#1
Ok, what I mean by the question in the title is, do all of the first group of violins play the same thing, and the second group play something else, and the group of cellos play something else...so you only write one part for each group to play? Or would, for example, the cello section have different musicians playing different parts?

So you'd just write:

two violin parts
one viola part
one cello part
one double bass part

one flute part
one oboe part
one clarinet part
one bassoon part

one trumpet part
one french horn part
one trombone part
one tuba part

various percussion parts

??

Thanks in advance for answers =]
#2
No, almost never. And you also have divisis on parts with large sections. So say theres 3 viola parts. 2 of those parts will probably have divisis, which means that when its said and done, theres really 5 viola parts.
#3
I think alot of the time they play the same thing, as having 5 cello's playing 5 different parts as well as the rest of the orchestra could be quite ridiculous. Unless it's some Avante Garde Jazz.
Usually there are 2 or 3 instruments that will be playing the lead melody over the top of the rest of the orchestra which will be playing individual notes of a chord to create a giant voicing.

But hey i'm no expert, I think it would vary from composer to composer however and also on how large the orchestra itself is.
#4
Don't know what tubatom is talking about. In orchestra we only have one part for each instrument unless there's divisi which really doesn't happen that much. But I can't say anything for the parts of the orchestra besides the strings cause I don't know. I would guess they have the same part too.
Last edited by acoustielectric at Oct 11, 2009,
#5
Quote by Zanon
I think alot of the time they play the same thing, as having 5 cello's playing 5 different parts as well as the rest of the orchestra could be quite ridiculous. Unless it's some Avante Garde Jazz.
Usually there are 2 or 3 instruments that will be playing the lead melody over the top of the rest of the orchestra which will be playing individual notes of a chord to create a giant voicing.

But hey i'm no expert, I think it would vary from composer to composer however and also on how large the orchestra itself is.



very true
#6
I know that there are usually just one part for each string instrument, sometimes with divisis, that there are often various parts for each horn, and that percussion parts are written with different percussive instruments in different songs. I'm not sure what the winds have, but I think its the same as the brass.
#7
Quote by acoustielectric
Don't know what tubatom is talking about. In orchestra we only have one part for each instrument unless there's divisi which really doesn't happen that much. But I can't say anything for the parts of the orchestra besides the strings cause I don't know. I would guess they have the same part too.


Have you ever played in/with a professional orchestra? Exactly

Divisis dont usually last the entire piece, but they are very common and its actually strange to see a piece WITHOUT them in the string parts.

Without divisis you can expect 2 violin parts, often 2 viola parts, often 2 cello parts, 1 string bass part, 2 flute parts, 3 clarinet parts, 2 bassoon parts (plus contrabassoon), 2 oboe parts (often with english horn too), 4 trumpet parts, 4 french horn parts, three trombone parts (sometimes plus bass trombone) and 1 tuba part.

EDIT: I forgot 3! 1 harp 1 piano and however many percussion parts the composer wants
Last edited by tubatom868686 at Oct 12, 2009,
#8
Quote by tubatom868686
Have you ever played in/with a professional orchestra? Exactly

Divisis dont usually last the entire piece, but they are very common and its actually strange to see a piece WITHOUT them in the string parts.

Without divisis you can expect 2 violin parts, often 2 viola parts, often 2 cello parts, 1 string bass part, 2 flute parts, 3 clarinet parts, 2 bassoon parts (plus contrabassoon), 2 oboe parts (often with english horn too), 4 trumpet parts, 4 french horn parts, three trombone parts (sometimes plus bass trombone) and 1 tuba part.

Anyone who says anything else has never played with a real orchestra

There will always be two violin parts, as they are two completely different sections of the orchestra.

However, for almost every other section the number of parts are never really as fixed as you implied. Often there is only one viola part, or one bassoon part and if one section playing alone for a small part of the piece/movement there might be 3 or 4 cello parts to make up the harmony, for example.

Btw, this is all from experience in a Symphony Orchestra.
#9
Quote by 12345abcd3
There will always be two violin parts, as they are two completely different sections of the orchestra.

However, for almost every other section the number of parts are never really as fixed as you implied. Often there is only one viola part, or one bassoon part and if one section playing alone for a small part of the piece/movement there might be 3 or 4 cello parts to make up the harmony, for example.

Btw, this is all from experience in a Symphony Orchestra.


Well of course the numbers will change with the orchestra, the era the music was written in, the composer, the conductor, the arrangement, even just that particular spot in the peice.

But I think we can agree that the numbers I listed are close to what you would typically find in an orchestra for the majority of symphonic music
#10
it depends how the piece is written i suppsoe? If you want two different lead parts *or a soprano harmony* you may have two seperate violin/flute parts, it all depends on the actual piece
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#11
Quote by tubatom868686
Divisis dont usually last the entire piece, but they are very common and its actually strange to see a piece WITHOUT them in the string parts.


There are almost never divisis in the bass parts. If there are, they are almost always octaves or fifths, and most songs don't have any. I don't know about cello, viola, or violins though.
#12
Quote by isaac_bandits
There are almost never divisis in the bass parts. If there are, they are almost always octaves or fifths, and most songs don't have any. I don't know about cello, viola, or violins though.


