A sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments.

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47
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6answers
8k views

What does a conductor actually do?

Looking for the roles of the conductor during a musical performance, I mainly came across answers as the following, taken from Wikipedia: "The primary duties of the conductor are to unify ...
40
votes
10answers
14k views

Why are orchestras tuned differently?

In 1936 American Standards Association (and the International Organization for Standardization in 1955) accepted that A would be tuned at 440 Hz (or cycles per second). Yet despite the fact that a ...
3
votes
1answer
172 views

Why is this conductor holding a toothpick?

I was watching a performance of Ravel's Bolero, conducted by Gergiev: And I noticed that instead of a baton he was holding a toothpick: Why is he holding it ...
23
votes
5answers
6k views

Why does the orchestra tune to the oboe?

Most of the time, an orchestra will tune to the oboe. Why is that? What is the next instrument if, for some reason, there are no oboes?
7
votes
3answers
694 views

Tuning hierarchy for orchestras

Several recent questions have been about tuning. Often an orchestra will tune to the oboe. One reason for this is that oboes are the only instruments that cannot be tuned. 1. What if the oboe was ...