Types of Musical Groups
Throughout history there conductors and musicians have experiments with different sizes and make ups of musical groups to produce the style they are looking for. In some cases, composers have used a single person, while a group between 3-10 is probably the most popular, although in certain types of music groups it is not uncommon to have 50 or more members.
One of the largest musical groups is the orchestra. An orchestra is typically composed of professional musicians who have mastered their instrument and, in many cases, have some type of degree in music. Orchestras typically perform in concert halls and play symphonies, which are oftentimes historic pieces written by famous musicians like Beethoven or Mozart. These historic symphonies are performed exactly as they would have been hundreds of years ago when their creators first wrote them. The orchestra is lead by a conductor who helps keep the tempo and controls the symphony. The instruments used in orchestras are traditionally acoustic instruments and fall into four categories: woodwind, string, brass, and percussion.
A choir is in some ways the opposite of an orchestra. Instead of being composed mainly of instruments, a choir is based on vocals and can contain several hundred members. Choirs are also very old and are seen most commonly in churches. Many popular musicians, including Elvis, discovered music by joining his local church choir.
Because of the availability of electronic instruments, it is no longer necessary to use a large number of people to produce loud music, so modern music groups usually have between 3-10 people. The majority of modern music groups have a lead singer, a drummer, a guitar player, and a bass player. Some groups have additional singers, guitar players, keyboard players, synthesizers, as well as saxophones, and other more traditional instruments. Modern music groups use many different combinations of musical instruments, as well as playing styles, to achieve a desired sound.
A cappella groups are similar to choirs in that they do not use any instruments and they both have their roots in the church. Modern a cappella movements include barbershop and doo wop. Although traditional a cappella is primarily lyrical, many a cappella pieces emulate the sound of instruments or various other noises one may experience in everyday life. While a cappella is not prevalent in mass pop culture, it is becoming more common. Outreach groups have started a cappella competitions, and there have been hundreds of a cappella albums recorded in the last ten years.
The types of groups mentioned in this article are a small sample of the various music groups the have been assembled to get a certain sound or emulate a style. Historic groups like orchestras and choirs are sure to stay in the mainstream, as well as pop culture groups, but as the world and music change, there is no telling what kind of new music groups we may see in the future.