Orchestra

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Orchestral work)
Jump to: navigation, search
The Jalisco Philharmonic Orchestra.
A modern orchestra concert hall: Philharmony in Szczecin, Poland

An orchestra (/ˈɔːrkstrə/ or US /ˈɔːrˌkɛstrə/; Italian: [orˈkɛstra]) is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which mixes instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as violin, viola, cello and double bass, as well as brass, woodwinds, and percussion instruments, each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments.

The term orchestra derives from the Greek ὀρχήστρα (orchestra), the name for the area in front of a stage in ancient Greek theatre reserved for the Greek chorus.[1]

A full-size orchestra may sometimes be called a symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra. The actual number of musicians employed in a given performance may vary from seventy to over one hundred musicians, depending on the work being played and the size of the venue. The term chamber orchestra (and sometimes concert orchestra) usually refers to smaller-sized ensembles of about fifty musicians or fewer. Orchestras that specialize in the Baroque music of, for example, Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel, or Classical repertoire, such as that of Haydn and Mozart, tend to be smaller than orchestras performing a Romantic music repertoire, such as the symphonies of Johannes Brahms. The typical orchestra grew in size throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, reaching a peak with the large orchestras (of as many as 120 players) called for in the works of Richard Wagner, and later, Gustav Mahler.

Orchestras are usually led by a conductor who directs the performance with movements of the hands and arms, often made easier for the musicians to see by use of a conductor's baton. The conductor unifies the orchestra, sets the tempo and shapes the sound of the ensemble.[2] The conductor also prepares the orchestra by leading rehearsals before the public concert, in which the conductor provides instructions to the musicians on their interpretation of the music being performed.

The leader of the first violin section, commonly called the concertmaster, also plays an important role in leading the musicians. In the Baroque music era (1600–1750), orchestras were often led by the concertmaster or by a chord-playing musician performing the basso continuo parts on a harpsichord or pipe organ, a tradition that some 20th century and 21st century early music ensembles continue. Orchestras play a wide range of repertoire, including symphonies, opera and ballet overtures, concertos for solo instruments, and as pit ensembles for operas, ballets and some types of musical theater (e.g., Gilbert and Sullivan operettas).

Amateur orchestras include those made up of students from an elementary school or a high school, youth orchestras, and community orchestras; the latter two typically being made up of amateur musicians from a particular city or region.

Instrumentation[edit]

Viotti Chamber Orchestra performing the 3rd movement of Mozart's Divertimento in D Major (K136)

The typical symphony orchestra consists of four groups of related musical instruments called the woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings (violin, viola, cello and double bass). Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes be grouped into a fifth section such as a keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and electric and electronic instruments. The orchestra, depending on the size, contains almost all of the standard instruments in each group.

In the history of the orchestra, its instrumentation has been expanded over time, often agreed to have been standardized by the classical period[3] and Ludwig van Beethoven's influence on the classical model.[4] In the 20th century, new repertory demands expanded the instrumentation of the orchestra, resulting in a flexible use of the classical-model instruments and newly-developed electric and electronic instruments in various combinations.

The terms symphony orchestra and philharmonic orchestra may be used to distinguish different ensembles from the same locality, such as the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. A symphony orchestra will usually have over eighty musicians on its roster, in some cases over a hundred, but the actual number of musicians employed in a particular performance may vary according to the work being played and the size of the venue.

