The usual (but not required) arrangement of instruments in the symphony orchestra is presented here: in front of the conductor sit strings, behind players of wooden wind instruments and horns, and in the last row brass and percussion instrument players. Harp and piano may usually be found on the side.

     There may be somewhat different arrangements: for example, the second violins can be placed on the right of the conductor, the violas and cellos in front of him, or: all the woodwind instruments in one row, and all the metal instruments behind them, and so on.

     Also, in the opera where the orchestra is located in an alcove in front of the stage, the arrangement may be slightly different due to limited space.

Arrangement of musicians in the orchestra

   In this drawing the names of instruments are marked in Italian abbreviations, which are used in the orchestra scores:

Arp. = harp
V. I =  first violins
V. II = second violins
Vle. = violas
Vc. = cellos
Cb. = double basses
Fl. = flutes
Fl. picc. = piccolo flute
Ob. = oboes
C. ingl. = English horn
Cl. b. = bass clarinet
Cl. = clarinets
Cor. = horns
Tr. = trumpets
Trbn. = trombones
Tb. = tube
Pf. = piano


*  You will notice that clarinetists sometimes have another clarinet on the music desk in front of them. This means that they take turns in playing on the B, A or Es clarinets according to the requirements of the composition.

Taken from my book
I Am Studying Clarinet IV


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