THE modern orchestra consists, roughly, of four well-defined sections: the stringed instruments, the wood-wind, the brass, and the percussion. Through this wonderful "instrument"--an instrument that has taken man thousands of years to perfect in all its branches-- the world has been given the greatest masterpieces of music. This Book of A Musical Companion deals, first, with the development of the orchestra from the early days of culture (but not from the time of the savages or early primitives), and then with the music itself. The first part of my subject has been treated in sections more or less corresponding to those given in the opening sentence of this introduction, the various groups of instruments being briefly traced from their Asiatic or European origin, then on through the dark ages and the Renaissance, to the time when the style of the modern orchestra was definitely fixed by the fusion of its various elements. The remainder of the Book deals with the masterpieces created by man through the extraordinary and uplifting power of this mighty instrument, and also with certain aspects of music that occur to the critical mind in these later and less creative days.
CIVILIZATION, spreading westward through the centuries long ago and bringing in its train much of the culture of the Orient, was the foster- parent of the modern orchestra. But we must not assume too readily,