Cast (music)

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In music, cast is understood to mean the type and number of musical instruments and / or voices that are required for a piece of music .


The cast should be viewed from two different perspectives. On the one hand, instrumentation describes the instrumentalists and / or vocal parts in a musical group ( orchestra or band ), and on the other hand, the instruments and voices required by a score or an arrangement . A line-up is already used when soloists are used; that at least two people must be present is conceptually not necessary. The number of instrumentalists and vocalists required is also given, such as a fourfold first violin . The personal / instrumental composition of a band is closely related to the musically prescribed harmony structures. From jazz, the division into melody and rhythm groups has also been adopted by other bands, depending on whether the main task is to lead the melody or the rhythm.

From the composition to the cast

The music producer , arranger , conductor or band leader usually takes care of the planned cast . These determine the use of certain instrumentalists and vocalists to perform the musical work. If it is notated music, the scoring is given by the score. An opera is said to be “well cast” when the roles are assigned to the people best suited to perform it. Schilling mentions the cast of the Great Dilettante Concerto in Vienna on November 20, 1812 at the performance of Handel's Timotheus , which, in addition to the conductor and a “score reader”, consisted of 590 people. A symphony is “sparse” when its entire instrumentation uses only a few other instruments apart from the strings.

Instrumentation of an ensemble

The instrumental and personal line-up of an ensemble depends on the respective musical style . In classical music , a distinction after the occupation between symphony orchestra , chamber , string orchestra , wind band or brass ensemble . None of these orchestras has a fixed number of musicians or specific musical instruments in its line-up ; The type and scope of the line-up depend solely on the purpose and the compositions to be played. In the case of the wind orchestra, the term harmony is often used , which is simply a combination of wood and brass instruments. The line-up of the symphony orchestras is not identical in terms of the number of musicians or the instrumentation; they can usually consist of more than 100 people and a conductor. The WDR symphony orchestra has a line-up of 118 people with 312 instruments. This resulted in a multiple cast, especially for strings and wind instruments , which led to the combination of a string section and a wind section and contributed to the formation of hierarchies ( first violinist , second violinist ). Some composers have emphasized the string sections in their compositions (such as Giacomo Puccini ), while others emphasize the wind sections (such as Richard Wagner ).

This division into string and brass sections was adopted by jazz in the big bands . In jazz, too, some big bands put their emphasis on the horn section ("horn section"; Glenn Miller ), while others accented their string section ("string section"; Paul Whiteman ). The standard big band line-up in swing consisted of 4 trumpets , 4 trombones , 5 saxophones and a rhythm section (piano, bass, drums). With the emergence of recording studios , studio musicians were recruited as casts who were employed by or associated with recording studios and who accompanied the interpreters on music recordings ( Bill Putnam , Cosimo Matassa with The Studio Band ). Even with Sun Records were first studio bands with almost constant occupation that accompanied the recordings. Many lineups in recording studios became known such as The Wrecking Crew in Los Angeles or the Nashville A-Team in country music . Whole sounds can be traced back to the continuity of the line-up, such as the Memphis sound from Chips Moman (with the "Memphis Horns") or the Motown sound from the Funk Brothers at Motown Recording Studios (Detroit) . The Phillysound from Sigma Sound Studios also lived from the violin sections with almost always the same line-up.

In the case of works of classical music, an exact orientation to the line-up specified by the composer is necessary because of the faithfulness to the work . Since in pop music and jazz it is not the work that is in the foreground, but its interpretation , the line-up can be varied in a targeted manner and consist, for example, of a band leader (front man), composers and sidemen . This type of occupation is often referred to as the Anglicism line-up .


In the recording studio , the entire cast is recorded in a recording sheet . It forms the basis for payment and accounting with the cast and for subsequent discographies. A complete discography also includes listing the names of the line-up and the instrument played. The first discography appears in the liner notes attached to the sound carrier . It is the basis for later musicological evaluations.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Wieland Ziegenrücker, Peter Wicke : Sachlexikon Popularmusik (= Goldmann-Schott paperback. 33601). Goldmann, Munich 1987, ISBN 3-442-33601-5 , p. 48.
  2. ^ Gustav Schilling: Encyclopedia of the entire musical sciences . First volume. Köhler, Stuttgart 1835, pp. 599–602 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  3. ^ Gustav Schilling: Encyclopedia of the entire musical sciences . First volume. Köhler, Stuttgart 1835, p. 602 ( digitized in the Google book search).
  4. WDR, We are the WDR Symphony Orchestra
  5. Ilse Storb: Jazz and new music in class . Lit, Münster 2001, ISBN 3-8258-3755-6 , p. 43 ( limited preview in Google book search).