To divide a single section of instruments into multiple subsections
"Divisi" is a musical notation term used in orchestral scores. It indicates that a section of instruments should be divided into two or more parts to play different notes within the same musical passage. This symbol signifies that what was originally a single instrument's part is now to be played by multiple voices, often from the same instrument family, such as dividing the first violin section into first and second parts.
The use of divisi enriches the orchestral color, adding depth and complexity to the music. It allows for richer harmonic structures in the ensemble, with different voices alternating between different notes to create a fuller musical effect.
In orchestral scores, "divisi" is often marked above the notes as "div." or "divisi", and the section is indicated to revert to playing in unison (as a single voice) before the divided section begins, marked with "unis." (short for unison). Performers need to follow the markings in the score to properly share the notes, ensuring the harmony and balance of the music.
The use of divisi is quite common in orchestral music, allowing for greater variation and depth in the composition, while showcasing the creativity and skill of the composer and arranger.