Click to learn about each section of the orchestra. STRINGS violin viola cello double bass. WOODWINDS piccolo flute oboe clarinet bassoon

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2 VIOLIN Violins are the smallest member of the string family and are divided into two groups first s and second s. There are more s in an orchestra than any other instrument. The sound of the is high and bright. You play the by tucking it between your chin and shoulder. Your left hand presses down on the strings to change the pitch, and your right hand moves the bow or plucks the strings.

3 VIOLA Violas are cousins to the s. They look almost exactly the same but the is a little bigger and sounds deeper and warmer than the. You play the by tucking it between your chin and shoulder, just like the. Your left hand presses down on the strings to change pitch, and your right hand moves the bow or plucks the strings.

4 CELLO You ll notice right away that the is much larger than the and. In fact, it s so large that the musician has to sit down to play it! The has quite the wide range, from warm low notes to rich high notes. The body of the sits between your knees and the neck of the on your left shoulder. Your right hand moves the bow or plucks the strings. The rests on the ground, supported by a metal peg.

5 DOUBLE BASS The is the giant of the string family standing at a little over 6 feet tall! It s so large that the musician has to stand or sit on a high stool to play it. The double bass plays deep, low pitches in the music and often works with their friends in the percussion section to provide the rhythmic foundation of the orchestra.

6 FLUTE PICCOLO Flutes are the oldest instrument in the world. In fact, archeologists found s made of animal bone in a cave in Germany and discovered they were made 40,000 years ago! Today, s are made from a variety of different metals and woods but most s look as if they re made of silver. They have a wide range of tone color. The is held sideways with both hands so the thumbs and fingers can open and close keys for different pitches. Sound is produced by blowing across the hole in the mouthpiece, similar to how you would blow across the top of a glass bottle. The is half the size of a and plays one octave higher. It is the highest sounding instrument in the orchestra and has a very bright sound that can be heard even when the whole group is playing! The is considered a very challenging instrument to play and is often used for fast, exciting music like the solo in Sousa s Stars and Stripes Forever.

7 OBOE The is responsible for tuning the whole orchestra at each concert. While it looks a lot like a it sounds very different because of the double reed. A double reed means there are two pieces of wood tied together but with enough space in between them that the musician can blow air into it and through the instrument. Typically, oboists make their own reeds using cane, cork and thread!

8 CLARINET The is a single reed instrument. While the has two reeds tied together (double reed), the only has one reed which is attached to a mouthpiece. The musician blows air into the mouthpiece and the thin reed vibrates with his breath. Clarinets come in all shapes and sizes from the small E-flat to the huge B-flat contrabass. Although they can make high and low sounds, s are known for having a rich, warm tone.

9 BASSOON / CONTRABASSOON The lowest member of the woodwind family is the, that is, unless the contra is playing! The contra is larger and longer than the and sounds a full octave lower. Both instruments are essentially long tubes, folded in half, with lots of metal keys. Even though these instruments are much taller and bigger than the, the one thing they do have in common is the double reed. And, just like the players, /contra players typically make their own reeds too!

10 FRENCH HORN French horns are part of the brass family but sit with the woodwinds. In fact, they are kind of like a glue that connects the woodwind family to the brass family. The horn is a long tube coiled up into a circular shape. If you were to unwind it, the tubing would measure approximately 12 feet in length! It is the only brass instrument that you play with your left hand. The right hand is actually kept inside the bell of the instrument while the left hand operates the valves.

11 TRUMPET Trumpets are the smallest, highest instrument of the brass family and often get the spotlight with their bright melodies and brilliant fanfares. Like all brass instruments, the is played by buzzing your lips and blowing air through a mouthpiece. The left hand holds the instrument while the right hand operates the valves.

12 TROMBONE The is the only brass instrument with a slide. Instead of using valves to change pitches, players move the slide to alter the length of their instrument and make different sounds. Trombones have almost 9 feet of tubing.

13 TUBA The lone giant, most orchestras only have one. Even though all brass instruments have a bell at the end of the instrument where the sound comes out, the is the only brass instrument whose bell points up at the ceiling. Approximately 18 feet of tubing separate the mouthpiece and the bell. Like the, the provides depth and stability to the orchestra.

14 TIMPANI SUSPENDED CYMBAL A is just as it sounds one cymbal that is suspended from a stand. The percussionist uses a mallet, stick, or beater to make a sound. Suspended cymbals are often used to create dramatic crescendos. Timpani are typically seen in groups of three or four in an orchestra. Also called kettledrums, these instruments look like large, copper bowls with a drumhead stretched across the top. Timpani can be tuned to a specific pitch by tightening the drumhead with keys or using the foot pedal. Musicians who play the must have a very good ear and be able to tune their drums to different pitches quickly. VIBRAPHONE A is a series of pitched metal bars, each above a tube-shaped resonator, and is played with mallets. Sometimes a percussionist will use four mallets to play this instrument two in each hand! HARP BASS DRUM The is a unique member of the string family and sometimes looks like it is part of the percussion section because of its location in the orchestra. Instead of having 4 strings like the,, and bass, it can have up to 47! To play the the musician has to sit down with the leaning on their shoulder and pluck the strings with their fingertips. The is a large, hollow drum with two drumheads. It hangs in a stand so the musician can strike the drumhead on either side he or she chooses. The drum is typically played with a large, padded mallet. Because of its size, the creates a deep booming sound when played.

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