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Orchestra, Complete

Includes vuvuzelas, bagpipes, kazoos, theremins, etc., with all the usual stuff.
  [vote for,

I did a quick search to see if this Idea had been Baked, but all I could find were some proposals similar to this one, but not as complete.

I'd like to see a COMPLETE orchestra. Yes, it has all the usual stringed instruments, wind instruments, brass instruments, percussion instruments, and so on, but it also has everything else that has ever been used to make music. A pipe organ, for example. A calliope, and a harpsichord, also. At least one theremin and electronic synthesizer and glass armonica and carillon. Bagpipes, vuvuzelas, bongo drums, cannons, and kazoos, of course.

I have to stop lest this Idea be given the MFD for promoting a List. But I think you've got the Idea, now....

Vernon, Dec 10 2013

Bodily Functions | Matthew Herbert http://www.allmusic...ctions-mw0000009568
uses a baby [calum, Dec 10 2013]

http://www.vegetableorchestra.org/ [pocmloc, Dec 10 2013]

The Unplayable Score: Faerie’s Aire and Death Waltz http://socks-studio...h-waltz-john-stump/
Included in the instrumentation - peanuts, explosives, penguins, bicycles, and cattle. [tatterdemalion, Dec 10 2013]

Going large ... http://en.wikipedia.../Musica_universalis
... how will you include these? [pertinax, Dec 13 2013]

Cash register music https://www.youtube...watch?v=sndo_wdc384
As mentioned in various annotations, many ordinary things can be musical in certain circumstances. [Vernon, Jul 10 2015]

Can't resist spank_20percussion
spank percussion [Voice, Jul 10 2015]


       // everything else that has ever been used to make music. //   

       // Bagpipes //   

       This is an oxymoron. Bagpipes cannot, and never have, be used to produce music.   

       Apart from that, it's not an unattractive idea, especially the cannons.   

       Some work would be involved in re-scoring orchestral works to make use of the range of instruments; but no doubt John Williams could write something pleasing to the ear.
8th of 7, Dec 10 2013

       why ?
FlyingToaster, Dec 10 2013

       As technology advances, and man spreads throughout the universe, won't new instruments be added as they meet the entry grade of enough written work?
wjt, Dec 10 2013

       Meh... You have made the mistaken assumption that all instruments are compatible with each other. For example, part of the character of many instruments lies in their particular pitch classes, or lack thereof. Pianos are commonly tuned in a well temperament such as 12 EDO, harpsichords in a non-circulating meantone, Jews harps and tromba marinas in a raw harmonic series, bagpipes in a diatonic just intonation, theremins unconstrained, etc. - for good reasons. These are woefully incompatible. You would need to make all the instruments conform to some standard (which would spoil the character of many, and is not even possible in some cases), or the result would be such severe out-of-tuneness as to make a mockery of the word 'symphony'.   

       In fact, it's probably no coincidence that the list of instruments in a standard symphony orchestra is virtually identical to the list of 'classical' instruments most commonly taught at schools etc. The instruments that aren't compatible (because they are too loud, too quiet, or too differently tuned) with the violins, flutes, etc. fell out of favour. Such instruments include viols (too quiet), shawms (too loud), and tromba marinas (incompatible tuning).   

       So, putting lots of different instruments ('all' is a pretty big number; there are probably hundreds of thousands of different instruments, although the exact number is arbitrary, like the number of spoken dialects) in an orchestra isn't not done because no-one thought of it, but because it doesn't really work.   

       Having said all of that, if you tuned a vast multitude of divers instruments to a single frequency (or whole number multiple thereof) and had them play one glorious long drone, I'd gladly join in.
spidermother, Dec 10 2013

       Yes, from cannons and church bells, to classical Chinese gu qin, matching pitch and tuning would be a challenge.   

       Also have you ever been to an ethnological museum with a decent collection of musical instruments? There are _seriously_ many different types of instruments.   

       In fact I will go further than you [sm] and say that what is or is not a musical instrument is very much culturally determined. If a cannon can be a musical instrument, why not an AK-47, or a thermonuclear device? The chimes on an ice-cream van? The siren on a police car? The horn of the Queen Mary? A stick? As [calum] says, a baby? How about a dead baby? Power tools? A skylark high over a field in the middle of the English countryside? What is music anyway?   

