Cover image for The technique of orchestration
The technique of orchestration
Kennan, Kent, 1913-2003.
Personal Author:
Fourth edition.
Publication Information:
Englewood Cliffs, N.J. : Prentice Hall, [1990]

Physical Description:
xiii, 401 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
MT70 .K37 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The emphasis is on the practical fundamentals of orchestration. The Sixth Edition has been expanded and revised to reflect new developments in instruments and orchestral practice, and a new listening compact disc has been added that contains selected examples of orchestration. A listening compact disc features selected samples intended for use in conjunction with the book. New musical examples and listings, and an updated bibliography which includes many recent publications. A short chapter on scoring for high school orchestras, and information on nonorchestral instrumental groups, including the band and the wind ensemble.

Author Notes

Kent Kennan is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of Texas at Austin
Donald Grantham, D.M.A. in composition from the University of Southern California, is Professor of Music at the University of Texas of Austin



This book is designed primarily as a text for beginning orchestration courses, but it includes material suitable for more advanced study and also may serve as a reference. Since the first edition appeared in 1952, it has been periodically expanded and revised to reflect new developments in instruments and orchestral practice. In the case of this sixth edition, the most important new feature is the inclusion, packaged with the book, of a compact disc that contains selected examples played by members of the University of Texas Symphony Orchestra. Tie recording includes: the arrangements of a two-measure fragment from Jesu, meine Freude(Back harmonization) for strings (Chapter 3), for woodwinds (chapter 6) and for brass (Chapter 9); chords for the various sections of the orchestra (Chapter 10); scorings illustrating rearrangement of pianistic figures (chapter 11); and the different scorings of the Brahms Intermezzo excerpt; the Beethoven Sonata excerpt (Chapter 12); and one of Ex. 16.4. It is intended that each segment of the recording will be played, in turn, as the corresponding aspect of orchestration is studied. Small icons next to the examples tell where the latter can be found on the disc. Examples of individual instruments are not included on the recording, because that aspect has been covered on numerous commercial recordings, a few of which were mentioned on a preceding page. Furthermore, in most schools it is possible to arrange for classroom demonstrations of many of the instruments. Other changes in the book include a few deletions and additions of musical examples and listings as well as an updating of the bibliography. As in the earlier edition, the emphasis is on the practical fundamentals of orchestration. No attempt has been made to give an account of the construction of instruments. Historical background is given only where it seems essential to an understanding of modern instruments or scores of an earlier period. Because most orchestration classes include students who will be working with high-school orchestras, certain problems involved in scoring for such groups are mentioned from time to time. A short chapter is devoted to that subject. Other chapters supply basic information on nonorchestral instrumental groups, including the band and the wind ensemble, and on the writing of score and parts. In addition, four appendixes give supplementary information that may be helpful. Knowledge of various styles of scoring must be gained principally through a direct study of scores. Consequently that aspect of orchestration has been left largely in the hands of the individual teacher, to be undertaken as scores of various periods are studied in class. Some thoughts on that phase of the work are included in the "Suggestions for Using This Book" section that follows. Included in that section is information on a workbook keyed to the text, also published by Prentice Hall. As successive editions of The Technique of Orchestrationhave appeared over a period of many years, it has become increasingly difficult to give credit to all the persons who have contributed information or valuable suggestions. We wish to reaffirm our gratitude to those persons now. In the case of the present edition, our special thanks go to Glenn Daum, Robert Duke, Tony Edwards, Karl Miller, and Russell Pinkston. KENT KENNAN DONALD GRANTHAM Excerpted from The Technique of Orchestration and CD Recording Package by Kent Kennan, Donald Grantham All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Suggestions for Using This Bookp. xi
Chapter 1 Introductionp. 1
Chapter 2 The Stringsp. 7
Chapter 3 The String Orchestrap. 32
Chapter 4 Bowing and Special Effectsp. 52
Chapter 5 The Woodwindsp. 76
Chapter 6 The Woodwind Sectionp. 106
Chapter 7 The Hornp. 123
Chapter 8 The Trumpet, Trombone, and Tubap. 138
Chapter 9 The Brass Sectionp. 162
Chapter 10 Scoring Chords for Each Section and for Orchestrap. 173
Chapter 11 Problems in Transcribing Piano Musicp. 188
Chapter 12 Scoring for Woodwinds, Horns, and Stringsp. 207
Chapter 13 The Percussion: Instruments of Definite Pitchp. 225
Chapter 14 The Percussion: Instruments of Indefinite Pitchp. 248
Chapter 15 The Harp, Celesta, and Pianop. 273
Chapter 16 Scoring for Full Orchestrap. 292
Chapter 17 Special Devicesp. 323
Chapter 18 Infrequently Used Instrumentsp. 340
Chapter 19 Scoring for High School Orchestrap. 355
Chapter 20 Writing Score and Partsp. 367
Chapter 21 Nonorchestral Instrumental Groupsp. 373
Appendix A List of Foreign Names for Instruments and Orchestral Termsp. 381
Appendix B Ranges of Instrumentsp. 386
Appendix C Electronic Instrumentsp. 391
Appendix D Vocal and Choral Rangesp. 394
Bibliographyp. 397
Indexp. 403