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Musical Instruments and Ensembles
High
Middle
Low
• Soprano (female)
• Tenor (male)
• Mezzo Soprano (female)
• Baritone (male)
• Alto (female)
• Bass (male)
Soprano
Soprano,
Alto
Alto
SA
Choir
Tenor,
Bass
SATB
Choir
Strings
Electronic
Woodwinds
Instrument
Types
Keyboards
Brass
Percussion
Stringed Instruments
Players pluck (pizzicato) or bow
strings.
Strings can be made of gut, metal,
plastic, nylon, or silk.
Violin – highest
range
Viola – lower range
Players
sit and
hold the
cello
between
their
knees.
The violin
and the
viola are
held
under the
player’s
chin.
than violin
Cello – deeper and
lower than viola
Double Bass –
lowest range
Bass
players
sit on a
stool or
stand.
Instruments require air
Players use finger holes
to control pitch
Instruments were
originally made of
wood or use reeds
Single reeds.
Made of metal now, these instruments
were originally made of wood.
Piccolo – small flute;
highest pitched
woodwind
Flute – a side blown
woodwind
The reed is on the mouthpiece and players blow
into the end of instruments.
Clarinet – held in
front of the player
Saxophone – used
in bands and jazz
music
Double reeds are two pieces of thin cane
that vibrate against the player’s lips.
Oboe – provides orchestra’s tuning note
Bassoon – larger and lower than oboe
Instruments require air;
players buzz lips against
metal mouthpiece
Some early instruments
were made of wood and
covered in leather, but
modern instruments are
metal
Brass mouthpiece
Trumpet – highest
range
French horn–
lower range than
trumpet
Trombone – uses
Listen to
the
trombone
and tuba
slide to change pitch
Tuba– lowest range;
uses valves
The
trumpet
and the
French
horn use
valves to
change
pitch.
Instruments are struck, shaken, or scraped
Xylophone
Triangle
Snare drum
Timpani
Definite pitch instruments
produce sounds that
provide specific pitches
like brass, woodwind,
and strings instruments
Indefinite pitch
instruments produce
sounds that provide
specific rhythm but not
specific pitches
Listen to the xylophone
Listen to the castanets and
gong
Played with both hands
Potential as solo and accompaniment
Produces many notes simultaneously
(can produce melody and harmony)
Harpsichord
Organ
Piano
Strings plucked
Pipe organs use
air
Strings struck
hammers
Some organs are
electronic
Dynamic
contrast
possible
Popular in
baroque music
Modify acoustic sounds
or produce sounds
electronically
Electric guitars and
keyboards are examples
Chordophones – stringed instruments
Aerophones – wind instruments
Idiophones – instruments that are hit struck or
shaken
Membranophones – drums with a membrane
that is struck
String
Percussion
Orchestra
Brass
Began in 17th century
Woodwind
Comprised of
instruments from
multiple families
Keyboard instruments
common in early
orchestras
Listen to the full orchestra.