       You may as well suggest an art gallery with every different type of visual object in it. Not really practical, possible, or particularly interesting.
pocmloc, Dec 10 2013

       // Bagpipes //   

       I think it's an excellent idea to allow bagpipers to mix with musicians.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 10 2013

       Yes, but secretly; if the musicians find out, the bagpipers will be beaten to death (in 4/4 time).   

       Not that that would necessarily be a bad thing.   

       // (which would spoil the character of many, and is not even possible in some cases) //   

       This is correct. It is clearly impossible to spoil bagpipes, other than by making more of them.
8th of 7, Dec 10 2013

       Would it include a whale chorus?
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 10 2013

       [spidermother], that's an interesting point. Let's see...what do they say in the Army? Ah, "The difficult we do at once; the impossible takes a little longer." I'm willing to assume that if some instrument is considered to be too loud, a minor variant of it could be softer, yet still be called the same name.   

       [pocmloc], perhaps a dividing line could be declared in terms of, "was this thing intended to be used for creating music?" That would let us exclude a lot of noisy things, including, of course, cannons. On the other hand, if some particular thing, excluded for that reason, was used anyway, and successfully (even famously), then the "Orchestra, Complete" might well include it anyway (cannons, that is, but also I know of at least one composition from roughly the same era as the "1812 Overture" that includes black-powder gunshots).
Vernon, Dec 10 2013

       //matching pitch and tuning would be a challenge.// A challenge - and a shame. A local (Australian resident) Greek music group once invited a fairly elderly lyra player to join them at the folk centre where I was fairly involved at the time. He played some solo lyra for a while. I was slowly getting used to his subtle, beautiful modal intonation, when he was joined by the local group (guitar, electric bass, etc). The lyra player looked worried, because he was now out of tune with the band; but he slowly adjusted his fingering, until finally the magic was gone and they were all just playing a bunch of boring notes that happened to resemble Greek music.   

       I suppose I was using 'musical instrument' to mean a device whose primary purpose is music *; thus, while I've personally used guinea pigs (unharmed!), drain pipes, dripping taps etc. to create music, I wouldn't call those musical instruments, though. (But what about the piece of down-pipe that I picked out as having a nice resonance and from which I evicted the spiders? Is that then a musical instrument? )   

       //siren// I once played in an impromptu trio for two baroque recorders (long-held pitches) and a fire alarm or something that started nearby. The difference tones - clearly audible, sliding in opposition to the alarm itself - were stunning.   

       * Simul-post with [Vernon]
spidermother, Dec 10 2013

       I extend [pocmloc]'s observation - there is no definition of instrument that can be constructed that would allow this idea to be developed. Everything and anything can be an instrument. If you can hit it, it's at least percussion. And as your own example of cannons shows, [Vernon], any attempt to codify what counts as an instrument is doomed to failure. Typewriter, coffee percolator? How about an old tractor?   

       Also [-] because even when you've settled that question, the resultant music will be a gimmick laden cacaphony.
tatterdemalion, Dec 10 2013

       What about the unfeasably large crystal spheres?
pertinax, Dec 10 2013

       I think it is fairly easy to define a musical instrument. It is a device designed and built for the production of music. Thus, found objects may be used for music, but are not musical instruments. Simple, really.   

       //"The difficult we do at once; the impossible takes a little longer."//   

       I was always told it was "The impossible we do at once; miracles take a little longer.", but perhaps standards have slipped.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 10 2013

       You all seem very confident that you know what is music and what is not music.
pocmloc, Dec 10 2013

       You mis-read. I said it is easy to define a musical instrument.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 10 2013

       I'm reasonably convinced that it would be possible to incorporate sausages into this, from the chipola piccalo to the percussionists using bratwurst to hit the kettle drums. But, I am usually wrong.
not_morrison_rm, Dec 10 2013

       // I am usually wrong.//   

       But, based on that statement, not always.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 10 2013

       Can we include the theatre itself as one of the instruments? The Blue Man Group PVC Pipes? This is an infinite list.
RayfordSteele, Dec 10 2013

       "I know what you're thinking - this is just gonna be another banjo/magic show..."
shapu, Dec 10 2013

       "why not an AK-47, or a thermonuclear device? ... A stick? ... A skylark ..."
This made me think that in the only way that this could be truely implemented, it is already baked: The universe is the stage and any one person can hear only a very small part of the eternal symphony. But then that's philosophical hogwash.

