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Thread: Why these kind of instruments and why this many?

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    Default Why these kind of instruments and why this many?

    I've always wondered about the development and evolution of the design of instruments used in orchestra. There's a general standard of instruments for orchestra, how has that come about? Why is there a double bass, a cello, a viola and a violin and not more or less? Not only do the instruments cover different ranges but as far as I can tell they have their own unique sound to them as well. Maybe im wrong but it seems like if you were to start at the highest note of a violin and keep going down until you hit the lowest note then were forced to go to a viola or cello you would notice that a different kind of instrument kicked in and it wouldn't be a seemless downstepping transition. Why is this? Is there anything left to do in designing instruments to accompany an orchestra? Is there anything left to add out there?

    To clarify my question lets look at a single instrument. A violin. What were they looking for when they designed the violin? Why does it look like it does, why does it sound like it does and why is eastern and western music equipped with instruments that sound different?

    Finally, is it likely a newly designed instrument will come along and become as popular as the guitar or piano? Why or why not?

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    Why is there a double bass, a cello, a viola and a violin and not more or less?
    I assume you mean sections... Double bass is there to reinforce the bass line early one, only later it became it's own line. Th rest is to fill out the voices. What instruments would you suggest more of? And in what range? The instruments selected cover the entire range, no need for more.

    Not only do the instruments cover different ranges but as far as I can tell they have their own unique sound to them as well. Maybe im wrong but it seems like if you were to start at the highest note of a violin and keep going down until you hit the lowest note then were forced to go to a viola or cello you would notice that a different kind of instrument kicked in and it wouldn't be a seemless downstepping transition. Why is this?
    All instruments have a different timbre, but the strings have a very similar sound. Timbre is different dynamics of different overtones of a note.

    Is there anything left to do in designing instruments to accompany an orchestra? Is there anything left to add out there?
    Mostly people add variants of the same thing. (Hecklephone, Wagner Tuba etc.)

    What were they looking for when they designed the violin?
    The voice.

    Why does it look like it does
    Physics. Overtones plus method of vibration.

    why is eastern and western music equipped with instruments that sound different?
    They are still based on the same principal. Different material, different needs (an example) pentatonic over tonality, Indian music over modal music etc..

    Finally, is it likely a newly designed instrument will come along and become as popular as the guitar or piano? Why or why not?
    Because all the types of instruments have already been made, it will just be a variant of a current instrument. Plus the current instruments are mostly evolutions of previous instruments meaning they have lots of history on their side.

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    I can't add much to the above.
    On new instruments, today pretty much everything is about electronics, so any acoustical evolving may be non-existent.
    I did hear of an instrument Yamanha was working on, a player piano that would receive a signal from a concert somewhere in the world, and play what the pianist was performing on your piano in real time. Sounded like a cool marriage, but that was years ago, and haven't heard a thing about it since.

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    Because all the types of instruments have already been made

    !

    expect people said that right before the theremin and the mellotron and the......

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    Senior Member Weston's Avatar
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    Hey, I know this is sort of a necropost, but . . .

    I think there's still a lot to explore with acoustic instruments. Composers are now looking to ethnic instruments not traditionally used in an orchestra for new and interesting tone colors. Also the traditional instruments we have are continually evolving. The piano of today is very different from the piano of Beethoven's time.

    As for electronics - you can probably tell where I stand on that by my avatar. For decades electronic instuments have been bashed by the stodgy sniffing elite. I like to quote saxophonist Wayne Shorter who reminds us, "your nervous system runs on electronics." I would even go out on a limb and suggest there are no more versatile and expressive instruments than the electric guitar, except maybe the human voice. Not even the violin I think is as expressive.

    For the future of electronic instruments I see us being able to control them with our thoughts alone. I know this sounds way out there, but already we have game controllers that read brain waves (or something), and kids are already using them. They cost about 200.00 USD. It's coming folks!

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    Interestingly, the double bass is not a true violin. It is a sort of hybrid between a violin and the viol, which is why its shape (and sometimes technique) is different from that of the other string instruments.

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    Member Alnitak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrandMaster
    What were they looking for when they designed the violin? Why does it look like it does?

    and Yagan Kiely answered : Physics. Overtones plus method of vibration.

    I have an other point of view! – just guess!






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