Last updated
A hand-written musical score for Act 2 of the opera Der Freischutz by Carl Maria von Weber, written in the 1820s. The score contains all the parts for the singers and the accompaniment parts and melodies for the orchestra. Autograph score of part of Act2 (Wolf's Glen) of 'Der Freischutz' - NGO4p1116.jpg
A hand-written musical score for Act 2 of the opera Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber, written in the 1820s. The score contains all the parts for the singers and the accompaniment parts and melodies for the orchestra.

Orchestration is the study or practice of writing music for an orchestra (or, more loosely, for any musical ensemble, such as a concert band) or of adapting music composed for another medium for an orchestra. Also called "instrumentation", orchestration is the assignment of different instruments to play the different parts (e.g., melody, bassline, etc.) of a musical work. For example, a work for solo piano could be adapted and orchestrated so that an orchestra could perform the piece, or a concert band piece could be orchestrated for a symphony orchestra.

Music form of art using sound

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.

Orchestra large instrumental ensemble

An orchestra is a large instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which combines instruments from different families, including bowed string instruments such as the violin, viola, cello, and double bass, brass instruments such as the horn, trumpet, trombone and tuba, woodwinds such as the flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon, and percussion instruments such as the timpani, bass drum, triangle, snare drum, cymbals, and mallet percussion instruments each grouped in sections. Other instruments such as the piano and celesta may sometimes appear in a fifth keyboard section or may stand alone, as may the concert harp and, for performances of some modern compositions, electronic instruments.

Musical ensemble group of people who perform instrumental and/or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name

A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental or vocal music, with the ensemble typically known by a distinct name. Some music ensembles consist solely of instruments, such as the jazz quartet or the orchestra. Some music ensembles consist solely of singers, such as choirs and doo wop groups. In both popular music and classical music, there are ensembles in which both instrumentalists and singers perform, such as the rock band or the Baroque chamber group for basso continuo and one or more singers. In classical music, trios or quartets either blend the sounds of musical instrument families or group together instruments from the same instrument family, such as string ensembles or wind ensembles. Some ensembles blend the sounds of a variety of instrument families, such as the orchestra, which uses a string section, brass instruments, woodwinds and percussion instruments, or the concert band, which uses brass, woodwinds and percussion.


In classical music, composers have historically orchestrated their own music. Only gradually over the course of music history did orchestration come to be regarded as a separate compositional art and profession in itself. In modern classical music, composers almost invariably orchestrate their own work.

Classical music broad tradition of Western art music

Classical music is art music produced or rooted in the traditions of Western culture, including both liturgical (religious) and secular music. While a more precise term is also used to refer to the period from 1750 to 1820, this article is about the broad span of time from before the 6th century AD to the present day, which includes the Classical period and various other periods. The central norms of this tradition became codified between 1550 and 1900, which is known as the common-practice period.

However, in musical theatre, film music and other commercial media, it is customary to use orchestrators and arrangers to one degree or another, since time constraints and/or the level of training of composers may preclude them orchestrating the music themselves.

Musical theatre work that combines songs, music, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance

Musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance. The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. Although musical theatre overlaps with other theatrical forms like opera and dance, it may be distinguished by the equal importance given to the music as compared with the dialogue, movement and other elements. Since the early 20th century, musical theatre stage works have generally been called, simply, musicals.

The precise role of the orchestrator in film music is highly variable, and depends greatly on the needs and skill set of the particular composer.

In musical theatre, the composer typically writes a piano/vocal score and then hires an arranger or orchestrator to create the instrumental score for the pit orchestra to play.

Pit orchestra

A pit orchestra is a type of orchestra that accompanies performers in musicals, operas, ballets, and other shows involving music. The terms was also used for orchestras accompanying silent movies when more than a piano was used. In performances of operas and ballets, the pit orchestra is typically similar in size to a symphony orchestra, though it may contain smaller string and brass sections, depending upon the piece. Such orchestras may vary in size from approximately 30 musicians to as many as 90–100 musicians. However, because of financial, space, and volume concerns, the musical theatre pit orchestra in the 2000s is considerably smaller.

In jazz big bands, the composer or songwriter writes the lead sheet, which contains the melody and the chords, and then one or more orchestrators or arrangers "flesh out" these basic musical ideas by creating parts for the saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and the rhythm section (bass, piano/jazz guitar/Hammond organ, drums).

Big band music ensemble associated with jazz and Swing Era music

A big band is a type of musical ensemble that usually consists of ten or more musicians with four sections: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a rhythm section. Big bands originated during the early 1910s and dominated jazz in the early 1940s when swing was most popular. The term "big band" is also used to describe a genre of music. One problem with this usage is that it overlooks the variety of music played by these bands.

A songwriter is a professional that writes lyrics or composes musical compositions for songs. A songwriter can also be called a composer, although the latter term tends to be used mainly for individuals from the classical music genre and film scoring, but is also associated with writing and composing the original musical composition or musical bed. A songwriter that writes the lyrics/words are referred to as lyricist. The pressure from the music industry to produce popular hits means that songwriting is often an activity for which the tasks are distributed between a number of people. For example, a songwriter who excels at writing lyrics might be paired with a songwriter with the task of creating original melodies. Pop songs may be written by group members from the band or by staff writers – songwriters directly employed by music publishers. Some songwriters serve as their own music publishers, while others have outside publishers.

Lead sheet

A lead sheet is a form of musical notation that specifies the essential elements of a popular song: the melody, lyrics and harmony. The melody is written in modern Western music notation, the lyric is written as text below the staff and the harmony is specified with chord symbols above the staff.

As profession

An orchestrator is a trained musical professional who assigns instruments from an orchestra or other musical ensemble to a piece of music written by a composer, or who adapts music composed for another medium for an orchestra. Orchestrators may work for musical theatre productions, film production companies or recording studios. Some orchestrators teach at colleges, conservatories or universities. The training done by orchestrators varies. Most have completed formal postsecondary education in music, such as a Bachelor of Music (B.Mus.), Master of Music (M.Mus.) or an artist's diploma. Orchestrators who teach at universities, colleges and conservatories may be required to hold a master's degree or a Doctorate (the latter may be a Ph.D. or a D.M.A). Orchestrators who work for film companies, musical theatre companies and other organizations may be hired solely based on their orchestration experience, even if they do not hold academic credentials. In the 2010s, as the percentage of faculty holding terminal degrees and/or Doctoral degrees is part of how an institution is rated, this is causing an increasing number of postsecondary institutions to require terminal and/or Doctoral degrees.

