In our modern world, classical music has no place in the mainstream tastes. When the majority of people reflect on classical music, they usually think of dull orchestral music performed in a lavish concert hall for elitists, nerds or old people. In truth, classical music is just another music genre meant to entertain people and is varied like today’s music. Considering that standard music comprises of an array of genres like rock, country, hip-hop, rap and pop, classical music includes of varying categories. The largest of these groups being four main periods; Contemporary, Romantic, Classical and Baroque; there’s no other way to classify classical music besides from music classified as belonging to the mentioned time periods. Just like pieces of classical music are grouped, classic music instruments are classified into various families by how the gadget makes it sound. Four groups families of instruments exist percussion, brass, woodwinds, and strings.
1. The Strings
In the string family, the most common instruments include the violin, the viola, the cello and the double bass. Playing string instruments is done by plucking, striking and drawing a bow made of wood and horsehair across them. The devices are made from gluing together pieces of wood, with the quality of sound being produced depending on the shape, wood used to build the instrument, the breadth of both the top and back and finally the varnish coating on the outside surface. With all four string instruments having four strings, the bass is the biggest, and with the lowest accompanying pitch in the modern-day symphony. The cello also referred to as the violoncello tuned in perfect fifths. Furthermore, the violin is the smallest of the string instruments and has the smallest and highest pitch among this family, with the viola slightly larger but offers a lower and deeper sound.
2. The Woodwinds
Mainly made of wood hence the name, these instruments of the orchestra are tubes that have an opening on one end and a mouthpiece on the other. Along with its length are rows of holes covered by metal caps referred to as keys, which upon pressing produce different musical notes with the sound changing depending on the air leaving the instrument. Instruments in this family in order of descending general tone include the flute, piccolo, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and finally the saxophone.
3. The Percussion Family
Instruments in this category produce sound in three ways; hitting, shaking or scraping. These instruments can either be tuned or unturned which affect the notes generated as a result. In the case of tuned instruments, the pitches delivered are specific whereas unturned instruments have no definite tone; with the particular tune instruments being the marimba, timpani, and xylophone while indefinite pitch percussion instruments include the bass drum, cymbals, and snare drum. The percussion family is diverse with many of them being global instruments with a different cultural background. Other instruments in the percussion family include the castanets, rattles, maracas, gong, and chimes.
4. The Brass
The instruments in this family comprise of long tubes which widen towards the end to form a bell-like shape. The curving and twisting of the pipes are molded into diverse shapes to ensure they are easy to hold and play. The instrument produces sound when the player blows air through the mouthpiece thereby causing air to vibrate against the inner border of the instrument. Valves are connected to the extended pipes and upon pressing opens and closes different sections of the tube and increasing the pipe’s length results in the production of a lower sound. To change the tune, the instrument player changes his lip’s opening and stiffness, on the mouthpiece to produce a variation in pitch. The trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, French horn, and tuba are the instruments in the brass family.