Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Symphony and Orchestra

symphonySymphony vs Orchestra

The lights go down. The curtain comes up. Slowly, quietly at first, the music begins to play. The stage is full of at least 100 musicians, each holding different types of instruments. For the next twenty minutes music fills the auditorium. If this scenario has ever happened to you, chances are you were listening to an orchestra, or symphony orchestra, or philharmonic orchestra. These three types of orchestras have no real difference between them; the terms are sometimes adopted if there is already another orchestra in the area and the two groups wish to be distinguished from one another. There are, however, huge fundamental differences between symphonies and orchestras.

Symphony ‘“ refers to a piece of Western classical music that is played by an orchestra.
Orchestra ‘“ a group of Western classical musicians that often play symphonies.

Symphony ‘“ the composition of a symphony has evolved throughout the years. Initially, with the dawn of classical music in the 17th century, symphonies referred to any piece of instrumental music for a large group, regardless of whether it was played within the context of an opera or as a stand-alone piece. Eventually the symphony began to follow the rule of four movements in the following pattern: 1) fast, 2) slow, 3) minuet/dance movement, 4) fast. However, rules are made to be broken, and some of the greatest symphonic composers, such as Beethoven, would often break away from this format.
Orchestra ‘“ is composed of many different varieties of instruments. Over the years it too evolved to encompass current technological and aesthetic trends. Today an orchestras is composed of :
String Instruments

  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Bass

Wind Instruments

  • Piccolo
  • Flute
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet
  • Saxophone
  • Bassoon
  • French Horn
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Tuba

Percussion Instruments

  • Timpani
  • Snare Drum
  • Bass Drum
  • Xylophone
  • Triangle

many, many more

Ancient Origins
Symphony ‘“ comes from the Greek for harmonious and used to refer to any number of instruments that produced chords, such as dulcimers.
Orchestra ‘“ refers the chorus that was used in ancient Greek theatre to comment on the action of the play, as well as the area of the stage in which the chorus was situated.

Important People in Symphonies and Orchestras
Symphony ‘“ is written by a composer.
Orchestra ‘“ is directed by a conductor. These two people can be one in and same, but this rarely happens anymore.

1.A symphony and an orchestra are both terms that refer to Western classical music.
2.A symphony is type of musical composition that is played by an orchestra, a group of musicians with classical training.
3.Both symphonies and orchestra have traditional forms, but these forms are often broken by composers.
4.Both symphonies and orchestras find their linguistic roots in Greek music and drama.

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