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The String Family

When marking bowings, less is more. The example to the right is an extreme example. For your final project, you will rely primarily on slur marks to indicate phrasing and only use upbow and downbow markings for musical emphasis. String instruments control their pitch by shortening the length of the string.  By holding a...

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The Contrabass

The Double Bass is the first transposing instrument encountered in a traditional orchestration class. Printed notes sound an octave lower. The double bass can play incredibly low - near the bottom of our hearing range. Although E is listed as the bottom range, some basses have a C extension that allows them to descend...

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The Cello

The cello is tuned an octave lower than the viola. While it is not uncommon for the cello to play in both the alto clef and even the treble clef, I suggest for ensemble passages to stay within the practical range. The cello is known is used for its rich tone quality and has...

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The Viola

The viola is a versatile instrument which can serve as a "3rd violin", bridge the voicing between the violin and cello, or double the cello line or second violin for greater reinforcement. The tone quality of the viola is slightly darker and has almost a muted quality to it compared to the violin. Its...

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The Violin

The Violin is the highest string instrument used in the modern orchestra. Typically, violins are divided into two sections - first violins and second violins. As with all string instruments, it has a wide range, capable of playing well-above the practical range indicated through the use of harmonics. The lowest two strings have a...

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