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View synonyms for orchestra

orchestra

[ awr-kuh-struh ]

noun

  1. a group of performers on various musical instruments, including especially stringed instruments of the viol class, clarinets and flutes, cornets and trombones, drums, and cymbals, for playing music, as symphonies, operas, popular music, or other compositions.
  2. (in a modern theater)
    1. the space reserved for the musicians, usually the front part of the main floor orchestra pit.
    2. the entire main-floor space for spectators.
    3. the parquet.
  3. (in the ancient Greek theater) the circular space in front of the stage, allotted to the chorus.
  4. (in the Roman theater) a similar space reserved for persons of distinction.


orchestra

/ ɔːˈkɛstrəl; ˈɔːkɪstrə /

noun

  1. a large group of musicians, esp one whose members play a variety of different instruments See also symphony orchestra string orchestra chamber orchestra
  2. a group of musicians, each playing the same type of instrument

    a balalaika orchestra

  3. Also calledorchestra pit the space reserved for musicians in a theatre, immediately in front of or under the stage
  4. the stalls in a theatre
  5. (in the ancient Greek theatre) the semicircular space in front of the stage


orchestra

  1. A group of musicians who play together on a variety of instruments, which usually come from all four instrument families — brass , percussion , strings , and woodwinds . A typical symphony orchestra is made up of more than ninety musicians. Most orchestras, unlike chamber music groups, have more than one musician playing each musical part.


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Derived Forms

  • orchestral, adjective
  • orˈchestrally, adverb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of orchestra1

1590–1600; < Latin orchēstra < Greek orchḗstra the space on which the chorus danced, derivative of orcheîsthai to dance
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Word History and Origins

Origin of orchestra1

C17: via Latin from Greek: the space in the theatre reserved for the chorus, from orkheisthai to dance
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Example Sentences

As a director, you’re essentially a conductor of an orchestra.

From Ozy

In school, I was involved in the orchestra as the band, the marching band.

From Ozy

Though the pandemic has put all orchestras, the Philharmonic included, in a perilous position, it has also highlighted how such institutions might rethink the conventions of classical music.

From Vox

New York Philharmonic horn player Leelanee Sterrett says that every orchestra member brings “a different interpretation to their parts each time.”

From Vox

It doesn’t donate to the city’s vaunted orchestra, and isn’t a member of the region’s chamber of commerce.

People scream, the orchestra stops playing, and the stage manager whisks the diva into the wings.

Since the arrival of Chorus Master Donald Palumbo, the Met chorus now commands that same level of excellence as the orchestra.

She could no longer go to the orchestra; she was confined to a wheelchair.

Orchestra seats cost $100; mezzanine is $75; and balcony, $50.

The organ itself is part of the show, as it can rise or drop independent of the orchestra pit.

I asked of Kellermann, who sat next, "and how is it one finds such an orchestra in such a place?"

Why should not Aristide, past master in drumming, find an honourable position in the orchestra of the Tournée Gulland?

Mrs. S. said she was familiar with it from having heard Thomas's orchestra play it in New York.

But the quiet old town, with its musical name and its great orchestra, will long remain in my memory.

So he took my copy and played the orchestra part which is indicated above the piano part, and I played without notes.

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Related Words

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Orchestra Vs. Symphony Vs. Philharmonic

What’s the difference between an orchestra, a symphony, and a philharmonic?

In popular use, orchestra, symphony, and philharmonic are often used interchangeably to refer to a large group of musicians assembled to play music, especially classical music.

The most common (and general) term is orchestra. Most large orchestras include many different instruments and classes of instruments, including strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.

The word symphony primarily refers to a complex, multipart musical composition (like Beethoven’s fifth symphony), but it’s also a short way of referring to a symphony orchestra—a large orchestra, the kind that performs symphonies. (Smaller orchestras—those with about 25 people—are often called chamber orchestras). As a noun, the word philharmonic can refer to a symphony orchestra or to the organization that sponsors it (sometimes called a philharmonic society, in which philharmonic is used as an adjective). The word orchestra most commonly refers to the group of musicians, but it can also refer to the space reserved for them, usually the front part of the main floor (sometimes called the orchestra pit).

Both symphony and philharmonic are sometimes used in the names of orchestras, as in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Here’s an example of orchestra, symphony, and philharmonic used correctly in a sentence.

Example: I’ve attended performances of this symphony by the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. 

Want to learn more? Read the full breakdown of the difference between orchestra, symphony, and philharmonic.

Quiz yourself on symphony vs. orchestra vs. philharmonic!

Should orchestra, symphony, or philharmonic be used in the following sentence?

Mozart composed this _____ in 1786.

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