Types Of Musical Instruments

When visitors enter a concert hall to hear a symphonic orchestra, they will see a orchestrated seating arrangement stretched out across the stage before them. Many might wonder about the musical instruments that will be used during the performance because there are no signs posted to identify the types of musical instruments and the specific placement of them. Some instruments will be on the stage, such as the piano, and kettle drums and others will be brought to the stage by the musician that is trained to play it.

The number of musical instruments that will make up a symphonic orchestra will total more than 100. The types of musical instrument are numerous and each instrument style will be placed in a specific category. A complete orchestra will contain stringed instruments, woodwinds, instruments made of brass, percussion instruments, and toward the front of the orchestra, a harp can be seen sitting in a stand waiting to be raised and played by a talented musician. Some musical instrument types will fit into odd musical instrument categories.

The musical instruments that will always be placed in the strings category are the violin, violas, cellos, and double basses. The violin and violas are held in the hand when played and the cellos and double basses must be played in a standing position and will be equipped with pins that extend from the bottom and give the musician traction with the flooring during the symphonic performance.

The cellos and double basses will be the musical instruments that the audience can view before the performance starts because these musical instruments are bulky and take time to set up before the performance starts. The musician will carry all other string musical instruments into the concert hall, and the musician will check the tuning of each stringed instrument briefly when they take their seat. All tuning will be done before the concert performance begins and at intervals throughout the night.

The musical instruments that comprise the woodwind instruments section are the clarinet, flute, piccolo, oboe, and bassoon. There are generally four musical instruments of each type in a symphonic orchestra with the exception of the piccolo, which remains the responsibility of one orchestra member. The types of clarinets will range from the deep notes emitted from the contra bass clarinet to the high notes which come from the E-flat clarinet. All of these musical instruments are tubular shaped and some will require placement on the floor when it is played.

The brass section of a symphonic orchestra is easy to see because this type of musical instrument is shiny and easily seen from great distances. The types of musical instruments in the brass section will be French horns, trumpets, trombones, and tuba. Some concert goers might think that the saxophone belongs to this category, but in fact, it is considered to be a woodwind instrument because the mouthpiece requires air to be blown into it to emit a musical sound.

The final types of musical instruments placed in the percussion instruments category of a symphonic orchestra are the timpani, snare drum, bass drum, triangle, cymbals, chimes, xylophone, celesta, tam-tam, and the triangle. These are the loudest instruments in an orchestra and are generally positioned behind all other orchestra members because of the noise levels that each instrument can produce.

By: Jim Brown

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