I have orchestrated the exposition of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and gotten several comments. Here I will concentrate on a single comment that I got, that the oboes are too high in bar 11. I got no suggestions as to how to fix the issue though, which I thought was just wrong, given that I had a detailed analysis of my orchestration mistakes. But I thought of a few solutions to the issue. Here is the edition of Mozart's score that I used for my orchestration:

Mozart's Werke Edition

I would use the Mozart manuscript, since it is written neatly and easily readable. But most of the Mozart manuscript isn't there, just a few pages of each movement. So the manuscript is out of the question as far as reference material goes.

And here is what the woodwinds look like in bars 10-15 of my orchestration:

enter image description here

The green note is just defaults from Musescore, I didn't make that note green, in case you were wondering.

Just in case you are wondering, here is my instrumentation:

  • 2 Flutes
  • 2 Oboes
  • 2 Clarinets
  • 2 Bassoons
  • 2 Horns(I originally thought of having a third horn but was told that it wasn't very Mozartesque to do that, so I retracted the third horn)
  • 2 Bb Trumpets(I was told that I should change this to C trumpets, but Bb is the default for the Classical Orchestra template)
  • Tympani
  • 1st Violins
  • 2nd Violins
  • Violas
  • Cellos
  • Double basses

Here are my proposed solutions for the woodwind issue at bar 11:

Option 1: Switch oboes and clarinets

Here, I would move the oboe part to the clarinets and likewise, I would move the clarinet part to the oboes. This would, if I'm correct on this, give a mellower sound than having the oboes up in that range. Just to make sure that I don't overwrite anything in the process of doing this in Musescore, I had the horns be silent here. Here is what it looks like after the switch:

enter image description here

Option 2: Oboes double clarinets, Flutes take over oboe part

Here, I would simply have the oboes doubling the clarinets. The flutes would be playing what in the previous version, I had the oboes play. Here is what it looks like after that change:

enter image description here

Myself, I think I prefer the oboe and clarinet switch over the doubling. I already have enough doublings between the woodwinds and the strings. I don't need more between 2 different woodwind parts. Plus, I think that upper reinforcement of the flutes is necessary. Having the flutes take over the oboe part would get rid of this upper reinforcement.

Here is what I have so far of my orchestration, so that you can listen to it. Note, that this is before any error corrections occurred.


Should I go with option 1 or option 2? Or is there something else that I missed? Note: I'm not thinking of just taking the oboe out entirely. That would be, I think, the worst option.

2 Answers 2


Here's an idea which you might consider, which none of your examples show: use the oboes, but don't give the first oboe the top line. Here is an extract (b.36-39) of the first movement of Mozart's Symphony 41, K551. The staves are flute, oboes, bassoons. No other instrument doubles the flute or 1st oboe at that point.

Mozart's Symphony 41, K551, b.36-39, woodwind

To translate that to your arrangement: how about giving the flute the theme as you've done, and give one oboe the next line down (the line you give the 2nd oboe in your first example). A flute playing that high can well be heard, without the need for an oboe to double it at the unison.


The problem seems to be of your own making, since you decided to move the top lines of Mozart's version up an octave. In your first version, you then have the oboes screaming away on their top notes (optimistically marked "p" with a slur) with the "tenor" and "bass" parts a long way apart, and a long way below the tune. The result will just sound weedy (because of the big gaps between the parts) and out of tune (because pairs of woodwinds playing in unison always are out of tune with each other, in real life!)

If you want to double up woodwind lines, do it on different instruments, e.g. make Ob 1 and Cl 1 play in unison (or in octaves) and Ob 2 and Cl 2 play a different line in unison.

If you want the top part an octave higher than Mozart wrote it, the only realistic solution is two flutes as in your "option 2."

Mozart wrote "textbook" four part harmony here, for four instruments (strings) of the same family with homogeneous timbres. Woodwinds are anything but homogeneous, and to avoid the out-of-tune-unison issues classical woodwind scoring is often in 8 parts, not 4. Of course classical woodwind scoring also includes a lot of solo passages - don't make everybody play all the time.

If you want to arrange this passage for wind, do something like this (which is only in 6 parts, not 8!), and don't be scared to add notes that Mozart didn't write:enter image description here

Of course you could get a lot more adventurous than the above. Starting the tune to the bassoons an octave lower than Mozart's version and letting it progress upwards from instrument to instrument might be fun, for example: enter image description here

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