(an excerpt from my overture, Night Passages)





Alan Belkin, composer

Artistic Orchestration


This is the third volume in my series of online books on musical technique. The others cover Form, Counterpoint, and Harmony. All are based on my own experience as a composer and teacher.

A pdf version (without audio) is available here. The French version, including the audio examples, can be found online, here. A Spanish version is also available in pdf format, as is a version in Italian and a version in Dutch.

I am looking for a volunteer to translate this book into German. Please contact me at: belkina_at_yahoo.com (replace _at_ with @).

Students may find the supplementary explanation of score reduction useful. They may also be interested in my online mini course in orchestration.

This series is dedicated to the memory of my teacher and friend Marvin Duchow, one of the rare true scholars, a musician of great depth and sensitivity, and a man of unsurpassed kindness and generosity.

Note concerning the musical examples:Unless otherwise indicated, all the musical examples are my own, and are covered by copyright. To hear other examples of my music, please visit the worklist page.

Score examples are notated in concert pitch, athough octave tranpositions (piccolo, double bass, etc.) have been maintained, to avoid excessive ledger lines. Scores have been reduced, and occasional detailed performance indications removed, to save space. I have also furnished examples from the standard repertoire (each marked "repertoire example"). Unfortunately, copyright issues make it prohibitive to supply scores and audio for these: It would be impossible to continue supplying this work free of charge.

For those having problems with the plug-in required to hear the examples, Riccardo Distasi kindly wrote a script adding plain links for each example.


Table of contents

Introduction: Why this book?

Preliminary considerations

Basic notions, part 1 Basic notions, Part 2

Orchestral accompaniment

Summary: What is good orchestration?

Appendix: some pedagogical ideas

Conclusion, acknowledgements, bibliography

Appendix 1: Character glossary


© Alan Belkin, 2001, 2008. Legal proof of copyright exists. The material may be used free of charge provided that the author's name is included.


website © Alan Belkin, 2008

email: alanbelkinmusic@gmail.com (replace _at_ with @). I am always glad to hear comments or suggestions concerning the content here. I do get a great deal of email from this website, so I may not reply to you immediately. Since so many have asked, I do offer private lessons, either in person or via the Internet; please inquire for my rates. Please do not send me your music without an invitation; I unfortunately do not have time to respond to everyone who just wants my opinion of their score.