philip Glass is an American composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public .His music is often described as minimalist, along with...

).

Classical Orchestra

Woodwinds
Woodwind instrument
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument which produces sound when the player blows air against a sharp edge or through a reed, causing the air within its resonator to vibrate...

:
2 Flute
Western concert flute
The Western concert flute is a transverse woodwind instrument made of metal or wood. It is the most common variant of the flute. A musician who plays the flute is called a flautist, flutist, or flute player....

s
2 Oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s
2 Clarinet
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

s (in C, B-flat, or A)
2 Bassoon
Bassoon
The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor registers, and occasionally higher. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band and chamber music literature...

s


Brass
Brass instrument
A brass instrument is a musical instrument whose sound is produced by sympathetic vibration of air in a tubular resonator in sympathy with the vibration of the player's lips...

:
2 or 4 Horn
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

s (in any key)
2 Trumpet
Trumpet
The trumpet is the musical instrument with the highest register in the brass family. Trumpets are among the oldest musical instruments, dating back to at least 1500 BCE. They are played by blowing air through closed lips, producing a "buzzing" sound which starts a standing wave vibration in the air...

s (in any key)


Percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

:
2 Timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...



Strings
String section
The string section is the largest body of the standard orchestra and consists of bowed string instruments of the violin family.It normally comprises five sections: the first violins, the second violins, the violas, the cellos, and the double basses...

:
6 Violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s I
6 Violin
Violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

s II
4 Viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

s
3 Violoncello
Cello
The cello is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is a member of the violin family of musical instruments, which also includes the violin, viola, and double bass. Old forms of the instrument in the Baroque era are baryton and viol .A person who plays a cello is...

s
2 Contrabass
Contrabass
Contrabass refers to a musical instrument of very low pitch; generally those pitched one octave below instruments of the bass register...

es


Early Romantic Orchestra

Woodwinds:
2 Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets in B-flat, A
2 Bassoons


Brass:
4 Horns in F (sometimes in different keys)
2 Trumpets in F (sometimes in different keys)
3 Trombone
Trombone
The trombone is a musical instrument in the brass family. Like all brass instruments, sound is produced when the player’s vibrating lips cause the air column inside the instrument to vibrate...

s (2 Tenors, 1 Bass)


Percussion:
3 Timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

Snare Drum
Snare drum
The snare drum or side drum is a melodic percussion instrument with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable, or gut cords stretched across the drumhead, typically the bottom. Pipe and tabor and some military snare drums often have a second set of snares on the bottom...

Bass Drum
Bass drum
Bass drums are percussion instruments that can vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished. The type usually seen or heard in orchestral, ensemble or concert band music is the orchestral, or concert bass drum . It is the largest drum of...

Cymbals
Triangle
Triangle (instrument)
The triangle is an idiophone type of musical instrument in the percussion family. It is a bar of metal, usually steel but sometimes other metals like beryllium copper, bent into a triangle shape. The instrument is usually held by a loop of some form of thread or wire at the top curve...

Tambourine
Tambourine
The tambourine or marine is a musical instrument of the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zils". Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all....

Glockenspiel
Glockenspiel
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...



Strings:
Harp
Harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...


14 Violins I
12 Violins II
10 Violas
8 Violoncellos
6 Double basses


Late Romantic Orchestra

Woodwinds:
Piccolo
3 Flutes
3 Oboes
Cor Anglais/English Horn
Clarinet in E-flat
3 Clarinets in B-flat, A
Bass Clarinet
3 Bassoons
Contrabassoon


Brass:
4-8 Horns in F
3-4 Trumpets in F, C, B-flat
3-4 Trombones (2-3 Tenors, 1 Bass))
1-2 Tubas


Percussion:
4 or more Timpani
Snare drum
Snare drum
The snare drum or side drum is a melodic percussion instrument with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable, or gut cords stretched across the drumhead, typically the bottom. Pipe and tabor and some military snare drums often have a second set of snares on the bottom...

Bass drum
Bass drum
Bass drums are percussion instruments that can vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished. The type usually seen or heard in orchestral, ensemble or concert band music is the orchestral, or concert bass drum . It is the largest drum of...

Cymbals
Tam-tam
Triangle
Triangle
A triangle is one of the basic shapes of geometry: a polygon with three corners or vertices and three sides or edges which are line segments. A triangle with vertices A, B, and C is denoted ....

Tambourine
Tambourine
The tambourine or marine is a musical instrument of the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zils". Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all....

Glockenspiel
Glockenspiel
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

Xylophone
Xylophone
The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets...

Chimes
Tubular bell
Tubular bells are musical instruments in the percussion family. Each bell is a metal tube, 30–38 mm in diameter, tuned by altering its length. Its standard range is from C4-F5, though many professional instruments reach G5 . Tubular bells are often replaced by studio chimes, which are a smaller...



Keyboard
Keyboard instrument
A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

s:
Piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

Celesta
Celesta
The celesta or celeste is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. Its appearance is similar to that of an upright piano or of a large wooden music box . The keys are connected to hammers which strike a graduated set of metal plates suspended over wooden resonators...



Strings:
2 Harps

16 Violins I
16 Violins II
12 Violas
10 Violoncellos
8 Double basses


Modern Orchestra

Woodwinds:
Piccolo
Piccolo
The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family of musical instruments. The piccolo has the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written...

