Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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1. Terminological history

The Greek orchḗstra was the place where the chorus danced (orchḗsis, “dance”, and -tra, “place”), and more generally, the stage. Tacitus also attests to the term in the later Roman theater. The term was unknown in the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, most European languages transposed it to contemporary conditions, and it came to denote the space reserved for instrumentalists in the theaterconcert hall, and more rarely …

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Tischer, Matthias, “Orchestra”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 22 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_025036>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200721

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