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orchestra orchestration classical EQing Instruments note ranges

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#1 lettuce

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 22:41

INSTRUMENT NOTE RANGES :

The range of a musical instrument is the distance from the lowest to the highest pitch it can play.
The following ranges are all taken from one source.
Information about instrument ranges differs from different sources.
Instrument manufacturers produce instruments of varying sizes and qualities which can reach different notes.
Different players can reach different notes.
An advanced player may be able to play to the absolute extremes of their instruments total note range.
An intermediate player may have difficulty reaching those extremes.

WRITTEN RANGE :

The 'written range' refers to the way notes are written in sheet music.
Different instruments are transposed differently.
Sometimes because the instrument is tuned differently to the other instruments.
Sometimes for convenience ( or to look neat in sheet music, without using too many ledger lines ).

SOUNDING RANGE / CONCERT RANGE :

The 'sounding range' / 'concert range' refers to the actual pitches produced by an instrument.
*For some instruments the notes in the sheet music do not represent the actual pitches produced.
The player is expected to transpose in their head as they play.

DESIGNATED RANGE / PRACTICAL RANGE :

The 'Designated range' / 'practical range' is the set of notes the player should realistically be able to achieve while playing.
A player may achieve registral range ( higher or lower than usual pitches ) at the expense of timbre.
The 'designated' / 'practical' range is the range in which a player is expected to have comfortable control of all aspects.
It is quite rare for musicians to play to the extremes of their instruments total range.

*When writing an orchestral-style arrangement it is probably best to stick to the 'most effective' note range where possible.

 

[ edit : extra notes about transposing instruments ]

 

Why are there transposing instruments? -

To make it easier for the player to read the sheet music written for their instrument...

Because the natural key of transposing instruments is different to the other instruments...

For example, clarinet in Bb : For someone who plays the clarinet, when the sheet music says 'C', the actual note which is played is a Bb..

English horn players will read a 'C' on the sheet music while the actual note played when they see a 'C' in the sheet music is Eb.

 

If not using sheet music and giving it to instrumentalists to play none of that is too important.

When only a sequencer is to be used, the information which really matters is the actual sounding range of the instrument.

On the other hand, knowing how different instrumets are transposed will be good for copying out sheet music written for transposing instruments into a sequencer such as a tracker.


-- FLUTE FAMILY --

PICCOLO :

*Piccolo sounds an octave higher than written ( +12 semitones ).
To transpose a concert passage for the piccolo,
write the part one octave lower ( -12 semitones ) than its concert pitch ( actual pitch ).

WRITTEN RANGE : C4 - C6

CONCERT RANGE :

PRACTICAL : D5 - C7 ( 587.330Hz - 2093.00Hz )
MOST EFFECTIVE : G5 - C7 ( 783.991Hz - 2093.00Hz )


FLUTE :

*The flute is a non-transposing concert pitch instrument.
It sounds as written.

WRITTEN RANGE : C4 - C6

CONCERT RANGE :

PRACTICAL : C4 - A6 ( 261.626Hz - 1760.00Hz )
MOST EFFECTIVE : G4 - A6 ( 391.995Hz -  1760.00Hz )


ALTO FLUTE :
 
*The alto-flute is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a perfect 4th lower than written ( -5 semitones ).
To transpose a concert passage for the alto-flute,
write the part a perfect 4th higher than its concert pitch ( +5 semitones ).
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : C4 - C6

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : G3 - A5 ( 195.998Hz - 880.000Hz )
PRACTICAL : G3 - G6 ( 195.998Hz - 1567.98Hz )


BASS FLUTE :

*The bass flute is a transposing instrument.
It sounds an octave lower than written ( -12 semitones ).
To transpose a passage for the bass flute,
write the part an octave higher than its concert pitch ( +12 semitones ).
The key stays the same.

WRITTEN RANGE : C4 - C6

CONCERT RANGE : C3 - C6 ( 130.813Hz - 1046.50Hz )


-- OBOE FAMILY --

OBOE :

*the oboe is a non-transposing,
concert pitch instrument,
it sounds as written.

