The violins, never silent for long, laughed in rollicking glee or sobbed as if in pain; a flute began its merry piping,
and was closely followed by the delicate tinkle of the triangle and the bells. As the music went on, it seemed to make little pictures for the children to see.
A party of guests arrived noisily at a castle, or a victorious general returned to his people, announced by a sounding of trumpets.
These pictures, Damrosch explained, were the ones which had in the composer's mind when he wrote the music that had just been played.
The years passed, and Damrosch continued with his special concerts for children. In 1903 he had organized the New York Symphony Orchestra.
For a number of years afterwards, he traveled with his orchestra all over the United States. Many communities he visited had never heard a symphony orchestra play.
To them, as to the children of: New York City, Damrosch introduced the members of his large musical family.
His audience could see that a symphony orchestra is composed of four kinds of instruments.
First, there are the strings, made up almost entirely of violins and violin-like instruments in different sizes.
These outnumber all the other instruments of the orchestra, for they can express more different kinds of tones and feelings as well.
The strings usually carry the melody or tune of any selection played, and their voices are heard longer and more often than any other class of instruments while the orchestra is playing.
Then there are the woodwinds, the flute, oboe, clarinet, etc. only two or three of a kind.
These are said to be descended from the little Panpipes of hollow reeds upon which shepherds used to play while watching their flocks.
At any rate, the woodwinds have peculiar reedy voices which enable them to be heard when speaking separately, as they generally do,
or even when all of the strings are playing.