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A multi-instrumentalist is a musician who plays two or more musical instrumentsat a professional level of proficiency.
Also known as doubling , the practice allows greater ensemble flexibility and more efficient employment of musicians, where a particular instrument may be employed only briefly or sporadically during a performance. Doubling is not uncommon in orchestra (e.g., flutists who double on piccolo) and jazz (saxophone/flute players); double bass players might also perform on electric bass. In music theatre, a pit orchestra's reed players might be required to perform on multiple instruments. Church piano players are often expected to play the church's pipe organ or Hammond organ as well.
In popular music it is more common than in classical or jazz for performers to be proficient on instruments not from the same family, for instance to play both guitar and keyboards. Many bluegrass musicians are multi-instrumentalists. Some musicians' unions or associations specify a higher rate of pay for musicians who double on two or more instruments for a performance or recording.
The European Piffari, Stadtpfeifer and Waits were multi-instrumentalists, who played trumpet, sackbut, shawm, cornett, recorder and string-instruments.Musicians with an education of a Stadtpfeifer were Gottfried Reiche, Johann Joachim Quantz, Johann Christof Pezel and Sigmund Theophil Staden. Also many European church musicians of the 17th and 18th centuries were multi-instrumentalists, who played several instruments. Georg Philipp Telemann for example played violin, viola da gamba, recorder, flauto traverso, oboe, shawm, sackbut and double bass.
Some famous classical composer-performers could play multiple instruments at a high level, such as Mozart, who was a virtuoso on the keyboard and violin. Music written for symphony orchestra usually calls for a percussion section featuring a number of musicians who might each play a variety of different instruments during a performance. Orchestras will also often, but not always, call for several members of the woodwind section to be multi-instrumentalists. This is sometimes referred to as doubling. Typically, for example, one flute player in the orchestra will switch to playing the piccolo or alto flute when called to by the score. Similarly, clarinet players may double on bass clarinet, oboe players on cor anglais, and bassoon players on contrabassoon. Trumpet players may switch to piccolo trumpet for certain Baroque literature, and first trombone players may switch to alto trombone. Organ players are also commonly expected to master the harpsichord as well. Doubling elsewhere in the orchestra is rare. With musical theatre pit orchestras, woodwind players are expected to play a large number of woodwind instruments.
In the swing era of big band music, woodwind players were often expected to play multiple woodwind instruments; saxophonists might be offered gigs where they were also required to play clarinet, for example.
The different types of saxophone use similar designs, varying mainly only in size (and therefore pitch), meaning that once a player has learned to play one it is relatively easy for them to translate the skills into another. As a result, many jazz saxophone players have made careers playing several different instruments, such as John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, both of whom have frequently used both tenor and soprano saxophones. To a lesser extent this is also the case across the range of woodwind instruments: Jazz flute players often play other instruments as well, such as Eric Dolphy and Herbie Mann, both of whom frequently played flute and saxophone; Dolphy also recorded on bass clarinet. In the early years of jazz, when the genre was still linked to the marching band genre, many double-bass players doubled on tuba.
From the 1950s onwards and particularly since the development of jazz-rock fusion in the late 1960s, many double-bass players doubled on electric bass, e.g. Stanley Clarke and John Patitucci.
Some jazz instrumentalists whose main instrument is a horn or bass also play jazz piano, because piano is an excellent instrument for composing and arranging, and for developing greater harmonic knowledge.
Many famous jazz musicians, including James Morrison, Don Burrows, and Brian Landrus, are multi-instrumentalists.
In popular music styles, many musicians and songwriters are multi-instrumentalists. Songwriters often play both piano, a key instrument for arranging and composing, and popular pop or rock instruments such as guitar. A backing band member who doubles will be instructed by the bandleader when to switch instruments (e.g., from bass to Hammond organ). When playing live, most multi-instrumentalists will concentrate on their main instrument and/or vocals, and hire or recruit backing musicians (or use a sequencer) to play the other instruments, thus benefiting from economies of scope.
Some musicians have pushed the limits of human musical skill on different instruments. British entertainer Roy Castle once set a world record by playing the same tune on 43 different instruments in four minutes.Anton Newcombe, frontman for The Brian Jonestown Massacre, has claimed to be able to play 80 different instruments. Brian Jones, late founder and guitarist of The Rolling Stones was well-known to experiment with, and utilize various instruments, both Western and exotic. By the time of his death, Jones had played a multitude of instruments on released recordings ranging from traditional blues hallmarks – like the Harmonica, Slide Guitar and the Piano – to more exotic ones such as the Sitar, Mellotron and the Appalachian Dulcimer. Another famous multi-instrumentalist is Paul McCartney; on his album McCartney , for example, he is credited with vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, drums, piano, organ, percussion, wineglasses, Mellotron, and effects; the only other credited performer is his wife Linda who provided harmony vocals. Progressive rock composer Mike Oldfield plays many types of guitars, organ, piano, mandolin, timpani, and bouzouki (among others) with proficiency. However, he considers himself primarily a guitarist.
In bluegrass music, it is very common for musicians to be skilled on a number of different instruments, including guitar, banjo, fiddle and upright bass.
