Your favourite instrument of the Symphony Orchestra

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by __Vader__, Oct 15, 2006.

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  1. __Vader__ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 3
    A symphony or philharmonic orchestra (They're the same thing, and that's that:p ) will consist of a wide assortment of instruments, that when played together form a single harmonious sound. My question to you is: Which instrument is your favourite in the context of a symphony orchestra? Your choices may include, but are certainly not limited to:

    Woodwinds
    flute
    piccolo
    oboe
    cor anglais
    clarinet
    bass clarinet
    bassoon
    contrabasoon

    Brass
    trumpet
    trombone
    bass trombone
    french horn
    tuba

    Percussion
    timpani
    snare drum
    bass drum
    celesta

    Strings
    violin
    viola
    cello
    double bass
    piano

    My personal favourite and the one I wish I could play most is the French Horn. A French Horn has all of the volume of the other brass instruments but has a much nicer texture. A French horn can rise from silence, whereas a trumpet, well, you know when it starts playing. French Horns play some of my favourite parts of many pieces of film music and classical.

    Honorable mention to the bassoon, clarinet, and snare drum.
  2. Cobranaconda Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2004
    star 7
    I have a fondness for strings. Cello and Violin would be tied first, but if I had to pick one it'd be the cello. It's just a beautiful sound.
  3. halibut Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 8
    French Horn is certainly a good one, but I think the oboe just pips it. beautiful instrument
  4. Cerrabore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 4
    Can't decide. Pretty much everything has a use.
  5. Darth_Vader-Anakin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2002
    star 3
    One of my greatest regrets is that I didn't learn to play an instrument in high school. I'm only 18 so I could probably still learn to play something, but I'm so busy with school, and more importanly my photography, that I just don't have the time it would take to devote myself to it. But, I would without-a-doubt choose to play the cello since it is my favorite instrument. It has such a wonderful and haunting beauty that just sets it apart from the rest.
  6. Mariu Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2006
    star 2
    Strings: violin, viola, cello

    Woodwinds: oboe and clarinet
  7. SeventhAngelicSlayer Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2005
    star 2
    I'm partial to the string instruments, and even more partial to the cello, because I used to take lessons for it, but I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate all of the instruments.
  8. Jedi-Washington Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 4
    It depends on the usage.

    Expression: Oboe, but not German reed oboe.

    It's not the most versitile instrument, but nothing tops it for expression. The cello comes close behind it for it's ability to sing at times.

    Chordal balance: my favorite sound in the orchestra is the basses. They have the most impact and support everything else in the orchestra.

    Impact: French Horns.

    ~JW
  9. andy1044 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2006
    star 2
    That reminds me of a joke:

    Q: How do you get five oboists in tune?

    A: Shoot four of them.

    But seriously, I would have to say that due to its sound quality and range of expression, the Alto Flute is my favorite solo orchestral instrument. As a section however, I would have to go with the strings. Nothing beats the kind of sound you can get out of a really good group of string players.


    The list also left out the Harp, another supremely beautiful instrument.
  10. Cellist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2003
    star 4
    Oh geez, where to begin.


    Violin is probably my favorite, since I play it, but I love pretty much all of the other instruments equally. I definitely enjoy woodwinds over brass and percussion.

  11. Miana Kenobi Costuming & Props Mod - Retired Admin

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    I'd have to say French Horn. I just love it's timbre.
  12. Darth_Vader-Anakin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2002
    star 3
    But when that string section is just slightly off, Whew! You can always tell.
  13. andy1044 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2006
    star 2
    Ah, but if they were a really good group of string players they wouldn't be off, would they?
  14. RocketGirl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2002
    star 4
    Well, I just like to say 'glockenspiel'... :)
  15. __Vader__ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 3
    Actually I forgot about the glockenspeil, it too has excellent uses. I particularly like it in "Carbon Freeze" It really elevates the imperial march into a whole other level of evil. Also it is used in The Raider's March at some points which sounds excellent also.
  16. andy1044 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2006
    star 2
    Tubular Bells can also be used to great effect.
  17. pahket Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 6, 2001
    star 4
    Low woodwinds always have a special place in my heart. But if I had to pick an item actually on the list, Contrabassoon all the way. There's just something about it. Y'know, while the tuba projects a rounder tone, it's always amazing to hear the buzzier, reedier sound of the contra layered underneath (under either the tuba, or low strings, or combined with other low WWs). Whereas the tuba is, without a doubt, the more powerful, fuller-sounding of the instruments, there's something about the contra's sound that implies power; the tone is sort of hollow, almost wanting for power.