Nice catch. I should have been more specific. I was mostly talking about violins and violas, and sometimes cellos. Your 100% right that bass divisis that arent octaves are rare
#13
I'm not sure about an orchestra but in all or school bands and ensembles, each instrument has a few different parts.
We do this, mostly because people have different experience and can't play the tune the whole time, or will get bored and sloppy just playing bass.. blah blah
#14
I play double bass in an orchestra and definitely for the basses they are all the same part. As far as i know every section is just given one part, so the whole of the violins play the same note at the same time, however sometimes composers put different parts in e.g. there was one time when I (inside player) played a low G and my freind (on the outside of the desk) played a high G. But some people may get confused because some instruments have a section per instrument, like there are two bassoon parts, one for each bassoon. In a full orchestra I think it goes as so (1 desk = 2 people):

Violin 1: 10 desks? a lot
Violin 2: 8 desks? in my orchestra there are slightly less than violin 1
Viola: 5 desks?
Cello: 10 desks?
Basses: 2-3 desks
Clarinet 1: 1 Desk
Clarinet 2: 1 desk
Flute: 2 desks?
Oboe: 1 desk?
bassoon 1: 1 person
bassoon 2: 1 person
Horns 1: 1 desk
Horns 2: 1 desk
Trombone: 1 desk
trumpets: 2 desks?
percussion: 3-4 people, lots of instruments
harp: 1 person

So I don't really know but thats what I've had about when I've played in places like Fairfield halls.
#15
Quote by tubatom868686
Well of course the numbers will change with the orchestra, the era the music was written in, the composer, the conductor, the arrangement, even just that particular spot in the peice.

But I think we can agree that the numbers I listed are close to what you would typically find in an orchestra for the majority of symphonic music


A lot of music my orchestra plays only has 2 or 3 trumpet parts (as opposed to four). But yes, those numbers are a great place to start.
#16
almost always just one part. very seldom do we get different parts for the same instrument, but it is just HS orchestra so that might happen more often in a professional orchestra, i dont think so though
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#17
Quote by ChecKxMaTe77
almost always just one part. very seldom do we get different parts for the same instrument, but it is just HS orchestra so that might happen more often in a professional orchestra, i dont think so though


Multiple parts for instruments is the norm in professional orchestras.
#18
The higher voices often have different part, the lower voices tend to have unison. Why? Because you can't hear a single bass or cello stand out that well against the rest of the orchestra.

So you can have 1st 2nd and 3rd flute parts, because they play harmony and it sounds nice, but if you have three bassists they will often have the same part because you couldn't just hear one bass. And lower harmonies aren't as nice imo
Last edited by NoOne0507 at Oct 12, 2009,
#19
It varies depending on the composer/piece
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#20
Quote by tubatom868686
Have you ever played in/with a professional orchestra? Exactly

Divisis dont usually last the entire piece, but they are very common and its actually strange to see a piece WITHOUT them in the string parts.

Without divisis you can expect 2 violin parts, often 2 viola parts, often 2 cello parts, 1 string bass part, 2 flute parts, 3 clarinet parts, 2 bassoon parts (plus contrabassoon), 2 oboe parts (often with english horn too), 4 trumpet parts, 4 french horn parts, three trombone parts (sometimes plus bass trombone) and 1 tuba part.

Anyone who says anything else has never played with a real orchestra
That look like a pretty good baseline to me - although orchestras I've played in have always had 3 or 4 violin sections, and they occassionally have different parts within them.

But if you're writing, how you divide the parts will depend on how you want the piece to sound - if you want 1 violin part and 3 bass lines thats up to you. I wouldn't limit yourself to how the orchestra is normally set up if it doesn't work for the sound you want.
#21
Quote by tubatom868686
Well of course the numbers will change with the orchestra, the era the music was written in, the composer, the conductor, the arrangement, even just that particular spot in the peice.

But I think we can agree that the numbers I listed are close to what you would typically find in an orchestra for the majority of symphonic music

Agreed, although looking over that list you are missing percussion, which is quite common, and also harp, though that is less common.
#22
I play in a college orchestra. I'm frequently dividing as a second violin. And in the Cuban Overture we just played there were 6 second violin parts and 6 first violin parts.


EDIT: And by that I mean it divided into six parts each, not that there were six players.
Last edited by Anteaterking at Oct 12, 2009,
#23
Quote by 12345abcd3
Agreed, although looking over that list you are missing percussion, which is quite common, and also harp, though that is less common.


Dont know why I forgot those 3. I edited them into my original
#24
Ok, so i agree with parts of some people's and disagree with parts of others,

but here's what i can say for sure,

Low Brass - most orchestras use 4 trombone players and a tuba player

Principal Trombonist - Plays 1st trombone part

Assistant Principal Trombonist - just what it sounds like- doubles 1st part in louder sections, may cover 1st part just before a solo to allow Principal player to prepare

Second Trombonist - Plays 2nd trombone part

Bass Trombonist - Plays 3rd trombone part, may or may not actually need a bass to do it

Tuba - Plays the tuba part