Orchestral Technique: A Manual for Students

Orchestral Technique: A Manual for Students

Orchestral Technique: A Manual for Students

Orchestral Technique: A Manual for Students


This comprehensive but concise guide for the student of orchestration is also an excellent book of reference for the practicing musician. Each instrument is considered within its respective group and helpful details are given on compass, technique, and timbre. The author takes many passages written for keyboard instruments and shows how they may be scored for a variety of combinations, thereby showing in the clearest possible manner the principles underlying effective orchestration. Exercises at the end of each chapter lead the student, by gradual stages, from simpler scoring for strings to the more complex art of writing for full orchestra. For this new edition Dr. Jacob has revised the text to reflect recent developments, particularly in wind and percussion instruments writing.


A great many factors have combined to make alterations to the face of the art of instrumentation since this book first appeared. To the face, yes, but the basic principles of balance, texture, and design remain unaltered because they stem from nature itself.

The resources of the brass and percussion departments have developed greatly, with regard to both the manufacture of instruments and the skill and artistry of their exponents. The brass, high and low, now vie with the woodwind in agility and variety of expression, and composers and players have reacted upon each other as they always have done in the past. The cultivation of symphonic wind bands has also had important and beneficial results.

It would be beyond the scope of this small volume to attempt to give instruction in 'advanced' methods of orchestration, but where the original text has become dated alterations have been made accordingly.

Saffron Walden, Essex G.J. 1980


THE ability to arrange, for various combinations, music originally written for some other medium, such as the piano or organ, is an important part of the technical equipment of the practical musician. It may fall to his lot to have to arrange music for some church festival, pageant, local concert, folk-dance display, theatricals, amateur and professional, including ballet, and many other occasions foreseen or unforeseen; and though it cannot be too strongly insisted upon that when actually composing for orchestra the music must be conceived orchestrally, the writer has found in his own experience of teaching that the study of the art of orchestral transcription confers a double benefit on the student in that it not only teaches him principles of balance, contrast, and colour, but also gives him a truer insight into the underlying structure of music in general by compelling him to translate idioms peculiar to the original medium into those appropriate to the orchestra.

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