    Take the first statement in DotF: flute, oboe and clarinet starting around middle E, with the contra two octaves below! That's magic.

    Also, even though I'm a clarinet player, I'd have to admit I harbor a secret love for the English horn. The tone is so achingly mournful; when I heard the EH solo in the William Tell Overture at a US Army Band concert I was so moved I literally wept.

    Along with the EH, I suppose, must also come the bass oboe, now a very rare instrument. Bass oboe actually has quite a few lovely parts in Holt's The Planets, although most orchestras don't have one and usually those parts are covered by bass clarinet. But! If anybody can find a copy of The Planets that actually has the bass oboe in it (I know there's one on the LSO's Live album), listen to the solo near the beginning of Saturn. Such a full-bodied, dark tone. It's enough to make your hair stand on end. :)
  18. Darth_Vader-Anakin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2002
    star 3
    Speaking of woodwinds, does anybody else feel that they are somewhat unrepresented in film scores recently? The cello is my favorite instrument, but the woodwinds are my favorite section and I can't help but wonder where they went. Some of you may have read how upset I was when Zimmer said that woodwinds just don't belong in some films...

    I don't want to derail this thread, just pointing something out.
  19. Cellist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2003
    star 4
    I think they're used a lot, they're just not always given very prominent parts. Especially clarinet. I don't think Williams favors the clarinet very much. It's very rare that I can pick out a clarinet part in a Star Wars score.

  20. Darth_Maestro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2005
    star 4
    ahahahahahahahaha!!!
    [face_skull] [face_skull]
    now seriously its a Tie between Tuba and Frebch Horn.[face_beatup]

    I know but the Tuba can be just as versatile as any.

    Contrabassoon all the way. There's just something about it. Y'know, while the tuba projects a rounder tone, it's always amazing to hear the buzzier, reedier sound of the contra layered underneath (under either the tuba, or low strings, or combined with other low WWs). Whereas the tuba is, without a doubt, the more powerful, fuller-sounding of the instruments, there's something about the contra's sound that implies power; the tone is sort of hollow, almost wanting for power.

    amazing i know exactly what you mean i get that same felling when i hear a Contrabasson.
  21. andy1044 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2006
    star 2
    Zimmer is, to a degree, correct. Woodwinds are not as popular anymore because modern film music is becoming much more homophonic than it used to be. Many composers trained in jazz, or even classical composition, would use woodwinds to add in 7ths as well as other embellishing non chord tones over a stronger melody or chord structure. As many of the composers coming on the scene now, particularly those coming out of the cloning facility known as Media Ventures/Remote Control Productions, are not exactly well versed in jazz, or even classical theory, interesting chord progressions have gone out the window. Some of this is due, in part, to the music that is generally considered "popular" now. In fact, with the rise in popularity of the power chord, chords lost half of what make them useful to composers and interesting to discerning listeners (namely 7th and the 3rd of the chord). I hate to say it, but in these times, "pop" sells. Ok, I'm off track. Anyway, I think I under utilize woodwinds in my film scores, so I will try to better myself and give them a more prominent role in my next score.
  22. Darth_Maestro Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2005
    star 4
    SO ART MUSIC IS GOING CONSERVATIVE!

    :_|
    Dam you Media Ventures!

    :_| :_|

    so all this time ive been formulatings all these interesting chord progressions to no use.....
  23. Strilo Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2001
    star 8
  24. TwiLekJedi Pretty Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2001
    star 10
    I wish I knew enough to say for certain. ;) Violins do rank high, though. Although I think they're rather unimportant in some of my favorite tracks. Oh well...
  25. ewok_jedi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2005
    star 6
    What!? No harpsichord? :(

    I guess then my favorite choice would have to be the French Horn
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