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Questions tagged [orchestra]

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

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65 votes
6 answers
14k 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 ...
iddober's user avatar
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50 votes
9 answers
30k 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 ...
SRiss's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
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Has there ever been an orchestra without a conductor?

I don't think I have ever seen an orchestra where there wasn't someone conducting. Has there ever been such an example of an orchestra? Edit: By conductor, I mean the guy swinging the baton:
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
29 votes
5 answers
10k 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?
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17 votes
7 answers
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How to distinguish between different instruments in a classical orchestra?

I want to train myself into distinguishing the instruments being played simultaneously in orchestral music (primarily Wagner and Bruckner, maybe Mahler). Ideally I want to be able to say at each point ...
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14 votes
4 answers
6k views

Why are some instruments listed 'in F' or 'in B'?

I am looking through scores of pieces that I particularly like. I can't understand (as this is the first time I have come across it) why here, in the manuscript, some instruments are named as ...
cmp's user avatar
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11 votes
6 answers
4k views

How do composers get their works performed?

How do composers (professional or not) get their works performed by orchestras and soloists? While we're at it, how and where do composers publish their music and where do orchestras/musicians/...
Jeremy Lindsay's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
231 views

How could you make a key change sound natural

I've been working on an orchestral piece for a while and I want to include a key change. For example, from Bb major into Eb major. How could one go about changing keys in a way that makes the music ...
Demi Sobo's user avatar
33 votes
4 answers
8k views

Why is the saxophone not common in classical repertoire?

Other than the fact that its relatively new compared to other orchestral instruments (e.g. the violin), why is the saxophone (any of them from the family, alto, baritone, tenor etc) not more prevalent ...
Khalian's user avatar
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27 votes
9 answers
10k 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 ...
David says Reinstate Monica's user avatar
26 votes
5 answers
70k 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?
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
13 votes
9 answers
5k views

How do you count many bars of silence (rests)?

Playing in a jazz band there are often 5, 6, or 8 bars of silence. This is no problem as I can count them on my fingers. But how do I count larger rests, for example 52, 112, or even longer rests, as ...
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9 votes
5 answers
4k 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 ...
Tim's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
ppareja's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
13k 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 instead ...
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
7 votes
9 answers
2k views

Counting long rests in music

So, in orchestra we got given Bolero and the third trombone part has 236 rests before we come in (yes I counted). If you're wondering, I'm not some professional player, I'm the youngest in the group ...
user50026's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why are time signatures not used in this score?

I was looking at this hand-written short score (to be completed by other arrangers): The only thing that strikes me about it (maybe there should be others) is there is no written time signature. Why? ...
minusatwelfth's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
2k views

How Common Are the Trumpet in C and Clarinet in A?

In the wind/marching/concert band world, trumpets and soprano clarinets are always in Bb. The orchestra, however, uses trumpets in Bb, C, and D, and clarinets in Bb and A. I understand that clarinets ...
JAF's user avatar
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3 votes
5 answers
191 views

Will my orchestral compositions be disregarded if I do not hold a degree in music?

I want to get a grasp of the current state of things, and my question is quite simple. If a person does not have a university degree in music, does he have any chance to get his orchestral works ...
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