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Anatomy of the Orchestra Hardcover – December 15, 1981

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Norman Del Mar (1919-1994) was a distinguished British conductor, musicologist and biographer. He was recognised as a leading authority on Richard Strauss, and his major three-volume work on his life and music remains a classic. He is also remembered for his recordings of British music, in particular Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Delius and Britten. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (December 15, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520045009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520045002
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Anyone with a more than passing interest in Orchestral music should try this one. Especially good for young players in school or civic orchestras. It desecribes what everyone's job is, how they play different effects, hangups, foibles, etc...
Tells you why Horns don't like sitting in front of percussion. Why the tympanist won't play other percussion, but the the rest of the kitchen dept is running around playing 3 and four different instruments.
It talks a lot about keys, notes, and has many copies of the score for illustration, but if you don't read music don't despair... your enjoyment should not be diminished.
When to disagree with the conductor...
And describes the curious relations amongst all those infighting violins.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Roland Hutchinson on November 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
The thing to understand about this brilliant and indispensable handbook is that it is NOT an orchestration textbook. Orchestration textbooks look at the instruments of the orchestra purely from the viewpoint of what composers or arrangers need to know. This book, on the other hand, dissects the orchestra with a view to explaining what a conductor needs to know, and it is also useful for players who want to understand more about the other sections of the orchestra (or about their own!) and for serious listeners and musicians of all kinds who want to understand the workings and the resources of a modern symphony orchestra.

Naturally there is some overlap between the information presented here and what would be found in an orchestration textbook, but this would be a (very valuable) supplement rather than the main textbook for a student of orchestration. (Likewise, in the opposite direction, conducting students will of course benefit from an in-depth study of orchestration as a crucial supplement to what this book will teach them!)

There are other guides to the orchestra and its instruments for youngsters and laypersons, written at a more elementary level -- but for the professional or aspiring professional musician, this book is both unique and uniquely valuable.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Hermes Camacho on January 24, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a well-written and thought-out text about the modern day symphony orchestra. It provides and analysis of every instrument in the orchestra, it's purposes, the sound it produces, and the possibilities. Norman Del Mar's book is a must for music students and professionals alike.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter F. Leopold-fernandez on February 23, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is by no means a beginning orchestration book. A book like "The Technique of Orchestration" by Kent Kennan should be read before attempting "Anatomy of the Orchestra." This book is almost entirely filled with in-depth, graduate level information that is difficult for an amateur to understand or retain. The chapter on 'Other Instruments' should not be entirely trusted, not because of faulty information, but due to lack of modern practicality. Simply consult someone that plays a strange instrument if you have questions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Greg Michaels on September 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is wonderful! No, it's not an orchestration textbook, but it's an insightful look into the orchestra, the instruments, common mistakes, and subtleties of the orchestra that you would have never have known otherwise that are both informative and often humorous. Norman del Mar knows his stuff, and I highly recommend this as one the best music texts I've read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Louis Perera on January 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Every Classically trained Musician knows of Mr. Del Mar's book. It contains virtually all you need to know about the "anatomy of the orchestra", and is mandatory for all Orchestral/Operatic Conducting students like myself!

I received this product in the best condition possible, within a few working days, from Amazon. There was not a single scratch, bend, dirt, or any other damage to it! I received in its optimal state: it's as if I took it straight out of the printing press, immediately as it finished being printed!

Thank you, Amazon!! Keep it up!!
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By Ivan on October 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book explains everything in a very easy way. Intermediate or begginers in conducting must read it. Also i comes with with good examples.
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By Michelle Tieman on May 11, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this as a gift for my son per his request. It was available at a great deal but do not know his thoughts on the book itself.
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