2 Flute
Flute
The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike woodwind instruments with reeds, a flute is an aerophone or reedless wind instrument that produces its sound from the flow of air across an opening...

s
2 Oboe
Oboe
The oboe is a double reed musical instrument of the woodwind family. In English, prior to 1770, the instrument was called "hautbois" , "hoboy", or "French hoboy". The spelling "oboe" was adopted into English ca...

s
Cor Anglais
Cor anglais
The cor anglais , or English horn , is a double-reed woodwind instrument in the oboe family....

/English Horn
2 Clarinets in B-flat, A
Bass Clarinet
Bass clarinet
The bass clarinet is a musical instrument of the clarinet family. Like the more common soprano B clarinet, it is usually pitched in B , but it plays notes an octave below the soprano B clarinet...

 (and/or Clarinet in E-flat)
Saxophone
Saxophone
The saxophone is a conical-bore transposing musical instrument that is a member of the woodwind family. Saxophones are usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece similar to that of the clarinet. The saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in 1846...

2 Bassoons
Contrabassoon
Contrabassoon
The contrabassoon, also known as the double bassoon or double-bassoon, is a larger version of the bassoon, sounding an octave lower...



Brass:
4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in C
3 Trombones (2 Tenors, 1 Bass)
Euphonium
Euphonium
The euphonium is a conical-bore, tenor-voiced brass instrument. It derives its name from the Greek word euphonos, meaning "well-sounding" or "sweet-voiced"...

Tuba
Tuba
The tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched brass instrument. Sound is produced by vibrating or "buzzing" the lips into a large cupped mouthpiece. It is one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid-19th century, when it largely replaced the...



Percussion: (Varies heavily according to composer's needs)
Timpani
Timpani
Timpani, or kettledrums, are musical instruments in the percussion family. A type of drum, they consist of a skin called a head stretched over a large bowl traditionally made of copper. They are played by striking the head with a specialized drum stick called a timpani stick or timpani mallet...

Snare Drum
Snare drum
The snare drum or side drum is a melodic percussion instrument with strands of snares made of curled metal wire, metal cable, plastic cable, or gut cords stretched across the drumhead, typically the bottom. Pipe and tabor and some military snare drums often have a second set of snares on the bottom...

Tenor drum
Tenor drum
A tenor drum is a cylindrical drum that is higher pitched than a bass drum.In a symphony orchestra's percussion section, a tenor drum is a low-pitched drum, similar in size to a field snare, but without snares and played with soft mallets or hard sticks. Under various names, the drum has been used...

Bass Drum
Bass drum
Bass drums are percussion instruments that can vary in size and are used in several musical genres. Three major types of bass drums can be distinguished. The type usually seen or heard in orchestral, ensemble or concert band music is the orchestral, or concert bass drum . It is the largest drum of...

Cymbals
Tam-tam
Triangle
Triangle
A triangle is one of the basic shapes of geometry: a polygon with three corners or vertices and three sides or edges which are line segments. A triangle with vertices A, B, and C is denoted ....

Wood block
Wood block
A woodblock is essentially a small piece of slit drum made from a single piece of wood and used as a percussion instrument. It is struck with a stick, making a characteristically percussive sound....

Tambourine
Tambourine
The tambourine or marine is a musical instrument of the percussion family consisting of a frame, often of wood or plastic, with pairs of small metal jingles, called "zils". Classically the term tambourine denotes an instrument with a drumhead, though some variants may not have a head at all....

Glockenspiel
Glockenspiel
A glockenspiel is a percussion instrument composed of a set of tuned keys arranged in the fashion of the keyboard of a piano. In this way, it is similar to the xylophone; however, the xylophone's bars are made of wood, while the glockenspiel's are metal plates or tubes, and making it a metallophone...

Xylophone
Xylophone
The xylophone is a musical instrument in the percussion family that consists of wooden bars struck by mallets...

Vibraphone
Vibraphone
The vibraphone, sometimes called the vibraharp or simply the vibes, is a musical instrument in the struck idiophone subfamily of the percussion family....

Chimes
Marimba
Marimba
The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. It consists of a set of wooden keys or bars with resonators. The bars are struck with mallets to produce musical tones. The keys are arranged as those of a piano, with the accidentals raised vertically and overlapping the natural keys ...



Keyboards:
Celesta
Celesta
The celesta or celeste is a struck idiophone operated by a keyboard. Its appearance is similar to that of an upright piano or of a large wooden music box . The keys are connected to hammers which strike a graduated set of metal plates suspended over wooden resonators...

Piano
Piano
The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...



Strings:
Harp
Harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

16 Violins I
14 Violins II
12 Violas
10 Violoncellos
8 Double basses

Organization

Among the instrument groups and within each group of instruments, there is a generally accepted hierarchy. Every instrumental group (or section) has a principal who is generally responsible for leading the group and playing orchestral solos. The violins are divided into two groups, first violin and second violin, each with its principal. The principal first violin is called the concertmaster
Concertmaster
The concertmaster/mistress is the spalla or leader, of the first violin section of an orchestra. In the UK, the term commonly used is leader...

