How Does Classical Music Differ From Other Types of Music?
The term “classical music” can be used in two ways. If the word “Classical” is capitalized, the term applies to music produced in the era of Mozart and Haydn (1730-1820). The more common use of the term refers to a broader range of musical compositions that covers the entire body of Western music, from Gregorian chants to contemporary pieces. It is this second style of classical music that is most commonly heard in programs performed by the Redlands Symphony.
One thing that sets classical music apart from other music forms is its use of music notation, the written instructions of the composer which indicate pitch, speed, meter, rhythms and the overall performance of the musical piece. By using this type of detailed notation, composers are doing what they can to insure that their music affects the mind, body and spirit and is not just a gift for the ears.
What is a Symphony Orchestra?
A symphony orchestra is a large – sometimes 100 or more – ensemble of musicians that includes strings (violins, violas, cellos, basses), woodwinds (flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons), brass (horns, trumpets, trombones and tubas) and/or percussion (drums, timpani, bells, etc.). Because of its size, symphony orchestras require a conductor to help the musicians play together, follow the musical score and perform a unified interpretation of the piece.
Are There Any Concert Customs or Traditions About Which I Should Know?
You don’t need any special knowledge or experience to fully enjoy an orchestral concert. However, there are some customs with which you should be familiar:
Welcoming the Symphony
The first person to come on stage after the orchestra is seated is the concertmaster (the lead first violinist), who is greeted with applause. The concertmaster is responsible for tuning the orchestra. Next to enter is the conductor (sometimes he or she will also bring that night’s soloist on stage). More applause. Once the conductor has acknowledged the audience by bowing, she turns towards the orchestra, and it’s time to begin.
When to be Silent
Silence is an important element of helping to insure that everyone enjoys the concert. In order to promote maximum concentration and enjoyment of the music, the audience should be as quiet as possible. This means no talking, humming, tapping or turning program pages. Mobile phones and all other electronic devices should be turned off and remain off and put away throughout the performance.
When to Applaud
When to applaud has been a subject of music debate for many years. For the last hundred years or so, the tradition has been to wait to clap until the very end of the piece, no matter how many individual movements there may be. The purpose of waiting is to allow the orchestra to present the piece without interruption and to help maintain the unity and beauty of the composition. In earlier times, it was quite common for an audience to break out in applause whenever it pleased them to demonstrate their appreciation. Today, it’s not uncommon or wrong for there to be enthusiastic applause between movements. Not to worry. But if you are concerned about when to applaud, a good rule is to wait until a piece ends, the conductor turns to face the audience and the applause begins.
Where are Concerts Held?
All concerts of the Redlands Symphony are performed in the beautiful Memorial Chapel on the campus of the University of Redlands in Redlands, California. Get Directions.
When Should I Arrive?
Concerts normally begin promptly at 8p.m. Doors open at 7p.m. If it’s your first concert, you may wish to arrive up to an hour before the concert begins so you will have plenty of time to park and find your seats. If you attend concerts regularly, you should give yourself at least 30 minutes to arrive and check in.
When planning your arrival time, you may also want to consider attending one of the pre-concert conversations about the program, presented by that evening’s conductor. These conversations usually begin 45 minutes prior to the start of the concert, at 7:15p.m.
Late Seating: If you cannot avoid being late, late seating will take place during the first appropriate pause in the performance, at the direction of the house management. At times, a program is presented without intermission and late seating may not be available at all. It’s always best to arrive while there is plenty of time to guarantee you won’t miss a single note of the performance.
Intermission: Most programs are performed with one 20-minute intermission. Consult the program to learn exactly when the intermission will occur. At times, however, a program will be performed without an intermission. Again, consult the program for details so you can make appropriate provision for your personal comfort.
May I Bring My Children?
Keep in mind that most concerts last about two hours. That is usually too long for most young children (5 and under) to be still and quiet. We encourage patrons to bring young children to the Redlands Symphony’s OrKIDstra Family Concert & Petting Zoo, which is held each Spring. Call the Symphony office (909.587.5565) or consult our Events page for dates.
All patrons, no matter their age, must have a ticket to enter Memorial Chapel and must sit in their assigned seat.
May I Take Pictures or Record the Music?
The use of cameras and any recording devices (including cell phones) is not permitted in Memorial Chapel at any time.