Learning idea: interactive introduction to the instruments of the orchestra
SoundJunction's Explorer tool allows you to find out what every instrument and voice in an ensemble is doing – to listen to the whole ensemble, individual groups or solo instruments; and to watch the ensemble or individual instruments.
SoundJunction commissioned a piece of contemporary orchestral music from composer David Horne – Emerging Dances – which you can explore with the Explorer tool.
So it could be used in the following ways, to give an introduction to the orchestra:
First go to the page 'Exploring Emerging Dances', where you can access Emerging Dances on the Explorer tool. Press the play button to listen to the whole ensemble.
If you use the 'Expand' buttons, you can open out the ensemble, first to reveal the families of instruments – woodwind, brass, harp and percussion, strings. Using the 'Expand' buttons again reveals all the individual instruments in that family.
And if you use the 'Focus on' buttons, the Explorer will play only the group or part in focus. Click the play button and then experiment with the 'Focus on' buttons to listen to the different instruments and families playing their own parts.
So you could use this to find out the families of instruments in the orchestra, to find out what individual instruments are in each family, and then to listen to the distinctive sounds of each one in turn.
Watch all the instruments of the orchestra being played
As well as allowing you to listen to individual instruments and family groups, the Explorer tool also allows you to watch each and every instrument being played.
Use the 'Video' buttons on either the full ensemble or the individual instrument parts to watch the performer playing (or waiting for the bars of rest to finish!).
You could use this as a virtual video tour round the orchestra, sampling the sights and sounds of all the instruments or focussing on a couple of unusual ones.
Find out more about any instrument or performer
Elsewhere in SoundJunction, you can find out about each and every one of the instruments being played in David Horne's Emerging Dances, from the 'Instruments and voices' section.
For each instrument, the performer talks on film about how their instrument works, how it's played, how it's made etc.
Within this section, 'All individual instruments' gives a complete listing and a series of short instrument profiles.
Or if you want to find out about the person playing the instrument, try 'About musicians'.
Trying out other styles and genres
You can also use the Explorer tool to explore the modern jazz piece Where will it take you, by Jason Yarde. Or Moving Away, by Tunde Jegede, combines West African classical music with African diasporic styles, such as reggae.