 (or "leader" in the UK) and is considered the leader of not only the string section, but of the entire orchestra, subordinate only to the conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

.

The principal trombone is considered the leader of the low brass section, while the principal trumpet is generally considered the leader of the entire brass section. Similarly, the principal oboe is considered the leader of the woodwind section, and is the player to whom all others tune. The horn
Horn (instrument)
The horn is a brass instrument consisting of about of tubing wrapped into a coil with a flared bell. A musician who plays the horn is called a horn player ....

, while technically a brass instrument, often acts in the role of both woodwind and brass. Most sections also have an assistant principal (or co-principal or associate principal), or in the case of the first violins, an assistant concertmaster, who often plays a tutti
Tutti
Tutti is an Italian word literally meaning all or together and is used as a musical term, for the whole orchestra as opposed to the soloist...

 part in addition to replacing the principal in his or her absence.

A section string player plays unison
Unison
In music, the word unison can be applied in more than one way. In general terms, it may refer to two notes sounding the same pitch, often but not always at the same time; or to the same musical voice being sounded by several voices or instruments together, either at the same pitch or at a distance...

 with the rest of the section, except in the case of divided (divisi) parts, where upper and lower parts in the music are often assigned to "outside" (nearer the audience) and "inside" seated players. Where a solo part is called for in a string section, the section leader invariably plays that part. Tutti wind and brass players generally play a unique but non-solo part. Section percussionists play parts assigned to them by the principal percussionist.

In modern times, the musicians are usually directed by a conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

, although early orchestras did not have one, giving this role instead to the concertmaster
Concertmaster
The concertmaster/mistress is the spalla or leader, of the first violin section of an orchestra. In the UK, the term commonly used is leader...

 or the harpsichord
Harpsichord
A harpsichord is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It produces sound by plucking a string when a key is pressed.In the narrow sense, "harpsichord" designates only the large wing-shaped instruments in which the strings are perpendicular to the keyboard...

ist playing the continuo. Some modern orchestras also do without conductors
Conductorless orchestra
The conductorless orchestra, sometimes referred to as a self-conducted orchestra or unconducted orchestra, is an instrumental ensemble that functions as an orchestra but is not led or directed by a conductor. Most conductorless orchestras are smaller in size, and generally perform chamber orchestra...

, particularly smaller orchestras and those specializing in historically accurate (so-called "period") performances of baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

 and earlier music.

The most frequently performed repertoire for a symphony
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

 orchestra is Western classical music or opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

. However, orchestras are used sometimes in popular music
Popular music
Popular music belongs to any of a number of musical genres "having wide appeal" and is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. It stands in contrast to both art music and traditional music, which are typically disseminated academically or orally to smaller, local...

, extensively in film music, and more and more often in video game music. The term "orchestra" can also be applied to a jazz ensemble, for example in performance of big band
Big band
A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with jazz and the Swing Era typically consisting of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments totaling approximately twelve to twenty-five musicians...

 music.

Early history

The modern orchestra has its historical roots in Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. The first orchestras were made up of small groups of musicians that gathered for festivals, holidays or funerals. During the time of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, the government suppressed the musicians and informal ensembles
Musical ensemble
A musical ensemble is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles...

 were banned, but they reappeared after the collapse of the Empire. It was not until the 11th century that families of instruments started to appear with differences in tones and octaves. True modern orchestras started in the late 16th century when composers started writing music for instrumental groups. In the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy the households of nobles had musicians to provide music for dancing and the court
Court
A court is a form of tribunal, often a governmental institution, with the authority to adjudicate legal disputes between parties and carry out the administration of justice in civil, criminal, and administrative matters in accordance with the rule of law...

, however with the emergence of the theatre, particularly opera, in the early 17th century, music was increasingly written for groups of players in combination, which is the origin of orchestral playing. Opera originated in Italy, and Germany eagerly followed. Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

, Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 and Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 successively built opera houses. At the end of the 17th century opera flourished in England under Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell
Henry Purcell – 21 November 1695), was an English organist and Baroque composer of secular and sacred music. Although Purcell incorporated Italian and French stylistic elements into his compositions, his legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music...

, and in France under Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

, who with the collaboration of Molière
Molière
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, known by his stage name Molière, was a French playwright and actor who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature...

 also greatly raised the status of the entertainments known as ballet
Ballet
Ballet is a type of performance dance, that originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th century, and which was further developed in France and Russia as a concert dance form. The early portions preceded the invention of the proscenium stage and were presented in large chambers with...

s, interspersed with instrumental and vocal music....

In the 17th century and early 18th century, instrumental groups were taken from all of the available talent. A composer such as Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach
Johann Sebastian Bach was a German composer, organist, harpsichordist, violist, and violinist whose sacred and secular works for choir, orchestra, and solo instruments drew together the strands of the Baroque period and brought it to its ultimate maturity...

 had control over almost all of the musical resources of a town, whereas Handel
HANDEL
HANDEL was the code-name for the UK's National Attack Warning System in the Cold War. It consisted of a small console consisting of two microphones, lights and gauges. The reason behind this was to provide a back-up if anything failed....

 would hire the best musicians available. This placed a premium on being able to rewrite music for whichever singers or musicians were best suited for a performance—Handel produced different versions of the Messiah
Messiah (Handel)
Messiah is an English-language oratorio composed in 1741 by George Frideric Handel, with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. It was first performed in Dublin on 13 April 1742, and received its London premiere nearly a year later...

oratorio almost every year.