Louis Andriessen is a Dutch composer and pianist based in Amsterdam. He is a lecturer at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He was recipient of the Gaudeamus International Composers Award in 1959.
A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instruments, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Other music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.
Woodwind instruments are a family of musical instruments within the more general category of wind instruments. Common examples include flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, and saxophone. There are two main types of woodwind instruments: flutes and reed instruments. The main distinction between these instruments and other wind instruments is the way in which they produce sound. All woodwinds produce sound by splitting the air blown into them on a sharp edge, such as a reed or a fipple. Despite the name, a woodwind may be made of any material, not just wood. Common examples include brass, silver, cane, as well as other metals such as gold and platinum. The saxophone, for example, though made of brass, is considered a woodwind because it requires a reed to produce sound. Occasionally, woodwinds are made out of earthen materials, especially ocarinas.
A jazz band is a musical ensemble that plays jazz music. Jazz bands vary in the quantity of its members and the style of jazz that they play but it is common to find a jazz band made up of a rhythm section and a horn section.
A transposing instrument is a musical instrument for which music notation is not written at concert pitch. For example, playing a written middle C on a transposing instrument produces a pitch other than middle C; that sounding pitch identifies the interval of transposition when describing the instrument. Playing a written C on clarinet or soprano saxophone produces a concert B♭, so these are referred to as B♭ instruments. Providing transposed music for these instruments is a convention of musical notation. The instruments do not transpose the music, rather their music is written at a transposed pitch.
A reed is a thin strip of material that vibrates to produce a sound on a musical instrument. Most woodwind instrument reeds are made from Arundo donax or synthetic material. Tuned reeds are made of metal or synthetics. Musical instruments are classified according to the type and number of reeds.
A pit orchestra is a type of orchestra that accompanies performers in musicals, operas, ballets, and other shows involving music. The terms was also used for orchestras accompanying silent movies when more than a piano was used. In performances of operas and ballets, the pit orchestra is typically similar in size to a symphony orchestra, though it may contain smaller string and brass sections, depending upon the piece. Such orchestras may vary in size from approximately 30 musicians to as many as 90–100 musicians. However, because of financial, space, and volume concerns, the musical theatre pit orchestra in the 2000s is considerably smaller.
A multiphonic is an extended technique on a monophonic musical instrument in which several notes are produced at once. This includes wind, reed, and brass instruments, as well as the human voice. Multiphonic-like sounds on string instruments, both bowed and hammered, have also been called multiphonics, for lack of better terminology and scarcity of research.
A school band is a group of student musicians who rehearse and perform instrumental music together. A concert band is usually under the direction of one or more conductors. A school band consists of woodwind instruments, brass instruments and percussion instruments, although upper level bands may also have string basses or bass guitar.
Flute repertoire is the general term for pieces composed for flute. The following lists are not intended to be complete, but rather to present a representative sampling of the most commonly played and well-known works in the genre. The lists also do not generally include works originally written for other instruments and subsequently transcribed, adapted, or arranged for flute, unless such piece is very common in the repertory, in which case it is listed with its original instrumentation noted.
Africa/Brass is the eighth studio album by jazz musician John Coltrane, released on September 1, 1961 on Impulse! Records, catalogue A-6. The sixth release for the fledgling label and Coltrane's first for Impulse!, it features Coltrane's working quartet augmented by a larger ensemble to bring the total number of participating musicians to 21. Its big band sound, with the unusual instrumentation of French horns and euphonium, presented music very different from anything that had been associated with Coltrane to date.
Steinway Musical Instruments, Inc. is a worldwide musical instrument manufacturing and marketing conglomerate, based in Waltham, Massachusetts, the United States. It was formed in a 1995 merger between the Selmer Industries and Steinway Musical Properties, the parent company of Steinway & Sons piano manufacturers. From 1996 to 2013, Steinway Musical Instruments was traded at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the abbreviation LVB, for Ludwig van Beethoven. It was acquired by the Paulson & Co. private capital firm in 2013.
A musical instrument is a device created or adapted to make musical sounds. In principle, any object that produces sound can be considered a musical instrument—it is through purpose that the object becomes a musical instrument. A person who plays a musical instrument is known as an instrumentalist. The history of musical instruments dates to the beginnings of human culture. Early musical instruments may have been used for rituals, such as a horn to signal success on the hunt, or a drum in a religious ceremony. Cultures eventually developed composition and performance of melodies for entertainment. Musical instruments evolved in step with changing applications and technologies.
The BBC Radio Orchestra was a broadcasting orchestra based in London, maintained by the British Broadcasting Corporation from 1964 until 1991.
A woodwind doubler is a musician who can play two or more instruments from the six woodwind families or other folk or ethnic woodwind instruments, and can play more than one instrument during a performance. A player who plays two instruments from the same family is also often considered a woodwind doubler, but is usually paid less than a player who plays instruments from different families.
Simon Steen-Andersen is a Danish composer and installation artist.
The woodwind section, which consists of woodwind instruments, is one of the main sections of an orchestra or concert band. Woodwind sections contain instruments given Hornbostel-Sachs classifications of 421 and 422, but exclude 423
Music technology is the study or the use of any device, mechanism, machine or tool by a musician or composer to make or perform music; to compose, notate, play back or record songs or pieces; or to analyze or edit music.