Centre for Continuing Education

Exploring Music Course: The Orchestra

Music. Learn, enjoy, appreciate.

COVID-19 update: arrangement of our courses

We are now delivering courses both online and in-person. Please check the delivery format for each class before you enrol.

Please note that course materials for all classes (excluding prescribed textbooks) are shared electronically within 48 hours of a course starting. Printing is not available.


The sound of a great symphony orchestra in full flight is one of the most thrilling sounds in all of western classical music. So many different sounds from such a range of instruments, all working together, sometimes standing out in their individuality, sometimes blending together in one enormous force: this is one of the great joys of classical music.

This music course explores the instruments of the orchestra, and the growth and development of the symphony orchestra. We will discuss the kind of music written for the orchestra by exploring some of the greatest composers and compositions of all time.

Aims

The aims of this course are to:

  • explore the instruments of the orchestra and the variety of sounds they can achieve
  • discuss the growth and development of the symphony orchestra
  • explore the kind of music written for the orchestra by examining some of the greatest composers and compositions of all time.

Outcomes

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • list the main families of instruments in the orchestra
  • list some specific examples orchestral instruments
  • describe some of the features of the instruments of the orchestra
  • identify some of the different instrument families of the orchestra by their sound.

Content

Topics

  • What is a symphony orchestra?
  • Symphony Orchestra versus Philharmonic Orchestra
  • How sound is made
  • The instrument families
  • The layout of an orchestra
  • The string section
  • The woodwind section
  • The brass section
  • The percussion section
  • Conductors and conducting
  • Orchestration

Music

We will listen to many pieces. These include:

  • Britten: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
  • Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusic
  • Ravel: String Quartet in F
  • Bach: Cello Suites
  • Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite
  • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
  • Mozart: Flute Concerto No. 1
  • Vaughan Williams: Oboe Concerto
  • Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3
  • Stravinksy: The Rite of Spring
  • Mozart: Symphony No. 40
  • Musorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition
  • Gershwin: An American in Paris

Intended audience

Designed for fans of classical music, beginners and experienced listeners alike.

Prerequisites

None

Delivery style

This course is richly illustrated with musical examples, illustrations and video clips. Susan Deas uses the piano to demonstrate musical concepts to the everyday listener. Questions are encouraged, and there will be room for discussion throughout the course.

Materials

Handouts are provided electronically.

Features

  • Expert trainers
  • Central locations
  • Course materials – yours to keep
  • CCE Statement of Completion

Exploring Music Course: The Orchestra

<p>{block name:“Course Tagline - Music”}</p><p>{block name:“Block - COVID 19 updates”}</p><p>The sound of a great symphony orchestra in full flight is one of the most thrilling sounds in all of

...
We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for the Country.