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Topic: Woodwind arrangments

  1. #1

    Woodwind arrangments


    What are some good thoughts to keep in mind if I write for woodwinds?

    After about a year String arrangments have started to come into focus....mind you this just means that the different amount of options have become clearer.....but anyways

    with woodwinds I\'m COMPLETELY ignorant. I have to admit that GOS has taught me an IMMENSE amount about string composing/arrangment but I\'m still a bit clueless about woods.

    ARe there \"rules\" I should try to learn?

    Really...I am an Idiot

  2. #2

    Re: Woodwind arrangments

    Hello KingIdiot,
    take a lot of records you like and hear.
    Buy the scores and look how it is done. After a time your mind will know how to do it.



  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Re: Woodwind arrangments

    If woodwind instruments or brass are main in music, it is very nice to compose in flat key (like Bb, F, Eb and its minor). It is because, flat key, in general, is easy for player to play. On the other hand, strings player say that they prefer sharp key (like G, D, A, E) and the melody that is playable in same position.

    \"Throat tone\" (? I don\'t know how to say in English) of clarinet is very important to remember. For a beginner player like me, that register is very difficult to play.

    F note of oboe is kind of irregular fingering. If oboe don\'t have F resonance key, its sound is not good. If oboe don\'t have left-hand F lever, it is very difficult to play.

    In addition, my teacher always say \"don\'t forget that they need to breathe.\" And, in general, flute is needed more breath to play than other woodwind.

    Although professional people are able to do everything (that\'s why they are professional), it is good to remember strong and week points that each instrument have and their volume.

    Sorry my stupid English...

  4. #4

    Re: Woodwind arrangments


    You need at least one really good book on orchestration, telling you the pro\'s and con\'s of several WW chord voicing styles. You need to know what the stronger and weaker ranges are, etc.
    So, I\'m afraid, you also need to be able to decipher written notes to understand the examples.
    Favorite books: Adler (Study of Orchestration), Forsyth (Orchestration) and Rimsky-Korsakow (Principles of O.).

    I keep browsing through these books over and over again, each time you pick up something new.

    The other tip is ofcourse to listen to an awful lot of orchestral music (especially when it is written and mixed quite \'open\'. Start listening \'into\' the music and learn to identify single voices within the WW\'s. Headphones can help here.

    Just a couple of euro cents...

  5. #5

    Re: Woodwind arrangments

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size=\"1\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by KingIdiot:
    I think the new world would benefit from some MIDI files that come along with the books<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    That\'s a great idea King!

  6. #6

    Re: Woodwind arrangments

    Hey King,

    This has been mentioned before, but here is a link to a revised edition of Rimsky-Korsakov\'s Principles of Orchestration (http://www.alexanderpublishing.com/orch_princ.html). What\'s nice about this is that the additions include comments and issues that revolve around composition for film.

    Also, I\'ve found John Williams scores very useful as well for string, brass, and woodwind writing (I am just learning to read as well, so it\'s slow going, but very useful). I am working with his \'Hymn to the Fallen\' using VotA and Dan Dean Brass to get experience with voicing for brass and chorus. I purchased his scores from the same site above.

  7. #7

    Re: Woodwind arrangments

    Yes, Ken_P has some good hints there.

    Another good thing to remember is that woodwind instruments in their middle register tends to work as a \"heat\" source in the orchestra (In other words; It increases the warmth and presence of the sound). It is often lost by the ear in loud passages, but it really is there, playing its part, so to speak.

    Read a good orchestration book, or several, to get a good idea of what woodwind writing is all about. I recommend Rimsky Korsakov\'s Principles of Orchestration.

    Jubal: How is the \"Saving Private Ryan\"-score you bought from Alexanderpublishing? Anything worth shelling out for? Do you own any of the other scores as well?


  8. #8

    Re: Woodwind arrangments

    Thomas, I bought the \"Hymn to the Fallen\" a long time ago. It\'s rather interesting. There\'s so much going on there that you don\'t really notice (just perceive), and most of the woodwind/brass writing in the beginning is actually 4th\'s, even though they sound like halfs or wholes - just played very legato. I began entering part of the piece into the sequencer to get an idea of it. Interesting - it was impossible to get the brass to sound any good though so I gave up about 2 minutes in

  9. #9

    Re: Woodwind arrangments

    A \"modern\" composition text would consist of written material, and replete with examples in several formats: MIDI files, wave files, audio CD, and multimedia. It would be a real challenge but so rewarding. WHo\'s up to it?


  10. #10
    Senior Member LHong's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    San Jose, Ca, USA

    Re: Woodwind arrangments

    I too, \"Yes, Ken_P has some good hints there.\"
    A little thing I\'d like to share is the practical SCALE for World Scoring Styles (China/Japan/Etc):
    Unlike piano or guitar, the Woodwind arrangments might be not required wide-scale ranges. for example, a sweet woodwind\'s melody, it usually accounts best to 5 tones instead of seven-tone (C,D,..B). While you are on the keyboard controller, try to play the flute or Clarinet sample/instrument, just using ONLY 5 black keys (without white keys) with your favorite scales, how does it sound? Of course sometimes, you could play out of its scale but it is very tough, right? Just my two-cent.

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