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Orchestration for Band: PART 1 - Woodwinds


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Orchestration for Band: PART 1 – Theory (Woodwinds)

Before we begin discussing woodwind instruments and their use in the Band, please make sure you have familiarized yourself with both QcCowboy's Orchestration Masterclass thread regarding woodwind instruments, and the following Young Composer's Wiki Articles: FluteOboeClarinetSaxophoneBassoon

In the modern Orchestra, there are typically 2 players from each woodwind family and 1 additional player who performs on an auxiliary instrument (except the saxophone, which is not normally used in the Orchestra). The woodwinds are considered the "color" instruments of the ensemble due the greatly dissimilar timbres of each instrument. In the Band there is both a greater variety in the number of different woodwind instruments used as well as a greater number of players overall (except of course the Professional wind ensemble, which greatly resembles the Orchestral woodwind section plus saxophones).

The following articles will discuss each of the woodwind instruments used in the Band, the number of players usually encountered in the various ensembles, the commonly used number of parts the section is broken into, usable range restrictions, possible substitutions for instruments (for cueing), and frequently encountered issues to be concerned with when writing for the instrument. The instruments will be addressed in score order.
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"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

#2
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The Flute Family

The Piccolo

The piccolo is the highest natural woodwind instrument, with a piping, sweet, cheerful, and sometimes piercing tone quality. Due to the extreme range of the instrument, and because of the ear's natural tendency to focus on higher pitches, the piccolo tends to be audible above the Band at nearly all times. Since this makes the piccolo rather exposed to the listener, the conductor will usually assign an extremely competent and confident flutist on the piccolo part.

The piccolo is normally played by a single musician in a Band, regardless of the size of the ensemble. Since the flute section may vary considerably in size, this presents the composer with concerns regarding balance between the piccolo and the flutes. In the Orchestra or the professional (chamber ensemble-type) Band where there are only 3 flutists, the composer is free to treat the piccolo and two flutes as equally balanced when writing harmony and melody lines amongst the flutes. In such a situation, the flutist playing piccolo will be expected to also double as the 3rd flute in the ensemble.

A Band may have a great preponderance of flutes due to the instrument’s popularity and ubiquitous availability; a single piccolo may be outnumbered by 20 or more flutes in the largest bands. Because of this, the composer cannot treat the piccolo as an equal to the other flute parts – unless the composer also indicates that only a specified number of the other flutes are to be playing.

In rare instances one may find a band with more than one piccolo player, or one may come across works written with more than one piccolo part. This is uncommon and usually seen in either very large bands, or for particularly large compositions. One celebrated example is Persichetti’s Divertimento for Band which features a movement where the entire flute section is required to play instead on piccolo.

If the additional piccolos are for a single work only, normally the players will be pulled from the 1st Flute section.

Although the piccolo is usually able to be heard over the band due to its extreme range, there are practical limitations for writing for the instrument. Compared to the Orchestra, the Band has a more assertive, thick tutti sound, and the piccolo may have difficulty projecting below written G5. At the other end of the spectrum, above written D6 it is nearly impossible to not hear the piccolo, as this is a very assertive and bright range on the instrument. Since there are no other instruments in the ensemble (except the glockenspiel and xylophone) capable of playing in the same pitch range, the piccolo has clear aural space in its highest octave.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended ranges of the Piccolo.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Community band, b.) Collegiate band, c.) Professional band. Please keep in mind that these ranges are merely suggestions, as one never knows the quality of the musician one is dealing with in non-professional situations. The piccolo is always written exclusively in the treble (G) clef.

As the piccolo is commonly encountered in the band, it is not often cross-cued in another part in an ensemble (except for simple landmark cues), but if such a situation would arise, the logical choice would be the flute, provided the line did not exceed the range of the flute - that is, the line lies below sounding C7, or it could simply be transposed down an octave and played on the flute as written. Another suitable choice would be either of the two instruments that share the piccolo’s extremely high range, the glockenspiel or the xylophone.
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"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

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The Flute

The natural soprano voice of the woodwind family, the flute has a sweet, pretty, and light timbre throughout the major portion of its range. The upper octave becomes progressively more assertive and even shrill as it reaches C7, while the lowest octave becomes richer, softer, and lush down to C4 or B3. As with the piccolo, there is usually little aural competition in the register comprising the upper half of the instrument’s range, and the flute can normally be heard within the Band if it is not competing with loud or high brass.

