Ears Wide Open! The Sound of...

Have you always wondered which instruments play in an orchestra, and what they sound like? In this series, the musicians of the Gürzenich Orchestra introduce their favourite instruments to you. You can listen to many different sounds, hear sad and happy melodies and learn lots about the different instruments. Every week, we will introduce a new instrument here.

Cello & Double Bass

There’s a distinctive buzz in the air when Katharina and Johannes give free reign to their instruments in the Gürzenich Orchestra. But what are the differences between these two largest of the string instruments, and are they even officially part of the same instrument family?


Can you forecast the weather using the timpani? Robert, the Gürzenich Orchestra’s timpanist, can! And he can do plenty of other things as well – for example play a melody (just for a change). But why does he carry a hairdryer around with him?


Tino plays clarinet in the Gürzenich Orchestra. But is his instrument really made of plastic, wood or possibly liquorice? He has all the answers to this and other questions, and brings no less than six different clarinets with him – all part of the same family.


Can you coax a note from an empty bottle? Then you have mastered the first step towards being a flutist! Alja, who plays flute in the Gürzenich Orchestra, explains how it works, why the flute is really a woodwind instrument, and what the flute’s big and little sisters do.


Matthias has plenty to say about the instrument whose loud notes easily carry above the full orchestra’s boom, but which can also sound wonderfully warm and soft. Take a tour of the trumpet’s history, from the first instruments found in Egyptian pyramids to the modern valve trumpet.

The Horn

Jörn is a musician and plays in the Gürzenich Orchestra. Today, he introduces his favourite instrument: the horn! He will even show you how you can build one yourself, with simple means.

Step-by-Step Techniques for Crafting

The Oboe

Tom and Sebastian introduce you to the oboe family. No instrument has more beautiful melodies, and no one can hold notes longer than they. Or can they? Listen for yourself...

Step-by-Step Techniques for Crafting





The Violin

Joanna and Nikolai are violinists in the Gürzenich Orchestra. We look at their instrument in depth. Horse hair? Mottled wood? Sounds good, don’t you think? Want to know more? Email your questions to ohrenauf@guerzenich-orchester.de

The Trombone

Carsten and Jan introduce you to the trombone today. Playing trombone requires a lot of breath. After all, a brass instrument only sounds good if you can make the column of air inside them vibrate. Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? Let’s have a listen.

The Harp

Ears pricked! And eyes too. We have to take a closer look at this instrument. Antonia presents the harp, which has fascinated her since her childhood. We bet there is still some room in your room at home!

The Bassoon

The bassoon is a pretty ingenious instrument. Any note played on it must travel more than two metres before emerging at the other end. How that works, and what all the silver keys are for – Diana and Thomas will explain it all to you!

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