As nobility began to build retreats away from towns, they began to hire musicians to form permanent ensembles. Composers such as the young Joseph Haydn
Joseph Haydn
Franz Joseph Haydn , known as Joseph Haydn , was an Austrian composer, one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the Classical period. He is often called the "Father of the Symphony" and "Father of the String Quartet" because of his important contributions to these forms...

 would then have a fixed body of instrumentalists to work with. At the same time, travelling virtuoso performers such as the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 would write concerti that showed off their skills, and they would travel from town to town, arranging concerts along the way. The aristocratic orchestras worked together over long periods, making it possible for ensemble playing to improve with practice.

Mannheim School

This change, from civic music making where the composer had some degree of time or control, to smaller court music making and one-off performance, placed a premium on music that was easy to learn, often with little or no rehearsal. The results were changes in musical style and emphasis on new techniques. Mannheim
Mannheim
Mannheim is a city in southwestern Germany. With about 315,000 inhabitants, Mannheim is the second-largest city in the Bundesland of Baden-Württemberg, following the capital city of Stuttgart....

 had one of the most famous orchestras of that time, where notated dynamics and phrasing, previously quite rare, became standard (see Mannheim school
Mannheim school
Mannheim school refers to both the orchestral techniques pioneered by the court orchestra of Mannheim in the latter half of the 18th century as well as the group of composers who wrote such music for the orchestra of Mannheim and others.-History:...

). It also attended a change in musical style from the complex counterpoint
Counterpoint
In music, counterpoint is the relationship between two or more voices that are independent in contour and rhythm and are harmonically interdependent . It has been most commonly identified in classical music, developing strongly during the Renaissance and in much of the common practice period,...

 of the baroque
Baroque
The Baroque is a period and the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music...

 period, to an emphasis on clear melody
Melody
A melody , also tune, voice, or line, is a linear succession of musical tones which is perceived as a single entity...

, homophonic textures, short phrases, and frequent cadences: a style that would later be defined as classical.

Throughout the late 18th century composers would continue to have to assemble musicians for a performance, often called an "Academy", which would, naturally, feature their own compositions. In 1781, however, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is one of the the oldest symphony orchestras in the world...

 was organized from the merchants concert society, and it began a trend towards the formation of civic orchestras that would accelerate into the 19th century. In 1815, Boston's Handel and Haydn Society
Handel and Haydn Society
The Handel and Haydn Society is an American chorus and period instrument orchestra based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1815, it remains one of the oldest performing arts organizations in the United States.-Early history:...

 was founded, in 1842 the New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

 and the Vienna Philharmonic were formed, and in 1858, the Hallé Orchestra
The Hallé
The Hallé is a symphony orchestra based in Manchester, England. It is the UK's oldest extant symphony orchestra , supports a choir, youth choir and a youth orchestra, and releases its recordings on its own record label, though it has occasionally released recordings on Angel Records and EMI...

 was formed in Manchester. There had long been standing bodies of musicians around operas, but not for concert music: this situation changed in the early 19th century as part of the increasing emphasis in the composition of symphonies
Symphony
A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, scored almost always for orchestra. A symphony usually contains at least one movement or episode composed according to the sonata principle...

 and other purely instrumental forms. This was encouraged by composer critics such as E. T. A. Hoffmann who declared that instrumental music was the "purest form" of music. The creation of standing orchestras also resulted in a professional framework where musicians could rehearse and perform the same works repeatedly, leading to the concept of a repertoire in instrumental music.

Performance standards

In the 1830s, conductor François Antoine Habeneck
François Antoine Habeneck
François Antoine Habeneck was a French violinist and conductor.- Early life :Habeneck was born at Mézières, the son of a musician in a French regimental band. During his early youth, Habeneck was taught by his father, and at the age of ten played concertos in public...

, began rehearsing a selected group of musicians in order to perform the symphonies of Beethoven, which had not been heard of in their entirety in Paris. He developed techniques of rehearsing the strings separately, notating specifics of performance, and other techniques of cuing entrances that were spread across Europe. His rival and friend Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

 would adopt many of these innovations in his touring of Europe.

Instrumental craftsmanship

The invention of the piston and rotary valve by Heinrich Stölzel
Heinrich Stölzel
Heinrich David Stölzel was a German horn player who developed some of the first valves for brass instruments. He developed the first valve for a brass instrument, the Stölzel valve, in 1814, and went on to develop various other designs, some jointly with other inventor musicians...

 and Friedrich Blühmel, both Silesians
Silesians
Silesians , are the inhabitants of Silesia in Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. A small diaspora community also exists in Karnes County, Texas in the USA....

, in 1815, was the first in a series of innovations, including the development of modern keywork for the flute by Theobald Boehm
Theobald Boehm
Theobald Böhm was a German inventor and musician, who perfected the modern Western concert flute and its improved fingering system...

 and the innovations of Adolphe Sax
Adolphe Sax
Antoine-Joseph "Adolphe" Sax was a Belgian musical instrument designer and musician who played the flute and clarinet, and is best known for having invented the saxophone.-Biography:...

 in the woodwinds. These advances would lead Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

 to write a landmark book on instrumentation
Instrumentation (music)
In music, instrumentation refers to the particular combination of musical instruments employed in a composition, and to the properties of those instruments individually...

