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Instruments of the Orchestra

Every orchestra is different, but here are some instruments you’re likely to see:

String family

Violin
Viola [vee-OH-lah]
Cello (violoncello) [CHEL-low]
Bass (double bass, contra bass) [rhymes
with “face’]

Woodwind family

Flute, Piccolo
Oboe, English horn
Clarinet, Bass clarinet
Bassoon, Contrabassoon
Saxophones

Brass family

Trumpet
Horn (French horn)
Trombone
Tuba

Keyboards and Harp

Celesta [cheh-LESS-tah]
Piano
Harpsichord
Organ
Synthesizer
Harp

Percussion family

Timpani (kettledrums) [TIM-pa-nee]
Snare drum
Bass drum
Cymbals
Tambourine
Triangle
Xylophone
Glockenspiel
Chimes
Marimba
Vibraphone (vibes)
plus other things to hit, scrape, and shake

Voice Types

Soprano     high female voice
Mezzo-soprano     medium female voice
Alto (contralto)     low female voice
Countertenor     very high male voice
Tenor     high male voice
Baritone     medium male voice
Bass     low male voice


 
Introduction to Classical Music
  Introduction
  Music Categories
  Musical Instruments
  History of Classical Music
  Discover the Classics
     Vol. 1 | Vol. 2 | Vol. 3 | Vol. 4

Glossary of Musical Terms

A-Z of Opera
  Introduction
  Synopses of Opera
  Index of Operas by Composer
  Opera Libretti

How To Enjoy A Live Concert
  A Note from the Author
  Introduction
  The Listener's Job Description
  Part 1: Before the Concert
  Choosing a Concert 
Kinds of Concerts 
Styles of Presentation: Formal, Informal, and Beyond 
Buying a Ticket
Sections of the Theater 
Getting Ready 
Getting There 
  Part 2: At the Concert
  "Concert Manners" 
The Concert Ritual 
Reading the Program 
Instruments of the Orchestra 
Ways to Listen 
Meeting the Performers 
Essential Life Support 
  A Brief Glossary

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