WRITTEN RANGE : Bb3 - A6

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : F4 - F6 ( 349.228Hz - 1396.91Hz )
PRACTICAL : F4 - A6 ( 349.228Hz - 1760.00Hz )
MOST NOTES POSSIBLE : Bb3 - A6 ( 233.082Hz - 1760.00Hz )


ENGLISH HORN :

*The english horn is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a perfect 5th lower than written ( -7 semitones ).
To transpose a conert passage for the english horn,
write the part a perfect 5th above its concert pitch ( +7 semitones ).
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : E3 - C6

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : E3 - Eb5 ( 164.814Hz - 622.254Hz )
PRACTICAL : E3 - C6 ( 164.814Hz - 1046.50Hz )


BASSOON :

*The bassoon is a non-transposing, concert pitch instrument.
It sounds as written.

WRITTEN RANGE : Bb1 - E5

PRACTICAL AND MOST EFFECTIVE : Bb1 - A4 ( 58.2705Hz - 440.000Hz )
MOST NOTES POSSIBLE : Bb1 - E5 ( 58.2705Hz - 659.255Hz )


CONTRABASSOON :

*The contrabassoon ( or double-bassoon ) is a non-transposing instrument,
but it sounds an octave lower than written.
To transpose a concert passage for the contra-bassoon,
write the part an octave higher than its concert pitch.
The key signature remains the same.

WRITTEN RANGE : Bb1 - C4

PRACTCAL AND MOST EFFECTIVE : Bb1 - C4 ( 58.2705Hz - 261.626Hz )


-- CLARINET FAMILY --

CLARINET IN Bb :

*The clarinet is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a Major 2nd lower than written ( -2 semitones ).
To transpose a concert passage for the clarinet,
write the part a major 2nd higher than its concert pitch.
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : E3 - A6 ( sometimes E3 - D7 )

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : D3 - C6 ( 146.832Hz - 1046.50Hz )
PRACTICAL : D3 - A6 ( 146.832Hz - 1760.00Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : D3 - D7 ( 146.832Hz - 2349.32Hz )


BASS CLARINET IN Bb :

*The bass clarinet is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a major 9th lower than written ( -14 semitones ).
To transpose a concert passage for the bass clarinet,
write the part a major 9th higher than its concert pitch ( +14 semitones ).
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : E3 - C6 ( sometimes E3 - G6 )

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : D2 - C4 ( 73.4162Hz - 261.626Hz )
PRACTICAL : D2 - C5 ( 73.4162Hz - 523.251Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : D2 - F5 ( 73.4162Hz - 698.456Hz )


CONTRABASS CLARINET IN Bb :

*The contrabass clarinet is a transposing instrument.
It sounds 2 octaves and a major 2nd lower than written
( 2 octaves = 24 semitones, Major 2nd = 2 semitones, Total = -22 semitones ).
To compose a concert passage for the contrabass clarinet,
write the part 2 octaves and a major 2nd higher than its concert pitch ( +22 semitones ).
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : E3 - C6 ( sometimes E3 - G6 )

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : D2 - C4 ( 73.4162Hz - 261.626Hz )
PRACTICAL : D2 - C5 ( 73.4162Hz - 587.330Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : D2 - F5 ( 73.4162Hz - 698.456Hz )


-- SAXAPHONE FAMILY --

SOPRANO SAXAPHONE IN Bb

*The soprano saxaphone is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a major 2nd lower than written ( -2 semitones ).
To transpose a concert passage for the soprano saxaphone,
write the part a major 2nd higher than its concert pitch ( +2 semitones ).
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : Bb3 - C6 ( sometimes Bb3 - F6 )

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : G4 - B5 ( 391.995Hz - 987.767Hz )
PRACTICAL : C4 - B5 ( 261.626Hz - 987.767Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : Ab3 - Eb6 ( 207.652Hz - 1244.51Hz )


ALTO SAXAPHONE IN Eb :

*The alto saxaphone is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a major 6th lower than written ( -9 semitones ).
To transpose a concert pasasage for the alto saxaphone,
write the part a major 6th higher than its concert pitch.
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : Bb3 - F6

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : C4 - F5 ( 261.626Hz - 698.456Hz )
PRACTICAL : F3 - F5 ( 174.614Hz - 698.456Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : Db3 - Ab5 ( 138.591Hz - 830.609Hz )


TENOR SAXAPHONE IN IN Bb :