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.

Recording studio facility for sound recording

A recording studio is a specialized facility for sound recording, mixing, and audio production of instrumental or vocal musical performances, spoken words, and other sounds. They range in size from a small in-home project studio large enough to record a single singer-guitarist, to a large building with space for a full orchestra of 100 or more musicians. Ideally both the recording and monitoring spaces are specially designed by an acoustician or audio engineer to achieve optimum acoustic properties.

Bachelor of Music is an academic degree awarded by a college, university, or conservatory upon completion of a program of study in music. In the United States, it is a professional degree, and the majority of work consists of prescribed music courses and study in applied music, usually requiring proficiency in an instrument, voice, or conducting. In Canada, the B.M. is often considered an undergraduate degree. Programs typically last from three to four and a half years.

In practice

The term orchestration in its specific sense refers to the way instruments are used to portray any musical aspect such as melody, harmony or rhythm. For example, a C major chord is made up of the notes C, E, and G. If the notes are held out the entire duration of a measure, the composer or orchestrator will have to decide what instrument(s) play this chord and in what register. Some instruments, including woodwinds and brass are monophonic and can only play one note of the chord at a time. However, in a full orchestra there are more than one of these instruments, so the composer may choose to outline the chord in its basic form with a group of clarinets or trumpets (with separate instruments each being given one of the three notes of the chord). Other instruments, including the strings, piano, harp, and pitched percussion are polyphonic and may play more than one note at a time. As such, if the composer/orchestrator wishes to have the strings play the C major chord, he could assign the low C to the cellos and basses, the G to the violas, and then a high E to the second violins and an E an octave higher to the first violins. If the composer/orchestrator wishes the chord to be played only by the first and second violins, he could give the second violins a low C and give the first violins a double stop of the notes G (an open string) and E.

Additionally in orchestration, notes may be placed into another register (such as transposed down for the basses), doubled (both in the same and different octaves), and altered with various levels of dynamics. The choice of instruments, registers, and dynamics affect the overall tone color. If the C major chord was orchestrated for the trumpets and trombones playing fortissimo in their upper registers, it would sound very bright; but if the same chord was orchestrated for the celli and string basses playing sul tasto, doubled by the bassoons and bass clarinet, it might sound heavy and dark.

Note that although the above example discussed orchestrating a chord, a melody or even a single note may be orchestrated in this fashion. Also note that in this specific sense of the word, orchestration is not necessarily limited to an orchestra, as a composer may orchestrate this same C major chord for, say, a woodwind quintet, a string quartet or a concert band. Each different ensemble would enable the orchestrator/composer to create different tone "colours" and timbres.

A melody is also orchestrated. The composer or orchestrator may think of a melody in their head, or while playing the piano or organ. Once they have thought of a melody, they have to decide which instrument (or instruments) will play the melody. One widely used approach for a melody is to assign it to the first violins. When the first violins play a melody, the composer can have the second violins double the melody an octave below, or have the second violins play a harmony part (often in thirds and sixths). Sometimes, for a forceful effect, a composer will indicate in the score that all of the strings (violins, violas, cellos, and double basses) will play the melody in unison, at the same time. Typically, even though the instruments are playing the same note names, the violins will play very high-register notes, the violas and cellos will play lower-register notes, and the double basses will play the deepest, lowest pitches.

As well, the woodwinds and brass instruments can effectively carry a melody, depending on the effect the composer/orchestrator desires. The trumpets can perform a melody in a powerful, high register. Alternatively, if the trombones play a melody, the pitch will be lower than the trumpet, and the tone will be heavier, which may change the musical effect that is created. While the cellos are often given an accompaniment role in orchestration, there are notable cases where the cellos have been assigned the melody. In even more rare cases, the double bass section (or principal bass) may be given a melody (e.g., the high-register double bass solo in Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kije Suite ).

While assigning a melody to a particular section, such as the string section or the woodwinds will work well, as the stringed instruments and all the woodwinds blend together well, some composers give the melody to one section and then have the melody doubled by a different section or an instrument from a different section. For example, a melody played by the first violins could be doubled by the glockenspiel, which would add a sparkling, chime-like colour to the melody. Alternatively, a melody played by the piccolos could be doubled by the celesta, which would add a bright tone to the sound.

In the 20th and 21st century, contemporary composers began to incorporate electric and electronic instruments into the orchestra, such as the electric guitar played through a guitar amplifier, the electric bass played through a bass amplifier, the Theremin and the synthesizer. The addition of these new instruments gave composers new options for creating tonal "colours" in their orchestration. For example, in the late 20th century and onwards, a composer could have a melody played by the first violins doubled by a futuristic-sounding synthesizer or a theremin to create an unusual effect.

Orchestral instrumentation is denoted by an abbreviated formulaic convention, [1] as follows: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon- horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba. More details can be contained in brackets. A dot separates one player from another, a slash indicates doubling. Timpani and percussion are denoted 2Tmp+ number of percussion.

For example, 3[1.2.3/pic] 2[1.Eh] 3[1.2.3/Ebcl/bcl] 3[1.2/cbn.cbn] tmp+2 is interpreted as:

As an example, Mahler Symphony 2 is scored: 4[1/pic.2/pic.3/pic.4/pic] 4[1.2.3/Eh.4/Eh] 5[1.2.3/bcl.4/Ebcl2.Ebcl] 4[]- 10 8 4 1- 2tmp+4-2 hp- org- str.

Examples from the repertoire

J.S Bach

During the Baroque era, composers showed increasing awareness of the expressive potential of orchestration. While some early Baroque pieces have no indication of which instruments should play the piece, the choice of instruments being left to the musical group's leader or concertmaster, there are Baroque works which specify certain instruments. The orchestral accompaniment to the aria 'et misericordia' from J.S.Bach’s Magnificat , BWV243 (1723) features muted strings doubled by flutes, a subtle combination of mellow instrumental timbres.

