Sections of an Orchestra

Marc Gordon
Nov 12, 2022

When it comes to music there are a number of different instruments that you can find. With that, you should know that an orchestra consists of a large group of instruments. More specifically it is a large group of different classical instruments. There are in fact more than 100 instruments in a full orchestra. Now when looking at an orchestra, you will notice that there are a variety of instruments. This includes violins, drums and so much more. What you may not know is that these instruments are divided into different families. That’s right, there are actually four major family groups within an orchestra.

woman performing flute solo with orchestra

Getty Images / Photographer’s Choice RF / Alvis Upitis

The four major family groups of an orchestra include the string family, the woodwind family, the brass family, and the percussion family. Every instrument within the orchestra fits into one of these families. Now you may notice that there are often instruments in a family that don’t usually look like the rest. This is because instruments are placed within a family based on their similar characteristics. For example, there are often instruments in the string family that don’t actually have strings. Speaking of the string family, let’s take a deep look into what instruments you could find in it.

In the string family, you would find the cello, violin, viola, and double bass to mention a few. All these instruments have two common factors. They all have strings and are all played with a bow. When pulled across the strings creates a vibration which is what causes the majestic sounds you hear. In the brass section, you will often find the trumpet, French horn, tuba, and trombone. All of which are made from brass. In the woodwind family, you will find instruments such as the flute, Basson, oboe, and clarinet. Lastly in the percussion family, there are marimbas, vibraphones, xylophones and so much more.