Difference between symphony and orchestra
Symphony vs Orchestra:
Music is a universal language. Lives can be healed through music and it sometimes acts as a form of meditation. People from different countries, speaking different languages, find music as a common language that can be used to communicate among each other. Thus, it is not a secret that Symphonies and Orchestras are known by many. Although they appear to be similar, they have some distinctive differences. Therefore, this article is delivered in order to enlighten those who are still blind to differences between Symphony and Orchestra.
What is a Symphony?
The term Symphony is usually used in Western classical music. There. It refers to an extended musical composition. Such a Symphony includes strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. Symphonies were still almost always orchestral works. Symphonies are composed for concert, opera, or church use. The term Symphony is also used for a large piece of music written for an orchestra, which started with Haydn during the Classical period, and are still written today. This Symphony usually consists usually of 3 main movements, or sections each lasting several minutes. It is sometimes referred to as a sonata for an orchestra because many symphonies are tonal work in four movements with the first in sonata form. This is often described by music theorists as the structure of a “classical” symphony. The word symphony is derived from Greek word, which was used to describe an instrument mentioned in the Book of Daniel, once believed by scholars to have been a bagpipe. Early symphonies, in common with both overtures and ripieno concertos, have three movements, in the tempi quick-slow-quick. Gustav Mahler wrote long, large-scale symphonies at the beginning of the 20th century. Some composers, including Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Carl Nielsen, continued to write in the traditional four-movement form, while other composers took different approaches. The “Italian” style of symphony, often used as overture and entr’acte in opera houses, became a standard three-movement form: a fast movement, a slow movement, and another fast movement. In 18th century, vocal music was dominant, and symphonies provided preludes, interludes, and postludes. By now the original style of symphony has changed. But still symphonies are loved by many.
What is an Orchestra?
The term Orchestra has been derived from a Greek word used to describe the place where musicians and dancers performed in ancient Greece. Thus, when different instruments play together, they form an orchestra. An Orchestra includes cellos, violins, violas and basses; brass instruments, such as trumpets, trombones, French horns and tubas; wind instruments, such as oboes, flutes, bassoons and clarinets; as well as percussion instruments like the snare drum, cymbals and timpani. Apart from the core orchestral complement, various other instruments are called for occasionally. In a nutshell, an Orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble. An Orchestra is also called as a Symphony Orchestra as an orchestra is what plays symphonies but it can play other music too. There are two types of Orchestras. One is ‘Chamber Orchestra’. Such an Orchestra has less than 50 players. A ‘Full Orchestra’ has 100 or more members in it. Among the instrument groups and within each group of instruments, there is a generally accepted hierarchy. In the 1830s, conductor François Antoine Habeneck began rehearsing a selected group of musicians. It was done in order to perform the symphonies of Beethoven, which had not been heard of in their entirety in Paris. Today we can see some different versions of Orchestras, where there are no conductors and sometimes with multiple conductors. During composers Beethoven and Felix Mendelssohn’s time, the orchestra was composed of a fairly standard core of instruments which was very rarely modified.
What is the difference between Symphony and Orchestra?
Although here are no real differences between Symphony and Orchestra, there is a huge fundamental difference between these two. Above all, a Symphony is a piece of Western classical music that is played by an orchestra, while an Orchestra is a group of Western classical musicians that often play symphonies. The difference between Symphony and Orchestra has less to do with the number of members and more to do with instrumentation. Basically, an orchestra is a symphony if it is capable of playing symphonies.
Both Symphony and Orchestra come from Greece. There, Symphony referred a harmonious combination. It also was used to refer to any number of instruments used produced chords, such as dulcimers. In Greece, Orchestra was a chorus. It was used in ancient Greek theatre to comment on the action of the play. It also referred to the area of the stage in which the chorus was situated.
A piece of art must be having an author. Therefore, the Symphony also has a composer and he is the one to write the Symphony. The Orchestra on the other hand, being a group of musical instrument players, must be having a conductor. Thus, an Orchestra is directed by a conductor. In some orchestras, we find multiple conductors while in others these are not any conductors at all. The conductor and the composer can be the same. But this happens very rarely. Anyway, the conductor and the composer are the important people in Orchestras and Symphonies. In case of a Symphony, only one person contributes to create it. But in case of an orchestra, there should be a group, often more than 100 players, to bring out the art work. Thus, Symphony and Orchestra have only few distinctive differences.
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