Junkyard Orchestra


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Junkyard Orchestra musical instrument project. Eleanor-Jayne Browne, The D/sign Lounge, Media+Visual Communication Department

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  • The bodies of the string instruments, which are hollow inside to allow sound to vibrate within them, are made of different kinds of wood, but the part of the instrument that makes the sound is the strings, which are made of nylon or steel. The strings are played most often by drawing a bow across them. The handle of the bow is made of wood and the strings of the bow are actually horsehair from horses' tails. Sometimes the musicians will use their fingers to pluck the strings, and occasionally they will turn the bow upside down and play the strings with the wooden handle. The strings are the largest family of instruments in the orchestra and they come in four sizes— the Violin, which is the smallest, Viola, Cello and the biggest, the double bass, sometimes called the contrabass. The smaller instruments, the Violin and Viola, make higher-pitched sounds, while the Cello and Double Bass produce low rich sounds. They are all similarly shaped, with curvy wooden bodies and wooden necks. The strings stretch over the body and neck and attach to small decorative heads, where they are tuned with small tuning pegs.
  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Cello
  • Doube Bass
  • Harp
  • The instruments in this family all used to be made of wood, hence their name. Today, they are made of wood, metal, plastic or some combination. They are all basically narrow cylinders or pipes, with holes, an opening at the bottom end and a mouthpiece at the top. You play them by blowing air through the mouthpiece and opening or closing the holes with your fingers to change the pitch. Metal caps called keys cover the holes of most woodwind instruments. The mouthpieces for some woodwinds, including the clarinet, oboe and bassoon, use a thin piece of wood called a reed, which vibrates when you blow across it. The clarinet uses a single reed made of one piece of wood, while the oboe and bassoon use a double reed made of two pieces joined together. Just as with the stringed instruments, the smaller woodwinds play higher pitches while the longer and larger instruments play the lower notes. The woodwind family of instruments includes, from the highest sounding instruments to the lowest, the flute, piccolo, oboe, English horn, clarinet, E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon and contrabassoon.
  • Flute
  • Piccolo
  • English Horn
  • Clarinet
  • Bass Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Contrabassoon
  • This family of instruments plays louder than any other in the orchestra and can also be heard from far away. Modern instruments are made entirely of brass. Brass instruments are essentially very long pipes that widen at their ends into a bell-like shape. The pipes have been curved and twisted into different shapes to make them easier to hold and play. Brass players use their breath to produce sound, but instead of blowing into a reed, you vibrate your own lips by buzzing them against a metal cup-shaped mouthpiece. The mouthpiece helps to amplify the buzzing of the lips, which creates the sound. Most brass instruments have valves attached to their long pipes; the valves look like buttons. When you press down on the valves, they open and close different parts of the pipe. You change the pitch and sound by pressing different valves and buzzing your lips harder or softer. The brass family members that are most commonly used in the orchestra include the trumpet, French horn, trombone, and the tuba.
  • Trumpet
  • French Horn
  • Trombone
  • Tuba
  • Percussion instruments include any instrument that makes a sound when it is hit, shaken, or scraped. It's not easy to be a percussionist because it takes a lot of practice to hit an instrument with the right amount of strength, in the right place and at the right time. Some percussion instruments are tuned and can sound different notes, like the xylophone, timpani or piano, and some are untuned with no definite pitch, like the bass drum, cymbals or castanets. Percussion instruments keep the rhythm, make special sounds and add excitement and color. Unlike most of the other players in the orchestra, a percussionist will usually play many different instruments in one piece of music. The most common percussion instruments in the orchestra include the timpani, xylophone, cymbals, triangle, snare drum, bass drum, tambourine, maracas, gongs, chimes, celesta and piano.
  • Timpani
  • Xylophone
  • Cymbals
  • Triangle
  • Snare Drum
  • Bass Drum
  • Tambourine
  • Maracas
  • Gong
  • Chimes
  • Celesta
  • Piano
  • The modern orchestra has its historical roots in Ancient Egypt. The first orchestras were made up of small groups of musicians that gathered for festivals, holidays or funerals. The ancient Egyptians used a vast array of musical instruments such as harps, lutes, drums, flutes, cymbals, clappers and tambourines that played a prominent role in melodic compositions of ancient Egyptians composers and musicians. Only musicians directly associated with the dancers are those clapping their hands, using clappers or playing tambourines, drums, sistrums or other percussion instrument to beat out tempo and rhythm. It was rare to find wind or stringed instrument players close to dancers in the same scene. However, it was noted that whenever musicians are depicted, dancers were not generally far away.
  • True modern orchestras started in the late 16th century when composers started writing music for instrumental groups. In the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy the households of nobles had musicians to provide music for dancing and the court, however with the emergence of the theatre, particularly opera, in the early 17th century, music was increasingly written for groups of players in combination, which is the origin of orchestral playing.
  • As nobility began to build retreats away from towns, they began to hire musicians to form permanent ensembles. Composers such as the young Joseph Haydn would then have a fixed body of instrumentalists to work with. At the same time, travelling virtuoso performers such as the young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would write concerti that showed off their skills, and they would travel from town to town, arranging concerts along the way. The aristocratic orchestras worked together over long periods, making it possible for ensemble playing to improve with practice.
  • In 1781, however, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra was organised from the merchants concert society, and it began a trend towards the formation of civic orchestras that would increase into the 19th century.
  • The Big Five orchestras of the United States are the five symphony orchestras that led the field in "musical excellence, calibre of musicianship, total contract weeks, weekly basic wages, recording guarantees, and paid vacations" when the term gained currency in the late 1950s and for some years afterwards. In order of foundation, they were: New York Philharmonic (1842)[4] Boston Symphony Orchestra (1881)[5] Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1891)[6] Philadelphia Orchestra (1900)[7] Cleveland Orchestra (1918).[8]
  • Vienna Philharmonic is an orchestra, regularly considered one of the finest in the world. The Vienna Philharmonic is based in the Musikverein in Vienna. The members of the orchestra are chosen from the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. This process is a long one, with each musician having to prove his or her capability for a minimum of three years' playing for the opera and ballet. Once this is achieved the musician can then ask the board of the Vienna Philharmonic to consider an application for a position in the orchestra.
  • There had long been standing bodies of musicians around operas, but not for concert music: this situation changed in the early 19th century as part of the increasing emphasis in the composition of symphonies and other purely instrumental forms. This was encouraged by composer critics such as E. T. A. Hoffmann who declared that instrumental music was the "purest form" of music. The creation of standing orchestras also resulted in a professional framework where musicians could rehearse and perform the same works repeatedly, leading to the concept of a repertoire in instrumental music.
  • Since the early 20th century symphony orchestras have become larger, better funded, and more better trained; consequently composers can compose larger and more ambitious works. The influence of Gustav Mahler was particularly innovational; in his later symphonies, such as the mammoth Symphony No. 8, Mahler pushes the furthest boundaries of orchestral size, employing huge forces.
  • The Symphony No. 5 by Gustav Mahler was composed in 1901 and 1902, mostly during the summer months at Mahler's cottage at Maiernigg. Among its most distinctive features are the funereal trumpet solo that opens the work and the frequently performed Adagietto. The musical canvas and emotional scope of the work, which lasts over an hour, are huge. After its premiere, Mahler is reported to have said, “Nobody understood it. I wish I could conduct the first performance fifty years after my death.” Conductor Herbert von Karajan said that when one hears Mahler's Fifth, “you forget that time has passed. A great performance of the Fifth is a transforming experience. The fantastic finale almost forces you to hold your breath.
  • Herbert von Karajan (April 5, 1908 – July 16, 1989) was a Greek-Austrian conductor. He was one of the most prominent conductors of the postwar period and is widely regarded as the world’s most recorded conductor. Karajan conducted the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for thirty-five years. To the wider world he was perhaps most famously associated with the Berlin Philharmonic, of which he was principal conductor for 35 years. Although his work was not universally admired, he is generally considered to have been one of the greatest conductors of all time, and he was a dominant figure in European classical music from the 1960s until his death. Part of the reason for this was the large number of recordings he made and their prominence during his lifetime. By one estimate he was the top-selling classical music recording artist of all time, having sold an estimated 200 million records.
  • Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble. Orchestras, choirs, concert bands and other musical ensembles often have conductors. André George Previn, KBE (born Andreas Ludwig Prewin; April 6, 1929 is a German-American pianist, conductor, and composer. He is considered one of the most versatile musicians in the world and is the winner of four Academy Awards for his film work and ten Grammy Awards for his recordings (and one more for his Lifetime Achievement). In addition to conducting major orchestras throughout the world, the versatile U.S. musician André George Previn composed film scores as well as orchestral, chamber, operatic, and stage music. Also an acclaimed pianist, he played both chamber music and jazz.
  • Blue Man Group is an organization founded in 1987 by Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton. The organization produces theatrical shows and concerts featuring experimental music (with an emphasis on percussion), comedy and multimedia; recorded music and scores for film and television; television appearances for shows. All of the organization's theatrical performances star a trio of humanoid characters called Blue Men, played by actor-musicians who wear bald caps and uniform blue makeup.
  • Landfill Harmonic is the name of a documentary film about the Orquesta de instrumentos reciclados, the Recycled Orchestra. Members range in age from twelve to eighteen, they come from Cateura, a slum located along the river a few miles outside of Asuncion, Paraguay. Paraguay is a small country with a proud past and recent political drama. Like many developing countries it is littered in slums, or informal cities. In a Paraguayan slum built atop a landfill, a group of innovative young classical musicians play instruments made of materials rescued from trash heaps. "A violin is worth more than a house here," says Favio Chavez, the director and founder of the Recycled Orchestra, in the video above. The inventive group partnered with garbage pickers to mould waste into makeshift cellos, violins, and flutes that sound like the real deal. The video above is the trailer for a new Kickstarter film that documents the rise of Chavez's incredible project. Producers Alejandra Amarilla Nash and Juliana Penaranda-Loftus trace the evolution of discarded junk into playable instruments in their new film "Landfill Harmonic." The film is both an exposé on the harsh conditions of slum life and a commentary on the global threats of consumption and waste. "The world sends us garbage. We send back music," the trailer's opening line proclaims.
  • Diego Stocco is a composer, music sound designer and performer. He creates eclectic compositions using custom built instruments, elements of nature and experimental recording techniques. Most recently, he composed the score for the feature film “Chernobyl Diaries”. Diego is also a featured soloist on many films and video games, including “Sherlock Holmes”, “Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood” and “Assassin’s Creed Revelations”. He has also worked as a music sound designer on numerous projects, including the films “Immortals”, “Takers”, “Into the Blue”, “Crank”, tv shows “The Tudors” and “Moonlight”. Diego also created the score for the video game “The Conduit”. His music has been licensed for dozens of film and video game trailers including “TRON: Legacy”, “Terminator Salvation”, “2012”, “Transformers”, “Spider Man Shattered Universe”, Call of Duty, World at War”, “Soulcalibur IV” and numerous tv shows and promos. Diego also lectures at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston and FIDM in Los Angeles, sharing his unique approach and techniques with their students. Diego is now creating more imaginary sounds, music and video performances.
  • Junkyard Orchestra

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