Orchestral introduction to 'et misericordia' from Bach's Magnificat, BWV 243. Listen Et misericordia.png
Orchestral introduction to 'et misericordia' from Bach's Magnificat, BWV 243. Listen

The orchestral introduction to the opening chorus of J.S.Bach’s epiphany Cantata Sie werden aus Saba alle kommen BWV65, which John Eliot Gardiner (2013, p. 328) describes as “one of the crowning glories of Bach’s first Christmas season” demonstrates the composer’s mastery of his craft. Within a space of eight bars, we hear recorders, oboes da caccia, horns and strings creating a “glittery sheen” of contrasted timbres, sonorities and textures ranging from just two horns against a string pedal point in the first bar to a “restatement of the octave unison theme, this time by all the voices and instruments spread over five octaves” in bars 7-8: [2]

Opening orchestral introduction to J.S. Bach's Cantata, BWV65.
Opening orchestral introduction to J.S. Bach's Cantata, BWV65. Sie werden aus Saba Alle kommen opening bars.png
Opening orchestral introduction to J.S. Bach's Cantata, BWV65.

Igor Stravinsky (1959, p45) marvelled at Bach’s skill as an orchestrator: “What incomparable instrumental writing is Bach's. You can smell the resin [(rosin)] in his violin parts, [and] taste the reeds in the oboes.” [3]


Jean Philippe Rameau was famous for "the eloquence of [his] orchestral writing which was something entirely new... - with a feeling for colour [(i.e., tone colour or timbre)] that is altogether 'modern'." [4] In 'The Entrance of Polymnie' from his opera Les Boréades (1763), the predominant string texture is shot through with descending scale figures on the bassoon, creating an exquisite blend of timbres:

'L'Entrée de Polymnie' from Les Boréades by Rameau.
'L'Entree de Polymnie' from Les Boreades by Rameau. Entry of Polymnie from les Boreades.png
'L'Entrée de Polymnie' from Les Boréades by Rameau.

In the aria ‘Rossignols amoureux’ from his opera Hippolyte et Aricie , Rameau evokes the sound of lovelorn nightingales by means of two flutes blending with a solo violin, while the rest of the violins play sustained notes in the background.

Rameau 'Rossignols amoureux' from Hippolyte et Aricie
Rameau 'Rossignols amoureux' from Hippolyte et Aricie Rameau 'Rossignols amoureux' from Hippolyte et Aricie 02.png
Rameau 'Rossignols amoureux' from Hippolyte et Aricie


Mozart "was acutely sensitive to matters of instrumentation and instrumental effect where orchestral writing was concerned", including a "meticulous attitude towards the spacing of chords." [5] H. C. Robbins Landon marvels at the “gorgeous wash of colour displayed in Mozart’s scores.” [6] For example, the opening movement of the Symphony No. 39 (K543) contains “a charming dialogue between strings and woodwind” [7] that demonstrates the composer’s exquisite aural imagination for the blending and contrast of timbres. Bars 102-3 feature a widely spaced voicing over a range of four octaves. The first and second violins weave curly parallel melodic lines, a tenth apart, underpinned by a pedal point in the double basses and a sustained octave in the horns. Wind instruments respond in bars 104-5, accompanied by a spidery ascending chromatic line in the cellos.

Symphony 39, first movement, bars 102-119
Symphony 39, first movement, bars 102-105 Symphony 39, first movement, bars 102-120.png
Symphony 39, first movement, bars 102-105

A graceful continuation to this features clarinets and bassoons with the lower strings supplying the bass notes.

Symphony 39, first movement, bars 106-109 Symphony 39, first movement, bars 102-121.png
Symphony 39, first movement, bars 106-109

Next, a phrase for strings alone blends pizzicato cellos and basses with bowed violins and violas, playing mostly in thirds:

Symphony 39, first movement, bars 110-114 Symphony 39, first movement, bars 110-114.png
Symphony 39, first movement, bars 110-114

The woodwind repeat these four bars with the violins adding a counter-melody against the cellos and basses playing arco. The violas add crucial harmonic colouring here with their D flat in bar 115. In 1792, an early listener marvelled at the dazzling orchestration of this movement “ineffably grand and rich in ideas, with striking variety in almost all obbligato parts.” [8]

Symphony 39, first movement, bars 115-119 Symphony 39, first movement, bars 115-119.png
Symphony 39, first movement, bars 115-119

“The main feature in [his] orchestration is Mozart’s density, which is of course part of his density of thought.” [9]

Another important technique of Mozart's orchestration was antiphony, the "call and response" exchange of musical motifs or "ideas" between different groups in the orchestra. In an antiphonal section, the composer may have one group of instruments introduce a melodic idea (e.g., the first violins), and then have the woodwinds "answer" by restating this melodic idea, often with some type of variation. In the trio section of the minuet from his Symphony No. 41 (1788), the flute, bassoons and horn exchange phrases with the strings, with the first violin line doubled at the octave by the first oboe:

Trio section of the Minuet from Mozart's Symphony No. 41.
Trio section of the Minuet from Mozart's Symphony No. 41. Mozart Jupiter Trio.png
Trio section of the Minuet from Mozart's Symphony No. 41.

Charles Rosen (1971, p. 240) admires Mozart’s skill in orchestrating his piano concertos, particularly the Concerto in E flat major, K482, a work that introduced clarinets into the mix. “This concerto places the greatest musical reliance on tone colour, which is, indeed, almost always ravishing. One lovely example of its sonorities comes near the beginning.” [10]

Mozart Piano Concerto K482 first movement bars 1-12
Mozart Piano Concerto K482 first movement bars 1-6 Mozart Piano Concerto K482 first movement bars 1-6.png
Mozart Piano Concerto K482 first movement bars 1-6

The orchestral tutti in the first two bars is answered by just horns and bassoon in bars 2-6. This passage repeats with fresh orchestration:

Mozart Piano Concerto K482 first movement bars 7-12. Mozart Piano Concerto K482 first movement bars 7-12.png
Mozart Piano Concerto K482 first movement bars 7-12.

