Why are the musicians onstage playing before the concert begins?
Just like athletes warming up before a game, musicians need to warm up their muscles and focus their concentration. Some of them are working on the passages they need to polish up before the performance, with no regard for what anyone else is practicing.
Why do the musicians wear formal black clothes?
This is a long tradition that started centuries ago. Sometimes musicians dress a little more casually, but they still try to look similar, so that the audience can concentrate on the music. Soloists are the exception: they often dress differently, because they are the focus of attention.
Why are there are more stringed instruments than anything else?
The sound of each individual stringed instrument is softer than a brass or woodwind instrument. But in large numbers, they make a magnificent, rich sound.
Why do the string players share stands?
Fewer stands mean that the musicians, who are moving around quite a bit, have more room to play freely. Also, because the strings play more continuously than the other instruments, their page turns can fall in inconvenient places where there should be no break in the music. The musician on the inside seat turns pages while the musician on the outside seat continues to play.
Why do their bows move together?
The players within each string section – first violins, second violins, violas, cellos, and double basses – are usually playing the same part, so it’s essential that they sound as one. Each type of bow movement produces a different sound, so each string section sounds more unified when the players use the same bow motion.
What does the concertmaster do?
The concertmaster sits in the first chair of the first violins. He or she acts as the leader of that section but also plays a leadership role with the orchestra as a whole. He or she is also the last orchestra member to enter the stage before a concert and cues the oboe to “tune” the orchestra.
Why do all the musicians tune to the oboe?
The penetrating tone of the oboe is easy for all players to hear. And its ability to sustain pitch is very secure. The oboe plays the note “A,” and all the players make sure their “A” is exactly on the same pitch as the oboe’s “A.” This ensures that they all are on the same pitch before the concert begins.
Why does Maestro leave after most pieces of music?
This provides the conductor a little breather – a chance to collect his or her thoughts before starting the next piece. If the applause is very enthusiastic, the conductor will come onstage again, bow, and perhaps recognize some musicians who played important solos in the piece.
Why don’t the musicians smile while they play?
Look closely and you’ll see that some of them do! But in general, they are concentrating deeply, just like outfielders waiting for the fly ball or pitchers winding up to a curveball. They’re “in the zone.” Some musicians “feel” the music and move in their chairs or move their heads. After the music is over, you may see them smiling broadly. If it was a concerto, and they liked the soloist’s performance, they won’t just smile – the string players will tap their stands with their bows as a sign of appreciation and others will stomp their feet.