Talk:Orchestra

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(unsectioned postings)[edit]

I had to remove the bit about an orchestra being "adapted for playing in concert musical notation", because I just don't know what it means. And I'm going to move the list of conductors over to conductor, as I propsed over there a while ago. --Camembert


Fame: - I hate to be a drag and raise this painful issue again, but isn't there (yet again) a problem here with there being a "famous" and "other" orchestras list? For example who decides that, say, the LA Phil is not famous? I mean, I do know that this kind of thing is pretty inevitable here and yes it's a work in progress and so on ... but it does just seem a real, repeating, pain-in-the-neck problem. I could, for example, add all the London orchs to the "famous" side of the list. Undoubtedly they are famous. But it's already a terribly Eurocentric list and this would hardly help ... and the concept of things either havig to be in the famous list or in the 2nd eleven, as it were ... I don't know, it just seems odd. Is there a discussion somewhere about this? Wikipedia: what is fame? or what role do these lists perform? or something? Nevilley

Well, as you asked... Talk:List of famous Canadians and Talk:List of famous Canadians (archive) have an extremely long, boring, silly, pointless, abusive and indecisive "discussion" on the matter of what constitutes fame and who should be included on lists of things. If I were you, I'd steer well clear of it, but I think it's the closest we've got to a page dedicated to the matter of deciding what should be included on lists of famous Xs (at least as far as I know).
Personally, I think lists like this are more or less useless, apart from them being handy to link articles that would otherwise be orphans. However, people seem to like them, and they keep springing up.
As for this list specifically - I think that dividing the list into "famous" and "other" is a bad idea, so I'll make it just one list. The generally done thing before the "famous Canadians" episode was to list everything/body that had an entry in the wikipedia plus any very famous others (in this case, that would mean, say, the Berlin Phil, the LSO and some others, but not, for example, the Yomiuri Symphony Orchestra). I am, therefore, significantly trimming this list - I've been brutal, and if somebody wants to restore the LAPO, say, or remove the Boston SO, I won't complain; but if anybody wants to add a really quite obscure orchestra (the Orchestra Gulbenkian, say), I think they should write an article about them first. Otherwise I may have to add the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra, which convenes once a year to play a program of sugary Viennese waltzes and then disbands to the pub. --Camembert

Heheheheh yes I knew about the Canadians thing, it's my kind of bete noire example of what to avoid at all costs.

I think your approach is reasonable in general, taking as a sort of standard the question of whether someone can be bothered to write an article about the topic or not. And of course it neatly removes the question of fame, mostly.

I suppose where it is open to abuse or silliness is that (1) I decide to put in the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra and write no article, because I say it's famous or important, and the rest of you can get lost, or (2) I decide to put in the Sheffield Symphony Orchestra and I do write an article, because I am being silly, or self-promotional, or want to see the SSO's name in print for a bet, or whatever. You can see me worrying about something similar in the Talk for the trumpet article.

However, assuming that goodwill and reasonableness will prevail, I think this is a good approach; I congratulate you for taking the step; and I will be interested to see how it develops. :) Nevilley

Thanks, Nevilley; I'm interested to see how it develops too. I reserve the right, however, to deny all knowledge of this article should an argument break out  ;) I see, incidentally, that the list has been significantly expanded, with orchestras which are, I think, lesser known than the ones I left in the list, but still well enough known to be thought of as "famous". However, if the list gets much bigger, the best thing to do is probably to break it off into List of orchestras. In the meantime, I'm going to try and write stubs for all these bands... --Camembert

I'm not sure whether these orchestras should all be listed as at present (with a few exceptions) or whether the word Orchestra should be ommitted.

e.g London Symphony, St Petersburg Philharmonic, etc.

Many of the orchestras are normally referred to by their full names, however, so I will leave this for the moment. User:David Martland

I've wondered about this as well, but as you say I think the word "orchestra" is normally included when referring to most of them. However, I did put the NYPO article at New York Philharmonic, rather than New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Even there, it isn't uncommon to hear "New York Philharmonic Orchestra", so I think we're OK as we are. --Camembert

I also have some reservations about famous or important orchestras. Where does one draw the line? However, the list is now moderately complete, and I am not intending to add any regional orchestras which are probably not so important, or subsidiary orchestras (e.g The BBC Concert Orchestra), which are probably listed under their organisation (example: BBC). Some radio orchestras are probably important, and some foreign orchestras are a pain because of translation - both orchestras in Stockholm fall under these categories - one is called the Kungliga Orkester Stockholm which I suppose translates as the Royal Stockholm Orchestra, and the other is the Stockholm Radio Orchestra, which is actually rather good. I added the CSO and NBC Symphony yesterday - even though they are both just radio orchestras, the CSO was associated with Bruno Walter, and the NBC with Toscanini so I figure that makes them interesting. User:David Martland. I think the LAPO should be in the list - I'll probably put it back if it's gone - both Bernstein and Giulini for example have given important performances/made recordings with them. Until Blomstedt came along, and Decca started recording furiously, LAPO was generally considered more important than the SFO.

