The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
3 Points

Do you think that there should be more high pitched intruments in an orchetra or more low pitched

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/19/2015 Category: Music
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 396 times Debate No: 81153
Debate Rounds (2)
Comments (3)
Votes (1)




I believe that there should be more high pitched instruments because the high pitched instruments get the melody in most of the music pieces. Google states that there are an even amount of players on both sides, but I believe that if there are more low pitched players than the high pitched players and the high pitched players have the melody than the low pitched players will out play the melody and the audience will not be able to enjoy the melody in the music.


Thanks, Pro! I am very excited to accept this debate since it such an interesting subject (to me)! As I said earlier, good luck to you!

Higher pitched instruments do not always play the melody

All high pitched instruments are not generally playing the melody. For instance, 1st part violin/trumpet generally has the melody, 2nd part supports the melody. As I’m sure you’re aware, there may even be divisions within the parts themselves in which all 1st parts are not necessarily playing the melody – at least not in the same octave. Considering these multiple parts, and divisi within the parts, clearly higher register instruments do not always play the melody. Increasing the number of high register instruments (which play melody) demands more support, and this support is generally provided by lower register instruments or by higher ranged instruments playing in a lower register. The melody and the harmony will not generally (if ever) be represented by equal numbers of instruments. In most compositions, the majority of the orchestra will be playing harmonics/chords in order to provide a fuller sound, and a minority stands out with the melody.

The melody stands out

Consider a song written for 8 cellos.

Which part do you hear clearly? If you listen closely, you can ascertain the other parts, but the melody is the most obvious. This is a really good example of the melody being heard even when it is 1 out of 8 parts and by instruments within the same register. The moving notes are what we hear first (unless it is intentionally subdued). This also shows how many parts/instruments might be used to support the melody. In other words, there are many more possibilities to provide support since harmony is not committed to a single note, but an entire chord. However, there is only one melody. Imagine how this piece would change if there were 2 parts for chords/harmony, and the other six played the exact same notes demanded by the melody. The depth would be gone.


Higher register instruments typically have solos. Piccolos, flutes, trumpets, and violins have a majority of solos. That is because the higher ranged instruments are capable of singing above the lower ranged instruments. Here is a great example of piccolo (unmic’d) playing with full orchestral accompaniment and we have no problem hearing every note. Of course, there are times when trombone, viola, bass, tuba, etc., have solos, but the accompaniment must be modified in order for these instruments to be heard. Compare the horn solo (with entire orchestra laying out) at 1:18 to the piccolo solo. The piccolo is much easier to understand.

*I intentionally compared a wind instrument to a wind instrument given the typical amplitude difference between wind and string instruments. Also, it should be noted, the horn is not generally thought of as a low pitched instrument, but it is in a lower register than the piccolo.


To recap, higher register instruments are not guaranteed to play melody – increasing the amount of higher pitched instruments will demand more accompaniment from other sections and/or more accompaniment parts within the enlarged section itself. Melody stands out even when played with other instruments in the same range. Finally, higher register instruments are more easily heard, and if we intend to increase the size of the orchestra it should be in the lower register sections. Back to you, Pro!

Debate Round No. 1


Orchestra- "orchestra" was used to describe the place where musicians and dancers performed in ancient Greece. The orchestra, or symphony orchestra, is generally defined as an ensemble mainly composing of bowed stringed instruments, percussion, wind and brass instruments.
As you can see apart of the definition of orchestra is an ensemble which is multiple instruments, not just one section. In one of my opponents example there was only one section of string instruments which was the cello,
where as the cello is an low pitched instrument and there was no example of a high pitched instrument in that example. In your other example of the full orchestra, the soloist was a high pitched player and so you kind of made my job easier because you gave an example of a high pitched instrument playing the " melody " ( solo )


Thank you, Pro.

My opponent has missed the point of the virtual cello ensemble. The “song for 8 cellos” was not meant to be an example of an orchestra, but an example of how the melody stands out against 7 other parts. It is irrelevant that the instrument happens to be a low pitched instrument. The point has nothing to do with the voice, but the melody. In any orchestra, a small percentage of the instruments play the melody, and a majority of the instruments support it – much like the virtual cello ensemble I referenced - thus the lower ranged instruments/parts are more in demand than instruments playing melodic parts. Pro has not addressed this point.

Secondly, Pro claims my other example supports ‘high pitched instruments play the melody’, and that is most certainly correct. However, that is not something a musically literate person would deny nor is it what this debate is about. This debate is about whether we should increase the number of high or low pitched instruments. In addition, Pro has missed the point of this example as well: the higher pitched instrument is more easily heard. If this is true, which it is established by the comparison of the piccolo and horn solo, then it follows increasing the number of high register instruments (playing melody) to greater than that of the low range instruments will drown out the low ranged instruments.

Lastly, Pro did not address my first argument – high range instruments do not always play the melody. If we were to increase the number of high range instruments, we would likely (for the sake of balance) be increasing 2nd and 3rd parts. These parts do not generally play the melody, but provide harmony which is played in a lower range than the 1st part. Essentially, increasing the number of higher range instruments will do the same thing as increasing the number of lower range instruments: provide support to the melody, not increase the number of instruments playing the melody.

My opponent has made no case for herself, and has not addressed my arguments. For these reasons, I ask the reader to vote Con. Thank you for setting up this debate, Pro. It has been a nice change of pace, and I hope to debate you again.

Debate Round No. 2
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by Skepticalone 1 year ago
Fun debate, Kayla! All this time I was wondering what you played, and here it is in the comments.. Oops! I play trumpet. There is quite a contrast between our two instruments, and I think you could have worded your resolution differently (strings only), and I would have been forced to agree with you. Having too many trumpets can easily overpower the orchestra - melody or not.
Posted by Kaylapretty1 1 year ago
Ok that is fine... Good luck to you to!!! I play the violin which is a high pitched instrument and in my orchestra they are debating on this... this is really interesting.... I can't wait to share the results with my orchestra!! I will be having fun... I hope you do too!!! ;)
Posted by Skepticalone 1 year ago
I will submit my argument tonight, Kayla. Good luck!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Lexus 1 year ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro says that we need to have more high-pitched instruments because they help form the melody within the orchestra; this being their only argument. Con attacks, saying that the melody is already pronounced enough and if we add more then it won't do any good - we'll just have to increase the size of the orchestra in lower instrument pitches. Pro responds with something irrelevant about cellos (this was only meant to be an example, not the crux of the argument), and they pretty much dropped it. I have to vote con because of this. (Con also had some arguments that I don't even feel were relevant to the debate topic or refutations of what pro said - "higher pitched instruments don't always play the melody", ok, so what? I don't get what the point of that is. Also, with solos, I don't see any tie into the debate itself, and it has no impact on the resolution. In the future, just stick to arguments that are topical)