“Here we have the unusual sound on the violins providing the bass for the solo clarinets. The simplicity of the sequence concentrates all our interest on tone-colour, and what follows – a series of woodwind solos – keeps it there. The orchestration throughout, in fact, has a greater variety than Mozart had wished or needed before, and fits the brilliance, charm, and grace of the first movement and the finale.” [11]


A demonstration of Beethoven’s consummate skill at obtaining the maximum variety out of seemingly unprepossessing and fairly simple material can be found in the first movement of the Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat (‘The Emperor’) Opus 73 (1810). The second subject of the sonata form is a deceptively simple tune that, according to Fiske (1970, p. 41) “is limited to notes playable on the horns for which it music have been specially designed.” [12] This theme appears in five different orchestrations throughout the movement, with changes of mode (major to minor), dynamics (forte to pianissimo) and a blending of instrumental colour that ranges from boldly stated tutti passages to the most subtle and differentiated episodes, where instrumental sounds are combined often in quite unexpected ways:

Second subject theme from the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor)
Second subject theme from the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor) Subsidiary theme from the first movement of beethoven's Piano Conxcert No. 5 (Emperor).png
Second subject theme from the first movement of Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 5 (Emperor)

The theme first appears in the minor mode during the orchestral introduction, performed using staccato articulation and orchestrated in the most delicate and enchanting colours:

Minor version of the theme
Minor version of the theme. Minor version 1.png
Minor version of the theme.

This is followed by a more straightforward version in the major key, with horns accompanied by strings. The theme is now played legato by the horns, accompanied by a sustained pedal point in the bassoons. The violins simultaneously play an elaborated version of the theme. (See also heterophony.) The timpani and pizzicato lower strings add further colour to this variegated palette of sounds. “Considering that the notes are virtually the same the difference in effect is extraordinary”: [13]

Major version of the theme, with horns playing the melody
Major version of the theme, with horns playing the melody. Major version of the theme.png
Major version of the theme, with horns playing the melody.

When the solo piano enters, its right hand plays a variant of the minor version of the theme in a triplet rhythm, with the backing of pizzicato (plucked) strings on the off-beats:

Minor version of the theme, with piano right hand elaborating the melody in triplets
Minor key version of the theme, with piano right hand elaborating the melody in triplets. Minor version 2 - piano.png
Minor key version of the theme, with piano right hand elaborating the melody in triplets.

This is followed by a bold tutti statement of the theme, "with the whole orchestra thumping it out in aggressive semi-staccato. [14]

Tutti statement of the theme


Tutti statement of the theme. Tutti version in major.png
Tutti statement of the theme.

The minor version of the theme also appears in the cadenza, played staccato by the solo piano:

Solo piano statement of theme in the cadenza
Solo piano statement of theme in the cadenza. Cadenza.png
Solo piano statement of theme in the cadenza.

This is followed, finally, by a restatement of the major key version, featuring horns playing legato , accompanied by pizzicato strings and filigree arpeggio figuration in the solo piano:

Final statement of the theme in a major key by the horns after the end of the cadenza
Final statement of the theme in a major key by the horns after the end of the cadenza. Major version in cadenza.png
Final statement of the theme in a major key by the horns after the end of the cadenza.

Fiske (1970) says that Beethoven shows “a superb flood of invention” through these varied treatments. “The variety of moods this theme can convey is without limit” .” [15]


The most significant orchestral innovator of the early 19th century was Hector Berlioz. (The composer was also the author of a Treatise on Instrumentation .) “He was drawn to the orchestra as his chosen medium by instinct … and by finding out the exact capabilities and timbres of individual instruments, and it was on this raw material that his imagination worked to produce countless new sonorities, very striking when considered as a totality, crucially instructive for later composers, and nearly all exactly tailored to their dramatic or expressive purpose.” [16] Numerous examples of Berlioz’s orchestral wizardry and his penchant for conjuring extraordinary sonorities can be found in his Symphonie fantastique . The opening of the fourth movement, entitled “March to the Scaffold” features what for the time (1830) must have seemed a bizarre mix of sounds. The timpani and the double basses play thick chords against the snarling muted brass:

Berlioz, March to the Scaffold from the Symphonie Fantastique. Listen March to the Scaffold bars 1-4.png
Berlioz, March to the Scaffold from the Symphonie Fantastique. Listen

“Although he derives from Beethoven, Berlioz uses features that run counter to the rules of composition in general, such as the chords in close position in the low register of the double basses.” [17]

Berlioz was also capable of conveying great delicacy in his instrumental writing. A particularly spectacular instance is the “Queen Mabscherzo from the Romeo et Juliette symphony, which Hugh Macdonald (1969, p51) describes as “Berlioz’s supreme exercise in light orchestral texture, a brilliant, gossamer fabric, prestissimo and pianissimo almost without pause:

Berlioz, Queen Mab scherzo from Romeo et Juliette Queen Mab main theme.png
Berlioz, Queen Mab scherzo from Romeo et Juliette

Boulez points out that the very fast tempo must have made unprecedented demands on conductors and orchestras of the time (1830), “Because of the rapid and precise rhythms, the staccatos which must be even and regular in all registers, because of the isolated notes that occur right at the end of the bar on the third quaver…all of which must fall into place with absolutely perfect precision.” [18]

Macdonald highlights the passage towards the end of the scherzo where “The sounds become more ethereal and fairylike, low clarinet, high harps and the bell-like antique cymbals…The pace and fascination of the movement are irresistible; it is some of the most ethereally brilliant music ever penned.” [19]

Berlioz, orchestral texture from Queen Mab Scherzo. Listen Queen mab scherzo p218.png
Berlioz, orchestral texture from Queen Mab Scherzo. Listen

The New Grove Dictionary says that for Berlioz, orchestration “was intrinsic to composition, not something applied to finished music...in his hands timbre became something that could be used in free combinations, as an artist might use his palette, without bowing to the demands of line, and this leads to the rich orchestral resource of Debussy and Ravel.” [20]


After Berlioz, Richard Wagner was the major pioneer in the development of orchestration during the 19th century. Pierre Boulez speaks of the “sheer richness of Wagner’s orchestration and his irrepressible instinct for innovation.” [21] Peter Latham says that Wagner had a “unique appreciation of the possibilities for colour inherent in the instruments at his disposal, and it was this that guided him both in his selection of new recruits for the orchestral family and in his treatment of its established members. The well-known division of that family into strings, woodwind, and brass, with percussion as required, he inherited from the great classical symphonists such changes as he made were in the direction of splitting up these groups still further.” Latham gives as an example, the sonority of the opening of the opera Lohengrin , where “the ethereal quality of the music” is due to the violins being “divided up into four, five, or even eight parts instead of the customary two.” [22]

