Google search engine look for answer to – ‘Is symphony or philharmonic better?’ many times this is a question that disturbs plenty of people. To satisfy everyone’s curiosity about the term’s ‘orchestra’, ‘symphony’ and ‘philharmonic’, let’s discuss them.


In general, orchestra is a musician group that plays music together. Originally, orchestra term was referred to semi-circular front section of stage in Greek theaters, where chorus was sung and danced. In ancient Rome, orchestra was referred to a theater’s VIP section, which was reserved for nobility and senators. Centuries later, orchestra meant large group in France and later in Italy. In 1700, ‘orchestra’ term arrived from France but until then words like ‘violin’, ‘consort’, and ‘band’ were used in English to define large group of musicians.

Today, ‘orchestra’ itself does not give an idea of how big the ensemble is or what type of music is played. It is a generic term used to define large group of performers playing musical instruments.

Orchestra can be categorized into –

  • Small chamber orchestra
  • Full-scale symphony orchestra

Orchestra concerts in Miami are unique, so visit online to get details about the events and tickets.


The word ‘Symphony’ means you are discussing huge ensembles [sometimes more than hundred] with variety of musical instruments not just strings [violins, cellos, basses, violas]. It will include winds [clarinets, flutes, bassoons, oboes], brass [trumpets, tubas, trombones, horns], and percussion [timpani, bells, drums, etc.]. “Orchestra’ word is not restricted to classical music but is also applied to jazz groups.

For centuries Symphony has held the same meaning – ‘sounding good together’. In conversation, one can say that symphony means a protracted work that needs large orchestra to pull it off efficiently. It means bigger ensembles are called symphony orchestra but what is ‘Philharmonic orchestra’.


‘Philharmonic’ word was used in 1813. It means ‘loving harmony’. Commonly used for describing large multi-instrument groups. So why philharmonic gets used rather than symphony orchestra.

Actually, in mid-18th century, concerts hosted for charities were referred as philharmonic. You can see that philharmonic emphasizes the audience and organizers, whereas symphony highlights sound and live music making.

So, symphony and philharmonic orchestra are synonymous and can be applied interchangeably. Essentially, both term separate different ensembles in same cities, where there are multiple musical groups. For example, Miami symphony and Miami Philharmonic. Both are same kind of orchestra with different name for identification. Don’t get confused!

‘Symphony orchestra’ is generic, whereas ‘philharmonic orchestra’ will always be a part of proper location name. Therefore, every philharmonic is a symphony but every symphony is not a philharmonic.

How is classical music a different form?

In classical music, the composer uses notations that indicate the speed, pitch, rhythm, meter, and overall performance of musical piece. It is a detailed musical notation that composers use to enlighten the body, mind, and spirit of the listeners.

Make sure you arrive on time for your first concert, so that you don’t need to be in a rush to park and search your seat. At times, there would not be a break or pause, so late seating may be unavailable. Moreover, you don’t desire to miss a single musical note performed.

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