So, thinking about a typical arrangement structure, from what I know, is built from bass parts to effectively soprano ones. So within a group of instruments, let's say trumpets, you could have 4th chair, 3rd chair, 2nd chair and first chair pieces, again, built from low to high.

But what if the range overlap isn't layered like that? What if you your note overlap was reversed? So instead of 1st chair playing a set of notes and higher, they were mixed playing some of the 2nd chair notes, 2nd chair would play a few 1st chair notes, and their range. 3rd would play some 2nd chair notes and their own, etc.

I just wondered if the different arrangement would make a different?

Thank you in advance for your time and thoughts!

  • 1
    A full and complete answer to this question could be VERY long and the best thing to do in an arrangement can vary by situation. The difficulty of the parts, the difficulty of the piece, the intonation of the parts and sections, the chord voicings, doublings, ranges, seating arrangement, and many other aspects can all intersect to make some arrangements work better in some cases and work less well in others. Oct 15, 2023 at 20:34

1 Answer 1


If you're changing within a group of instruments, it won't matter. A trumpet playing a high C is still a high C no matter whether the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th trumpet plays it. In fact, it's common for this to happen. The 1st trumpet typically plays the highest notes, but it's because the player best at high notes is assigned that part (or vice versa). 5th trumpet parts of often given to the soloist (in a jazz band), so the notes are lower in part to keep from wearing out the player.

What would make a difference would be to arrange the bass as the highest instrument, trombones next, sax next, and trumpets at the bottom. This would place the instruments in parts of their range that might be less used — often because the characteristic sound of the instrument is lower or higher. This also is not uncommon, but would be something of a "special effect".

  • Thank you Aaron, I had not thought about the player per se, but rather the music or sound itself. Oct 15, 2023 at 20:12

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