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2 definitions found
 for orchestra pit
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Orchestra \Or"ches*tra\, n. [L. orchestra, Gr. ?, orig., the
     place for the chorus of dancers, from ? to dance: cf. F.
     1. The space in a theater between the stage and the audience;
        -- originally appropriated by the Greeks to the chorus and
        its evolutions, afterward by the Romans to persons of
        distinction, and by the moderns to a band of instrumental
        musicians. Now commonly called orchestra pit, to
        distinguish it from the section of the main floor occupied
        by spectators.
        [1913 Webster +PJC]
     2. The space in the main floor of a theater in which the
        audience sits; also, the forward spectator section of the
        main floor, in distinction from the parterre, which is
        the rear section of the main floor.
     3. The place in any public hall appropriated to a band of
        instrumental musicians.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. (Mus.)
        (a) Loosely: A band of instrumental musicians performing
            in a theater, concert hall, or other place of public
        (b) Strictly: A band suitable for the performance of
            symphonies, overtures, etc., as well as for the
            accompaniment of operas, oratorios, cantatas, masses,
            and the like, or of vocal and instrumental solos.
        (c) A band composed, for the largest part, of players of
            the various viol instruments, many of each kind,
            together with a proper complement of wind instruments
            of wood and brass; -- as distinguished from a military
            or street band of players on wind instruments, and
            from an assemblage of solo players for the rendering
            of concerted pieces, such as septets, octets, and the
            [1913 Webster]
     5. (Mus.) The instruments employed by a full band,
        collectively; as, an orchestra of forty stringed
        instruments, with proper complement of wind instruments.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  orchestra pit
      n 1: lowered area in front of a stage where an orchestra
           accompanies the performers [syn: orchestra pit, pit]

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