In this “Chatter” section, images depict members of the flute family being played with a variety of other instruments, from delicate strings and keyboards to martial trumpets and drums. Each type of ensemble depicted has a particular characteristic chatter and suits a particular setting, whether stately halls or raucous streets. Musical performance acts as the catalyst for a variety of other sound interactions—interpreted from the scenes of noisy cacophony of the impromptu Beggar’s Opera (a popular, satirical eighteenth-century English opera by John Gay) in Hogarth’s The Enraged Musician to the refined conversation at the quiet salon in L’Assemble au Concert. As Miller noted in his treatise, the emergence of large ensembles required not only inspired composers and skillful performers but also instruments that were technically capable of producing a variety of musical tones. The ability to play different dynamics, from very loud to very soft, was necessary to create the appropriate emotion and balance between instruments for ensemble performance. The improvement of the sound quality of orchestral woodwinds such as the oboe, a double-reeded instrument previously considered too harsh for inclusion in many compositions, led to their increasing use in orchestrations by composers of the eighteenth century.
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