The flute is quite a popular instrument, and consequently many bands have a positive glut of flutists. Typically, older music (pre-1950’s) has but a single flute part (often coupled with the piccolo part throughout), but modern practice is to split the flutes into 2 or 3 parts, independent of the piccolo. The professional Band, like the Orchestra, will typically have only 2 flutists. In larger ensembles, it is not uncommon to have up to 6 flutists per part, though most non-professional bands will commonly have 2-4 flutists per part. This allows the composer some leeway in dividing the flutes to obtain thicker chords. Be advised, however, that active counterpoint and multiple divisi within the section will weaken the carrying power and clearness of the flute line, and are not recommended in dense textures or louder volumes; the flutes will simply be lost in the ensemble tutti.

Occasionally the flute section will be tapped for an extra piccolo player. In these cases, the normal procedure would be for one of the 1st flutes will play the additional piccolo part.

The flute section will have difficulty competing aurally with a full band tutti in the lower half of the range, below A5, particularly if the brass or higher clarinets are scored in a similar range. Below C5, the flute must be scored carefully or risk being unheard. It is recommended that lines in the lowest octave of the instrument be scored either as a solo (and be minimally accompanied), or as a flute section soli in unison (but still minimally accompanied). Below G4, a divisi flute line should be unaccompanied or scored with the absolute minimum of background accompaniment, or it will simply be covered by the other instruments. The composer should know that scoring the flute line below D4 will be virtually inaudible if accompanied, particularly in non-professional situations.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended ranges of the Flute.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Community band, b.) Collegiate band, c.) Professional band. Please keep in mind that these ranges are merely suggestions, as one never knows the quality of the musician one is dealing with in non-professional situations. The flute is always written exclusively in the treble (G) clef.

As the flute is commonly encountered in the band, it is not often cross-cued in another part in the ensemble (except for simple landmark cues). The higher clarinets (Bb soprano and Eb sopranino) would be suitable for a large portion of the flute’s range, with the Eb Clarinet serving as an admirable replacement or enhancement for the flute’s highest register. The flute’s lowest octave could be enhanced in an ensemble setting by adding muted horns.
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"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

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The Alto Flute in G

This lower cousin of the flute has a beautifully full sounding and lush timbre, but is unassertive and easily covered. Compared to the same register on the flute it is more capable of holding its own, but still must be accompanied with great care.

Sadly, the alto flute is rarely seen in the Band setting, though it has become more common during the past decade in professional ensembles. The alto flute will normally be played by the 2nd flutist, unless the part is a substantial solo work, in which case the 1st flutist may play it instead as a feature. The instrument can hold its own aurally against other flutes, but its upper register (above written C6) is a pale imitation of the flute; it lacks the crispness associated with the same register on the flute. The alto flute is not sufficiently assertive to compete with other instruments in the band, except perhaps a soft clarinet section or similar accompaniment.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended range of the Alto Flute.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Professional band. The alto flute will not normally be encountered in non-professional ensembles; even in professional ensembles it is a rare instrument. The range given is the most effective and useful range for the instrument, but the composer may of course use the full range of the alto flute if he/she deems it appropriate. The alto flute is always written exclusively in the treble (G) clef.

Since the alto flute is rarely encountered, cross-cueing the part is essential. The common replacement is the Bb Clarinet (typically one of the 1st Clarinets, as a solo), though a softly played Eb Alto Saxophone or horn (or muted trombone) could be appropriate for the alto flute’s lower register.
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"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

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The Oboe Family

The Oboe

The prima donna of the Orchestral woodwinds, the oboe's temperamental nature and relatively uncommon availability (compared to the other woodwinds) have contributed to a diminishment of its importance in the Band. The oboe's unique timbre is pungent and reedy throughout most of its range, becoming progressively brusque and assertive below E4 and thin and delicate above A5. In the hands of a competent player it is capable of being beautifully expressive; in the hands of a less competent player it can be an unforgiving landmine of poor intonation and strident, unattractive timbre.