, which was the first systematic treatise on the use of instrumental sound as an expressive element of music.

The effect of the invention of valves for the brass was felt almost immediately: instrument-makers throughout Europe strove together to foster the use of these newly refined instruments and continuing their perfection; and the orchestra was before long enriched by a new family of valved instruments, variously known as tuba
Tuba
The tuba is the largest and lowest-pitched brass instrument. Sound is produced by vibrating or "buzzing" the lips into a large cupped mouthpiece. It is one of the most recent additions to the modern symphony orchestra, first appearing in the mid-19th century, when it largely replaced the...

s, or euphonium
Euphonium
The euphonium is a conical-bore, tenor-voiced brass instrument. It derives its name from the Greek word euphonos, meaning "well-sounding" or "sweet-voiced"...

s and bombardons, having a chromatic scale and a full sonorous tone of great beauty and immense volume, forming a magnificent bass. This also made possible a more uniform playing of notes or intonation
Intonation (music)
Intonation, in music, is a musician's realization of pitch accuracy, or the pitch accuracy of a musical instrument. Intonation may be flat, sharp, or both, successively or simultaneously.-Interval, melody, and harmony:...

, which would lead to a more and more "smooth" orchestral sound that would peak in the 1950s with Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist.-Early life:Born Jenő Blau in Budapest, Hungary, Ormandy began studying violin at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music at the age of five...

 and the Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was founded in 1900...

 and the conducting of Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan
Herbert von Karajan was an Austrian orchestra and opera conductor. To the wider world he was perhaps most famously associated with the Berlin Philharmonic, of which he was principal conductor for 35 years...

 with the Berlin Philharmonic.

During this transition period, which gradually eased the performance of more demanding "natural" brass writing, many composers (notably Wagner and Berlioz) still notated brass parts for the older "natural" instruments. This practice made it possible for players still using natural horns, for instance, to perform from the same parts as those now playing valved instruments. However, over time, use of the valved instruments became standard, indeed universal, until the revival of older instruments in the contemporary movement towards authentic performance (sometimes known as "historically informed performance").

At the time of the invention of the valved brass, the pit orchestra
Pit orchestra
A pit orchestra is a type of orchestra that accompanies performers in musicals, operas, and other shows involving music. In performances of operas and ballets, the pit orchestra is typically similar in size to a symphony orchestra, though it may contain smaller string and brass sections, depending...

 of most operetta composers seems to have been modest. An example is Sullivan
Arthur Sullivan
Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan MVO was an English composer of Irish and Italian ancestry. He is best known for his series of 14 operatic collaborations with the dramatist W. S. Gilbert, including such enduring works as H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado...

's use of two flutes, one oboe, two clarinets, one bassoon, two horns, two cornets (a piston), two trombones, drums and strings.

During this time of invention, winds and brass were expanded, and had an increasingly easy time playing in tune with each other: particularly the ability for composers to score for large masses of wind and brass that previously had been impractical. Works such as the Requiem
Requiem (Berlioz)
The Grande Messe des morts, Op. 5 by Hector Berlioz was composed in 1837. The Grande Messe des Morts is one of Berlioz's best-known works, with a tremendous orchestration of woodwind and brass instruments, including four antiphonal offstage brass ensembles placed at the corners of the concert stage...

 of Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz
Hector Berlioz was a French Romantic composer, best known for his compositions Symphonie fantastique and Grande messe des morts . Berlioz made significant contributions to the modern orchestra with his Treatise on Instrumentation. He specified huge orchestral forces for some of his works; as a...

 would have been impossible to perform just a few decades earlier, with its demanding writing for twenty woodwinds, as well as four gigantic brass ensembles each including around four trumpets, four trombones, and two tubas.

Wagner's influence

The next major expansion of symphonic practice came from Richard Wagner
Richard Wagner
Wilhelm Richard Wagner was a German composer, conductor, theatre director, philosopher, music theorist, poet, essayist and writer primarily known for his operas...

's Bayreuth
Bayreuth Festspielhaus
The or Bayreuth Festival Theatre is an opera house north of Bayreuth, Germany, dedicated solely to the performance of operas by the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner...

 orchestra, founded to accompany his musical dramas. Wagner's works for the stage were scored with unprecedented scope and complexity: indeed, his score to Das Rheingold
Das Rheingold
is the first of the four operas that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen . It was originally written as an introduction to the tripartite Ring, but the cycle is now generally regarded as consisting of four individual operas.Das Rheingold received its premiere at the National Theatre...

 calls for six harp
Harp
The harp is a multi-stringed instrument which has the plane of its strings positioned perpendicularly to the soundboard. Organologically, it is in the general category of chordophones and has its own sub category . All harps have a neck, resonator and strings...

s. Thus, Wagner envisioned an ever-more-demanding role for the conductor of the theater orchestra, as he elaborated in his influential work "On Conducting". This brought about a revolution in orchestral composition
Musical composition
Musical composition can refer to an original piece of music, the structure of a musical piece, or the process of creating a new piece of music. People who practice composition are called composers.- Musical compositions :...

, and set the style for orchestral performance for the next eighty years. Wagner's theories re-examined the importance of tempo
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

, dynamics
Dynamics (music)
In music, dynamics normally refers to the volume of a sound or note, but can also refer to every aspect of the execution of a given piece, either stylistic or functional . The term is also applied to the written or printed musical notation used to indicate dynamics...

, bowing of string instruments and the role of principals in the orchestra. Conductors who studied his methods would go on to be influential themselves.

20th century orchestra

As the early 20th century dawned, symphony orchestras were larger, better funded, and better trained than ever before; consequently, composers could compose larger and more ambitious works. The influence of Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

 was particularly innovational; his later symphonies, such as the mammoth Symphony No. 8
Symphony No. 8 (Mahler)
The Symphony No. 8 in E-flat major by Gustav Mahler is one of the largest-scale choral works in the classical concert repertoire. Because it requires huge instrumental and vocal forces it is frequently called the "Symphony of a Thousand", although the work is often performed with fewer than a...

, Mahler pushes the furthest boundaries of orchestral size, employing huge forces. By the peak years of Shostakovich
Dmitri Shostakovich
Dmitri Dmitriyevich Shostakovich was a Soviet Russian composer and one of the most celebrated composers of the 20th century....

, orchestras could support the most enormous forms of symphonic expression. With the recording era beginning, the standard of performance reached a pinnacle. In recordings, small errors in a performance could be "fixed", but many older conductors and composers could remember a time when simply "getting through" the music as best as possible was the standard. Combined with the wider audience made possible by recording, this led to a renewed focus on particular conductors and on a high standard of orchestral execution. As sound was added to silent film, the virtuoso orchestra became a key component of the establishment of motion pictures as mass-market entertainment.

Counter-revolution

In the 1920s and 1930s, economic as well as artistic considerations led to the formation of smaller concert societies, particularly those dedicated to the performance of music of the avant-garde, including Igor Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

 and Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg was an Austrian composer, associated with the expressionist movement in German poetry and art, and leader of the Second Viennese School...

. This tendency to start festival orchestras or dedicated groups would also be pursued in the creation of summer musical festivals, and orchestras for the performance of smaller works. Among the most influential of these was the Academy of St Martin in the Fields under the baton of Sir Neville Marriner
Neville Marriner
Sir Neville Marriner is an English conductor and violinist.-Biography:Marriner was born in Lincoln and studied at the Royal College of Music and the Paris Conservatoire. He played the violin in the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Martin String Quartet and London Symphony Orchestra, playing with the...

.

With the advent of the early music movement, smaller orchestras where players worked on execution of works in styles derived from the study of older treatises on playing became common. These include the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is a British period instrument orchestra. The OAE is a resident orchestra of the Southbank Centre, London, associate orchestra at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and has its headquarters at Kings Place...

, the London Classical Players
London Classical Players
The London Classical Players was a British orchestra that specialized in music following historically informed performance practices and orchestral performances on period musical instruments. Sir Roger Norrington founded the LCP in 1978. From 1978 to 1992, the concertmaster of the London...

 under the direction of Sir Roger Norrington
Roger Norrington
Sir Roger Arthur Carver Norrington, CBE is a British conductor. He is the son of Sir Arthur Norrington and his brother is Humphrey Thomas Norrington....

 and the Academy of Ancient Music
Academy of Ancient Music
The Academy of Ancient Music is a period-instrument orchestra based in Cambridge, England. Founded by harpsichordist Christopher Hogwood in 1973, it was named after a previous organisation of the same name of the 18th century. The musicians play on either original instruments or modern copies of...

 under Christopher Hogwood
Christopher Hogwood
Christopher Jarvis Haley Hogwood CBE, MA , HonMusD , born 10 September 1941, Nottingham, is an English conductor, harpsichordist, writer and musicologist, well known as the founder of the Academy of Ancient Music.-Biography:...

, among others.

Recent trends in the United States

In the United States, the late 20th century saw a crisis of funding and support for orchestras. The size and cost of a symphony orchestra, compared to the size of the base of supporters, became an issue that struck at the core of the institution. Few orchestras could fill auditoriums, and the time-honored season-subscription system became increasingly anachronistic, as more and more listeners would buy tickets on an ad hoc basis for individual events. Orchestral endowments and - more centrally to the daily operation of American orchestras - orchestral donors have seen investment portfolios shrink or produce lower yields, reducing the ability of donors to contribute; further, there has been a trend toward donors finding other social causes more compelling. Also, while government funding is less central to American than European orchestras, cuts in such funding are still significant for American ensembles. Finally, the drastic falling-off of revenues from recording, tied to no small extent to changes in the recording industry itself, began a period of change that has yet to reach its conclusion.

U.S. orchestras that have gone into Chapter 11 bankruptcy includes the Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was founded in 1900...

 (in April, 2011), and the Louisville Orchestra
Louisville Orchestra
The Louisville Orchestra is the primary orchestra in Louisville, Kentucky and has been called the cornerstone of the Louisville arts scene. It was founded in 1937 by Robert Whitney and Charles Farnsley, Mayor of Louisville...

