|MadSci Network: Physics|
Hi, Jordan. Honestly, this is an impossible question to answer with anything nearing 100% accuracy, but I can at least give you the conventional wisdom in the matter. Of the instruments you mentioned, the electric guitar and the drum kit will sound the loudest to a human listener. The drum set sounds loud partially because of the natural amplification the bodies of the drums create, but also because the human ear is very sensitive to the high- pitched sounds the cymbals and snare drum make. The electric guitar will sound loud because, well, you plug it into an amplifier. Generally, though, the director makes the guitarist tone things down because the guitar is rarely a featured instrument in a jazz band. Aside from that, the bass guitar would be right up there, but since we aren't as sensitive to the low pitches, it won't sound as loud to us. After that, trumpet and trombone are next in that order. Within the sax section, the bigger, the louder. The piano falls somewhere within the saxes as far as loudness. Personally, I've always felt the piano is louder than an alto or tenor sax, but a bari player with enough air to fill the instrument can overblow a piano with little difficulty. Being a big fan of jazz myself, I should mention that there have been a great many other instruments used in big bands over the years, including even things like violin and bassoon! But there is one instrument that has been used in some jazz bands that throws the balance off from what I've listed above. http://www.angelfire.com/oh/EbAltoTenorFhorn/images/Melllophonium.jpg The mellophonium, used most notably by the Stan Kenton band (in fact, he had a part in inventing the instrument, and you may have seen it in marching band), in the hands of a capable player, can be louder than a trumpet. In fact, Kenton eventually dropped his four-man mellophonium section after complaints from the rest of the band than they were drowning everyone out. Keep in mind that at this time, the Kenton brass section was 5 trumpets and 5 trombones instead of the typical 4 each! So four mellophonium players could completely obliterate the sound of 10 (very loud) brass players. But like I said at the start of this answer, nothing is ever that simple. Everything depends on the ability of the player and the quality of the instrument, too. So what I've said is just a rough guide.
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