1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: French
  4. >
  5. "Charlotte joue dans un orcheā€¦

"Charlotte joue dans un orchestre de jazz."

Translation:Charlotte plays in a jazz orchestra.

April 30, 2020



Isn't jazz usually played in a band?


You hear "jazz band" more often than "jazz orchestra", but outside of a small group that would be called a band no matter what they were playing, the difference between band and orchestra is the type of instruments. If it's a large group of people playing jazz and it includes a bunch of string instruments, then it's a jazz orchestra. If it's a large group playing without a bunch of string instruments, it's a jazz band. (One or two string instruments like a bass and guitar don't make it an orchestra.)

If it's specifically a brass band, in French that's une fanfare. Otherwise, French doesn't make the instrument distinction between band and orchestra: it's all orchestre.

When I looked up more about this, I found out that jazz bands started calling themselves orchestras so that people would be less likely to dismiss them because of racism. So there are some famous bands that are called orchestras. https://music.stackexchange.com/questions/3127/what-is-the-difference-between-a-band-and-an-orchestra


fwiw I would usually go with "jazz ensemble" in English, precisely because it's so general. Only when making a technical point like yours or referring to a specific group would I use the term "jazz orchestra" and I wouldn't suggest most ESL folks try to incorporate this subtlety as it would be lost on nearly all native speakers anyway.


I am a professional musician and we never talk about a jazz orchestra!


There was a time when a large jazz ensemble would be called an orchestra; e.g., Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington Orchestra, Glenn Miller Orchestra.


I hadn't finished, but I absolutely agree that the term is archaic, even if some of those bands still tour. Not permitting the term 'band' is something that needs to be reported, and has been.

Learn French in just 5 minutes a day. For free.