When I removed the LAPO at first, it was in the course of reducing the list to about half a dozen - I really trimmed it back very hard. My hope is that we can get articles on all the orchestras listed here, and then we can call the list "A list of orchestras with articles in the wikipedia", safe in the knowledge that there are no "important" or "famous" orchestras (whatever that might mean) that we've missed out. But for now, the list looks OK as it stands, I think - there are no really small and obscure orchestras listed as there were before. --Camembert

Baroque and classical orchestra[edit]

The given lineups for these two periods seem completely random to me. In the case of the baroque string section, the number of players is without doubt heavily inflated.

1. baroque orchestra

To make any statement about a "standard" baroque orchestra is not possible for the time before 1700, since there was not even a true concept of what should be called an orchestra at that time. Furthermore, there are great regional differnces within Europe. For example, Lully's french orchestra employed 24 strings in five sections (Vl/VaI/VaII/VaIII/Bass) while italian orchestras had two Violins and 1 Viola part like modern orchestras. Winds were extremely diverse and often optional. The vast majority of performances at taht time were one-to-a-part.

Late baroque orchestras still vary too much to make a single usefull chart. If I was forced to do so, it would look like this:

2 Flutes (occasinally)

2-3 Oboes (common, several players per part in large orchestras; commonly doubling on treble recorders)

1 Bassoon (common Bass instrument, several players per part in large orchestras)

2-3 Trumpets and 1 timpani player (occasionally)

2 Horns (occasionally)

Strings: About 2-4/2-4/1-2/1-2/1-2, but anything between 4 and 25 or more players can be found

Continuo: 1-2 harpsichords or organs, occasionally 1-2 theorbos (especially in opera)

2. Classical orchestra:

Flutes and clarinets, trumpets and timpani were in no way a given for most of the repertoire, string ensembles were much smaller on average:

1-2 Flutes (occasinally)

2 Oboes

2 Clarinets (very rare in early classical works, more commen since ca. 1775-1790)

1-2 Bassoons (merely reinforcing the string bass part in many occasions)

2 Trumpets and 1 Timpani player (occasionally, more common towards the end of the period)

2 or 4 horns

Strings: About 6/6/3/2/3, but extremely varied (9-40 players; sometimes even more)

Continuo: 1 Harpsichord (secular music, gradually abandoned between ca.1780-1800), 1-2 Organs (sacred music only)

--80.187.110.224 (talk) 00:23, 25 September 2015 (UTC)

A reliable source or two is sorely needed in that section. Have you one you could point us to?—Jerome Kohl (talk) 05:03, 25 September 2015 (UTC)
I did not pull this out of my.... but the problem is that the sources to base th claims I made here are numerous, and they are often primary sources like baroque writings about instrumentation (Mattheson, Quantz, Bach's Entwurff, employment lists of opera orchestras etc.) ore based on, for example, reading the scores of numerous baroque and classical compositions. A single glimpse on Mozart's or Hayden's orchestral catalogue of work shows that I'm right about the wind section of classical orchestras and it should not be too hard to find some scholarly writing to back it up (while the late classical works of Beethoven are well represented by the current chart).
Regular string section sizes are much harder to proof, since there were almost no norms in the 18. century and it is hard to find an article about "the average size of the classical string section" since this would not be usefull from a scientific point of view. I based my opinion on a list of classical european orchestra schedules in a musicologycal article I can provide as soon as I have a proper PC...
Less detailed accounts in encyclopedias or textbooks are almost always faulty and lacking detail in at least the same way the article is now, so it will not be possible to resolve the issue by 1 or 2 sources, I assume.
80.187.98.243 (talk) 00:03, 27 September 2015 (UTC)
One or two sources would be an improvement on the zero sources presently offered. As you suggest, a modern scholarly reference would provide a wider view than citing a dozen 18th-century sources. Any attempt at evaluating the differences among them would amount to original research as defined on Wikipedia.—Jerome Kohl (talk) 01:27, 27 September 2015 (UTC)

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