Guide to the Orchestra


In music, instruments perform the function of the colors employed in painting.

—Honoré de Balzac

The Symphony Orchestra

A small taste of the Adventures in Classical Music series.

These lecture segments examine the timbre (tone color) of the instruments of the standard orchestra.


Topics covered:

  • what is timbre?
  • orchestra instruments



  • listening closely to each musical instrument
  • distinguishing one timbre from another


Lecture 4.2 
Instruments of the orchestra



Lecture 4.3 
Andrew Davis on orchestral instruments



Lecture 4.4 
Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra