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13.6: The Classical Orchestra

  • Page ID
    72443
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    Composition of the Classical Orchestra

    The classical orchestra is considerably smaller than the modern symphony orchestra: fewer strings, no more than two of the same instruments in woodwind and brass sections can be used, and the percussion section contains only a very few instruments.

    The typical classical orchestra contains the following:

    Woodwinds

    2 Flutes
    2 Oboes
    2 Clarinets (Bb, C, or A)
    2 Bassoons
    Brass
    2 Horns
    2 Trumpets
    Percussion
    2 Timpani
    Strings
    12 Violins I
    10 Violins II
    8 Violas
    8 Violoncellos
    6 Double basses

    Listen: Haydn’s Orchestra (Symphony No. 94)

    https://youtu.be/eVXalu0p1wo

    • Strings: Violins 1, Violins 2, Violas, Cellos and Double Basses
    • Woodwinds: 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes
    • Brass: 2 French Horns, 2 Trumpets
    • Percussion: Timpani

    Listen: Beethoven’s Orchestra (Symphony No. 5)

    https://youtu.be/6z4KK7RWjmk

    • Strings: Violins 1, Violins 2, Violas, Cellos, Double Basses
    • Woodwinds: 1 Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Bassoons, 2 Clarinets, 1 Contrabassoon
    • Brass: 2 French Horns, 2 Trumpets, 3 Trombones
    • Percussion: Timpani

    13.6: The Classical Orchestra is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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