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A helpful cheat sheet i made regarding orchestration/composing

Im not sure how useful this is to anyone, but for a beginner trying to learn like myself reference sheets save me lots of time. So for all you who cant remember staff order, inst placement or how to write a 16th note rest, Im sharing the cheat sheet i just made.

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This belongs in a different forum section.

But anyway, here's a similar chart that I found very helpful when it comes to orchestration: http://forum.makemusic.com/attach.aspx/27785/Instrument%20Reference...

It gives you the right instrument orders, ranges, dynamic curves, as well as some characteristics of each instrument and gotcha's to watch out for.

Just noticed in the diagram on your cheat sheet that you have the violas on the far right and cellos between the violas and the winds. Seems a bit of an unusual arrangement; I'm more used to seeing the violas and cellos swapped, e.g., cellos on far right, violas center right, and basses behind them.

Older arrangements of course have 1st and 2nd violins split across the stage (1sts on far left, 2nds on far right), with cellos/violas behind them, but this seems to be a rare arrangement these days.

Also, along the left column of your cheat sheet, you seem to have placed timpani below piano and choir. I'm not 100% certain, but shouldn't timpani be immediately below the tuba instead?


Steve's arrangement is standard for the Berlin PO although I have also seen the basses behind the seconds (conductors whim?).

Our orchestra has seconds opposite firsts.

About the only constant is firsts on the left.


H. S. Teoh said:

Just noticed in the diagram on your cheat sheet that you have the violas on the far right and cellos between the violas and the winds. Seems a bit of an unusual arrangement; I'm more used to seeing the violas and cellos swapped, e.g., cellos on far right, violas center right, and basses behind them.

Older arrangements of course have 1st and 2nd violins split across the stage (1sts on far left, 2nds on far right), with cellos/violas behind them, but this seems to be a rare arrangement these days.

I think seconds opposite firsts make the most sense, especially in pieces like the finale of Tchaikovsky's 6th, where the score doesn't make any sense otherwise. (The melody notes alternate between 1sts and 2nds, a very strange way of writing unless 1sts are opposite 2nds, in which case the effect is an echoing between the two sides of the hall -- which I think is what was intended). Sadly, most modern orchestras put both violins on the left, and the effect is lost.

Though maybe not perfect, for me it's awesome! Thanks! Let me know if you update it at any point. 

It's a good "cheat sheet."

Here's another one, that has additional information:

http://www.orchestralibrary.com/reftables/rang.html

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