*The tenor saxaphone is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a major 9th lower than written ( -14 semitones ).
To transpose a concert passage for the tenor saxaphone,
write the part a major 9th higher than its concert pitch.
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : Bb3 - F6

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : F3 - C5 ( 174.614Hz - 523.251Hz )
PRACTICAL : C3 - C5 ( 130.813Hz - 523.251Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : Ab2 - Eb5 ( 103.826Hz - 622.254Hz )


BARITONE SAXAPHONE IN Eb :

*The baritone saxaphone is a transposing instrument.
It sounds an octave and a major 6th lower than written
( octave = 12 semitones, major 6th = 9 semitones, total = -21 semitones ).
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : Bb3 - Gb6

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : F2 - C4 ( 87.3071Hz - 261.626Hz )
PRACTICAL : Db2 - C4 ( 69.2957Hz - 261.626Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : C2 - Ab4 ( 65.4064Hz - 415.305Hz )


-- BRASS --

FRENCH HORN :

*This is a unique instrument.
( it can be played in different ways to pitch up and down through the harmonic series ).
When writing in the G clef ( treble clef ),
transpose up a perfect fifth ( +7 semitones ).
When writing in the F clef,
transpose up a perfect fourth ( +5 semitones ).

WRITTEN RANGE :

F CLEF ( BASS CLEF ) : F#2 - C3
G CLEF ( TREBLE CLEF ) : F#5 - C6?

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : F3 - C5 ( 174.614Hz - 523.251Hz )
PRACTICAL : F3 - C5  ( 174.614Hz - 523.251Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : B1 - F5 ( 61.7354Hz - 698.456Hz )


TRUMPET IN Bb :

*The trumpet is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a major 2nd lower than written ( -2 semitones ).
To transpose a concert passage for the trumpet,
write the part a major 2nd higher than its concert pitch ( +2 semitones ).
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : F#3 - E6

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : Bb3 - G6 ( 233.082Hz - 1567.98Hz )
PRACTICAL : Bb3 - Db6 ( 233.082Hz - 1108.73Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : E3 - G6 ( 164.814Hz - 1567.98Hz )


FLUGELHORN IN Bb

*The flugelhorn is a transposing instrument.
It sounds a major 2nd lower than written ( -2 semitones ).
To transpose a concert passage for the flugelhorn,
write the part a major 2nd higher than its concert pitch ( +2 semitones ).
The key signature has the same relationship.

WRITTEN RANGE : F#3 - A5 ( sometimes F#3 - F6 )

CONCERT RANGE :

PRACTICAL AND MOST EFFECTIVE : Bb3 - G5 ( 233.082Hz - 783.991Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : Bb3 - Eb6 ( 233.082Hz - 1244.51Hz )


TENOR TROMBONE  IN Bb :

*The tenor trombone is a non transposing instrument.
It sounds as it is written.
It is usually written using the F clef,
but for very high notes the G clef is sometimes used.

WRITTEN RANGE : E2 - Gb6

CONCERT RANGE :

PRACTICAL AND MOST EFFECTIVE : E2 - G4 ( 82.4069Hz - 391.995Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : G1 - A6 ( 48.9994Hz - 1760.00Hz )


BASS TROMBONE :

*The bass trombone is a non-transposing instrument.
It sounds as it is written.
It is usually written using the F clef ( bass clef ),
but for very high notes, the G clef ( treble clef ) is sometimes used.

WRITTEN AND CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : C2 - E4 ( 65.4064Hz - 329.628Hz )
PRACTICAL : Bb1 - F4 ( 58.2705Hz - 349.228Hz )


TUBA ( BBb ) :

*The tuba is a non-transposing instrument.
It sounds as it is written.

WRITTEN AND CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : F1 - F3 ( 43.6535Hz - 174.614Hz )
PRACTICAL : F1 - Bb3 ( 43.6535Hz - 233.082Hz )


-- MALLET INSTRUMENTS --


VIBRAPHONE ( VIBES ) :

*The vibraphone is a non-transposing instrument.
It sounds as it is written.

WRITTEN AND CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : F4 - F6 ( 349.228Hz - 1396.91Hz )
PRACTICAL : F3 - F6 ( 174.614Hz - 1396.91Hz )


MARIMBA :

*The marimba is a non-transposing instrument.
It sounds as it is written.

