What Instruments Are In An Orchestra?

We frequently refer to musical instruments as part of a family when discussing them. That’s because the instruments in a particular family are connected, much like in human families. They frequently share the same materials, have equivalent appearances, and generate sound in analogous ways. Just like parents are more significant than children, some are bigger, and some are smaller.

We’ll examine all the instruments that make up these various divisions in this article, along with their names.

What Instruments Are In An Orchestra?

Strings: Double bass, violin, viola, and cello. Woodwinds include the saxophone, English horn, contrabassoon, bass clarinet, piccolo, flute, oboe, and bass clarinet. French horn, trumpet, and other Brass instruments. Tuba, Snare drum, triangle, bass drum, cymbal, piano, gong, and vibraphone are examples of percussion instruments.

what instruments are in an orchestra infographic

Strings Instruments

The violin, viola, cello, and double (string) bass are the string family members most frequently utilized. They are all created by joining wood scraps with glue to create hollow sound boxes.

The highest & smallest -pitched member of the string family is the violin. It is placed on the player’s left shoulder and held under the chin. You can play it while standing or sitting down.

The viola is the next lowest member of the string family, slightly larger than the violin but played similarly. The lower three strings of the viola are identical to those of the violin, but its fourth string is tuned a further fifth below the lowest violin string.

Despite being significantly more significant, the cello only has an octave (8 notes) of the viola’s notes. The cellist sits in a chair and holds the cello between their knees because of its size. To sustain the instrument’s weight, the cello has an endpin that rests on the ground.

The double bass, one octave below the cello, is the largest and lowest-pitched bowed string instrument.

Another stringed instrument, the harp, differs significantly from the other members of the string family, and it has roughly 45 vertical strings and a lofty triangular form. 


The woodwind family of instruments used to all be constructed of wood, hence the name, although they are now occasionally made of metal, plastic, or a combination of these materials. They are tubes with a mouthpiece on one end and an aperture on the other. 

Each has a row of holes capped with metal pieces known as keys. The woodwind family has three methods for producing sound: blowing air across the edge of or into the mouthpiece (for the flute or piccolo), between a single reed and a fixed surface (for the clarinet and bass clarinet), or between two reeds (oboe, English horn, bassoon, and contrabassoon).

The flute is a two-foot-long, slender metal tube with a row of keyed holes. (Early flutes frequently had wood bodies.)

The piccolo often built of wood or metal, resembles a small flute. However, the instrument’s length is shorter than the flute’s. Therefore its pitch is higher, but its mechanics are the same.

Unlike the flute and piccolo, the oboe lacks a mouthpiece. Instead, it is a double-reed instrument, and the representative is made of two reeds bound together.


The English horn (cor anglais) needs to be 1.5 times as long because it is a perfect fifth below the oboe. Additionally, it includes a bulbous bell and a curving metal reed neck.

The clarinet, another wooden instrument, makes a musical sound by blowing air between a single reed and the mouthpiece. It is a highly adaptable instrument with a wide range of roughly four octaves.

A larger, lower relative of the clarinet is the bass clarinet. Nowadays, most bass clarinets are straight instruments similar to clarinets, but with a curved metal neck and a small, upturned bell made of silver-colored metal.

Because of its weight and shape, the contrabassoon is twice as long, double as curved, and held by an endpin.

Brass Family

In essence, brass instruments are long pipes that broaden into bell-like shapes at their ends. To make the lines easier to handle and play with, they have been bent and twisted into various shapes. A player “buzzes” their lips while blowing air through the mouthpiece. Like making a “raspberry,” a vibrating column of air within the instrument produces the sound heard from brass family instruments.

The trumpet has been used since approximately 1500 BCE! It is the brass family member with the highest pitch, and because of its bright, clear sound, it was frequently used for religious and signaling purposes.

In comparison to the trumpet, the trombone sounds more subdued. The trombone’s approximately nine feet of tubing may be adjusted using a slide with seven positions rather than valves or keys to achieve a variety of tones.

The horn is referred to as the French horn but not French!) consists of a circle formed by twenty feet of narrow tubing flared at one end.

To produce a richer tone in the low register, the bass trombone features a wider bore and a giant bell than the tenor trombone.

