This beautifully illustrated reference is a guide to the history of music, instruments of the orchestra and the most influential classical composers. All sections of the orchestra are covered: strings, woodwind and brass, percussion, keyboards and the voice, as well as historical, rare and non-Western instruments. An authoritative guide to over 100 of the most famous classic composers then follows. From Bach to Xenakis all styles of compositions from medieval times to the present day are included. The fascinating lives of the great composers are detailed, the places where they lived and worked, scenes from their ballets or operas, and examples of original scripts. This comprehensively updated new edition is illustrated with over 1000 photographs and illustrations.