The oboe, due to being a comparatively more difficult instrument to learn, is studied far less frequently than the other woodwind instruments (possibly second only to the bassoon), and this dearth of oboists can be quite pronounced in the Band. The number of parts may vary; many works have but a single oboe part, while others may have 2 separate parts. Occasionally, the second oboe part may require the oboist to double on English Horn, while others may have a separate English Horn part in addition to one or two oboe parts. A professional band will normally have 2 oboists playing 2 parts, with a third oboist playing English Horn exclusively. Other ensembles may have similar number of personnel, but the actual number of oboists available may fluctuate wildly. A Collegiate band may have only one oboist, or they may have several (there are usually more oboists available at universities with well-known oboe professors), and the quality of player may vary considerably. In a Community band, there may be no oboists at all.

The oboe generally has no difficulty competing aurally with the other woodwinds through the 2 lowest octaves of its range, but scoring it against brass instruments in the same range (trumpets and cornets, specifically) will cause its perky yet plaintive timbre to be lost in the ensemble. Above A5, the sound becomes thinner and more delicate, and benefits from a more carefully considered accompaniment. In this range against the Bb clarinet or the flute, the timbres will blend well enough to neutralize most of the oboe's personality. Caution must be used above D6, as the oboe speaks less readily in this register, and suffers from complex fingerings and difficult-to-control intonation. Do not, under any circumstances, write for the oboe above F6 unless you are either an oboist yourself, or are writing in close collaboration with a professional oboist. Another factor to be considered is that the oboe can be fatiguing to play, most particularly in the extremes of its range, due to the careful control that must be applied. Frequent rest breaks are appreciated and will help to alleviate the oboist's premature fatigue.

One aural peculiarity is that two oboes playing in unison can create a raucous deviation in sound even when played completely in tune, but adding a third oboe (or the English Horn) neutralizes the effect and smoothes out the timbre. This effect is frequently also observed in the string family as well as between unison Trumpets.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended ranges of the Oboe.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Community band, b.) Collegiate band, c.) Professional band. Please keep in mind that these ranges are merely suggestions, as one never knows the quality of the musician one is dealing with in non-professional situations. The oboe is always written exclusively in the treble (G) clef.


Despite the haphazard availability of the oboe in the Band, composers (thankfully) continue to include prominent oboe solos in many works. One can only hope that this optimistic inclusion will promote more use of the instrument and encourage budding oboists to tackle the instrument enthusiastically. However, due to the frequent absence of the oboe, all important oboe solos should be cross-cued in another part in the ensemble. The Bb Clarinet or flute as expressive high woodwinds are obvious and appropriate choices to replace a solo oboe, as are the Bb Soprano Saxophone (if available) or Eb Alto Saxophone (provided the part is not too high). One extremely poor cliché for cross-cueing is the use of a muted Bb Trumpet to replace a solo oboe, which the author highly advises against as inappropriate, ineffective, and almost offensive (if you must use the Trumpet to replace an oboe, have the dignity to use it unmuted – attempting to use the mute to simulate a nasal quality cheapens both instruments).
Woodwind specialist


"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

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The English Horn

The prettier, younger, larger sister of the oboe, the English Horn (or Cor Anglais to you funny people across the pond) has an expressive, gentle, but well-rounded and amply robust timbre well suited to solo or ensemble work. Like the oboe, the timbre is pungent and reedy throughout its range, becoming progressively rich and reedy below written E4 and thin and delicate (almost hoarse, even) above written A5.

In the Professional band, the English Horn will usually be played by the third oboist, though occasionally parts are seen where the English Horn is played by the second oboe as a double; in such cases, either the third oboist is tacet throughout the piece while the second oboist doubles on English Horn, or the third oboist may play the English Horn while reading from the second oboe part only for the appropriate section of the piece. Be advised that the English Horn player in an ensemble with 3 oboists is not expected to play oboe (unlike the Piccolo player, who is expected to function as third Flute); your English Horn part should not have the player doubling on the oboe, which is a deviation in practice from the Orchestra. Finally, other ensembles may only occasionally have the English Horn available, if at all.

