Woodwind Octaves, Part 2: Relationships Within Families.

Woodwind Octaves, Part 2: Relationships Within Families.

(Tip no. 4 from 100 MORE Orchestration Tips, to be released in March 2020) Exposed woodwind octaves using members of the same families of instruments can be very effective, so long as the registers are balanced in dynamics and timbre. In my lecture at Azusa University earlier this year, I shared a tip regarding exposed…
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Orchestration Tip: Second Wind Player’s Roles

Orchestration Tip: Second Wind Player’s Roles

(Tip no. 2 from 100 MORE Orchestration Tips, to be released in 2020) Give the solo part to the first player in most cases, whether high or low; and think of the second players’ roles as being supportive in the best way, rather than ignominious. “To what degree should second wind players should be given…
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Saxophone Score Placement

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…
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Woodwinds – Note Durations and Breathing

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…
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Woodwinds – Doubling Pros and Cons

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.…
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Woodwinds – Keep a Tight Hold on That Auxiliary!

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

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!