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It’s Staggering

A common device that I see a lot of is 'stagger breathing', and I have some problems with it! Not the concept itself, just the way it is carried out. I often see a stream of notes in a woodwind part, perhaps copied and pasted from the violin part, and the words, 'stagger breathe' or 'breathe when necessary'. The latter I find particularly humorous, as they really have no choice. Even the world's most intelligent flute players have no way of knowing the best way…
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Swell Enough

As I keep pointing out, there is a lot of phrasing that will happen naturally. However, we often need to indicate when to swell. 1. Conventional wisdom is that in this case (Ex.1), they will go up one dynamic. I have found that more often than not, all sections of the orchestra go up almost two levels. The lack of a target dynamic may also lead to a question from the orchestra so I find it is best to put one…
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