The normal combination of brass instruments found in the full symphony orchestra is as follows:
- 4 horns
- 2 trumpets
- 3 trombones in (2 tenor and 1 bass)
- 1 tuba
There are of course many works in the orchestral repertoire which exceed this combination especially amongst the works of Wagner, Strauss, Mahler and Stravinsky just to name a few but generally speaking the above combination may be viewed as standard.
The horns differ from the heavier brass instruments in that they have a conical mouth piece and the bore of the instrument is tapered, steadily increasing in diameter along its length). As such, horns do not produce as brilliant a tone as say for example the trumpet or the trombone which may be said to have a cylindrical bore. It could be said that the horns form a kind of bridge between the woodwind and the heavier brass sections and much of their duty in the orchestra is to fill in with and blend in with the woodwind instruments.