Difference Between Orchestra and Band (with Table)

The difference between orchestra and band is that an orchestra refers to a large group of musicians and instrumentalists who play music using different kinds of instruments. These instruments are generally divided into sections of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. The entire musical ensemble is led by a conductor or music director.

On the other hand, a band is a small group of vocalists and musicians who generally play brass, wind, or percussion instruments. In contrast with orchestras, bands generally do not include string instruments.

An orchestra uses all families of instruments. While the violins are placed at the frontier, strings are usually more centre stage. Some bands may also use string instruments in their music. These are called symphonic bands. However, the section of string instruments in bands generally includes just the cello, bass, piano, or harp.

Comparison Table Between Orchestra and Band

Parameters of ComparisonOrchestraBand
MeaningAn orchestra is a group of musicians and instrumentalists who are led by a conductor or music director to perform music on stage.A band is a group of vocalists and musicians who play music using a comparatively smaller set of instruments than orchestras.
TypesOrchestras are of two types – chamber orchestras and symphony Orchestras.Many types of bands play various genres of music. Some types of bands include concert bands, jazz bands, marching bands, Christian bands, cover bands, heavy metal bands, etc.
MembersAn orchestra is a large group of musicians which can include even 100 or more members.A band is a small group of musicians which generally includes a lesser number of members than orchestras.
InstrumentsOrchestras use four main families of instruments – strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.Bands use brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments but generally do not use string instruments.
Type of musicOrchestras play western class is music or opera. However, they sometimes even play music for modern films and concert music.Bands play modern music of a large variety. Some include – rock, jazz, heavy metal, pop, soul, R&B, swing, funk, and much more.
OriginThe origin of the first orchestra dates way back to ancient Greece, however, the modern orchestra setting was put together in the 17th century.Bands are said to be originated in the 15th century by people of Germany who mainly used bassoons and oboes as instruments.

What is an Orchestra?

An orchestra is a large ensemble of musicians and instrumentalists who generally play western classical music or opera. The instruments used in an orchestra are from the families of strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussions. The entire musical group is led by a conductor or music director who instructs the musicians to play music in a certain way.

Orchestras can be categorized into two kinds – chamber orchestras and symphony Orchestras. While Chamber orchestras include 50 or fewer members, symphony Orchestras can include even more than 100 members.

Musical groups as large as what is now called an orchestra, are known to have emerged in the 17th century, with the early development of Opera. These orchestras used flutes, oboes, horns, trumpets, bassoons, and kettledrums.

RECOMMENDED
Difference Between Autumn and Spring (with Table)

At present time, a full-scale opera consists of 100 permanent members who are assigned with various instruments including violins, oboes, clarinets, flutes, cellos basses, etc.

HERO OrchestraFullAbove 2271

What is a Band?

A band is a small group of musicians who generally play modern music using woodwinds, bass, and percussions. Usually, a band does not use instruments of the string family. In some cases, bands that do use string (mainly cello, bass, piano, or harp) instruments are called symphonic bands.

In the 18th century, Germans formed small groups of people who played music using instruments such as bassoons and oboes. Subsequently, in the late 18th century, such music started to become popular among the Turkish. Janissary music played by these Turkish people featured instruments such as drums, fluted, triangles, cymbals, etc.

During the revolutionary war in the United States, marching bands were formed. These were small groups of people who played bugles, fifes, and drums and accompanied the marching soldiers during battles. Nowadays, marching bands are even used during parades and football games.

At present time, bands play a variety of modern music including rock, heavy metal, pop, funk, R&B, etc. These bands perform live on stage, as well as on radio and televisions. Some of the most popular bands to date include The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, U2, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd.

cambodian rock band

Main Differences Between Orchestra and Band

  1. An orchestra is a group of musicians and instrumentalists who are led by a conductor or music director to perform music. On the other hand, a band is a group of vocalists or musicians who perform modern music on stage, radio, or television.
  2. An orchestra uses string instruments while a band originally did not use any string instruments.
  3. An orchestra can include up to 100 or even more members while bands include a comparatively lesser number of people.
  4. Orchestras originally played western classical music and opera. On the other hand, bands play a variety of music including jazz, rock, heavy metal, soul, funk, R&B, and much more.
  5. Orchestras are of two types – chamber orchestras and symphony orchestras. Bands can be of many types depending on the kind of music they play.

Conclusion

Music has evolved in such a massive way since its origin. In early times, people used simple instruments such as bassoons and oboes to perform for small crowds.

Orchestra music can be dated back to Ancient Greece when large numbers of musicians performed with string instruments in auditoriums.

According to the original ancient setting, the difference between an orchestra and band was that an orchestra was a large group of musicians who used string instruments while a band was a small group of people of used instruments like bassoons and oboes.

References

  1. https://ir.library.illinoisstate.edu/fpm/9/
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0305735606067170