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Strings

Woodwi
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Brass
Percus
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Keyboar
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Strings

The four major instruments in the string family, the


violin, the viola, the cello and the double bass, are
built the same way.
The instruments are made of many pieces of wood
which are glued - never nailed - together. The body of
the instrument is hollow, thus becoming a resonating
box for the sound.
Four strings made of animal gut, nylon, or steel are
wrapped around pegs at one end of the instrument
and attached to a tailpiece at the other. They are
stretched tightly across
a bridge
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Woodwinds

The three branches of the woodwind family have different


sources of sound.
Vibrations begin when air is blown across the top of an
instrument, across a single reed, or across two reeds.
A single reed is clamped to a mouthpiece at the top of the
instrument and vibrates against the mouthpiece when air
is blown between the reed and the mouthpiece.
The double reed fits into a tube at the top of the
instrument and vibrates when air is forced between the
two reeds.
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Brass

Brass Family instruments produce their unique sound by


the player buzzing his/her lips while blowing air through a
cup- or funnel-shaped mouthpiece.
The mouthpiece connects to a length of brass tubing
ending in a bell. The shorter the tubing length, the
smaller the instrument, and the higher the sound; and the
longer the tubing length, the larger the instrument, and
the lower the sound.
The main instruments of the brass family include the
trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba.
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Percussion

With a name that means, "the hitting of one body


against another," instruments in the percussion
family are played by being struck, shaken, or
scraped.
In the orchestra, the percussion section provides a
variety of rhythms, textures and tone colors.
The percussion instruments are an international
family, with ancestors from the Middle East, Asia,
Africa, the Americas and Europe representing
musical styles from many
different
cultures.
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Keyboards

Keyboard instruments are often classified as


percussion instruments because they play a rhythmic
role in some music.
However, most keyboard instruments are not true
members of the percussion family because their
sound is not produced by the vibration of a
membrane or solid material.

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Violin
The violin is the soprano
voice in the string family. It
is held under the chin,
resting on the shoulder. The
violin has a lovely tone that
can be soft and expressive
or exciting and brilliant.

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Viola
The viola is the alto voice in
the string family. It is held
under the chin, resting on the
shoulder. The viola is slightly
larger and is tuned five notes
lower than the violin. It has a
darker and warmer tone
quality, but is not as brilliant.

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Cello
The cello is the tenor voice
in the string family. Shaped
like a violin, the cello is
much larger and is held
between the players knees.
Because it can produce
beautiful sounds from its
lowest to its highest notes,
it is a popular instrument.
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Double Bass
The double bass,
bass or string
bass is the largest and lowest
instrument of the string
family. The double bass has
rounded shoulders instead of
square shoulders like the
other string instruments.
Because of its size, the player
stands or sits on a high stool
to play it.
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Piccolo
The piccolo is exactly like the flute
except that it is much smaller and is
usually made of silver or wood. The
pitch of the piccolo is higher than that
of a flute.

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Flute

The flute is made from silver or gold and is about 2


feet in length. It looks like a narrow tube with a row
of holes covered by keys along one side. The player
blows air across the small hole in the mouthpiece to
produce a sound that can be either soft and mellow
or high and piercing.
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Oboe
The oboe is similar to the
clarinet in many ways. Both are
made from wood and have metal
keys that can produce many
notes rapidly. The oboe does not
have a mouthpiece, but has two
reeds tied together. By placing
them between one's lips and
blowing air through them, the
reeds vibrate and produce a
sound.

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Clarinet
Made from wood, the
clarinet produces a fluid
sound when air is blown
between a single reed and
the mouthpiece. By pressing
metal keys with the fingers
of both hands, the player
has the ability to play many
different notes very quickly.
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Bassoon

The bassoon is a large double


reed instrument with a lower
sound than the other woodwind
instruments. When the player
blows air between the reeds,
the vibrating column of air
inside the instrument travels
over nine feet to the bottom of
the instrument, then up to the
top where the sound comes out.