The tuba, the lowest-sounding member of the brass family, is made of around sixteen feet of tubing. Given that it initially appeared in the middle of the 19th century.

Percussion Instruments

The percussion department gives symphonic music a range of rhythms, textures, and tone colors. The percussion family of instruments can produce sound in one of three ways: Like woodwind, brass, and string instruments, tuned instruments make precise pitches or notes.

Large copper bowls with calfskin or plastic stretched over the top are called timpani, sometimes called kettle drums. Timpani is a pitched instrument adjusted to a specific pitch corresponding to the music’s key.

The snare drum sound, a standard unpitched percussion instrument, can be somewhat altered by tightening the drum head. However, mylar makes up the majority of modern drum heads (plastic).

The bass drum is a sizable tuned percussion instrument with a calfskin or plastic drum head covering both sides of the hollow wooden cylinder (called “base” as in the first base).

The triangle is a musical instrument that gets its name from the shape of its small, cylindrical steel piece, which is strung from a loop and struck with a steel beater.

The gong is a vast, soft mallet that strikes a disc-shaped brass instrument. Gongs come in sizes ranging from tiny, creating a high-pitched sound, to enormous (! ), producing a low, resonant sound.

Metal alloys are used to make thin, rounded plates for cymbals. As a result, the majority of cymbals have variable pitches. In addition, the cymbal’s sound is influenced by its size; larger cymbals are louder and have a longer sustain.

One of the musical instruments that people are most accustomed to is the piano. It is widely used to accompany, practice, and compose and utilized for solo performances. It also regularly occurs in group and chamber music.

How Many Instruments In An Orchestra?

In full orchestras, forty-four is utilized. The string family dominates the orchestra, with more than half of the performers on stage. Each of the carved, hollow wooden bodies of the string instruments has four strings that span vertically from top to bottom.

What Are 10 Instruments In A Symphony Orchestra?

Oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and flute are examples of wind instruments. The timpani, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, celesta, and piano are examples of percussion instruments. French horn, trumpet, trombone, and tuba are the four parts of a brass instrument.

What Are The Four Orchestral Instruments?

Quartets are ensemble performances of four performers, as well as works for four instruments or four musicians. Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, and Other Orchestral Instruments Families

What Are The 5 Main String Instruments In An Orchestra?

An orchestra consists of the following instruments: strings (violin, viola, cello, and double bass). In addition, woodwinds include the saxophone, English horn, contrabassoon, bass clarinet, piccolo, flute, oboe, and bass clarinet.

What Makes Up A Full Orchestra?

An orchestra’s most basic level is a large instrumental ensemble, including sections for string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments.

A modern full-scale symphony orchestra has about 100 permanent players, most frequently distributed as follows: 16–18 first violins, 16-second violins, 12 violas, 12 cellos, eight double basses, four flutes (one specializing in piccolo), four oboes (one specializing in English horn), and four clarinets.

What Instruments Are Not In An Orchestra?

The baritone horn and the Sousaphone are the most popular band instruments not found in the orchestra. The baritone horn performs in the same range as the trombone, but its timbre is significantly more “round” and “full.”

Which Instrument Is Called The Clown Of The Orchestra?

Bassoon, that is. This piece of music is frequently referred to as the orchestra’s clown.

What Is The Most Common Instrument In An Orchestra?

The string family members most frequently utilize the violin, viola, cello, and double (string) bass. They are all created by joining wood scraps with glue to create hollow sound boxes.


Does Orchestra Include Piano?

The piano is a whole orchestra, yet occasionally the large symphony orchestra can be heard in the piano’s sound. 

Is A Saxophone In An Orchestra?

The saxophone is an instrument with a reed and a brass body, which links the orchestra’s woodwind and brass sections.

What Is The Smallest Instrument In An Orchestra?

The string family’s smallest member is the violin, followed by the viola, cello, and double bass, sometimes known as the contrabass, the most noticeable instrument in the family.

What Is The Most Common Instrument In An Orchestra?

The string family members most frequently utilize the violin, viola, cello, and double (string) bass. They are all created by joining wood scraps with glue to create hollow sound boxes.

Last Words

An orchestra is a powerful group of musicians who perform in unison in classical music.

Many different instruments make up its composition, and some large symphony orchestras have over 100 players! We hope it explains a few orchestral instruments further.

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