Brass Instruments in the Orchestra

orchestra in concert hall

Brass instruments in the orchestra traditionally fall into the four categories of horns, trumpets, trombones and tubas.

A typical combination of such instruments in a full symphony orchestra is four horns, two trumpets, three trombones and one tuba. However, the exact numbers in a given orchestra has been known to vary considerably according to historical period, geographical location and composer preference.

As their name suggests, brass instruments are unsurprisingly made of brass. They essentially resemble very long pipes that widen into a bell-like shape at their ends. The pipes are curved and twisted in many different ways, to enable them to be held and played more easily.

So, whether you are interested in a trombone, French horn or tuba, what do you need to know about the brass instruments in the orchestra to make the most informed buying choices?


Ultimate Guide: What is an Orchestra?

orchestra performing on stage

The term ‘orchestra’ means many things to many people, so it is probably most instructive to look first at the dictionary definition., for example, provides various answers to the question “what is an orchestra?”, with the first being “a group of performers on various musical instruments, including especially stringed instruments of the viol class, clarinets and flutes, cornets and trombones, drums, and cymbals, for playing music, as symphonies, operas, popular music, or other compositions.”

However, the same site also posits that in a modern theatre, the term ‘orchestra’ may refer to the space reserved for musicians, usually the front part of the main floor. It adds that in the ancient Greek theatre, the orchestra was the circular space in front of the stage, allotted to the chorus.


Ultimate Guide: What is a Wind Orchestra or Ensemble?

wind band performing

If you are a music lover, chances are you will have heard some form of orchestral music, be that at the theatre, at live music events, or even on TV and film soundtracks. But what is an orchestra? Well, put simply, an orchestra is a group of musicians who play a range of instruments together to create live music. They differ from a marching band in that they are designed for concerts and seated performances. (more…)

Buyers Guide: New Instruments

Buying a new instrument (or indeed second hand!) should be an exciting prospect. Your choice should help you progress as a musician and help propel you forward. For over 50 years we’ve helped musicians at all levels choose equipment. From new beginners aged 5, 6 and 7 through to top professionals who tour the world as musicians.

With all that experience we wanted to put together our ultimate guide to testing new instruments.


Woodwind Instruments in the Orchestra

The name ‘woodwind’ for this family of instruments refers to the wood from which these instruments were once exclusively made, as well as the need to blow air – or ‘wind’ – into them to produce a sound.

Woodwind instruments in the orchestra are no longer solely made of wood, with metal and plastic also now being used.

An orchestra’s wind section can consist of various combinations of such instruments as the piccolo, oboe, flute, clarinet, cor anglais (literally French for ‘English horn’), bass clarinet, E-flat clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon and saxophone.

Below, we have sought to answer some of the most common woodwind orchestra queries that our customers here at Dawkes Music have.

Woodwinds in the Orchestra

Orchestral Woodwind Section