An orchestra is a group of musicians who play many different
instruments. These can include violins, flutes, bassoon, piano, and much more.
The term, orchestra, is named after the area in front of an ancient Greek stage
reserved for the Greek chorus.
If an orchestra is smaller, of around 40 musicians, it is called a
chamber orchestra. Big orchestras with over 80 musicians are
called symphony orchestras or philharmonic
orchestras. The number of musicians playing in a certain piece will vary
based on the work and the size of the
Orchestra sample: Brahms - Academic Festival Overture
A keyboard instrument is any musical instrument played using a
musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other keyboard
instruments include organs as well as other harpsichords, clavicords, electric
keyboards, and more.
Some of the oldest keyboard instruments are the pipe organ, the clavichord,
and the harpsichord. The organ is the oldest of these. It was invented in the
3rd century BC. From its invention until the 14th century, the organ remained
the only keyboard instrument. Often, the organ didn't feature a keyboard at
all. Instead, it had buttons or large levers which were operated by a whole
The clavichord and the harpsichord were invented during the 14th century.
During their development, a B-flat key was added to the keyboard and the other
semitones were added later. The harpsichord and the clavichord were both very
common until the widespread adoption of the piano in the 18th century, after
which their popularity decreased. The piano was revolutionary because a
pianist could vary the volume (or dynamics) of the sound by varying the vigor
with which each key was struck.
The guitar is a musical instrument that has been around for a long time and has
been used in a wide variety of musical styles. It typically has six strings, but
four, seven, eight, ten, and twelve string guitars also exist.
Guitars are often thought of as the primary instrument in blues, country,
flamenco, rock music, and many forms of pop. They can also be used alone.
Guitars may be played acoustically, which means that the tone is produced by
vibration of the strings and affected by the hollow body. They may also rely on
an amplifier that can electronically affect tone. Such electric guitars were
introduced in the 20th century and continue to have a big influence on popular
Traditionally guitars have usually been constructed of combinations of various
woods and strung with animal gut, or more recently, with either nylon or steel
The violin is a bowed string instrument with four strings
tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest and highest-pitched member of
the violin family of string instruments, which also includes the viola and
A violin is sometimes called a fiddle, regardless of the type of music
played on it. The word "violin" is from the Romance languages from the
Middle Latin word vitula, meaning "stringed instrument";
this word is also believed to be the source of the Germanic "fiddle". A
person who plays the violin is called a violinist or fiddler.
Violin sample: Introduction et Rondo capriccioso, Op. 28
A woodwind instrument is a musical instrument that produces
sound when the player blows air against an edge of, or opening in, the
instrument. This causes the air to vibrate. Most commonly, the player blows
against a thin piece of wood called a reed. Most of these instruments were
originally made of wood, but some, such as the saxophone and some flutes, are
now usually made of other materials such as metals or plastics.
Types of woodwind instruments
Single-reed instruments use a reed, which is a thin cut piece of cane or
plastic that is held against the aperture of a mouthpiece with a ligature.
When air is forced between the reed and the mouthpiece, the reed vibrates,
creating the sound. Single reed instruments include the clarinet and
saxophone families of instruments.
Double-reed instruments, use two precisely cut, small pieces of cane joined
together at the base. The finished, bound reed is inserted into the top of
the instrument and vibrates as air is forced between the two pieces of bound
cane. There are two types:
Exposed double reed instruments, where the reed goes
between the player's lips. The oboe, cor anglais (also called the
English horn) and bassoon make up the more popular instruments within
Capped double reed instruments, where there is a cap
covering up the reed with a hole in that the player just blows through.
This family includes most bagpipes, the crumhorn, and the shawm.
Flutes produce sound when air is blown across an edge. There are two types:
Open flute family, where the player's lips form a
stream of air which goes directly from the players lips to the edge,
such as transverse flutes and end-blown flutes. Modern concert flutes
are usually made of pure metal or a combination of metals including
nickel, silver, and gold.
Closed flute family, where the instrument forms and
directs the air stream over the edge. This family includes fipple based
flutes like whistles and the recorder family.
Vocal music is music performed by one or more singers, with or
without non-vocal instrumental accompaniment, in which singing provides the main
focus of the piece. Music which employs singing but does not feature it
prominently is generally considered instrumental music as is
music without singing. Music without any non-vocal instrumental accompaniment is
referred to as a cappella.
Vocal music typically features sung words called lyrics, although there are
notable examples of vocal music that are performed using non-linguistic
syllables or noises, sometimes as musical onomatopoeia. A short piece of vocal
music with lyrics is called a song.
Vocal music is probably the oldest form of music, since it does not require
any instrument besides the human voice. All musical cultures have some form of