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The Southeast Kansas Symphony Orchestra
Raul Munguia - Artistic Director & Conductor

The Families

Two good starting points:

  • Wikipedia Orchestra
  • Instruments Online (Vienna Symphonic Library) - A fantastic site! Each instrument is featured in several ways: general description, history, notation/range, how sound is produced on the instrument, playing technique (even R/L hand if it applies), sound characteristics, sound combinations, and instrument repertoire.

Orchestral Instrument Resources

Here are but a few links to the many sites available on instruments and families of the orchestra. For a general description of each instrument, please see our page on "the Concert Experience".

Families & Instruments

Four different families make up the modern day orchestra: Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, and Strings. Any number of other instruments are used by composers to create special sounds and effects.

~ Woodwinds ~

All Woodwinds:


  • The Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection (Library of Congress) Nearly 1,650 flutes and other instruments, statuary, iconography, books, music, tutors, patents, and other materials mostly related to the flute. The Miller Collection contains Western and non-Western examples from all over the world, and at least 460 European and American instrument makers are represented.
  • National Flute Association


Cor Anglais / English Horn:



~ Brass ~

All Brass

French Horn:




  • International Tuba-Euphonium Association (ITEA) The International Tuba-Euphonium Association (ITEA) is an international organization comprised of performers, teachers, students, and other interested parties who desire to promote the literature, pedagogy, and performance of the euphonium and tuba.

~ Percussion ~

General Percussion




  • Southeastern Historical Keyboard Society is a non-profit, regional organization committed to the promotion of interest in and the study of early keyboard instruments, principally harpsichord, clavichord, fortepiano, and organ prior to 1860, and the music intended for these instruments.
  • HPSCHD-L is an electronic mailing list devoted to early stringed keyboard instruments: harpsichords, clavichords, fortepianos, virginals, and all similar instruments except the modern piano. The list is an open forum for all topics related to these instruments, including their theory and principles of construction, decoration, and history and evolution from their earliest beginnings through modern times. Other topics for discussion include performers on these instruments, performance practice, literature, pedagogy, care and ownership.



~ Strings ~

All Strings:




Double Bass:

~ Other Instruments ~

Many other instruments are used along with the standard orchestral instruments. Some of the most common are:

  • Handbells
  • Synthesizers
  • Theremin
  • Recordings. Especially famous is a recorded nightingale used in Respighi's "Pines of Rome". Many modern composers utilize recorded sounds in their scoring.

Related to All Instruments:

Links related mainly to the symphony orchestra and it's instruments in general:

Associations, Organizations, Societies: