Chamber Orchestra – Strings Music Festival

The other day I was at one of our Outreach Programs at the Boys and Girls Club with our artist-in-residence string quartet, the Tesla Quartet.  They asked the group of 6-10 year olds, “does  anyone know what pizzicato is?” As my mind went blank, a curly blond haired kid, no more than 6, raised his hand and confidently said “plucking.”  If you are wondering if he was right, keep reading because this post is for you. 

Chamber Music: Written for a small group of instruments, the word “chamber” signifies that the music can be performed in a small room with an intimate atmosphere. This could also be compared to the modern day “jam session.” 

Orchestra: A large instrumental ensemble with sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments, led by a conductor. These have different names depending on size. A smaller-sized orchestra (of about fifty players or less) is called a chamber orchestra. A full-size orchestra (about 100 players) may sometimes be called a symphony orchestra or philharmonic orchestra.

Concerto: This basically means solo with the orchestra. Here you will want to pay attention because someone is about to show off some mad skills. 

Applause:  Here is the moment you have been waiting for to show your appreciation. Well sometimes you have to wait a little longer. Somewhere in the early 19th century it was decided that applause interrupted the momentum of a piece, which is why we now hold our applause until all movements (little songs within a piece) are complete. It looks like Mozart lost this battle years ago when he expected that people would eat and talk over his music, particularly at dinner, and was delighted when his audience would clap during his symphonies.

Pizzicato: Plucking – he was right.
Cristin Frey is the Marketing Director for Strings Music Festival. Look for more of her posts debunking classical music terminology.

Posted on July 16, 2012
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