WRITTEN AND CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : E3 - F6 ( 164.814Hz - 1396.91Hz )
PRACTICAL : G3 - C7 ( 195.998Hz - 2093.00Hz )


XYLOPHONE :

WRITTEN RANGE : F3 - C6

CONCERT RANGE :

PRACTICAL AND MOST EFFECTIVE : F4 - C7 ( 349.228Hz - 2093.00Hz )


HARP :

*The harp is a non transposing instrument.
It sounds as it is written.

WRITTEN AND CONCERT RANGE : Cb1 - G6 ( 30.8677Hz - 1567.98Hz )


-- RHYTHM SECTION --


PIANO :

*The piano is a non-transposing instrument.
It sounds as written.

WRITTEN AND CONCERT RANGE : A1 - C7 ( 55.0000Hz - 2093.00Hz )


GUITAR :

*The guitar is a non-transposing instrument,
but it sounds an octave lower than it is written.
The lowest note on the lowest string is written as E3
( open strings are written as E3, A3, D4, G4, B4, E5 ).
The range of most guitars extends to C an octave and a major 6th
above the pitch of the first ( high ) string, written as C5.
( octave = 12 semitones, major 6th = 9 semitones, total = +21 semitones ).
That which is written as F4, is actually F3.

WRITTEN RANGE : E3 - C5

CONCERT RANGE : E2 - C6 ( 82.4069Hz - 1046.50Hz )
24FRET ELECTRIC GUITAR : E2 - E6 ( 82.4069Hz - 1318.51Hz )


ELECTRIC BASS :

*The electric bass is a non-transposing instrument but sounds an octave lower than written.
That which is written as F3 is actually F2.

CONCERT RANGE :

MOST EFFECTIVE : G1 - G3 ( 48.9994Hz - 195.998Hz )
PRACTICAL : E1 - G3 ( 41.2034Hz - 195.998Hz )
MOST POSSIBLE NOTES : E1 - G4 ( 41.2034Hz - 391.995Hz )


- STRING FAMILY --

*Passages written higher than an octave and a major 6th
above the first ( high string ) string are normally avoided.

VIOLIN :

VIOLIN OPEN STRINGS : G3, D4, A4, E5

octave ( 12 semitones ) + major 6th ( 9 semitones ) = 21 semitones

CONCERT RANGE : G3 - C#6 ( 195.998Hz - 1108.73Hz )


VIOLA :

*Passages written higher than an octave and a major 6th
above the first ( high string ) string are normally avoided.

octave ( 12 semitones ) + major 6th ( 9 semitones ) = 21 semitones

VIOLA OPEN STRINGS : C3, G3, D4, A4

CONCERT RANGE : C3 - F#5 ( 130.813Hz - 739.989Hz )


CELLO ( VIOLONCELLO ) :

*Passages written higher than an octave and a major 6th
above the first ( high string ) string are normally avoided.

octave ( 12 semitones ) + major 6th ( 9 semitones ) = 21 semitones

CELLO OPEN STRINGS : C2, G2, D3, A3

CONCERT RANGE : C3 - F5 ( 130.813Hz - 698.456Hz )


DOUBLE BASS ( CONTRABASS ) :

*Passages written higher than an octave and a major 6th
above the first ( high string ) string are normally avoided.

octave ( 12 semitones ) + major 6th ( 9 semitones ) = 21 semitones

DOUBLE BASS ( CONTRABASS ) : E2, A2, D3, G3

CONCERT RANGE : E2 - E4 ( 82.4069Hz - 329.628Hz )

 

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Edited by lettuce, 16 February 2018 - 20:29.

  • Circe likes this

#2 Circe

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 13:52

Could you post the images in a high resolution ?
VERY USEFULL.
Thanks.

Edited by Circe, 16 February 2018 - 13:53.


#3 lettuce

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Posted 16 February 2018 - 20:17

Thanks for checking out the note ranges. Hopefully it will be useful for EQ'ing and arranging. Building electronic instruments that mimick or emulate real instruments. I thought the images might be useful as a starting point for getting all the panning setup properly but sorry I dont have them in high resolution. They are just links from some random website about 'orchestra types'.







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