Wagner, Prelude to Lohengrin Listen Prelude to Lohengrin condensed score.png
Wagner, Prelude to Lohengrin Listen

As he matured as a composer, particularly through his experience of composing The Ring Wagner made “increasing use of the contrast between pure and mixed colours, bringing to a fine point the art of transition from one field of sonority to another.” [23] Robert Craft found Wagner's final opera Parsifal to be a work where “Wagner’s powers are at their pinnacle… The orchestral blends and separations are without precedent.” [24] Craft cites the intricate orchestration of the single line of melody that opens the opera:

Parsifal Prelude Opening
Parsifal Prelude Opening Parsifal Prelude Opening.png
Parsifal Prelude Opening

Parsifal makes entirely new uses of orchestral colour… Without the help of the score, even a very sensitive ear cannot distinguish the instruments playing the unison beginning of the Prelude. The violins are halved, then doubled by the cellos, a clarinet, and a bassoon, as well as, for the peak of the phrase, an alto oboe [cor anglais]. The full novelty of this colour change with the oboe, both as intensity and as timbre, can be appreciated only after the theme is repeated in harmony and in one of the most gorgeous orchestrations of even Wagner’s Technicolor imagination.” [25]

Later, during the opening scene of the first act of Parsifal , Wagner offsets the bold brass with gentler strings, showing that the same musical material feels very different when passed between contrasting families of instruments:

Contrasting orchestral groups from the Prelude to the first Act of Parsifal
Contrasting orchestral groups from the Prelude to first Act of Parsifal Parsifal contrasting groups.png
Contrasting orchestral groups from the Prelude to first Act of Parsifal

On the other hand, the prelude to the opera Tristan and Isolde exemplifies the variety that Wagner could extract through combining instruments from different orchestral families with his precise markings of dynamics and articulation. In the opening phrase, the cellos are supported by wind instruments:

Wagner, Tristan Prelude, opening
Wagner, Tristan prelude, opening. Tristan prelude bars 1-7.png
Wagner, Tristan prelude, opening.

When this idea returns towards the end of the prelude, the instrumental colors are varied subtly, with sounds that were new to the 19th century orchestra, such as the cor anglais and the bass clarinet. These, together with the ominous rumbling of the timpani effectively convey the brooding atmosphere:

Wagner, Tristan Prelude, closing bars
Wagner, Tristan Prelude, closing bars. Wagner, Tristan prelude closing bars.png
Wagner, Tristan Prelude, closing bars.

“It’s impressive to see how Wagner… produces balance in his works. He is true genius in this respect, undeniably so, even down to the working out of the exact number of instruments.” Boulez is “fascinated by the precision with which Wagner gauges orchestral balance, [which] … contains a multiplicity of details that he achieved with astonishing precision.” [26] According to Roger Scruton, "Seldom since Bach's inspired use of obbligato parts in his cantatas have the instruments of the orchestra been so meticulously and lovingly adapted to their expressive role by Wagner in his later operas." [27]


William Austin (1966) says “Mahler expanded the orchestra, going ahead to a historic climax in the direction already marked by Beethoven, Berlioz and Wagner… The purpose of this famous expansion was not a sheer increase in volume, but a greater variety of sound with more nearly continuous gradations… Mahler only occasionally required all his vast orchestra to play together, and his music was as often soft as loud. Its colours were continually shifting, blending or contrasting with each other.” [28] Adorno (1971) similarly describes Mahler’s symphonic writing as characterised by “massive tutti effects” contrasted with “chamber-music procedures”. [29] The following passage from the first movement of his Symphony No. 4 illustrates this:

Mahler, Symphony No. 4, first movement, Fig 5
Mahler, Symphony No. 4, first movement, Figure 5. Mahler 4 1st movt Fig 5.png
Mahler, Symphony No. 4, first movement, Figure 5.

Only in the first bar of the above is there a full ensemble. The remaining bars feature highly differentiated small groups of instruments. Mahler’s experienced conductor’s ear led him to write detailed performance markings in his scores, including carefully calibrated dynamics. For example, in bar 2 above, the low harp note is marked forte, the clarinets, mezzo-forte and the horns piano. Austin (1966) says that “Mahler cared about the finest nuances of loudness and tempo and worked tirelessly to fix these details in his scores.” [30] Mahler’s imagination for sonority is exemplified in the closing bars of the slow movement of the Fourth Symphony, where there occurs what Walter Piston (1969, p. 140) describes as “an instance of inspired orchestration… To be noted are the sudden change of mode in the harmonic progression, the unusual spacing of the chord in measure 5, and the placing of the perfect fourth in the two flutes. The effect is quite unexpected and magical.” [31]

Mahler Symphony No 4, third movement, Figure 13.
Mahler Symphony No 4, third movement, Figure 13. Mahler 4 third movement.png
Mahler Symphony No 4, third movement, Figure 13.


Apart from Mahler and Richard Strauss, the major innovator in orchestration during the closing years of the nineteenth and the first decades of the twentieth century was Claude Debussy. According to Pierre Boulez (1975, p20) “Debussy’s orchestration… when compared with even such brilliant contemporaries as Strauss and Mahler… shows an infinitely fresher imagination.” Boulez said that Debussy’s orchestration was “conceived from quite a different point of view; the number of instruments, their balance, the order in which they are used, their use itself, produces a different climate.” Apart from the early impact of Wagner, Debussy was also fascinated by music from Asia that according to Austin “he heard repeatedly and admired intensely at the Paris World exhibition of 1889”. [32]

Both influences inform Debussy’s first major orchestral work, Prelude a l’après-midi d’un faune (1894). Wagner’s influence can be heard in the strategic use of silence, the sensitively differentiated orchestration and, above all in the striking half-diminished seventh chord spread between oboes and clarinets, reinforced by a glissando on the harp. Austin (1966, p. 16) continues “Only a composer thoroughly familiar with the Tristan chord could have conceived the beginning of the Faune.” [33]

Debussy, Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune, opening bars Prelude a l'apres midi opening.png
Debussy, Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune, opening bars