Chamber orchestra usually refers to smaller-sized ensembles; a major chamber orchestra might employ as many as fifty musicians; some are much smaller than that. The term concert orchestra may also be used, as in the BBC Concert Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Beethoven's influence[edit]

The so-called "standard complement" of doubled winds and brass in the orchestra from the first half of the 19th century is generally attributed to the forces called for by Beethoven.[citation needed] The composer's instrumentation almost always included paired flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns and trumpets. The exceptions to this are his Symphony No. 4, Violin Concerto, and Piano Concerto No. 4, which each specify a single flute. Beethoven carefully calculated the expansion of this particular timbral "palette" in Symphonies 3, 5, 6, and 9 for an innovative effect. The third horn in the "Eroica" Symphony arrives to provide not only some harmonic flexibility, but also the effect of "choral" brass in the Trio movement. Piccolo, contrabassoon, and trombones add to the triumphal finale of his Symphony No. 5. A piccolo and a pair of trombones help deliver the effect of storm and sunshine in the Sixth, also known as the Pastoral Symphony. The Ninth asks for a second pair of horns, for reasons similar to the "Eroica" (four horns has since become standard); Beethoven's use of piccolo, contrabassoon, trombones, and untuned percussion—plus chorus and vocal soloists—in his finale, are his earliest suggestion that the timbral boundaries of symphony might be expanded. For several decades after his death, symphonic instrumentation was faithful to Beethoven's well-established model, with few exceptions.[citation needed]

Expanded instrumentation[edit]

Apart from the core orchestral complement, various other instruments are called for occasionally.[5] These include the classical guitar, heckelphone, flugelhorn, cornet, harpsichord, and organ. Saxophones, for example, appear in some 19th- through 21st-century scores. While appearing only as featured solo instruments in some works, for example Maurice Ravel's orchestration of Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances, the saxophone is included in other works, such as Ravel's Boléro, Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suites 1 and 2, Vaughan Williams' Symphonies No.6 and 9 and William Walton's Belshazzar's Feast, and many other works as a member of the orchestral ensemble. The euphonium is featured in a few late Romantic and 20th-century works, usually playing parts marked "tenor tuba", including Gustav Holst's The Planets, and Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben. The Wagner tuba, a modified member of the horn family, appears in Richard Wagner's cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen and several other works by Strauss, Béla Bartók, and others; it has a prominent role in Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 7 in E Major.[6] Cornets appear in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake, Claude Debussy's La Mer, and several orchestral works by Hector Berlioz. Unless these instruments are played by members "doubling" on another instrument (for example, a trombone player changing to euphonium or a bassoon player switching to contrabassoon for a certain passage), orchestras typically hire freelance musicians to augment their regular ensemble.

The 20th-century orchestra was far more flexible than its predecessors.[7] In Beethoven's and Felix Mendelssohn's time, the orchestra was composed of a fairly standard core of instruments, which was very rarely modified by composers. As time progressed, and as the Romantic period saw changes in accepted modification with composers such as Berlioz and Mahler; some composers used multiple harps and sound effect such as the wind machine. During the 20th century, the modern orchestra was generally standardized with the modern instrumentation listed below. Nevertheless, by the mid- to late 20th century, with the development of contemporary classical music, instrumentation could practically be hand-picked by the composer (e.g., to add electric instruments such as electric guitar, electronic instruments such as synthesizers, non-Western instruments, or other instruments not traditionally used in orchestra).

With this history in mind, the orchestra can be analyzed in five periods: the Baroque era, the Classical music period, early/mid-Romantic music era, late-Romantic/early 20th century music and 21st century era. The first is a Baroque orchestra (i.e., J.S. Bach, Handel, Vivaldi), which generally had a smaller number of performers, and in which one or more chord-playing instruments, the basso continuo group (e.g., harpsichord or pipe organ and assorted bass instruments to perform the bassline), played an important role; the second is a typical classical period orchestra (e.g., early Beethoven along with Mozart and Haydn), which used a smaller group of performers than a Romantic music orchestra and a fairly standardized instrumentation; the third is typical of an early/mid-Romantic era (e.g., Schubert, Berlioz, Schumann); the fourth is a late-Romantic/early 20th century orchestra (e.g., Wagner, Brahms, Mahler, Stravinsky), to the common complement of a 2010-era modern orchestra (e.g., Adams, Barber, Aaron Copland, Glass, Penderecki).

====Baroque orchestra==== (1600-1750)