Instrumentation (music)

Instrumentation (music)

In music, the word "instrumentation" is used to refer to the particular combination of musical instruments employed in a composition, and to the properties of those instruments individually. Instrumentation is also sometimes used as a synonym for orchestration, which more properly refers to an orchestrator's, composer's or (arranger's) craft of employing instruments in varying combinations.

Instrumental properties

Writing for any instrument requires a composer or arranger to know the instrument's properties, such as:
* the instrument's particular timbre, or range of timbres;
* the range pitches available on the instrument, as well as its dynamic range;
* the constraints of playing technique, such as length of breath, possible fingerings, or the average player's stamina;
* the relative difficulty of particular music on that instrument (for example, repeated notes are much easier to play on the violin than on the piano; while trills are relatively easy on the flute, but extremely difficult on the trombone);
* the availability of special effects or extended techniques, such as col legno playing, fluttertounge, or glissando;
* the notation conventions for the instrument.

ee also

*String section
*Hornbostel-Sachs instrument classification system


*Randel, Don (1986). "The New Harvard Dictionary of Music", pp. 397, 575-577. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-61525-5 (hc)

Further reading

*Treatise on Instrumentation by Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss
*Instrumentation by J. Addler

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