Tough Trivia, 6/30/21

The atmosphere, the air around us, this stuff we breathe without thinking about it (well, except when we’re experiencing a heat wave). But, do you recall what it is you’re actually breathing? Which elements make up the “air” of Earth’s atmosphere that we breathe? Bonus points if you can arrange in order of percentage of each in the air (I’m not asking for the actual percentages).

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MarylandSymphonyMainImage
The Maryland Symphony Orchestra

Yesterday’s question: We normally think of an orchestra as just “a lot of musicians playing a lot of instruments.” But there are some norms to the make-ups of orchestras. Classical orchestras were pretty much standardized in the first half of the 1800s, generally due to Beethoven’s writing. In more recent times, orchestras have changed to include more modern instruments, and sometimes electronic instruments. But can you name all of the instruments in a classical orchestra? As a hint, they were divided into four main sections: Brass, Percussion (including keyboards), Strings, and Woodwinds.

The answers:

Brass: alto trombone, bass trombone, natural horns (valveless), natural trumpets (valveless), tenor trombone. (French horns and trumpets were not added until the Late Romantic period.)

Percussion: harpsichord or pipe organ (gradually phased out in the late 18th century), timpani.

Strings: cello, double bass, viola, violin.

Woodwinds: basset horn, bassoon, clarinet, contrabassoon, flute, oboe, piccolo.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.