Music 2: Orchestration and Arrangement

Approx. Duration:

This unit introduces the study of orchestration, transcription and arrangement through the exploration of case study works by established composers from different eras of musical history and your own practical work. The exercises and assignments are designed to provide practical experience in handling different instrumental groups and will develop your ability to blend and balance an ensemble texture. You will be required to listen to a range of music, develop your own opinions and preferences and reflect on the orchestration style of other composers on your own learning journey.


This unit is a requirement for those students planning to undertake their Major Project in Orchestration at Level 6.


The course aims to help you:

  • A1 develop an understanding of the use of instruments, individually and in combination
  • A2 learn how to adapt existing material so that it can be played successfully on different instruments
  • A3 develop an awareness of the styles of orchestration adopted by established composers through history
  • A4 develop your knowledge of score notation conventions and the ability to reflect critically on your own work


On successful completion of the course you will:

  • LO1 orchestrate material for a range of instrumental groupings demonstrating appropriate use of the range and techniques of each instrument (A1)
  • LO2 arrange existing material for different instruments, including making piano reductions of ensemble works (A2)
  • LO3 recognise and write about styles of orchestration by established composers and reflect on how your research has developed your own skills (A3)
  • LO4 present your work using conventions of notation and score layout using appropriate software, and reflect critically on your own learning (A4).

Course content

  • Orchestrating strings
  • Orchestrating woodwind
  • Orchestrating brass
  • Arranging: instrumental choirs and piano reductions
  • Exploring the orchestra

Course sample

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