, in December, 2010; orchestras that have gone into Chapter 7 bankruptcy and have ceased operations include the Northwest Chamber Orchestra in 2006, the Honolulu Orchestra in March 2011, the New Mexico Symphony in April 2011, and the Syracuse Symphony in June, 2011. The Festival of Orchestras in Orlando, Florida ceased operations at the end of March, 2011.

Critics such as Norman Lebrecht
Norman Lebrecht
Norman Lebrecht is a British commentator on music and cultural affairs and a novelist. He was a columnist for The Daily Telegraph from 1994 until 2002 and assistant editor of the Evening Standard from 2002 until 2009...

 were vocal in their diagnosis of the problem as the "jet set conductor" (whose salaries were presumably bleeding the orchestras dry); and several high-profile conductors have taken pay cuts in recent years; but the amounts of revenue involved are too small to account for the crisis. Music administrators such as Michael Tilson Thomas
Michael Tilson Thomas
Michael Tilson Thomas is an American conductor, pianist and composer. He is currently music director of the San Francisco Symphony, and artistic director of the New World Symphony Orchestra.-Early years:...

 and Esa-Pekka Salonen
Esa-Pekka Salonen
Esa-Pekka Salonen is a Finnish orchestral conductor and composer. He is currently Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London and Conductor Laureate of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.-Early career:...

 argued that new music, new means of presenting it, and a renewed relationship with the community could revitalize the symphony orchestra. The influential critic Greg Sandow
Greg Sandow
Greg Sandow is an American music critic and composer. He is a graduate of Harvard University, with a bachelor's degree in government, and of Yale University, with a master's degree in composition....

 has argued in detail that orchestras must revise their approach to music, performance, the concert experience, marketing, public relations, community involvement, and presentation to bring them in line with the expectations of 21st century audiences immersed in popular culture.

It is not uncommon for contemporary composers to use unconventional instruments, including various synthesizers, to achieve desired effects. Many, however, find more conventional orchestral configuration to provide better possibilities for color and depth. Composers like John Adams often employ Romantic-size orchestras, as in Adams' opera Nixon in China
Nixon in China (opera)
Nixon in China is an opera in three acts by John Adams, with a libretto by Alice Goodman. Adams' first opera, it was inspired by the 1972 visit to China by US President Richard Nixon. The work premiered at the Houston Grand Opera on October 22, 1987, in a production by Peter Sellars with...

; Philip Glass
Philip Glass
Philip Glass is an American composer. He is considered to be one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century and is widely acknowledged as a composer who has brought art music to the public .His music is often described as minimalist, along with...

 and others may be more free, yet still identify size-boundaries. Glass in particular has recently turned to conventional orchestras in works like the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra and the Violin Concerto No. 2
Violin Concerto No. 2 (Glass)
Philip Glass' Violin Concerto No. 2, titled The American Four Seasons, received its world premiere in Toronto on December 9, 2009, with violinist Robert McDuffie, for whom the work was composed, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under conductor Peter Oundjian...

.

Conductorless orchestras

The post-revolutionary symphony orchestra Persimfans
Persimfans
Persimfans was a conductorless orchestra in Moscow in the Soviet Union that existed between 1922 and 1932.The name "Persimfans" is an abbreviation for Pervïy Simfonicheskiy Ansambl' bez Dirizhyora . It was founded by Lev Tseitlin.-References:*...

 was formed in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1922. The unusual aspect of the orchestra was that, believing that in the ideal Marxist
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 state all people are equal, its members felt that there was no need to be led by the dictatorial baton of a conductor
Conducting
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble...

; instead they were led by a committee
Committee
A committee is a type of small deliberative assembly that is usually intended to remain subordinate to another, larger deliberative assembly—which when organized so that action on committee requires a vote by all its entitled members, is called the "Committee of the Whole"...

. Although it was a partial success, the principal difficulty with the concept was in changing tempo
Tempo
In musical terminology, tempo is the speed or pace of a given piece. Tempo is a crucial element of any musical composition, as it can affect the mood and difficulty of a piece.-Measuring tempo:...

. The orchestra survived for ten years before Stalin's
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 cultural politics effectively forced it into disbandment by draining away its funding.

Some ensembles, such as the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is a Grammy Award-winning classical music chamber orchestra based in New York City. It is known for its collaborative leadership style in which the musicians, not a conductor, interpret the score....

, based in New York City, have had more success, although decisions are likely to be deferred to some sense of leadership within the ensemble (for example, the principal wind and string players).

Others have returned to the tradition of a principal player, usually a violinist, being the artistic director and running rehearsals (such as the Australian Chamber Orchestra
Australian Chamber Orchestra
The Australian Chamber Orchestra was founded by cellist John Painter in 1975. Richard Tognetti was appointed Lead Violin in 1989 and subsequently appointed Artistic Director....

 and the New Century Chamber Orchestra
New Century Chamber Orchestra
The New Century Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1992 by cellist, Miriam Perkoff, and violist, Wieslaw Pogorzelski. The goal of the founders was to present classical music in a fresh and unique way in the San Francisco Bay Area. The music director chooses the programs and guides the artistic...

).

