Book Reviews!!

Hey Everybody,


I'm looking to extend my library  in the area of orchestration and instrumentation. Specifically I'm looking at the following books:


Compendium of Modern Instrumental Techniques


Thesaurus of Orchestral Devices


Orchestral Combinations: The Science and Art of Instrumental Tone-Color


All of which are by Gardner Read. I was also wondering if anybody has used the "Professional Orchestration" series by Peter Lawrence.


In any case, I just bought "How to Write for Percussion" by Samuel Solomon, and "Music Notation in the 20th Century" by Kurt Stone. Both books are a must have. The Solomon is a little lacking in notational examples, in other words, he sometimes gives examples of sounds an instrument can make, without showing how to write it down (e.g. mouth vibrato for vibes). The Stone is just a fantastic dictionary of new-notation, and suggestions for concise ways of writing extended techniques.



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  • My favorite orchestration books are "Creative Orchestration" by George Frederick McKay, "Arranging Music for the Real World" by Vince Corozine, "Complete Handbook For The Music Arranger" by Mickey Baker and the two orchestration books that are part of the Equal Interval System course.

    All of the above books are extremely practical and they come more from a single person's perspective (a working professional) rather than from a theoretical/historical overview of all the classical composers. 

  • Hey this is awesome, thanks for posting up all the great books, I've been searching for some for a while. So far all I had found was the study of orchestration by Samuel Adler, and it's cool but I'm trying to find more stuff about combining instrument sounds and stuff. Anyways thanks again!

  • Wow..  Great!  I'm glad to know of these books too.  I too had the Samuel Adler book, which has been the best I've had so far, but want to know more specifics.  Thanks!

  • If you'd like, then I can send you the collection I've got: it's 3,000+ pages of wholesome, somewhat dated but useful, instrumentation and orchestration wisdom.

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