The English Horn has no difficulty competing aurally with the other woodwinds through the 2 lowest octaves of its range (its timbre blends well with clarinets and saxophones), but scoring it against brass instruments in the same range is inadvisable. The lowest fifth (below written G4) is far easier to control than the comparable register on the oboe, but the upper register (above written A5) tends to be less effective, sounding choked off or pinched, except in the hands of an exceptional player. The English Horn is not as fatiguing to play as the oboe due to the larger reed and more open sound, but rest breaks are still appreciated.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended ranges of the English Horn.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Community or Collegiate band, b.) Professional band. Please keep in mind that these ranges are merely suggestions, as one never knows the quality of the musician one is dealing with in non-professional situations. The English Horn is always written exclusively in the treble (G) clef.


Due to the uncommon availability of the English Horn, all important solos should be cross-cued in another part in the ensemble. Nearly every composer's first choice to the replace the English Horn is the Eb Alto Saxophone; it is common and expected in Band music that all English Horn solos are to be cross-cued for the 1st Alto Saxophone. Another possible replacement would be the Bb Soprano Saxophone or the Oboe, provided the part does not go too low to play, or too low for the player to effectively or musically control. Finally, the Bb Clarinet or Bb Tenor Saxophone may be an appropriate replacement as well.
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"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

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The Clarinet Family

The Eb Clarinet

The Eb Clarinet is a smaller cousin of the standard Bb Clarinet, and can be considered an extension and exaggeration of the Bb Clarinet's qualities. The timbre of the Eb Clarinet is somewhat "shallower" than the Bb Clarinet in the lower half of its range, while the upper half of the range is brighter and more intense.

Like the Piccolo, there is usually only one Eb Clarinet in a band, though there are older works where more than one Eb Clarinet is expected (notably, Gustav Holst's First Suite in Eb, which features 2 divisi Eb Clarinets at the start of the second movement, Intermezzo). In the professional band, there will be one Eb Clarinetist, and when there is no Eb Clarinet part, the player may instead play the Bb Clarinet (typically 1st Clarinet) in the band. Another possible way of using the Eb Clarinet, particularly if there are only a few sections where the instrument is playing, is to have the 1st (Bb) Clarinet part contain the Eb Clarinet as a double. Be aware that in a collegiate or community band, there may be no Eb Clarinet available due to the relatively uncommon nature of the instrument.

The Eb Clarinet is more easily covered in the lower half of its range than a Bb Clarinet in a comparable register and will not project well unless the accompaniment is carefully scored. One interesting use is to exploit the Eb Clarinet's pale throat tones to augment a lower register clarinet line - the Eb Clarinet can play higher without pushing into the clarino register of the clarinet and the subsequent immediately noticeable change in timbre that occurs when crossing the “break” of the clarinet. In its upper register, the Eb Clarinet is perfectly capable of being heard above the band, unless the upper brass are placed both high and very loud. Above written C6 the Eb Clarinet's bright, insistent timbre can always be heard if needed, even in full tutti passages. Like all other members of the clarinet family, the Eb Clarinet can play from the softest pianissimo to fortissimo in all of its registers.

The Eb Clarinetist is always a specialist due to the demanding nature of the instrument, as it is tiring to play and requires a much firmer embouchure than the Bb Clarinet. Frequent rest breaks are always appreciated by the performer.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended ranges of the Eb Clarinet.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Community or Collegiate band, b.) Professional band. Please keep in mind that these ranges are merely suggestions, as one never knows the quality of the musician one is dealing with in non-professional situations. The Eb Clarinet is always written exclusively in the treble (G) clef.

Since the Eb Clarinet is uncommon in non-professional situations, any important solos should be cross-cued for other instruments. If the part is not excessively high, a solo Bb Clarinet may be perfectly acceptable. The Flute may be acceptable for more exposed or louder passages that venture into the high register (like the Eb Clarinet, the Flute becomes more assertive at the top of its range), while the Piccolo would be an appropriate replacement for a softer high register line.
Woodwind specialist


"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

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The Bb Clarinet

As the star of the band, the Bb Clarinet is well suited to its role: agile, expressive, dynamic, and versatile. Each register of the Bb Clarinet has a unique sound that nevertheless blends seamlessly with the other. From the dark chalumeau register, the pale throat tones, the bright clarino register, to the brilliant altissimo register, the clarinet is equally able to play the quietest pianissimo through a powerful fortissimo. In contrast to the Orchestra, the Band only ever uses the Bb Clarinet; the A Clarinet is never used.

