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Several Composers

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The orchestra of today, with various instruments performing different parts of the same score, had its beginnings in the 17th century. Before then, groups of musical instruments performing together had always been assigned identical parts in a composition. One of the earliest composers to assign different parts to various instruments in an ensemble was the Italian Claudio Monteverdi. The score of his opera Orfeo, performed in 1607, required 2 harpsichords, 2 wood organs, about 19 stringed instruments, and trombones, trumpets, and other wind instruments.

The composition of the orchestra gradually changed in the 17th and 18th centuries as new instruments were added and old ones were eliminated. The violins took over the function of the older viols, and the transverse flute replaced the recorder. With the elimination of the harpsichord, which had been the principal chord-playing instrument, the burden of carrying the harmony was delegated in large measure to stringed instruments. The compositions of many 17th-century and 18th-century composers, including Alessandro Scarlatti, Bach, and Handel, were heavily scored for stringed instruments with only relatively minor support from the wind instruments. Bach's orchestra included about 20 instrumentalists. By Mozart's time, however, more instruments, notably the clarinet and French horn, had become increasingly important. At this period the string section was enlarged, and the orchestra grew to about 40 members.

The orchestra of Beethoven, which brought new emphasis to the brass section, became the standard for much of the 19th century. After Beethoven's time the orchestra expanded, rather than changed. The orchestras of Richard Wagner and Gustav Mahler, for example, often contained more than 100 players. In the 20th century the scope of the orchestra was gradually reduced to its present size. However, the size and composition of the orchestra will probably continue to be modified.

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  • Entertainment and Media (23)
  • Benny Goodman
    0

    Benny Goodman

    6 years ago

    Benny Goodman was an American clarinetist and jazz leader, known as the "king of swing". Equally accomplished as a jazz performer and as a classical musician, he appeared as soloist with the Budapest String Quartet and...

  • Andres Segovia
    0

    Andres Segovia

    6 years ago

    Spanish guitarist, who was a leading figure in the revival of interest in the classical guitar and its music. He was born in Linares on February 17, 1893. He was mainly self-taught, though much influenced by an earlier...

  • Wilhelm Friedemann Bach
    0

    Wilhelm Friedemann Bach

    6 years ago

    Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was a German musician and composer, the eldest son of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was born at Weimar in November 1710. His early musical training was under the guidance of his father, who used such...

  • Tchaikovsky Works
    0

    Tchaikovsky Works

    6 years ago

    Tchaikovsky criticized Wagner for never writing a "broad, complete melody," and Brahms because "a melodic phrase is no sooner hinted at [in his work] than it is smothered in all sorts of harmonic ingenuities." Neither...

  • Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    1

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

    6 years ago

    Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer, who is generally regarded as one of the greatest musicians his country has produced and who is ranked among the outstanding composers of the world. His music, written...

  • Musical Notation
    0

    Musical Notation

    6 years ago

    Music notation is a system of symbols used to record musical sounds in written form. Among the various kinds of symbols are those that indicate the key, rhythm, tempo, and relative loudness of a particular composition....

  • Josquin des Prez
    2

    Josquin des Prez

    6 years ago

    Josquin des Prez, a Flemish composer, was a major figure in the transition between medieval and Renaissance music. Other spellings of his second name include des Pres, Depres, and des Prez. A master of contrapuntal...

  • The Flute
    0

    The Flute

    6 years ago

    Flute, a musical instrument of the woodwind family and a soprano voice of the orchestra. The modern flute is usually a tube of silvered metal about three-quarters of an inch in diameter and 26 inches long. It has a...

  • The Harp
    4

    The Harp

    6 years ago

    The harp is a stringed musical instrument. It has a large triangular wooden frame. The modern harp has 46 or 47 strings of graduated lengths stretched be­tween the instrument's two sides, called the sound box and the...

  • Improvisation
    0

    Improvisation

    6 years ago

    Improvisation, the art of composing music or verses, sometimes with musical accompaniment, without preparation and on unseen subjects. It is Italian in origin, and at the end of the 16th century prospective organists at...

  • Musicology
    0

    Musicology

    3 years ago

    Musicology is the organized scientific study of music. Many of its activities have a very long history, but as a separate academic discipline it emerged in Germany and Austria after the middle of the 19th century. Its...

  • The Guitar
    0

    The Guitar

    6 years ago

    The guitar is a stringed musical instrument resembling the lute. The guitar has a flat back and front and curved sides, and it is played by plucking the strings with the fingers of the right hand. The fingers of the...

  • The Trombone
    1

    The Trombone

    6 years ago

    A trombone is a wind instrument belonging to the brass family. It has a cup-shaped mouthpiece and consists of two long U-shaped cylindrical tubes. One of the tubes, known as the crook, is a sliding mechanism. The other...

  • The Harpsichord
    2

    The Harpsichord

    6 years ago

    A harpsichord is a keyboard instrument shaped like a delicate grand piano, in which the strings are plucked by plectra made of quill or leather. The modem concert harpsichord utilizes two keyboards and four sets of...

  • Counterpoint
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    Counterpoint

    6 years ago

    A counterpoint, in music, the playing or singing of two or more melodies simultaneously. Each melodic line is distinct from the others, but the separate themes interweave to produce a harmonious effect. Counterpoint is...

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
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    Johann Sebastian Bach

    6 years ago

    Johann Sebastian Bach was born in Eisenach, Germany, to a family of musicians whose tradition went back several generations.

  • Fredrik Pacius
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    Fredrik Pacius

    6 years ago

    Fredrik Pacius was a German-Finnish composer. Born in Hamburg, Germany on March 19, 1809. After musical studies under Moritz Haupt-mann and Ludwig Spohr at Kassel, he emigrated to Finland, achieving distinction as a...

  • Anton Bruckner
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    Anton Bruckner

    6 years ago

    Anton Bruckner was an Austrian composer, son of a village schoolmaster. Taught the organ at the age of 13. In 1868 he became a tutor, and later professor, at the Vienna Conservatory.

  • Francois Couperin
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    Francois Couperin

    6 years ago

    Francois Couperin was a French composer, harpsichordist, and organist, known as Francois le Grand, who was the supreme master of the French school of harpsichord composition. He is most famous for his 27 ordres (suites)...

  • Giuseppe Verdi
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    Giuseppe Verdi

    6 years ago

    Giuseppe Verdi was an Italian composer born in Le Roncole, near Busseto, Parma, October 10, 1813. A child of poor parents, he displayed musical talent very early. He received local training, and for some time lived in...

  • Willy Burkhard
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    Willy Burkhard

    6 years ago

    Willy Burkhard was a Swiss composer, born near Bienne on April 17, 1900. He studied at the conservatories of Bern, Leipzig, and Munich, and in Paris with Max d'Ollone. From 1928 to 1933 he taught at the Bern...

  • Ludwig van Beethoven
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    Ludwig van Beethoven

    6 years ago

    Ludwig van Beethoven one of the greatest German composers, was born in Bonn. His greatness lies in the huge scope of his musical expressiveness and in his great technical inventiveness. Ludwig's father was a singer. He...

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    2

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    6 years ago

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is regarded by many as the greatest musical genius of all time. However, most of his works were not printed until after his death, and some not until the middle of the nineteenth century. Mozart...

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