String orchestra

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
FSAF String Orchestra (7685611434) .jpg

A string orchestra is an orchestra that consists entirely of string instruments . As a rule, these are violins (divided into two groups, rarely also into three, as in some cases with Wolfgang Korngold), violas , cellos and double basses . However, especially in non-classical music literature, the arrangement of a string orchestra can differ from the above arrangement. In a big band that is accompanied by a string orchestra, e.g. B. often the double bass section, while in musical productions often the violas are missing (similar to the classic salon orchestra). The same applies to numerous pop music, in which sometimes only a group of violins is occupied. Some film music composers (e.g. Hans Zimmer) also seldom completely forego violas and replace the alto range with a large cello section with a wide range of divisional play. However, a viola section is featured in most compositions that include a string orchestra. There are also concert pieces for string orchestras that only consist of cellos, such as B. "Bossa-nova. Variacioes brasileiras  op. 36" by Wilhelm Kaiser Lindemann.

In the classical symphony orchestra , the string section forms the center of the action and the basis of the line-up, which is expanded with different wind , percussion or other instruments depending on the style , occasion and musical genre . While the number of required instruments for the remaining instruments (wind instruments, percussion and others) in scores has usually always been meticulously specified since the baroque period, the required string body is often not written out precisely, partly because the size of the string apparatus varies from orchestra to orchestra can vary relatively widely or the size is adapted to the circumstances of the concert environment. As mentioned above, the ultimate size of the string orchestra usually results from the size of the wind section and the number of other instruments. Thus, the music of the Viennese classic (in addition to the wind instruments and the timpani) is often served by a rather small string orchestra, such as B., whereas larger late romantic works usually use a much larger number of strings as the basic shade, e.g. B.

Particularly in the late romantic era, but also in the 20th and 21st centuries, particularly large casts are required. For example, Schönberg asked for 84 strings for his Gurre songs. Hans Zimmer / James Newton Howard demand up to 88 strings in their film music for Batman Dark Knight. The size of the string orchestra is often determined by the number of other instruments (wind instruments, percussion, etc.). In the case of pieces that are based solely on a string orchestra, the number of instruments is correspondingly often lower.

Up to the beginning of the 18th century, the tenor viola still existed as an additional part between the viola (then known as the alto viola) and the cello .

In many cases a work for string orchestra is preceded by a chamber music composition for string quartet , quintet or sextet .

Internationally, the string orchestra is often referred to as the Orchestra d'archi (in French also Orchester à cordes).

Repertoire (selection)

Compositions for string orchestra include the following:

See also: string quartet


  1. Vasco Hexel: Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's The Dark Knight: A Film Score Guide. Retrieved June 13, 2016 .