The Bb Clarinets are, much like the strings in the Orchestra, the most important section of the Band. In fact, many band transcriptions of orchestral works are written so that the violin and viola parts are scored directly to the clarinet parts. The Bb Clarinets are divided into 3 parts, 1st Clarinet, 2nd Clarinet, and 3rd Clarinet, with 2-6 players per part. The parts may be as similar or dissimilar as the composer wishes, though more often than not the parts tend to be fairly similar to one another. It is not uncommon for any of the three separate clarinet parts to be scored divisi within itself, though this is discouraged if it is overdone, as it weakens the carrying power of the section. If the composer wishes only one clarinet to play, solo must be indicated in the part, and at the end of the solo section a2 is required. The composer may also specify two players or half of the part if appropriate.

Despite its unique timbre, the clarinet blends more readily than any other woodwind, often synthesizing a new timbre in the process. It is generally only against loud brass that the clarinet would be difficult to hear. When the lower register of the clarinet is used, the effect on the ensemble is one of adding warmth to the sound, while the upper register of the clarinet adds focus to the group.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended ranges of the Bb Clarinet.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Community band 1st Clarinets, b.) Community band 2nd/3rd Clarinets c.) Collegiate band 1st Clarinets, d.) Collegiate band 2nd/3rd Clarinets, e.) Professional band 1st/2nd Clarinets, and f.) Professional band 3rd Clarinets. Please keep in mind that these ranges are merely suggestions, as one never knows the quality of the musician one is dealing with in non-professional situations. The Bb Clarinet is always written exclusively in the treble (G) clef.

As the Bb Clarinet is commonly encountered in the band (one could argue that it *is* the band), it is rarely cross-cued in another part in the ensemble (except for simple landmark cues). If necessary, a high register clarinet line could be augmented using Flutes, while a low register line would be appropriate for the Eb Alto Clarinet, Bb Bass Clarinet, Eb Alto Saxophones, Bb Tenor Saxophone, or Horn.
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"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

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The Eb Alto Clarinet

The red-headed bastard inter-racial half-elven stepchild of the Clarinet family, the Eb Alto Clarinet is an unfairly maligned and persecuted instrument. Played by a competent clarinetist with a decent instrument, the Alto Clarinet produces a beautifully somber, mellow, and expressive timbre that has been famously likened to "musical chocolate". A well-played Alto Clarinet has been said to have the most "clarinet-like" timbre of all the various sizes of clarinet. Its chalumeau register is rich and mellow, while the throat tones are more well-rounded than any of the soprano clarinets. The clarino register is clear and even, and the altissimo register (though infrequently used) is bright yet reserved. The Alto Clarinet is quite as capable of agile lines as the Bb Clarinet.

The Eb Alto Clarinet is infrequently found in the band despite parts appearing in nearly every published piece in the past century. Its slow and painful decline can be attributed to conductors who, when faced with an embarrassing amount of Bb Clarinets in their bands, decided to begin converting clarinetists from Bb Clarinet to the Eb Alto Clarinet in the name of "balancing" out the section. Often the most competent clarinetists were kept on Bb Clarinet, while the less competent players were moved to Alto Clarinet. Sadly, taking a less-than-competent musician and placing them on an instrument to which they were even less competent is not a winning situation. Composers, hearing their carefully thought-out Alto Clarinet parts being butchered by poor musicians, began writing easier or less important parts for the Alto Clarinet. This created a feedback cycle where conductors put the worst players on Alto Clarinet and composers wrote less and less interesting parts, which caused many of these already-marginally talented players to have less incentive to excel.

As indicated in an earlier article, the clarinet section of the Band serves much as the same role as the string section in the Orchestra. The Alto Clarinet could therefore be thought of as functioning in the same manner as viola of the band (which is ironic, considering how the viola suffers from much the same unfair situation; most violists are converted violinists, violists are considered less competent, etc.). In the professional band, if the conductor uses the Alto Clarinet, there will be one player on the part, while in the collegiate or community band the number available may vary from zero to 2 players. More players are possible but uncommon, though a celebrated collegiate band has been known to have no less than 5 clarinetists on Alto Clarinet. The composer should not use divisi for the instrument.

