Peter and the Wolf is a child-friendly music drama written by Sergei Prokofiev. The music drama contains a variety of instruments played by a wide range of characters.

This blog provides a list of the different instruments used by the characters and interesting facts about them by answering some of the most frequently asked questions, such as “What instrument plays the melody in this excerpt from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf?”

Which Instrument Represents Each Character In “Peter And The Wolf”?

Peter – Strings

The strings! Peter represents the strings because they always keep a steady rhythm, always play, and provide the background music.

What instrument plays the melody in this excerpt from Prokofiev's Peter and the wolf?

The strings refer to musical instruments that sound when the player causes a string to vibrate. The vibrating string produces sound waves, which create sound. The most common types are guitars, violins (most played in Peter’s theme), violas, cellos, double basses, and harps (not used in the play).

Duck – Oboe

An oboe is a woodwind implement best known for its distinctive tone and wide range of expression. It is made of wood with a double reed in a conical shape. The Oboe is considered a woodwind instrument because it makes sound by air moving through the instrument.

Wolf – 3 French Horns

The three French Horn is a traditional brass tool played with a mouthpiece, much like a trumpet. It is shaped like a bugle and has valves that help control its dynamics range. The Horn itself can be mellow and soft – but if you need to make a point, it’ll always come through loud and clear!

The Wolf represents the horns because they always change their sound, provide the challenging parts to the piece, and try to steal the show. You can hear three horns playing whenever the scary Wolf appears.

Hunter – Timpani

The timpani is a membranophone, meaning that it produces sound through a stretched membrane. It is most associated with orchestral and concert band music and certain rock and jazz forms. It is sometimes referred to as a kettledrum. 

A single-player often plays the timpani, usually with a drumstick. It is one of the largest drums in the orchestra.

Cat – Clarinet

The clarinet is from the woodwind family, having a single-reed mouthpiece. It can play soft and sweet melodies and quick and fast notes. The clarinet played an upbeat, bouncy melody to represent the cat’s movements in the play.

The clarinet often portrays sneaky characters filled with mischief and trickery like cats, clowns, or witches!

Grandpa – Bassoon

A bassoon is a double-reed woodwind tool. It has a single-reed mouthpiece. The bassoon notes are produced by a double reed and have a more mellow tone, a greater range, and a heavier and thicker tone.

It is very difficult to play, but it is quite a beautiful instrument in the hands of someone who masters it.

Bird – Flute

And lastly, the bird represents the flute because it is the one who brings out the rhythm; they always try to draw attention to them, they sing the loudest, and they overpower other instruments.

A flute is made of bamboo, wood, plastic, and similar material. This implement is a transverse flute, which means it is held horizontally and blown through a hole on one end. A musician blows in the other end to produce the sound.

What Instrument Plays The Melody In This Excerpt From Prokofiev’s Peter And The Wolf?

After watching the play, the most common question we got from our readers is: “What instrument plays the melody in this excerpt from Prokofiev’s Peter and the wolf?”. It’s the Oboe.

What instrument plays the melody in this excerpt from Prokofiev's Peter and the wolf?

The Oboe plays a key role in the story that can convey both high-spirited, happy tunes and low soulful melodies. The Oboe is excellent for expressing the full range of emotions. In the play, it was used to portray the story’s sorrow when the Wolf swallowed the Duck.

Q&A Section

How Many Instrument Families Are Played In The Story?

The play is not just a story but an educational musical piece. Prokofiev used four major instrument families to teach the kids about them and their sounds. These are the woodwinds, percussion, string, and brass.

Which One Plays At The Fastest Speed In The Play?

The flute is the highest-pitched instrument and can play all around the music, giving it an airy and light sound. It is one of the instruments that play extremely quickly in Peter and the Wolf.

Which Instrument Doesn’t Represent Any Character? 

The trumpet and trombone. The trumpet is used to accompany the hunters’ theme and the Oboe. You can also hear the trombone strumming along occasionally in some part of the play. Neither of them is assigned a specific character.

Bottom Lines

We hope you find the answer to “What instrument plays the melody in this excerpt from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf?” helpful. It’s always exciting to learn about music, and we’re sure that you’ll find this article interesting.

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