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What is an orchestra?
Group of musicians playing music together
Formalised around 1600 and used ever since
Four sections of instruments:
Strings Woodwind Brass Percussion
Baroque Classical Romantic Modern
Century 17th 18th 19th 20th & 21st
Dates 1600-1750 1750-1810 1800s-1910 1900s+
Instruments Harpsichord + Clarinet + Greater use of + Electric
(only in French Horn percussion instruments
Baroque) +Piano Saxophone
Size Small orchestra Getting bigger Large orchestra Anything goes.

Styles Concerto + Symphony, Sonata Same again! Anything goes.

Dance Suites
Notes Strings Strings dominate; brass Much greater Anything goes
dominate: brass & woodwind more independence of
& woodwind independent. Occasional brass and
punctuate use of percussion. woodwind.

Composers Bach Mozart Beethoven Schoenberg

Handel Haydn Chopin Bernstein
Vivaldi Tchaikovsky Reich
Baroque Music
The Music in this period:
Very decorated and elaborate sounding.
Harmonies were often very intricate, but not dissonant (clashing).
Limited ranges of instruments and types of instruments (brass
did not have valves; limited sizes of orchestra)
Dynamics were often loud or quiet; not much contrast.
Strings have main role
Imitative and complex music (polyphonic) was common, with
devices such as Fugue and Canon used to build up the texture.
However, alongside this, there was often the use of more simple
melody and accompaniment (a homophonic texture).
Much music was still very sacred (i.e. Religious-based).
Classical Music
The Music in this period:
Light and elegant
Simple, straightforward harmonies
Limited ranges of instruments (notes they can play) and also
choice of actual instruments.
Limited range of dynamics
Strings have main role
Tune with simple accompaniment (a homophonic texture).
Very structured, balanced phrase lengths with cadences.
All about balance e.g. A loud section followed by a quiet one; a
major section followed by a minor one etc.
Romantic Music
The Music in this period:

Emotional and dramatic; no longer about balance & style.

Full of complicated harmonies
Uses a large range of dynamics
Uses a large range of instruments
Instruments have more challenging parts inc. solos within
a piece
Tunes longer than those in Classical period
Twentieth Century Music
Weird Sounding music: Atonal/bitonal/polytonal/tone
row/whole tone scale
Discordant or more complex chords 9ths/ 11ths/13ths
May lack harmonic/melodic structure fragmented tune
Rhythm often syncopated/polyrhythms/irregular metre
Using instruments in unusual ways
Using non-instruments
Use of electronic instruments
Use of electronics to manipulate sounds or to record
sound samples alongside traditional instruments
Use of World instruments.
Contrasts in texture