For thousands of years, people have played music together. The modern
version of the orchestra as we know it began about 400 years ago.
An orchestra is a group of musicians playing many types of instruments together.
The large Symphony Orchestra may contain more than 100 musicians, arranged by
sections of instruments. The strings, the brass, the woodwinds, and the percussion
instruments make up the families of the orchestra.
The smaller Chamber Orchestra contains 50 or fewer musicians.


Piano – The piano is one of
the most popular instruments
in the world, and was
invented by a harpsichord
maker named Bartolomeo
Cristofori in 1700 in Italy.

Drums – The drum seems to
be the oldest instrument in the
world. No one knows who
created them. The drum is a
member of the percussion


French Horn – The French
horn was invented in 1753 by
a German musician named
Hampel, and has the third
highest sound in the brass

Trombone – The trombone
was originally made by the
Flemish in the middle of the
15th century. It has a tele-
scoping mechanism which
moves in and out to change
the pitch.

Trumpet – It is believed that
the first trumpet was invented
in 1500 BC. One was found
in the tomb of Tutankhamen.
The modern trumpet has
piston valves and was rein-
vented in 1814 by Heinrich

Tuba –A patent for "basstuba"
was granted to two men from
Prussia in 1835. The tuba is
the largest and lowest-pitched
brass instrument.


Bassoon – The bassoon was
invented in the first half of the
16th century, and is part of the
woodwind family. It has a high
sound and can be up to eight
feet tall.

Flute – The flute dates back
to prehistoric times in one
form or another, and is known
as a wind instrument.

Clarinet – The clarinet was
invented around 1690. It con-
tains a cylindrical tube and is
considered to be the first true
single-reed instrument.

Oboe – The oboe was
originally called a hautbois,
and in 1770 the name oboe
was adopted. It is a double-
reed instrument of the
woodwind family.


Violin – The violin or "fiddle"
is a string instrument, and is the
smallest, highest-pitched member
of the family. It has four strings
tuned in perfect fifths.

Viola – The viola was created
in the 1500s in Italy by Andrea
Amati and Gasparo da Salo, who
also created the violin. The viola
is a bowed string instrument
and is the middle voice of the
violin family.

Cello – The cello originated in
the 16th century, also by the
Amati family. It has four strings
and is played with a bow. It is
the second largest bowed string
instrument in the orchestra.
The double-bass is the largest.

Double Bass – The double bass,
invented in 1580 by Gaspar
di Salo, is the largest and lowest-
pitched instrument in the modern
symphony orchestra.
It is also called the string bass,
upright bass, bass fiddle, bass
violin, doghouse bass, bass viol,
or stand-up bass.