Later in the Faune, Debussy builds a complex texture, where, as Austin says, “Polyphony and orchestration overlap...He adds to all the devices of Mozart, Weber, Berlioz and Wagner the possibilities that he learned from the heterophonic music of the Far East.... The first harp varies the flute parts in almost the same way that the smallest bells of a Javanese gamelan vary the slower basic melody.” [34]

Debussy, Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune, Figure 7, bars 11-13 Prelude a l'apres midi, from Fig 7- short score version.png
Debussy, Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune, Figure 7, bars 11-13

Debussy’s final orchestral work, the enigmatic ballet Jeux (1913) was composed nearly 20 years after the Faune. The opening bars feature divided strings, spread over a wide range, a harp doubling horns with the addition of the bell-like celesta in the 5th bar and the sultry voicing of the whole tone chords in the woodwind:

Debussy, Jeux opening bars Jeux opening bars.png
Debussy, Jeux opening bars

Jensen (2014, p. 228) says “Perhaps the greatest marvel of Jeux is its orchestration. While working on the piano score, Debussy wrote: ‘I am thinking of that orchestral colour which seems to be illuminated from behind, and for which there are such marvellous displays in Parsifal ’ The idea, then, was to produce timbre without glare, subdued… but to do so with clarity and precision.” [35]

As adaptation

In a more general sense, orchestration also refers to the re-adaptation of existing music into another medium, particularly a full or reduced orchestra. There are two general kinds of adaptation: transcription, which closely follows the original piece, and arrangement, which tends to change significant aspects of the original piece. In terms of adaptation, orchestration applies, strictly speaking, only to writing for orchestra, whereas the term instrumentation applies to instruments used in the texture of the piece. In the study of orchestration – in contradistinction to the practice – the term instrumentation may also refer to consideration of the defining characteristics of individual instruments rather than to the art of combining instruments.

In commercial music, especially musical theatre and film music, independent orchestrators are often used because it is difficult to meet tight deadlines when the same person is required both to compose and to orchestrate. Frequently, when a stage musical is adapted to film, such as Camelot or Fiddler on the Roof , the orchestrations for the film version are notably different from the stage ones. In other cases, such as Evita , they are not, and are simply expanded versions from those used in the stage production.

Most orchestrators often work from a draft (sketch), or short score, that is, a score written on limited number of independent musical staves. Some orchestrators, particularly those writing for the opera or music theatres, prefer to work from a piano vocal score up, since the singers need to start rehearsing a piece long before the whole work is fully completed. That was, for instance, the method of composition of Jules Massenet. In other instances, simple cooperation between various creators is utilized, as when Jonathan Tunick orchestrates Stephen Sondheim's songs, or when orchestration is done from a lead sheet (a simplified music notation for a song which includes just the melody and the chord progression). In the latter case, arranging as well as orchestration will be involved.

Film orchestration

Due to the enormous time constraints of film scoring schedules, most film composers employ orchestrators rather than doing the work themselves, although these orchestrators work under the close supervision of the composer. Some film composers have made the time to orchestrate their own music, including Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975), Georges Delerue (1925-1992), Ennio Morricone (1928-), John Williams (1932-) (his very detailed sketches are 99% orchestrated), Howard Shore (1946-), James Horner (1953-2015) (on Braveheart), Bruno Coulais (1954-), Rachel Portman (1960-), Philippe Rombi (1968-) and Abel Korzeniowski (1972-).

Although there have been hundreds of orchestrators in film over the years, the most prominent film orchestrators for the latter half of the 20th century were Jack Hayes, Herbert W. Spencer, Edward Powell (who worked almost exclusively with Alfred Newman), Arthur Morton, Greig McRitchie, and Alexander Courage. Some of the most in-demand orchestrators today (and of the past 30 years) include Jeff Atmajian, Pete Anthony, Brad Dechter (James Newton Howard, Christopher Young, Theodore Shapiro, Teddy Castellucci, Danny Elfman, John Powell, Marco Beltrami, John Debney, Marc Shaiman, Michael Giacchino), Conrad Pope (John Williams, Alexandre Desplat, Jerry Goldsmith, James Newton Howard, Alan Silvestri, James Horner, Mark Isham, John Powell, Michael Convertino, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore), Eddie Karam (John Williams, James Horner), Bruce Fowler (Hans Zimmer, Klaus Badelt, Harry Gregson-Williams, Steve Jablonsky, Mark Mothersbaugh, John Powell), John Ashton Thomas (John Powell, John Debney, Alan Silvestri, James Newton Howard, Henry Jackman, Lyle Workman, Theodore Shapiro, John Ottman, John Paesano), Robert Elhai (Elliot Goldenthal, Michael Kamen, Ed Shearmur, Brian Tyler, Klaus Badelt, Ilan Eshkeri ) and J.A.C. Redford (James Horner, Thomas Newman).

Conrad Salinger was the most prominent orchestrator of MGM musicals from the 1940s to 1962, orchestrating such famous films as Singin' in the Rain , An American in Paris , and Gigi . In the 1950s, film composer John Williams frequently spent time with Salinger informally learning the craft of orchestration. Robert Russell Bennett (George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein) was one of America's most prolific orchestrators (particularly of Broadway shows) of the 20th century, sometimes scoring over 80 pages a day.


Most films require 30 to 120 minutes of musical score. Each individual piece of music in a film is called a "cue". There are roughly 20-80 cues per film. A dramatic film may require slow and sparse music while an action film may require 80 cues of highly active music. Each cue can range in length from five seconds to more than ten minutes as needed per scene in the film. After the composer is finished composing the cue, this sketch score is delivered to the orchestrator either as hand written or computer generated. Most composers in Hollywood today compose their music using sequencing software (e.g. Digital Performer, Logic Pro, or Cubase). A sketch score can be generated through the use of a MIDI file which is then imported into a music notation program such as Finale or Sibelius. Thus begins the job of the orchestrator.

Every composer works differently and the orchestrator's job is to understand what is required from one composer to the next. If the music is created with sequencing software then the orchestrator is given a MIDI sketch score and a synthesized recording of the cue. The sketch score only contains the musical notes (e.g. eighth notes, quarter notes, etc.) with no phrasing, articulations, or dynamics. The orchestrator studies this synthesized "mockup" recording listening to dynamics and phrasing (just as the composer has played them in). He then accurately tries to represent these elements in the orchestra. However some voicings on a synthesizer (synthestration) will not work in the same way when orchestrated for the live orchestra.

The sound samples are often doubled up very prominently and thickly with other sounds in order to get the music to "speak" louder. The orchestrator sometimes changes these synth voicings to traditional orchestral voicings in order to make the music flow better. He may move intervals up or down the octave (or omit them entirely), double certain passages with other instruments in the orchestra, add percussion instruments to provide colour, and add Italian performance marks (e.g. Allegro con brio, Adagio, ritardando, dolce, staccato, etc.). If a composer writes a large action cue, and no woodwinds are used, the orchestrator will often add woodwinds by doubling the brass music up an octave. The orchestra size is determined from the music budget of the film.

The orchestrator is told in advance the number of instruments he has to work with and has to abide by what is available. A big-budget film may be able to afford a Romantic music era-orchestra with over 100 musicians. In contrast, a low-budget independent film may only be able to afford a 20 performer chamber orchestra or a jazz quartet. Sometimes a composer will write a three-part chord for three flutes, although only two flutes have been hired. The orchestrator decides where to put the third note. For example, the orchestrator could have the clarinet (a woodwind that blends well with flute) play the third note. After the orchestrated cue is complete it is delivered to the copying house (generally by placing it on a computer server) so that each instrument of the orchestra can be electronically extracted, printed, and delivered to the scoring stage.

The major film composers in Hollywood each have a lead orchestrator. Generally the lead orchestrator attempts to orchestrate as much of the music as possible if time allows. If the schedule is too demanding, a team of orchestrators (ranging from two to eight) will work on a film. The lead orchestrator decides on the assignment of cues to other orchestrators on the team. Most films can be orchestrated in one to two weeks with a team of five orchestrators. New orchestrators trying to obtain work will often approach a film composer asking to be hired. They are generally referred to the lead orchestrator for consideration. At the scoring stage the orchestrator will often assist the composer in the recording booth giving suggestions on how to improve the performance, the music, or the recording. If the composer is conducting, sometimes the orchestrator will remain in the recording booth to assist as a producer. Sometimes the roles are reversed with the orchestrator conducting and the composer producing from the booth.


See also

Related Research Articles

The Pomp and Circumstance Marches, Op. 39, are a series of marches for orchestra composed by Sir Edward Elgar. They include some of Elgar's best-known compositions.

<i>Capriccio Espagnol</i> musical composition by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Capriccio espagnol, Op. 34, is the common Western title for a five movement orchestral suite, based on Spanish folk melodies, composed by the Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1887. Rimsky-Korsakov originally intended to write the work for a solo violin with orchestra, but later decided that a purely orchestral work would do better justice to the lively melodies. The Russian title is Каприччио на испанские темы.

Symphony No. 15 (Shostakovich) symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich

The Symphony No. 15 in A major, Op. 141, Dmitri Shostakovich's last, was written in a little over a month during the summer of 1971 in Repino, outside St. Petersburg. It was first performed in Moscow on 8 January 1972 by the All-Union Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra under Maxim Shostakovich.

<i>Miroirs</i> musical composition for piano by Maurice Ravel

Miroirs is a five-movement suite for solo piano written by French composer Maurice Ravel between 1904 and 1905. First performed by Ricardo Viñes in 1906, Miroirs contains five movements, each dedicated to a fellow member of the French avant-garde artist group Les Apaches.

The alto clarinet is a woodwind instrument of the clarinet family. It is a transposing instrument pitched in the key of E, though instruments in F have been made. In Europe it is sometimes called a tenor clarinet. In size it lies between the soprano clarinet and the bass clarinet, to which it bears a greater resemblance in that it typically has a straight body, but a curved neck and bell made of metal. All-metal alto clarinets also exist. In appearance it strongly resembles the basset horn, but usually differs in three respects: it is pitched a tone lower, it lacks an extended lower range, and it has a wider bore than many basset horns.

Instrumentation (music) particular combination of musical instruments employed in a composition

In music, instrumentation is the particular combination of musical instruments employed in a composition, and the properties of those instruments individually. Instrumentation is sometimes used as a synonym for orchestration. This juxtaposition of the two terms was first made in 1843 by Hector Berlioz in his Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes, and various attempts have since been made to differentiate them. Instrumentation is a more general term referring to an orchestrator's, composer's or arranger's selection of instruments in varying combinations, or even a choice made by the performers for a particular performance, as opposed to the narrower sense of orchestration, which is the act of scoring for orchestra a work originally written for a solo instrument or smaller group of instruments.

Piano Concerto No. 1 (Liszt) piano concerto by Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt composed his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, S.124 over a 26-year period; the main themes date from 1830, while the final version is dated 1849. The concerto consists of four movements and lasts approximately 20 minutes. It premiered in Weimar on February 17, 1855, with Liszt at the piano and Hector Berlioz conducting.

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra is a 1945 musical composition by Benjamin Britten with a subtitle Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell. It was based on the second movement, "Rondeau", of the Abdelazer suite. It was originally commissioned for the British educational documentary film called Instruments of the Orchestra released on 29 November 1946, directed by Muir Mathieson and featuring the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Sargent; Sargent also conducted the concert première on 15 October 1946 with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England.

Written in 1923, the English Folk Song Suite is one of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams's most famous works for military band. It was published originally as simply Folk Song Suite. Its premiere was given at Kneller Hall on 4 July 1923, conducted by Lt Hector Adkins.

<i>Alexander Nevsky</i> (Prokofiev) score composed by Sergei Prokofiev for Sergei Eisensteins 1938 film "Alexander Nevsky"

Alexander Nevsky is the score composed by Sergei Prokofiev for Sergei Eisenstein's 1938 film Alexander Nevsky. The subject of the film is the 13th century incursion of the knights of the Livonian Order into the territory of the Novgorod Republic, their capture of the city of Pskov, the summoning of Prince Alexander Nevsky to the defense of Rus', and his subsequent victory over the crusaders in 1242. The majority of the score's song texts were written by the poet Vladimir Lugovskoy.

