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There are many books and internet resources out there. Some are a little dated or express the opinion of only one person (a bit like my blog!) but it is worth reading as many as you can. Please let me know of any more really good ones to add to the list.

One of the most concise I have found for use as an everyday reference is Alfred’s Essentials of Orchestration by Dave Black and Tom Gerou. This is a no-nonsense book that has the ranges and specifics of each instrument and some idiomatic writing tips.

Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide to Music Notation by Elaine Gould is the modern bible for notation. It is very well-thought-out and has masses of information and examples. I agree with most things Gould says; however, she does encourage clarifying some things that I don’t feel are necessary. She is coming from a more academic perspective whereas mine is purely practical.

An excellent web resource I have recently discovered is Instrument Studies for Eyes and Ears by Don Freund. It is a very thorough tour of each instrument, showing both the performer and the notation. Don taught my own teacher, Brenton Broadstock’s.

The London-based Philharmonia Orchestra maintains another good resource discussing each of the orchestral instruments and providing short videos discussing some of their playing techniques.

OF NOTE . . .Finale & Sibelius tips and tutorials by Robert Puff. A great blog with with tips for Finale and that other program.

For the misguided that use the ‘other’ program, here is a blog where you can find some good information on how to make the most of your poor choice. It is maintained by Philip Rothman who runs a music prep company in NYC who is also a Finale expert.

I am pretty much self taught when it comes to Jazz. The two books I got my basic knowledge from are The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine and Inside the Score by Rayburn Wright. Read the Piano Book, then you will understand Inside the Score which shows you how to voice for a big band. The creative part of arranging you either have or don’t, you can’t learn that from a book.

I recently sat down for a chat with Deane Ogden and Brian Ralston from Scorecast online. You can listen to it here.

A few years ago I did an interview for the Finale Blog about how I worked on the TV show The Event. It will give you a glimpse of what goes on in the world of Hollywood orchestration. Here is a more general interview they did with me.

I recently came across an active Facebook group with lots of discussion about orchestration: Orchestration Online. The group is run by Thomas Goss, whose Youtube channel of the same name is dedicated to instruction in orchestration.

Posted in: Resources

1 Comment

  1. love the finale-sibelius rivalry jokes.


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