Multiple conductors

The techniques of polystylism
Polystylism
Polystylism is the use of multiple styles or techniques in literature, art, film, or, especially, music, and is a postmodern characteristic.Some prominent contemporary polystylist composers include Peter Maxwell Davies, Michael Colgrass, Lera Auerbach, Sofia Gubaidulina, George Rochberg, Alfred...

 and polytempo music have recently led a few composers to write music where multiple orchestras perform simultaneously. These trends have brought about the phenomenon of polyconductor music, wherein separate sub-conductors conduct each group of musicians. Usually, one principal conductor conducts the sub-conductors, thereby shaping the overall performance. Some pieces are enormously complex in this regard, such as Evgeni Kostitsyn's Third Symphony, which calls for nine conductors.

Charles Ives
Charles Ives
Charles Edward Ives was an American modernist composer. He is one of the first American composers of international renown, though Ives' music was largely ignored during his life, and many of his works went unperformed for many years. Over time, Ives came to be regarded as an "American Original"...

 often used two conductors, one for example to simulate a marching band coming through his piece. Realizations for Symphonic Band includes one example from Ives.

One of the best examples in the late century orchestral music is Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen
Karlheinz Stockhausen was a German composer, widely acknowledged by critics as one of the most important but also controversial composers of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Another critic calls him "one of the great visionaries of 20th-century music"...

's Gruppen
Gruppen (Stockhausen)
Gruppen for three orchestras is amongst the best-known compositions of German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, and is Work Number 6 in the composer's catalog of works. Gruppen is "a landmark in 20th-century music . ....

, for three orchestras placed around the audience. This way, the sound masses could be spacialized, as in an electroacoustic work. Gruppen was premiered in Cologne, in 1958, conducted by Stockhausen, Bruno Maderna
Bruno Maderna
Bruno Maderna was an Italian conductor and composer. For the last ten years of his life he lived in Germany and eventually became a citizen of that country.-Biography:...

 and Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez is a French composer of contemporary classical music, a pianist, and a conductor.-Early years:Boulez was born in Montbrison, Loire, France. As a child he began piano lessons and demonstrated aptitude in both music and mathematics...

. Recently, it was performed by Simon Rattle
Simon Rattle
Sir Simon Denis Rattle, CBE is an English conductor. He rose to international prominence as conductor of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and since 2002 has been principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic ....

, John Carewe and Daniel Harding
Daniel Harding
Daniel Harding is a British conductor.Harding studied trumpet at Chetham's School of Music and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra at age 13. At age 17, Harding assembled a group of musicians to perform Pierrot Lunaire of Arnold Schoenberg, and sent a tape of the performance to Simon...

.

Other meanings of orchestra

In Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, the orchestra was the space between the auditorium
Auditorium
An auditorium is a room built to enable an audience to hear and watch performances at venues such as theatres. For movie theaters, the number of auditoriums is expressed as the number of screens.- Etymology :...

 and the proscenium
Proscenium
A proscenium theatre is a theatre space whose primary feature is a large frame or arch , which is located at or near the front of the stage...

 (or stage
Stage (theatre)
In theatre or performance arts, the stage is a designated space for the performance productions. The stage serves as a space for actors or performers and a focal point for the members of the audience...

), in which were stationed the chorus
Greek chorus
A Greek chorus is a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action....

 and the instrumentalist
Musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

s. The word orchestra literally means "a dancing place".

In some theaters, the orchestra is the area of seats directly in front of the stage (called primafila or platea); the term more properly applies to the place in a theatre, or concert hall reserved for the musicians.

See also

  • Classical music
    Classical music
    Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

  • List of symphony orchestra concert halls
  • List of symphony orchestras
  • List of youth orchestras in the United States
  • Orchestral enhancement
    Orchestral enhancement
    Orchestral enhancement is the technique of using orchestration techniques, architectural modifications, or electronic technologies to modify the sound, complexity, or color of a musical theatre, ballet or opera pit orchestra...

  • Orchestration
    Orchestration
    Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting for orchestra music composed for another medium...

  • Radio orchestra
    Radio orchestra
    A radio orchestra is an orchestra employed by a radio network in order to provide programming as well as sometimes perform incidental or theme music for various shows on the network. In the heyday of radio such orchestras were numerous, performing classical, popular, light music and jazz...

  • Shorthand for orchestra instrumentation
    Shorthand for orchestra instrumentation
    The shorthand for the orchestration of a classical symphony orchestra is used to outline which and how many instruments, especially wind instruments, are called for in a given piece of music...

  • Conductorless orchestra
    Conductorless orchestra
    The conductorless orchestra, sometimes referred to as a self-conducted orchestra or unconducted orchestra, is an instrumental ensemble that functions as an orchestra but is not led or directed by a conductor. Most conductorless orchestras are smaller in size, and generally perform chamber orchestra...

  • String orchestra
    String orchestra
    A string orchestra is an orchestra composed solely or primarily of instruments from the string family. These instruments are the violin, the viola, the cello, the double bass , the piano, the harp, and sometimes percussion...

  • Jazz ensemble
  • Rhythm section
    Rhythm section
    A rhythm section is a collection of musicians who make up a section of instruments which provides the accompaniment section of the music, giving the music its rhythmic texture and pulse, also serving as a rhythmic reference for the rest of the band...


External links

  • The Orchestra: A User's Manual - A fairly concise overview, including detailed video interviews with players of each instrument and various resources
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK