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Instrumentation and Orchestration [Paperback]

Alfred Blatter
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 1, 1997 0534251870 978-0534251871 2
Intended for Orchestration and Composition courses for majors.

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Instrumentation and Orchestration + Essential Dictionary of Orchestration (The Essential Dictionary Series)
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Editorial Reviews


The Basics: Preparing Scores and Parts. PART I: THE SCORE. PART II: THE PARTS. 1. Instrumentation: The Orchestral Strings. 2. Instrumentation: The Woodwinds. 3. Instrumentation: The Brasses. 4. Instrumentation: The Percussion. 5. Instrumentation: Other Instruments. 6. Instrumentation: The Voice. 7. Orchestration: Scoring Musical Elements. 8. Orchestration: Scoring for Various Ensembles. 9. Orchestration: Techniques of Transcribing. 10. Orchestration: Techniques of Arranging. Organizing Resources. Judging the Work. Final Thoughts. Appendixes. Bibliography. Index.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 2 edition (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0534251870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0534251871
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of its kind November 5, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been a professional arranger/orchestrator for nearly fifty years. My copy of the first edition of this book, which I obtained in 1982, is well worn from constant use because it is the best source of accurate information about the widest variety of instruments.

Alfred Blatter understood what an orchestrator wants and needs to know about the capabilities and limitations of the instrumental forces. For students, this book provides reliable data on which they can build a useful and dependable knowledge base. For experienced writers, it is a superb source of reminders as well as information about some instruments for which one may not have previously encountered.

The book's fingering charts have often helped me make decisions about how a tricky passage could be made more comfortable for the players. Information about accessible ranges for student performers vs. those of professionals has also been of immense value to me.

In short, this book is an excellent reference work.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an invaluable instrumentation text February 23, 2004
By A Customer
1) Just because one has written previous works on a subject does not invalidate further works and further revelations on the subject.
2) Every book ever published contains inaccuracies. I'd rather chance a few unimportant inaccuracies for the depth of information that the book does provide.
3) One of the great strengths of the work is its completeness and willingness to tackle instruments that have been largely ignored for many years. The percussion section of the book is worth the cost of the book alone. I'd prefer a text that at least attempts to present relevant information over a book that won't even acknowledge that the "non-orchestral" instruments exist. And really, if you are looking for more advanced information on string instruments, there is a lot already out there. The "glories" of string instruments have been sung before and will be sung again ad nauseum.
4) The fingering charts provide are a starting place to depart from. The woodwind charts, in particular are extremely helpful and very thorough.
The work may be lacking a little in techniques of Orchestration (though there are interesting exercises and basic information on the subject), but as an Instrumentation text, it is invaluable. It is a great look beyond the tired, overplayed orchestral warhorses and is a resource for the new and innovative composers/arrangers looking to escape the cookie-cutter writing emphasized by many texts. It's one of few works that can help you understand what you >can< do, and not what you >should< do (in the author's opinion)... two utterly different but oft-mistaken concepts.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book - for instrumentation April 21, 2000
By A Customer
Instrumentation and Orchestration should be titled just "Instrumentation."
The book goes in depth on practically every instrument available, explaining each instrument's specal features. It demonstrates how to notate a "smack tone" for a double-reed, or a "mouthpiece pop" for brass. It does in depth on brass mute effects and multiphonics, it shows picture after picture of instrument families (in the case of the clarinets, it dipicts the A-flat soprano clarient to the B-flat contrabass clarinet, and everything in between, including the basset horn in F).
Instrumentation and Orchestration highlights almost every percussion instrument seen in modern ensembles,and includes an apendix with fingering charts for every instrument discused earlier in the book. It even has a section on the voice and choral arrangements.
But it contains only 5 short chapters on orchistration, somthing stressed in the title of the book. If somone is looking for a book on orchistration, this would not be the book to buy. It may be extreemely helpful in demonstrating every instrument's unique charactaristics and how to notate them, but I would caution anyone buying this book purely for orchestration.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE Bible of orchestration books April 23, 1998
By A Customer
This is absolutely the cat's meow in orchestration books: more thorough, more subtle, more current than anything else on the market. I keep it on my desktop at all times and give it as a present to other composers as often as possible. Think of it as the Bible of orchestration manuals.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a rudimentary necessity for all composers December 12, 1998
By A Customer
A composition teacher recommended that I get this book and I'm rarely without it. It is a basic tome for all composers, regardless of caliber, as well as anyone remotely interested in the parameters of musical instruments.Along with being clear and concise, it also refrains from presuming proper aesthetic context with regard to musical aspects.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the definitive orchestration text October 29, 1998
my freshman year of college at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, my composition teacher required me to buy this text. i've definitely not regretted it. i'm on my second copy of it, and any time i need to learn about something the book has served me just fine, and it works beautifully as a reference matieral as well. it covers from the most basic aspects of composition to the complexities of writing new music and writing for extended techniques. i can't live without this book - i use it every time i write. <and i do a LOT of composing.>
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Resource
Is a great resource for many musicians. Talks a lot about transposition and makes a great reference for various instruments.
Published 14 months ago by Jelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Finale Companion
In depth orchestration book. Covers a wide range of subject matter, from different types of mallets used for percussive instruments to the different ranges and limitations of the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Amazonreviewer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Instrumentation and Orchestration
I love this book! It is almost a perfect reference book for instrumentation and orchestration. It is also much more up to date than the other big name books. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kevin
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty new
It looks like a new nook. No note or highlight on it. And it is a really useful book for a music major student.
Published 17 months ago by wangyi
4.0 out of 5 stars Blatter Orchestration
The orchestration book came in a very timely fashion even with the normal shipping rates and the book itself is everything I could ever need and more as a composition student at a... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Matt8294
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Instrumentation Text
As others have already stated, This is an excellent text on instrumentation - information about any instrument you're liable to encounter. Read more
Published on April 6, 2011 by Adam L. Kopcinski
5.0 out of 5 stars Blatter is more accesible for orchestration than Adler.
This book is very informative. The only draw back is that there are no listening examples with cds. Read more
Published on November 27, 2010 by mexmpc
5.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction!
I am just getting into composing for the orchestra and have no musical training. For me trying to find facts about instrumentation and orchestration, this book is at the perfect... Read more
Published on December 3, 2002 by stefan gustafsson
3.0 out of 5 stars So-so
The author should have actually said this is a book on instrumentation. There are few samples of orchestration and nothing as helpful as a CD of samples. Read more
Published on December 21, 2001 by Helen Kim
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Resource
This is an excellent resource book for any music student, anyone interested in symphonic or band music, and any composer. Read more
Published on May 22, 2001 by Doc Sarvis
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