Although classic rock 'n' roll is my preference, as a musician I have a wide variety of musical tastes. Many children get their first taste of music in middle school bands, and symphonic instrumentation still has a place in the music world now dominated by electric guitars and synthesizers. Most of the music before the 1970s featured symphonic instrumentation, which can include a wide variety of instruments such as clarinets, flutes, oboes, bassoons, English horns, trumpets, trombones, French horns, tubas, and percussion. String instruments, found in both orchestras and symphonic bands, include violins, violas, cellos, and basses. Keyboard instruments, especially the piano, are also a staple of symphonic instrumentation.
Symphonic wind instruments, such as clarinets and flutes, feature light, airy sounds that serve as a contrast to the louder, deeper sounds of brass instruments such as the trumpet or trombone. Saxophones combine the airy sound of woodwinds with the gutsy sound of brass. Double-reed woodwinds such as the oboe and basson, produce a very reedy, almost squeaky sound. Individually, the sound of each instrument may not be to everyone's taste, but together they can produce a full, harmonious din.
Some of the most popular bands of the 1970s were "horn rock" groups, such as Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears, that included full-time members who played trumpet, sax and trombone. Symphonic rock, also known as progressive rock, usually featured classical string instruments (or else synthesizers that replicated string sounds) in the background. Many rock bands actually used full orchestras and/or symphonic bands during special live performances to give their fans a different twist to the possible sound of their music.