Under the impulse of the Renaissance, a large number of other instruments were devel oped, such as flutes, flageolets, clarinets, trom bones and various forms of monodtords, their development keeping pace with the evolution of music up to its higher forms; but it was not until about the end of the 16th century that any attempt was made to combine them into a definite orchestra, the development of which is coincident with that of the opera.
The first approximation to an orchestra was the group of instruments employed in connec tion with the production of Cavalieri's oratorio, 'La Rappresentazione dell' Anima 6 del Corpo,) at Rome in 1600; but the first definite orchestra was the one that accompanied the first opera ever performed in public— Peri's''Euridice) at Florence, in the latter part of the same year. It was composed of a harpsichord, a guitar, a viol da gamba, a theorbo or large lute and three flutes. In both cases the combination of the instruments was designed to afford the sim plest possible accompaniment to the dramatic recitative; but a few years later Monteverde noted the individual peculiarities of the several instruments, and introduced a new system of orchestration by which the number of pieces was greatly increased and the instruments given a score practically free from the limitation of the vocal parts. His opera, 'Orfeo,) produced at Mantua in 1608, was accompanied by 36 pieces, 22 of which were stringed instruments, mostly viols, thus making them the foundation of the orchestra. With the evolution of the dramatic work to higher forms, better accom paniments were required, and the preponderat ing viols were superseded by violins, during the earlier part of the 18th century, while later on, during Handel's time, Lully introduced flutes into the French orchestra to double in unison the parts of the stringed instruments. The strengthening of the violins is shown to a marked degree by the orchestras of Scarlotti and Lyrenzi, as many as 20 violins entering into their composition. Up to this time, how ever, the real art of writing for the strings was unknown. The works of the elder Bach, probably the greatest master of part writing, and those of Handel, subsequently reorches trated by Mozart, show a great lack of appre ciation of tonal coloring, and it remained for Haydn to lay the true foundations of the mod ern science of instrumentation. He dispensed with the obsolete instruments employed by his predecessors and arranged five combinations by the skilful use of which are produced the great orchestral effects of the present time. They are (1) the complete string band, composed of two violins, violas, violoncellos and contra basses; (2) the string band supported by wind instruments playing in unison with the string parts; (3) the string hand supnorted the wind instruments in the free parts; (4) the string band with wind instruments playing in the separate passages; and (5) the string band supported by and contrasted with a complete wind band.
The instruments entering into these com binations in a modern orchestra may he con veniently arranged into four general groups, according to the means employed to produce their sounds, and in the order of their respec tive importance, as follows: (1) stringed in struments; (2) wind instruments; (3) instru ments of percussion; (4) instruments operated by keys arranged in a keyboard.
The stringed instruments may be subdivided into two classes: (1) bowed instruments, or those in which the sound is produced by draw ing a horse-hair bow across the strings; and (2) those in which the sound is produced by twanging the strings with the fingers, or with a plectrum of bone or ivory. To class I be long the violins, violas, violoncellos and the double bass. Plate I shows typical forms of some of the 18th century makes.
The violin is the most important instrument in an orchestra and the first violinist ranks next to the conductor himself, and ought to be a performer of the greatest ability and fully capable of playing the obligato passages that occur frequently in modern scores. It is the most personal of all instruments, because of the wide range of vibrations which may be utilized, rendering it capable of expressing every human emotion from sadness to merriment and from the deepest love to the utmost frenzy of hate; its use in the orchestra is varied, continuous and extensive. In the violin quartet the next im portant instillment is the second violin, which, being played in a lower part of the accordance, gives the difference of sound heard between Itself and the first violin. The viola or tenor takes the third place and is a fifth lower in the accordance, the open notes being C and G below, and D and A above, middle C. It is played exactly like the violin, and its part in the score is notated in the alto clef. It has a wonderfully beautiful and peculiarly plaintive and melancholy tone quality. The fourth place is filled by the violoncello or bass viol. Its strings are tuned in fifths, one octave lower in pitch than those of the viola, the accordance being C below and C, D and A in the bass clef. It has a compass of three and a half octaves, and its tone color, like that of the violin, is capable of expressing with surpassing faithful ness all the human emotions. Its harmonies are rich and full; the especially telling in effect, while the tone of the A string is the most suitable of all instrumental music for passionate expression. The contrabass or the double bass is used to double the part of the violoncello an octave deeper. While the violoncello is the bass of the stringed instru ments, the contrabass is the bass of the whale orchestra. They are of two tynes, those with three strings tuned in A, D, below G in the first space in the bass clef, and those with four strings tuned in E, A, D and G, in ascending order, an accordance rendered necessary by the works of modern composers. Its tone is gruff and ponderous, unfitting it for use as a solo instrument, but it is used with great effect to give an ominous significance in solo passages, and in imitating such effects as the rumblings of a thunder storm, frequently employed by many of the great composers.