Music is one of the oldest and most popular arts in the world. Over the years, it has developed a series of variables and formats that continue to triumph throughout the world and manage to move hundreds of thousands of souls who listen to the frenzy of chords. From soloists or small groups to orchestras that fill the best operas and great theaters in the world, musicians are often admired for their mastery of this discipline that remains a great unknown to many people because of all that it encompasses. In the world of classical music, the two most common groups of performers are the symphony orchestra and the philharmonic orchestra , but how are they different?
In both cases, it is a set of musicians and their instruments that play musical pieces distributed on the stage in a concrete way and following the instructions of the director. They usually perform works of classical music, from symphonies to an opera , and they do so by accommodating all the families of instruments (string, wind wood, metal wind and percussion), but the composition of the orchestra adapts and changes according to the work performed. . The number of musicians that compose them must be more than 80 and less than 100,although this is usually taken as a reference rather than as a norm.
With all these characteristics in common, it is logical that both terms are often used as synonyms and even many music professionals see no difference between them. But although all philharmonics are symphonic, not all symphonies are philharmonic . The feature that distinguishes the philharmonic orchestras from the symphonic orchestras, besides that they arose later, is that they are usually made up of members of associations who love music but who are not professional musicians or have a great education in this field .
The philharmonic word seems to derive from the Greek and means ‘ lover of music ‘. The orchestras belonging to a musical association, whose members dedicate their time and money to musical activities, would be considered a philharmonic. These first associations of music lovers emerged in Europe as part of the cultural richness that characterized the high society of the seventeenth century. In Austria, the Philharmonicorum Academy was founded in 1701 and the first known use of this term in English is a century later ( 1813 ), when the so-called Philharmonic Society was created in London .