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Ensembles (or groups) of Musicians

The most important ensembles are orchestras, string quartets, duets, and piano trios.

In this section you will find information about the main ensembles (or groups) of musicians which play music written in the western tradition. There are lists of some of the best tunes performed by each ensemble.  Click on any Ensemble in the list below to find out more. 

No.EnsembleDescription
1 Big BandA Big Band is a large dance band consisting of 2 or 3 players of each of the following instruments: Trumpets, Trombones, tenor saxophones, alto saxophones, and clarinets. Lastly there is always a Rhythm Section, consisting of an electric guitar, drums, a double bass or electric bass guitar, and a piano or electronic keyboard.
2 Brass BandA Brass Band includes some of the standard orchestral brass instruments (trombone, tuba and French Horn) together with several other non-orchestral brass instruments. These include cornets (instead of trumpets), flugelhorns, and euphoniums
3 ChoirA choir (or chorus) is a body of singers performing as a group, usually, but not always, singing in harmony.
4 DuetA Duet involves just two performers, for example, piano and voice, or piano and violin. The word is an abbreviation of Italian duetto, meaning - a little two from due = two. Another term often used is duo
5 Military BandA military band is a wind and percussion ensemble, not necessarily belonging to the armed forces. Civilian wind and percussion bands are today usually called - concert bands - if they perform indoors, and - marching bands - if they perform outdoors. The instruments in the brass section usually include trumpets, cornets, trombones, flugelhorns, and euphoniums. The woodwinds include flutes, clarinets and saxophones, but not oboes or bassoons.
6 OrchestraA full symphony orchestra may include over 100 musicians. It is a very powerful and versatile ensemble, capable of expressing an enormous variety of tone-colours, dynamics and textures. The orchestra has 4 main sections, Strings, Woodwind, Brass, and Percussion.
7 Other EnsemblesThis ensemble title Other Ensembles is a catch all for all other ensembles not covered by specific names in this database. It includes all sorts of chamber ensembles such as septets and octets, steel drum bands, unusual groupings of instruments in folk and pop music, and so on.
8 Pops OrchestraThe Pops Orchestra ( sometimes called a Light Orchestra) is often employed today to play arrangements of popular songs, film soundtrack scores, and music from shows and musicals. The traditional symphony orchestra is supplemented with a rhythm section with drum set and electric guitar, a saxophone section, and a piano. There may also be a soloist singer using a microphone, and sometimes other instruments such as accordians, harmonicas, pan flutes, etc.
9 Rhythm ComboRhythm Combo usually means guitar, keyboard, double-bass (or bass electric guitar), and drums. It is the basic minimum combination for jazz, big band and popular music groups. When part of a larger group such as a Big Band, it is called the Rhythm Section.
10 SoloA Solo means music performed by a single musician, for example a pianist alone. In fact piano solos must be the most widely known form of solo music. The word solo is Italian meaning alone. The correct Italian plural should be soli, but in English-speaking musical circles it is perfectly acceptable to say solos.
11 String QuartetThe String Quartet is an ensemble of four string players, consisting of one first and one second violin, a viola and a cello. It is the most important kind of chamber music group.
12 Trad Jazz BandA Traditional Jazz Band is a small jazz group consisting of one trumpet, one clarinet, one trombone, accompanied by drums, a double bass (or a tuba or euphonium for a marching trad band), and for the chords, either a guitar, a banjo or a piano. They play in the New Orleans or Dixieland style. This evolved in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, in the early 1900s, from black marching bands that played in parades and funeral processions in the city streets.
13 TrioAn ensemble called a Trio is simply a group of three players. The most common trio ensembles are the piano trio (piano/violin/cello) and the string trio (violin, viola, and cello).
14 Wind Chamber GroupsA Wind Quintet is a chamber ensemble consisting of 5 wind players. The most common instrument combination is flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and French horn. Other ensembles may include a piano with 4 of the above.
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