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Writing for wind ensemble for the first time, any advice?


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Hello,

I recently decided I want to enter a composition competition for wind ensemble for the fun and the challenge. I have written nothing of the entry yet besides four chords. I have no experience writing for concert band; My composition history is mostly chamber music, a few pieces for string orchestra, and one for full symphonic orchestra. I am a classically trained cellist with some piano experience. Could you point me toward good resources (preferably online) for composers for concert band? I have mostly been relying on images of scores, Jacobs School of Music's Instrument Studies for Eyes and Ears (ISFEE), and the guidelines on the competition website itself, which I am finding a bit confusing.

I also have some specific questions: 1. Which instruments normally double which? E.g. Can the second bassoon and the baritone sax play the same line? Are any combinations looked down upon? 2. If I wanted to use a timpani, side drum, clash cymbal, bass drum, vibraphone, and double bass, what order would they be in the score from top to bottom? 3. Is coming up with chords and other ideas at the piano helpful when writing for band? I am accustomed to doing this for my chamber and orchestral works. 

Thank you!

 

~ MissCello

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1. Second Bassoon and Bari double each other frequently, and the Bassoon can be a good bass line supporting instrument. But I also recommend doubling 1-2 Trombones with 1-2 Bassoons as well in large textures. Bassoons are quite versatile. 

2. Answer:

- Double Bass (String Bass, as it’s also sometimes labeled) under the Tuba

- Timpani

- Vibraphone

- Side Drum (Snare Drum or Tenor Drum?)

- Bass Drum

- CRASH Cymbal (not clash)

3. Yes. 

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6 hours ago, Salemosophy said:

1. Second Bassoon and Bari double each other frequently, and the Bassoon can be a good bass line supporting instrument. But I also recommend doubling 1-2 Trombones with 1-2 Bassoons as well in large textures. Bassoons are quite versatile. 

2. Answer:

- Double Bass (String Bass, as it’s also sometimes labeled) under the Tuba

- Timpani

- Vibraphone

- Side Drum (Snare Drum or Tenor Drum?)

- Bass Drum

- CRASH Cymbal (not clash)

3. Yes. 

 

Thanks! That helps a lot. I am actually still deciding between a snare drum and a tenor drum. I compose with Dorico Pro 3.5 and imported their concert band preset, and the percussion instruments don't see to be very specific. They call crash cymbals "clash cymbals".

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