       Assuming a reasonbly limited scope, when combining instruments with different intonation into the orchestra, it seems like we should give equal opportunity. Sometimes it's nice to have the non-classical instruments play along with classical intonations to give new sounds to more classical music, but it seems like there would be a lot of creative space to explore in making the classical instruments adopt alternate intonations. My impression is that a lot of music in different styles is solo or small ensemble music, but that just creates a challenge for the composer/arranger to coherently incorporate a large orchestra into these different styles.
scad mientist, Dec 10 2013

       // It is a device designed and built for the production of music. Thus, found objects may be used for music, but are not musical instruments. Simple, really.   

       As I previously mentioned, that definition excludes many objects and devices which have been used successfully for musical purposes, even though they were not designed for that use. Should things which can be used in a musical way be excluded just because they weren't made for that purpose? I guess you can make that rule just because you have to draw a line somewhere, but it will always seem arbitrary.   

       Music (and instrumentation needed to produce it) is in the ear of the beholder.
tatterdemalion, Dec 10 2013

       Still a set-theory flaw here. Musical instruments can be combined, and so the set remains infinite.
RayfordSteele, Dec 10 2013

       Shirley not. The set of all musical instruments must by definition include bagpipes, which are not musical instruments; and the set of musical instruments that does not include bagpipes is incomplete.   

       And thus is a paradox created.
8th of 7, Dec 10 2013

       Although in theory this would seem fabulous, there are way too many ancient and ethnic instruments for it to be possible to gather all at one time, besides the regular orchestra instuments.
xandram, Dec 10 2013

       [8th of 7], your mere claim, that bagpipes don't qualify as musical instruments, is not proof that they don't qualify as musical instruments.   

       I see a couple of possible problem-sources for why someone might think as you do in this matter. First, some things qualify as "an acquired taste", in this case with the ears doing the tasting. For an analogy, I personally don't like the taste of beer, and I'm aware that lots of folks INITIALLY agree with me on that. Most of them appear to be willing to tolerate it until they acquire an enjoyment of it; I wasn't one of them. Anyway, I've noticed that when you listen to a recording of bagpipes with the volume turned down a bit, they sound more tolerable (to me, and more musical) than when directly in their presence.   

       Second, too much of anything is always a bad thing, even when a small amount can be a good thing. If someone is constantly subjected to, say, jet noise, it is possible that any initial enjoyment (in small quantities), of that sound-of-power, would be eroded to become hatred.   

       Do either of those situations apply to you, or do you have some other explanation to support your CLAIM?
Vernon, Dec 10 2013

       //that definition excludes many objects and devices which have been used successfully for musical purposes, even though they were not designed for that use. Should things which can be used in a musical way be excluded just because they weren't made for that purpose?//   

       Yes, that is entirely my point. If you want to create a collection of all possible objects, that is fine. But, for practical porpoises, a collection of all musical instruments, as defined, is simpler.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 10 2013

       Simpler perhaps but never complete, and he's got "complete" in all capitals so it must be important. You can create a definition for simplicity, but no definition exists that can be applied to this idea without breaking the idea.   

       // I personally don't like the taste of beer, and I'm aware that lots of folks INITIALLY agree with me on that.   

       Count me among them, [Vernon], given that you've just said as much, I'm willing to agree that you don't like the taste of beer, at least initially.
tatterdemalion, Dec 10 2013

       I'm from cider country me, so "zider I up, landlord". After for musical instruments collections, just get a synth.
not_morrison_rm, Dec 10 2013

       If I were to play a perfect white noise static that captures every frequency the ear can hear, would that simplify this process?
RayfordSteele, Dec 11 2013

       A bit like having an Indianapolis 500 with anything able to move around the track able to enter. RVs, Unicycles, Kids toys, road trains, and race cars: On your mark, Get set, Go!
popbottle, Dec 14 2013


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