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What Instruments Are in a Wind Symphony Orchestra?

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A wind symphony orchestra is also known as a wind band, symphonic band, concert band, wind ensemble or wind orchestra. Musical groups that mainly use wind instruments and percussion are known as wind symphony orchestras. There aren't any string sections as there are in classic orchestras, but there's little difference between orchestra music and wind symphony orchestra music.


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Woodwinds in a wind symphony orchestra usually play the music that would be played by string instruments in a traditional orchestra. These instruments include the flute, piccolo, oboe, clarinet, English horn, bassoon and saxophone. Many are made of wood, and most have reeds in the mouthpiece that vibrate to make sound when the player blows into the instrument. Flutes and piccolos have a hole in the side of the instrument, which the player blows into to make sounds. Different notes are played by fingering keys that cover different holes.


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Brass instruments in a wind symphony orchestra include the trumpet, french horn, trombone, baritone and tuba. They are made of metal, and the player makes sound by pressing his lips against the mouthpiece and blowing. The rest of the instrument amplifies the sound as it comes out of the bell-shaped part on the other end. The musician plays the various notes by pushing valves or moving slides to different positions.


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Percussion instruments are any instruments not classified as brass or woodwinds. These include drums and other instruments that are hit with drumsticks or other devices. Wind symphony orchestras usually have a few timpani drums, which are large drums with rounded bottoms that are tuned to play certain pitches. Other drums aren't tuned to a specific pitch. In wind symphony orchestras, these include snare drums, tenor drums and bass drums.


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Percussion instruments that can be used to play a melody have bars, blocks or tubes arranges like keyboard keys. These include the xylophone, marimba, tubular bells and the glockenspiel.


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Other percussion instruments are cymbals, gongs, wood blocks, maracas, castanets, tambourines, triangles and bells. These add special effects to music, and are often used to produce unique sound in wind symphony orchestra selections. Occasionally, a wind symphony orchestra will hire a guest musician to play a harp or other string instrument, but the orchestra usually consists only of brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.

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