About This Chapter
Understanding Instruments - Chapter Summary
Learn about the string, woodwind, brass and percussion families through this informative chapter on understanding instruments. Through our brief video lessons, you'll learn about similarities and differences among orchestral instruments, as well as how the various instruments work. Also, learn about instrumental performance techniques for the following:
- String instruments, such as the cello, double bass, harp, violin and viola
- Keyboard instruments, such as the carillon, electric organ, piano and synthesizer
- Wind instruments, such as the bassoon, clarinet, flute, piccolo and saxophone
- Percussion instruments, such as the crash cymbals, handbells, slit drum, steelpan and xylophone
We engaged professional educators with experience in the music field to develop this chapter on understanding instruments. Each lesson has three parts: a video presentation, a written transcript and a self-assessment quiz. The video presentations typically last no more than 10 minutes, and you can jump to main points using our convenient video tags. If you absorb more information by reading, you can use the written transcripts as your main learning tool.
To gauge your understanding of instruments, take the short, multiple-choice quiz that accompanies each lesson. These quizzes can be completed as many times as you need to be sure you've gained all you can from this chapter.
1. Instrument Families of the Orchestra: String, Woodwind, Brass & Percussion
There are so many instruments in the orchestra! What similarities and differences can one find between them? How do the instruments work? Find out about the string, woodwind, brass and percussion families in this lesson!
2. The String Family: Instruments, History & Facts
This lesson looks at the history, construction, and function of the string family instruments of the Western orchestra. The strings form the largest orchestral section and have been called the 'heart' of the modern orchestra.
3. The Piano: Instrument Definition, Characteristics and Usage
The piano is central to so many of today's music genres, but did you know that it first became popular during music's Classical Period? In this lesson, we'll look at the history of the piano, find out how it works, and learn about the role it played in Classical-era music.
4. What are Percussion Instruments? - Types & History
Did you know that percussion instruments include more than just drums? In this lesson, you will discover various percussion instruments, their history, and how they are played. Then you can test your knowledge with a short quiz.
5. The Woodwind Family: Instrument List & Overview
In this lesson, you will learn what types of common instruments belong to the woodwind family. You'll also understand the traits of woodwinds and how the instruments produce their unique sounds.
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Other chapters within the NYSTCE Music: Practice and Study Guide course
- About the NYSTCE Test
- Elements of Music Notation
- Elements of Melody
- Meter & Rhythm
- Musical Forms
- Vocal and Instrumental Ensembles
- Opera and Orchestral Music
- Medieval Music
- Music of the Renaissance
- The Baroque Period in Music
- The Classical Period in Music
- The Romantic Period in Music
- Modern Era Music
- Jazz Music
- Musical Theater and Popular Music
- Music of the World