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Saxophone
Conically shaped, the
saxophone is the only
woodwind instrument made of
brass. Although it is found
only occasionally in the
symphony orchestra, it is
considered a member of the
woodwind family because it
has a single reed like the
clarinet.
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Trumpet
The trumpet is the highest sounding member of
the brass family. The brilliant tone of the
trumpet travels through about 6 - feet of
tubing bent into an oblong shape. The player
presses the three valves in various
combinations with the fingers of the right hand
to obtain various pitches.

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Trombone
The mouthpiece of the
trombone is larger than that
of a trumpet, and gives the
instrument a more mellow
sound. Instead of valves, the
trombone has a slide which
changes the length of its
approximately 9 feet of tubing
to reach different pitches.

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Tuba
Made of about 16 feet of
tubing, the tuba is the
lowest sounding member of
the brass family. The tuba
has four to five valves and is
held upright in the players
lap.

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French Horn
The French Horn consists of
about 12 feet of narrow
tubing wound into a circle.
The player obtains different
notes on the horn with a
clear mellow sound by
pressing valves with the left
hand and by moving the
right hand inside of the bell.
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Snare Drum
The snare drum has two calfskin or plastic
drumheads stretched tightly over a hollow metal
frame. The top head is struck with wooden
drumsticks, and is called the batter-head. The
bottom head, or snare-head has catgut or metal
wires called snares stretched tightly across it.
When this drum is struck on the top head, the
snares produce a characteristic sharp rattling
sound as they vibrate against the bottom head.
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Cymbals
Made from two large, slightly concave brass
plates, cymbals are fitted with leather hand
straps and are shaped so that when they are
crashed together, only the edges touch.
Different sized cymbals produce a wide range of
sound effects. Cymbals are also played by being
struck with drumsticks or mallets while
suspended on a string or stand.

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Bass Drum
The composer Mozart added the
deep, booming, sound of the bass
drum to the orchestra in 1782.
Constructed like a snare drum,
but without snares, the bass
drum is much larger and is
played on its side, so that either
head may be struck. The beater
or mallet for a bass drum is large
with a soft material such as
sheep's wool covering the end.
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Tambourine
The tambourine is a shallow,
handheld drum made of a
circular wooden frame with a
calfskin or plastic drumhead
stretched across the top. The
tambourine has small discs
called jingles set into its circular
frame which produce sound
when the tambourine is shaken,
rubbed, or struck on the drum
head with the knuckles.
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Triangle
The triangle is made from a small
round steel tube, and is played by
striking it with a steel beater. Its
bright shimmering sound is
untuned and resembles that of a
bell. The triangle first joined the
orchestra in the late 1700s.

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Timpani
Timpani are constructed of a large
copper bowl with a drumhead
made of calfskin or plastic
stretched across the top. When
struck with felt-tipped wooden
sticks, or mallets, timpani produce
a specific pitch that is determined
by the drum's size. That pitch is
fine-tuned by tightening the
drumhead with keys and foot
pedals. Most orchestras use three
or four timpani of varying sizes.

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Xylophone
First used in the orchestra just over a century
ago, the xylophone is a tuned instrument made
of hardwood bars in graduated lengths set
horizontally on a metal frame. With the larger,
lower-sounding bars on the left, the notes of
the xylophone are laid out much like a piano
keyboard. Striking the bars with hard mallets
produces a bright, sharp sound.
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Chimes
Chimes are a tuned instrument
consisting of a set of 12 to 18 metal
tubes hung from a metal frame.
The metal tubes range from 1 to 2
inches in diameter and from 4 to
6 feet in length. The chimes, or
tubular bells, are struck with a
mallet and sound like church bells
when played. The longer the length
of tube that is struck, the lower the
pitch that is created.

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Piano
Sound is produced on the
piano by small hammers
striking strings. The
hammers are controlled
mechanically and strike
the strings when the
player's hands press the
piano keys.
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Organ
When an organist presses the keys
of an organ, air is allowed to flow
into corresponding pipes. The
vibration of the air in the pipes
creates the sound of the organ.
One of the largest concert hall
organs in the world has four
keyboards, 244 keys, 32 pedals
and 4,535 pipes. The largest pipe
is 32 feet high while the smallest
pipe is less than one inch in height.

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