Saxophone Score Placement

(Tip no. 21 from 100 MORE Orchestration Tips, to be released in 2018) Score placement is a tricky and evolving thing for visitors to the concert orchestra – especially when that visitor isn’t a soloist, but a general contributor to orchestral texture and function. The saxophone can be particularly puzzling, and not just to developing …

Woodwinds – Note Durations and Breathing

(Tip no. 1 from “100 Orchestration Tips,” Part I: The Wind Section) Breathing for wind instruments is cyclical, not inexhaustible. Breathing is the foundational mechanism for the operation of wind instruments. It’s puzzling why, therefore, some orchestration manuals pass so lightly over the subject. This gap undoubtedly contributes to that question often posed by the …

Woodwinds – Doubling Pros and Cons

The question of doubling for winds comes up quite often for an orchestrator-in-progress. Strange to say, the simple act of putting two of the same type of wind instrument on the same note can have broad implications for the type sound you want in the orchestra. You should never do it arbitrarily, or by default. …

Woodwinds – Keep a Tight Hold on That Auxiliary!

Let’s say that you’re second oboist for a mid-sized orchestra. You play a lot of cor anglais parts as a result. On one new work, you’re piping away at some very good writing for second oboe – clean, well-supported, and easy to […]

Orchestration – Horns and Winds Overlapping

When overlapping a wind chord into a horn chord, try dropping some of the horn notes by an octave, especially if the wind chord had clarinets on top. The overtones from the horns will blend seamlessly into the timbre of the clarinets – but you have to balance the dynamics carefully!