The timbre of the Alto Clarinet is mellow and relatively unassertive, but like other clarinets blends well with other instruments, particularly the horn, euphonium, or trombone. The typical Alto Clarinet part is often in the background, reinforcing the harmony or playing material related to the 2nd or 3rd Clarinet part. Given proper aural space, the Alto Clarinet would be an effective and novel solo instrument since it is relatively uncommonly used as such.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended ranges of the Eb Alto Clarinet.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Community or Collegiate band, and b.) Professional band. Please keep in mind that these ranges are merely suggestions, as one never knows the quality of the musician one is dealing with in non-professional situations. The Eb Alto Clarinet is always written exclusively in the treble (G) clef.

Since the Alto Clarinet is infrequently encountered, any important material should be cross-cued in another part in the ensemble. The obvious choice to replace the Alto Clarinet would be either the Bb Bass Clarinet or the Bb Clarinet (typically the 3rd Clarinets), depending on the range of the line. The Bassoon or Tenor Saxophone could possibly be appropriate in certain situations, or an unobtrusive Horn or Euphonium.
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"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies

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The Bb Bass Clarinet

Having a wonderfully well-rounded and solid lower range and a uniquely colorful upper range, the Bass Clarinet is a favorite of composers and audiences alike. The chalumeau register is dark and can be almost comically sinister, while the throat tones, like the Eb Alto Clarinet, are less "fuzzy" and more direct than the throat tones of the soprano clarinets. The clarino range has a diffused, almost falsetto-like quality, while the altissimo register (though very rarely used) is centered and focused. Though the Bass Clarinet is nearly as agile as the Alto or Bb Clarinet, it is rarely used in such a capacity in the band, focusing more on bass line or background material.

As indicated in earlier articles, the clarinet section of the Band serves much the same role as the string section in the Orchestra. The Bass Clarinet could therefore be thought of as functioning in the same manner as the cello of the band (though in practice the Euphonium is often specifically anointed "the cello of the Band"). In the professional band, there will be one player, while a collegiate or community band may have several. A Bass Clarinet divisi is not usually appropriate as it would weaken the sound of the section, and is not considered idiomatic.

The Bass Clarinet has a dark and mellow timbre in the lower half of its range that blends well with both the Euphonium and Tuba in the same ranges. Its upper range lacks carrying power and would benefit from a carefully considered accompaniment. Especially in its lowest octave, the Bass Clarinet is an effective solo instrument in either a serious or humorous vein.

The following graphic illustrates the full range and recommended ranges of the Bb Bass Clarinet.

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The recommended ranges are for: a.) Community band, b.) Collegiate band, and c.) Professional band. Please keep in mind that these ranges are merely suggestions, as one never knows the quality of the musician one is dealing with in non-professional situations. The Bb Bass Clarinet should always be notated in the treble (G) clef. ("German" notation - placing the Bass Clarinet in the bass clef a major second higher than the sounding pitch - is obsolete and should never be used in Band music)

A special mention is in order regarding the low register extension on the Bass Clarinet. Please be advised that the Low C extension on Bass Clarinets is still not considered standard equipment, only being present on about half of the professional-quality instruments currently made (and not available at all on student or intermediate instruments). Therefore, the composer should always indicate an ossia passage (or ossia notes) for Bass Clarinets without the extension, otherwise the player may simply play the written notes an octave higher (which is not always appropriate). If a section is to be played only by Bass Clarinets with the extension, a helpful indication such as tacet if no low C extension would be appropriate (followed of course by a2 or all when the remainder of the section is to return to playing). Note that the conductor may override your indication and request that the remaining Bass Clarinets play it one octave higher (hence, why it is important to indicate an ossia passage) regardless of how carefully considered your notation is.

The Bass Clarinet is considered a standard member of the Band and though it is not usually cross-cued for solo passages, occasionally it may be cued for support. The Bassoon is frequently encountered supporting the Bass Clarinet, though the timbres of the two instruments are not particularly complementary, and doubling of the line by both is usually aurally unsatisfying. A higher Bass Clarinet line may be enhanced by adding the Eb Alto Clarinet or Bb Clarinets (usually the 3rd Clarinets), while a lower part may be strengthened by adding the Eb Contra-alto Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone, or Tuba.
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"Music is like wine, the less you know about it, the sweeter you like it." - Robertson Davies




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