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

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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 ...
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10answers
10k 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 ...
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6answers
14k views

What is the difference between a “band” and an “orchestra”

Growing up, my father listened to big band music. These bands are usually referred to as "Glenn Miller and his orchestra" Or "Paul Schaeffer and the CBS Orchestra". Is it that an orchestra has ...
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5answers
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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?
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8answers
3k views

Why are conductors required at orchestra performances?

I am not a music expert and I have always wondered why orchestra performances require a conductor to play. The musicians are presumably professionals who have had much practice at this point, so why ...
17
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4answers
7k views

Is there any specific reason to why are the instruments placed as they are in an orchestra?

What is the reason that instruments in an orchestra are placed the way they are placed?
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5answers
3k views

Performance practice of Viennese Waltz

Occasionally, when I listen to an orchestra playing a Strauss waltz or something similar, I hear something interesting in the background rhythm of 'boom chik chik' in that the first 'chik' happens ...
11
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4answers
246 views

What greater possibilities allows playing late from the conductor

There's a lot of differences in the way conductors direct the tempi in orchestral representation, but one of them is the timing between when we're expected to play and the actual down movement of the ...
10
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3answers
409 views

Are there any “etudes for the orchestra”?

Are there any "etudes for the orchestra"? Football teams don't practise just playing football all day long, but they do all kinds of "orchestrated" team exercises just like hockey players and ...
9
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4answers
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German abbreviations for instrument names in score markings (Wagner - Tannhauser)

I'd like to know to which instruments are these signatures referring. I think "Pos" is a trombone but I may be wrong. Please note these are from page 2 of Wagner's Tannhauser ouverture and, most ...
9
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2answers
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Do the violas often play the same parts as the violins in an orchestra?

Are violas always part of an orchestra? How are they typically used? Do they often play the same parts as the violins to create a richer texture? I'm new to orchestration and have been wondering ...
9
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4answers
4k views

What are good sources for free orchestra scores?

Are there usable free sources for (symphonic) orchestra scores? I'm talking about legal sources for pieces that are now in public domain.
9
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2answers
374 views

Could a group of musicians play a new piece by sight-reading on first attempt?

Is it possible, without any rehearsal, relying solely on sight-reading? Are there any experiments of this kind with octets, nonets, maytbe entire orchestras?
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2answers
562 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 ...
7
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2answers
283 views

What's so off about the intro to Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights?

Now this question is by no means an attack on any conductor or orchestra, nor Prokofiev himself, but why does it seem that it's hard for everyone to get right into time with one another with this ...
6
votes
1answer
329 views

How does Ballet music differ from an Orchestral Suite of the same name?

Now, I've loved Stravinsky's music, ever since 10th grade music appreciation class when we learned that Le Sacre Du Printemps caused a riot at its first public performance. But I discovered to my ...
6
votes
1answer
113 views

Where and how can a conductor require execution of orchestral pieces to a string player?

In Italy, up until the '80, conductors were allowed to ask a member of the orchestra to play a passage alone during rehersal. This led to some players being fired right away and their careers being ...
5
votes
5answers
588 views

How to count big number of silence bars?

Playing in a jazz band there are often 5,6 or 8 silence bars. This is no problem as I can count it with my fingers. But how do you count bigger numbers of silence bars, e.g. 52, 112 or even more in ...
5
votes
2answers
380 views

Orchestral strings disposition (numeration meaning)

It's going to be the first time I'll be trying to compose a piece to be played by an orchestra and I don't know much about orchestral strings numeration/disposition. I just ran into this Composers ...
5
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3answers
81 views

What happened to the orchestral scores of Johann Strauss?

As far as I understand, Johann Strauss and his family attempted to burn many of his scores. For this reason, most of them are not to be found on IMSLP. Is this true? One reason I am confused is ...
5
votes
4answers
676 views

How important is harmony theory?

In what way does matter for the overall sound of the orchestra that everyone is aware of how the chord is placed, more than just knowing their own part in it? I play trombone in what I believe is ...
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3answers
2k views

What does one slash through a half note stem AND 4 dots above it mean? [duplicate]

In a version of "Overture to Lucio Silla" by Mozart, half of the viola part of the song has half notes with a SINGLE slash through it, but 4 dots on the base part of every not (The circular part). ...
4
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2answers
1k views

Orchestra warmup sounds

Background: I am guitar player who do not now anything about tuning other instruments and classical music traditions I really love sound of warming up (and final tuning) of an orchestra. They are ...
4
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1answer
248 views

Are “The Carnival of the Animals” and “Danse Macabre” the same piece?

I wonder if "The Carnival of the Animals" and "Danse Macabre" are the same piece? Why are they named differently?
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1answer
54 views

What is an orchestra “reading session”?

On orchestra calendars I sometimes see events called "reading sessions", such as this one: Pittsburgh Symphony 11th Annual Reading Session What is a "reading session" and how does it differ from a ...
3
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3answers
729 views

When to use a2 / unis / tutti in orchestral score?

So far from most of the sheet scores I've read, a2 is used mostly in wood and brass instrument staves, while unis. (and on rarer occasion, tutti) is in string instruments. It is even possible to see ...
3
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2answers
235 views

Arranging a piece for full Orchestra

I have recently finished writing an intermediate level piece for piano duet, and think it would sound pretty good when played by a full orchestra. Only problem is I don't know any one who can arrange ...
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2answers
136 views

Classical music vs March music relationship

What is the relationship between March music and Classical music? To the non-musician they seem to be interchangeable or at least largely overlapping. But I find March songs much more enjoyable and ...
2
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3answers
59 views

What techniques can be used to get a bigger, more resonant orchestral bass drum sound?

In college we had a conductor who really like deep, resonant bass drum sounds (think movie explosions). What are some ways to get more oomph out of a concert bass in a live setting?
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2answers
92 views

Difference between the string section and wind section

Something I noticed after playing in various orchestras: When a wind player in an orchestra finishes a tricky part or a solo well, the surrounding wind players honor this with a silent applause even ...
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1answer
90 views

Why are we worse in the second half and how might we fix that?

I play second violin in a local amateur orchestra. When we play concerts we always seem slightly worse in the second half. Why? I'm not sure if it's because we all breath a collective sigh of relief ...
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1answer
115 views

How to use choirs in epic music

I'm relatively new to MIDI orchestration and would like to start using choirs and vocals in my tracks. I understand using them to emphasize hits and climaxes, but I would like to imitate songs like ...
0
votes
1answer
304 views

Which set of books could I read to become an advanced conductor?

I would like a list of three to ten books to learn all there is to know about conducting. Please be concise, try to cover all the stages from a beginner conductor (but already an experienced adult ...