35

Orchestra musicians should always be playing off of the sheet music. The concert is probably 1.5-2 hours of music, and it needs to be played precisely. In addition, professional orchestras rehearse about twice before the concert, so trying to memorize the music would be a waste of time. Veteran orchestral players may end up with large chunks of common works ...


26

At least for me, but probably for many other musicians too, playing from memory works completely different compared to playing from sheets. What I memorize aren't individual, absolute notes. Rather, I know the chord progressions (more the chord functions rather than concrete chords), the anchor points of whatever melodic material I'm playing (in terms of ...


20

The reason is that most wind instruments are transposing. The "open" note (no valves down, trombone in home position) is B flat. It is best to tune to this to set the main instrument tuning. If other notes are out of tune, then the valve slides (or on smaller instruments "lipping" the note) will bring them into tune. If A was used, then B flat brass would ...


19

There are acoustical reasons for not wanting close voicing in the lower register; in short, the upper harmonics muddy each other up and fog up the sound. But in my experience, C4 is a really high limit; I can think of tons of scores with thirds below C4. Every musical environment is different, and sometimes you might want that slightly muddy sound. But if ...


9

Closed vocings aren't bad, but you need to be aware of the register you are in no matter what you compose. In lower registers, having notes close together isn't always what you want. Specifically intervals that are supposed to have color like 3rds and 6ths both will sound "muddied" to most. Perfect internals typically don't observe this problem. This is also ...


7

Sibelius doesn't know about Bombardons, but the important thing is to look at what follows the instrument name, e.g. "in Es" or "in Bes", which mean respectively "in E flat" or "in B flat". In the snippet below, all three instruments are sounding a concert C. Double bass is non-transposing. E flat bass performs A ...


6

This isn't really a bass clarinet specific answer, but one that would help you to be heard in ensemble playing, generally. Increasing your absolute volume may not be the only way to be heard clearly within an ensemble texture. Playing with more attack, and so more definition, may allow you to be heard more clearly within the ensemble; it will also add ...


6

Perception is key. Start by asking the conductor how he feels the balance is. Given that 90% of bass clarinet parts are supporting lines, rather than leading lines, you don't exactly want to have your sound stand out above the sections carrying the tune. If the conductor agrees that you're not producing proper volume, work with your teacher (sure hope ...


6

Reading off the sheet is normal, but at rehearsals it's pretty much necessary. Watching the conductor is important, and is far easier when most if not all your attention doesn't need to be on the dots. Also, if you know the music, it frees up your ears to actually listen to what others are doing. That's difficult if you're still reading the pieces. I've ...


5

Muddiness depends on other considerations as well, such as volume and tuning. Just thirds (i.e., in a harmonic ratio of 6/5 or 5/4) will sound clearer than equal-temperament thirds. Check out some renaissance counterpoint, which generally works very well with trombones playing the lower voices. I'm thinking of Schütz Die mit Tränen säen, SWV 42, and Selig ...


5

As a trombonist, I've used D3 as the cutoff though I make context dependent exceptions. When you say: or to put the 1st trombone up into the higher part of its practical range, crossing higher than the alto voices That this isn't as big of a deal as you might think for trombonists, depending upon the difficulty level you are writing for. If it is a ...


5

Should I learn to play from memory in an orchestra? In my opinion yes. But not necessarily practice it at a concert, at least not all the time. There are actually several interesting things happening to me as an amateur, and probably to you as well, when playing from memory instead of reading all the time. Important difficult sections are good to know from ...


4

Typically only the soloist is expected to play from memory. it is really not all that feasible to memorise hundreds of pages of music that some symphonies consist off. That being said playing in a symphony is a bit more complicated than just a two hour long sight-reading exercise. A well-drilled symphony will have a good understanding of the score, its main ...


3

A concerto soloist will usually play from memory, but the orchestra is expected to be able to take notes, mark passages on the sheet music in pencil, converse with others about parts and markings. After studying orchestral excerpt books your memory will be reinforced by having the sheet music.


3

As kiwiron states, it's open tuning. This means the valves themselves will not affect the tuning of the 'main' instrument.Tuning of each individual valve should change very slightly, but still relatively in tune, when the main tuning slide is moved.so if tuning was to match a valved note, that little slide may have to be adjusted, and would put the rest of ...


3

I play in several community bands and a community orchestra. There are other BC players in most of these groups, and we all joke about the fact that no one else notices us, and conductors seldom pick on us; I noticed that in NJ State Band in the 1950s---we used to chuckle about it even then. Few paid attention to us; we figured they didn't hear us...we ...


2

Assuming you have equally skilled soloists in all those chairs then there really are no pros or cons for selecting one over the other. It is up to you as arranger to decide which instrument will best serve your vision and complement the intense texture at that point. Ask yourself which instrument would fit best against the texture you have in mind there. As ...


2

Usually the score will have pencilled notes by you, or by the conductor or by someone else. In particular for bowing a stringed instrument such as a violin. The sound (and appearance) is generally considered to be better when all the bows move up and down at the same time. It makes for a professional-looking orchestra. If you can memorise all the extras as ...


2

Without an audio example, I can't say if there's an actual problem with your setup. If you're in a place with a strong bass clarinetist or music store, see if your mouthpiece/reed/instrument is a problem. But my sense is that it's probably not. The bass clarinet is really a misnamed instrument -- it's basically a tenor instrument. Many good composers write ...


2

With a little help from @Carl Witthoft (of course Baritone Sax would be an Eb bass clef instrument following Tenor Sax - doh!), I think I have a pretty good idea of the scoring in this manuscript: Db Piccolo Oboes Bassoons Eb Clarinet Bb Clarinets (2 staves) Alto Sax Tenor Sax Baritone Sax Bb Trumpets (2 staves) Bb Cornets Eb Horns (2 staves) Trombones ...


2

I have never tried to do something like this, so take my advice with more than a grain of salt. But I have played extensively in both types of bands. Have a look at the answer at How do I approximate instruments when arranging an orchestral piece for brass ensemble. You have a similar problem. Have a look at the pieces you already have for your band and ...


2

If I want to be heard in a massive orchestra I use "plastic" reeds. Some do sound very sharp and loud. (Signature of Légère)


2

Samples can be dangerous. First and foremost you need to remember that you’re writing for real people, and that should always be your end goal. If you have limited experience, samples can distort your perception of balance, texture, and response throughout register. There are also many things that can’t be played back, for example, if I specify a passage on ...


1

I have both libraries and have used both. The same principles apply with two big exceptions: first, the lack of strings in the band, and second, the difference in percussion instruments. There are minor differences: the band has things like alto clarinets and the whole family of saxes but usually lacks bassoons or oboes. Allocation of lines to instruments ...


1

The guy that commented that progress takes place between lessons is absolutely right. I would suggest introducing them to slow practice techniques. If you learn to play a piece correctly at a slower tempo, it is easier to speed it up and play it at the correct speed. http://www.essential-music-practice.com/slow-practice.html


1

The question becomes then why were band instrument built in flat keys to begin with. I know that sax built his new instruments in Bb and Eb for bands, but also built sets ain F and C for orchestras which are little used. Originally, in the Baroque period for instance, D was the typical key for trumpets and therefore tympany. The trombones, the most ancient ...


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