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The Orchestra In All Its Many Forms

The orchestra tunes in gender and number

When brought together, the four families of instruments offer a whole panoply of sounds and timbres (the specific sound of each musical instrument) that enable the orchestra to play a wide variety of music. The formation of the orchestra has changed over the course of history: the first orchestras were much smaller than today, consisting only of the string family and a few wind instruments, such as oboes and horns. Over time, composers have constantly added new instruments to this core and explored more and more sound combinations. Some works now require more than a hundred musicians on stage!

For further information

There are still many interesting things to discover about the symphony orchestra, whether it's the instruments that make it up, the fascinating professions that contribute to it or its vast repertoire. In the three videos that follow, Patrice Bélanger and Adam Johnson explain to us what the timbre of instruments is and how it can be modified, former OSM assistant conductor Dina Gilbert talks to us about the conductor's gestures, and Eric Chappell introduces us to a rare and impressive instrument unique to the OSM: the octobasse.

Game 1

Match the following terms with their definition.

Hint: All the information has already been given in the guide!

1. Symphony A) Features a solo instrument in dialogue with the orchestra
2. Concerto B) Technique pour pincer la corde plutôt que la jouer avec l’archet
3. Orchestra pit C) A particularly dramatic movement in the requiem
4.  Dies irae D)The “grandfather” of film music
5. Pizzicato E)The work par excellence of the orchestral repertoire, comprises 4 movements
6. Erich Korngold F)Space under the stage where the orchestra plays for opera and ballet

Game 2

In the director’s shoes

1) Choose a scene from an existing film or video game.

2) Choose a work (or a passage from a work) from the symphonic repertoire as your soundtrack. Play both at the same time to superimpose images and sound.

3) Explain the links you feel between the images and the musical passage, referring, if possible, to concepts covered in the teaching guide (instrument families, timbres, musical genre).

 

Suggestions for musical works :

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Game 3

Keep your ears wide open!
What instrument(s) are we talking about?

Multiple-choice questionnaire, one or more answers possible.

Game 4

Keep your ears wide open!
What instrument(s) are we talking about?

Multiple-choice questionnaire, one or more answers possible.

 

Extrait 1 : Tchaïkovski

Excerpt
a) oboe
b) flute
c) violin

Extrait 2 : Ibert

Extrait 3 : Britten

Extrait 4 – BONUS!
excerpt