Skip to main content

Unit information: Advanced Orchestration in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Advanced Orchestration
Unit code MUSIM0043
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Pickard
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

This unit provides a thorough grounding in the techniques of orchestral writing. Individual instrumental capabilities will be studied, but the emphasis will be on techniques for blending instruments and developing these into more complex orchestral textures. Examples used will be drawn mainly from nineteenth and twentieth century orchestral literature.


  • Provide students with clear understanding of professional orchestral score layout
  • Develop students' ability to blend and balance fairly complex instrumental colours in an orchestral context.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing this unit will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an advanced working knowledge of the capabilities and blending of orchestral instruments (e.g.1.1 range, 1.2 dynamic profile, 1.3 technical limitations)
  2. arrange passages in appropriate style, using given exemplars
  3. layout complex pages of score in a fully professional manner

Teaching Information

Seminars and Tutorials, supported by extensive recorded material accessible via Blackboard.

Assessment Information

  • Portfolio of short preparatory exercises (credit points only) Successful attainment of outcome (3) will enable the student to demonstrate (1.1 and 1.3)
  • Project (50%) Successful attainment of outcome (2) will enable the student to demonstrate (1 and 2)

Reading and References

  • Adler, Samuel: The Study of Orchestration (W. W. Norton & Co.; 3rd Revised edition 2002)
  • Berlioz, Hector/Strauss, Richard: Treatise on Instrumentation (Dover, 1991)
  • Blatter, Alfred: Instrumentation and Orchestration (Wadsworth Publishing Co Inc; 2 edition 1997).