Requiem (Berlioz) requiem by Hector Berlioz

The Grande Messe des morts, Op. 5, by Hector Berlioz was composed in 1837. The Grande Messe des Morts is one of Berlioz's best-known works, with a tremendous orchestration of woodwind and brass instruments, including four antiphonal offstage brass ensembles. The work derives its text from the traditional Latin Requiem Mass. It has a duration of approximately ninety minutes, although there are faster recordings of under seventy-five minutes.

The Miraculous Mandarin Op. 19, Sz. 73, is a one act pantomime ballet composed by Béla Bartók between 1918–1924, and based on the story by Melchior Lengyel. Premiered November 27, 1926 in Cologne, Germany, it caused a scandal and was subsequently banned on moral grounds. Although more successful at its Prague premiere, it was generally performed during the rest of Bartók's life in the form of a concert suite, which preserves about two-thirds of the original pantomime's music.

<i>La valse</i> composition for orchestra by Maurice Ravel

La valse, poème chorégraphique pour orchestre, is a work written by Maurice Ravel between February 1919 and 1920; it was first performed on 12 December 1920 in Paris. It was conceived as a ballet but is now more often heard as a concert work. The work has been described as a tribute to the waltz, and the composer George Benjamin, in his analysis of La valse, summarized the ethos of the work:

Whether or not it was intended as a metaphor for the predicament of European civilization in the aftermath of the Great War, its one-movement design plots the birth, decay and destruction of a musical genre: the waltz.

Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes, abbreviated in English as the Treatise on Instrumentation is a technical study of Western musical instruments, written by Hector Berlioz. It was first published in 1844 after being serialised in many parts prior to this date and had a chapter added by Berlioz on conducting in 1855.

The shorthand for the orchestration of a classical symphony orchestra, or Orchestra Instrumentation Numerical Notation, is used to outline which and how many instruments, especially wind instruments, are called for in a given piece of music. The shorthand is ordered in the same fashion as the parts of the individual instruments in the score, read from top to bottom.

<i>Jubiläum</i> orchestral composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen

Jubiläum (Jubilee) is an orchestral composition by Karlheinz Stockhausen, work-number 45 in the composer’s catalogue of works.

John Corigliano's Symphony No. 1 for Orchestra was written between 1988 and 1989 during the composer’s tenure as the first Composer-In-Residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The symphony’s first performance was by the Chicago Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim on March 15, 1990.

Métaboles is an orchestral work by Henri Dutilleux, commissioned by the conductor George Szell in 1959 to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Cleveland Orchestra. Métaboles was composed in 1963–64 and was first performed by Szell and the Cleveland Orchestra on 14 January 1965.

Russian composer Alfred Schnittke's Symphony No. 7 was composed in 1993. It is dedicated to conductor Kurt Masur who gave its world premiere performance in New York with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra on 10 February 1994.


  1. Daniels, David (2005). Orchestral Music a Handbook. Scarecrow Press Inc.
  2. Gardiner, J.E. (2013, p. 328) Music in the Castle of Heaven. London, Allen Lane.
  3. Stravinsky I. and Craft, R. Conversations with Igor Stravinsky. London, Faber.
  4. Pincherle, M. (1967, p.122) An Illustrated History of Music. London, MacMillan.
  5. Keefe, S.P. (2003, p.92) The Cambridge Companion to Mozart. Cambridge University Press.
  6. Robbins Landon, H. (1989, p.137), Mozart, the Golden Years. London, Thames and Hudson.
  7. Robbins Landon, H. and Mitchell, D. (1956, p. 191) The Mozart Companion. London, Faber.
  8. Black, David. "A personal response to the Mozart memorial concert in Hamburg and the Symphony in E-flat (K. 543)". Mozart: New Documents, edited by Dexter Edge and David Black. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  9. Robbins Landon, H. (1989, p.137), Mozart, the Golden Years. London, Thames and Hudson.
  10. Rosen, C. (1971, p240) The Classical Style. London Faber.
  11. Rosen, C. (1971, p240) The Classical Style. London Faber.
  12. Fiske, R. (1970), Beethoven Concertos and Overtures. London, BBC.
  13. Fiske, R. (1970, p.41), Beethoven Concertos and Overtures. London, BBC.
  14. Fiske, R. (1970, p.42), Beethoven Concertos and Overtures. London, BBC.
  15. Fiske, R. (1970, p.42), Beethoven Concertos and Overtures. London, BBC.
  16. Macdonald, H. (1969, p5) Berlioz Orchestral Music. London, BBC.
  17. Boulez, P. (203, p.44) Boulez on Conducting. London, Faber.
  18. Boulez, P. (203, p.37) Boulez on Conducting. London, Faber.
  19. Macdonald, H. (1969, p51) Berlioz orchestral Music. London, BBC.
  20. MacDonald, H., (2001) “Berlioz”, article in Sadie, S. (ed.) The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition. London, MacMillan.
  21. Boulez, P. (1986, p273) Orientations. London, Faber.
  22. Latham, P. (1926) “Wagner: Aesthetics and Orchestration.” Gramophone, June 1926.
  23. Boulez, P. (1986, p273) Orientations. London, Faber.
  24. Craft, R. (1977, p.82. Current Convictions. London, Secker & Warburg.
  25. Craft, R. (1977, p.91. Current Convictions. London, Secker & Warburg.
  26. Boulez, P. (2003, p.52) Boulez on Conducting. London, Faber.
  27. Scruton, R. (2016, p147) The Ring of Truth: The Wisdom of Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung. Penguin Random House.
  28. Austin, W. (1966, p. 123) Music in the 20th Century. London, Dent.
  29. Adorno, T.W. (1971, p.53) Mahler, a musical physiognomy. Trans. Jephcott. University of Chicago Press.
  30. Austin, W. (1966, p. 123) Music in the 20th Century. London, Dent.
  31. Piston, W. (1969) Orchestration. London, Victor Gollancz.
  32. Austin, W. (1966, p20) Music in the 20th century. London, Dent.
  33. Austin, W. (1966, p.16) Music in the 20th century. London, Dent.
  34. Austin, W. (1966, p.20) Music in the 20th century. London, Dent.
  35. Jensen, E.F. (2014) Debussy. Oxford University Press.
  36. "Orchestration: Overview". Classical Net. Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  37. Sealey, Mark. "Book Review: The Technique of Orchestration". Classical Net. Retrieved 25 February 2017.