This is to be used for demonstrating to children the effect different instruments have on a piece of music, would prefer a classical piece, but essentially something that starts simple and builds as it introduces a new instrument at different stages. Any ideas?

  • pretty sure this is a dupe Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 12:50

4 Answers 4


Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra sounds like an ideal match!

  • 5
    I would add Peter And The Wolf to the list. Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 18:15
  • 1
    While not as didactic as the other suggestions, maybe Ravel's Bolero. I have read it described as an orchestral crescendo by gradually building up the orchestration, although not one instrument at a time. Commented Jan 12, 2017 at 21:52
  • @MichaelCurtis forcing anyone to undergo listening to any bolero (and I include Shostakovitch's 7th) is one way to terminate their interest in music entirely :-( Commented Jan 13, 2017 at 12:54

'Instruments of the Orchestra' is one slant. 'Peter and the Wolf' is another.


Starship Trooper by Yes... the final movement:Würm

10cc Feel the Benefit... final movement.


Good composers generally avoid the pitfall of just continually layering further instruments on top of each other until the result is a muddy mess (though loop-based sequencer jockeys often fall straight in). You could use Britten's 'Young Person's Guide' to demonstrate different approaches to broadly the same musical content featuring different instruments, culminating with the orchestral fugue where they all come together. Or to illustrate different scoring densities of the SAME material (which I think is more what you were asking for) you could find versions of the same piece arranged for e.g piano, string quartet, small orchestra, brass band, wind band, full orchestra. The British or American anthems are available played by a wide range of ensembles. Played back-to-back they could illustrate your point.

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