Process and Resources- Part 1

The orchestra is made up of four families: woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings. 
In Part 1, we will cover the first two, woodwinds and brass.

Woodwinds

The woodwind family consists of the following instruments: flutes, oboes, clarinets, and bassoons.  Woodwind instruments create sound either by the vibration of one or two small pieces of wood called "reeds" or by blowing air across a hole.  Changing notes on a woodwind instrument requires the use of different combinations of keys and, in some cases, finger holes.

Flutes

The flute is a unique instrument, even within the woodwind family. 
It is the only instrument whose sound is created by blowing air across a hole. 

Look at the picture to the left of a girl preparing to play her flute. 
Notice the mouthpiece.

The flute's sound can be gentle and pretty or piercing, depending on the music being played.

Here is a video example of the flute:
Flute Video

There are many different sizes of flutes, as you can see in the picture to the right. 


_www.gillsmusic.net/flute_rentals.html
 



 
www.contrabass.com/pages/flutes.gif____

Oboes


www.twoatlarge.com/ralph/r-images/ralphpix/oboe-1.jpg______________________

The oboe is the next member of the woodwind family we'll learn about. 
Sound is created in the oboe by blowing through two pieces of wood, called a reed.  The picture to the right is an oboe reed.


The oboe's sound is very buzzy and nasal.
 

 http://windmiller.com.au/store/images/BerthelotOboe Reed.jpg
      http://www.roseaux.ch/images/Alain/musetteToHeckel.jpg                               
 Here is a video example of the oboe:
Oboe Video

The picture on the left above shows the different sizes of oboes.  The third largest is called an English Horn and is often used in the orchestra in addition to the oboe.


Clarinets

The clarinet looks somewhat similar to the oboe, but its sound is produced by blowing on a mouthpiece, creating vibrations between it and a piece of wood, called a single reed.  The top picture to the right is the clarinet's mouthpiece.


Clarinets can play a very wide range of notes and also a wide range of tone colors.


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Selmer-
clarinet-mouthpiece-reed-and-vandoren-ligature.jpg
Here is a video example of the clarinet:
Clarinet Video

Just like the other woodwinds we've looked at, there are a number of different sizes of clarinet, from the "baby" Eb to the "big mama" Contrabass clarinet (picture right).


 

http://howreyb.ism-online.org/files/2010/09/Clarinet-Family.gif
 


 
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3189/3089489380_2ce9ab3b44.jpg



Bassoons

The bassoon is similar to the oboe in that it uses a double reed to produce sound.  However, bassoons play much lower than oboes.

Bassoons' sound can be very rich and beautiful, but it can also be obnoxious, like a fog horn.

Here is a video example of the bassoon:
Bassoon Video

The instrument in the picture to the left is a Contrabassoon, which is double the size of the regular bassoon, so it plays even lower.                                                                 
 http://www.wabash.edu/images2/academics/music/bassoon.jpg
http://www.bassoonresource.org/images/contra.gif


Brass

The brass family includes the following instruments: french horns, trumpets, trombones, baritones/euphoniums, and tubas.  Sound is produced on brass instruments by buzzing the lips together in a mouthpiece.  In order to change notes on brass instruments, you either move a slide or push different combinations of valves.  The valves add tubing when pushed, therefore making the instrument sound lower.

Brass instruments are especially versatile in tone color.


http://www.roweboat.com/activities/instruments/brass-mouthpieces.jpg
http://www.slidebone.com/store/images/trumpet mouthpiece brass.jpg

The left picture above shows 2 mouthpieces each for french horn, trombone/euphonium (they use the same size), and tuba.  The right picture is a trumpet mouthpiece.

French Horns

The french horn is a special instrument for multiple reasons. 

First, it always has what are called rotary valves, which you can see in the picture on the right.  These consist of keys which cause a valve to turn and add more tubing.
 

Second, the bell of the horn, (the big part where the sound comes out), faces away from the audience. 

Third, and most interesting is that horn players have to put their right hand inside the bell of the horn.  This helps with tuning and tone color.

The french horn usually has a very mellow, muted sound, but sometimes it can also be very vibrant.  It also has a very wide range.       
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/document?doc_id=97883

 

Here is a video example of the french horn:

http://arts.camden.lib.nj.us/arts4teens07/images/orlando1.jpg               
French Horn Video

Trumpets

The trumpet is probably the most recognized instrument in the brass family.

This instrument has a large range, both in pitch and in tone color.  The trumpet can play from soft and mellow to loud and bright.

Here is a video example of the trumpet:
Trumpet Video
 
The picture to the right is probably the most famous trumpet player of all time, Louis Armstrong.       
http://www.xarj.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/trumpet-player.jpg

On the left are some of the members of the trumpet's ranks.  The bottom horn in the picture is called a cornet.  It is very similar to the trumpet, but its sound is more mellow.


http://www.mcs.k12.ny.us/pages/walderson/images/trumpet family.jpg
 
 

Trombones

The trombone is a unique instrument as well. 
Instead of valves like the rest of the brass instruments, trombones change pitch by moving a slide. 
This requires special skill to feel where each note is on the slide.

The sound of a trombone can be very powerful and vibrant, but can also be sweet and low.

Here is a video example of the trombone:
Trombone Video

The picture to the right shows, from top to bottom, the bass, tenor, and alto trombones.  Not included is the soprano trombone, which looks like a trumpet with a slide and has a similar range to a trumpet.
http://www.newyorkbrass.com/images/articles/3-trombones.gif

http://thesecondshooter.ca/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/brass-player.jpg

Baritones/Euphoniums

Many people interchange the names baritone and euphonium.  The two instruments have the same range, but technically the baritone  is smaller.  You can see this in the picture to the left, where the euphonium is on the left and the baritone is on the right.

The sound of the baritone is very open and mellow.  Its range is the same as that of the trombone.

Here is a unique video example of the euphonium:
Euphonium Video
 

        http://web.bocaner.net/~barry/img/euphbar.jpg                                                                                                                                                                        http://www.wiu.edu/trombone/jm12.jpg

Tubas

The tuba is the lowest instrument of the brass family.  Tubas are special in that they are regularly made with both rotary valves
and piston valves (like those on the trumpet and baritone).


Tubas' sound is s
imilar to that of the baritone, except lower.  Sometimes tubas can play very light and airy, but other times they can be bass powerhouses.

Here is a video example of the tuba:
Tuba Video
 

To the right is a collection of different tubas.                                       http://www.rickdenney.com/images/tuba_family.jpg_____
The two standing up in the middle are your average tenor tubas.  The one on the left  is a bass, or BBb tuba.  That's the "big mama" of this section.        



http://www.tucsonoktoberfest.org/images/tuba-player.jpg

Another member of the tuba section is the sousaphone (picture right).  It is normally used only in marching band, but it is still a member of the family and it is also kind of funny looking, so I thought I would include it.



http://farm1.static.flickr.com/45/166986608_f16eeb0723.jpg?v=0
Resources:

San Francisco Symphony- Instruments of the Orchestra- http://www.sfskids.org/router.asp?pageid=3
        An interactive introduction to the instruments of the orchestra

Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra- Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkn8u2JwCPI
                                                                 Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk3dQdyRCpY
           This is a piece by Benjamin Britten which is a narrated introduction to the orchestra.

Beatboxing flute player- Super Mario Brothers Theme: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crfrKqFp0Zg
        This is a fun video that shows how versatile the flute is.

Play Music- http://www.playmusic.org/
        Here's another interactive introduction to the orchestra as well as some other fun links, such as how to compose your own     music and how to find an orchestra or a teacher
   

To finish up the lesson head to the Conclusion page