|Instruments of the Orchestra|
|An orchestra can be divided into four groups: |
1) the strings – violin, viola, cello and double bass;
2) the woodwind – flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon;
3) the brass – horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba;
4) the percussion – timpani, drums, cymbals and others.
In addition there are also keyboard instruments such piano, harpsichord and celesta. The harp is also included in an orchestra and is classified as a plucked string instrument.
|There appeared several different sizes of bowed string instruments with the name viol in 16th century Europe. In the 17th century they had already developed into the present day violin, viola, cello and double bass. There are various kinds of bowing techniques; the player can also pluck the strings with his right or even left hand fingers (pizzicato). The strings can produce from very soft to very loud dynamics and are the most important group in an orchestra.|
The woodwind section is divided into flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon plus their auxiliary instruments. Their role and ranges are very similar to that of the 1st violin, 2nd violin, viola and cello respectively. They are, therefore, mostly used to enrich the colour of the strings. The strings and woodwinds may play together with flute doubling 1st violin, oboe doubling 2nd violin, etc. They may also play in a question and answer manner or more complicated arrangements. All the woodwind instruments were originally made of wood as the name suggests. However, the flute began to adopt a metal body since the 19th century.
|A long time ago various forms of horn-like instruments existed. Some of them were actually conch or animal's horn, others were made of metal or even wood. There then came several established brass instruments in 15th century Europe which developed into the present day instruments.|
Percussion instruments are perhaps the oldest instruments in the history of man. It is believed that before man invented string or wind instruments, the primitive people had already played rhythms with stones and wood. The percussion section can be divided into instruments of definite pitch (that can be tuned or made into particular pitches usually in scalic order) and instruments of indefinite pitch (that cannot be tuned into required pitches).