Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to Convert Piano Notes to Sax Notes

8:00:00 AM
If you provide the same piece of sheet music to a pianist and a saxophone player without changing the notes to fit each instrument, the music will not sound correct. Musicians refer to this difference between instruments as transpositions. Each instrument will have a transposition that determines what note sounds when it is played. A common transposition is from music for a piano to music for a saxophone.

 Transposing Instruments 

The reason for transpositions has to do with instrument fingering. By having transposing instruments, it is possible to use the same fingerings on each saxophone to play a single written note. However, a written E will sound different on a soprano or alto saxophone. With this system, an alto saxophone player could easily pick up a tenor sax using the same fingerings and play music that is appropriate for the instrument. This makes it possible to avoid having to learn a completely new set of fingerings for each horn.


The piano plays in concert pitch. That means, that when you see a C written on the piano sheet music, the note that is written and sounds also will be a C. When converting between piano and sax notes, it is then necessary to change the pitch so that when a saxophone plays the written pitch, it sounds the same as the sounding piano pitch. On the piano, the sounding pitch, and written pitch are the same.

B-flat Saxophones 

There are several types of B-flat saxophones. The soprano, tenor, and bass saxophone are all pitched in the key of B-flat. On a soprano sax, when you play a written B-flat, it sounds as A-flat, which is a major second lower. Piano music notes must be transposed up a major second, or two half steps. Additionally, the tenor sounds an octave lower and the bass sounds an additional two octaves lower. This means you will have to write the tenor an octave and a major second higher, and the bass two octaves and a second higher. All of these instruments are written in treble clef.

E-flat Saxophones 

The E-flat saxophones include the sopranino, alto and baritone saxophone. Since E-flat is a minor third higher than C, these instruments sound off by a minor third. The sopranino saxophone must be written a minor third lower than the piano notes. The alto saxophone must be written a major sixth higher than written. While the baritone saxophone must be written an octave and a major sixth higher to match pitch with a piano. All of these instruments are written in treble clef.

Concert Pitch 

You must understand that the written pitch is what is written on the score, and the sounding pitch is the actual note that we hear. These are not always the same thing. Some instruments have different sounding pitches. Instruments such as the violin, viola, harp and flute are concert pitch, nontransposing instruments. Instruments such as the B-flat clarinet, the trumpet, and the French horn are nonconcert pitch, transposing instruments.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Unusual Brass Instruments

8:00:00 AM
The world has seen several incarnations of the more popular brass instruments that we see in 2011. Many of these instruments have fallen out of favor, for more reliable and efficient designs. However, some of them still exist and are used regularly in bands and orchestras. While you may not have seen these instruments in your local community band, many professional musicians own and play them regularly.

Valve Trombone

The valve trombone looks like a slide trombone with a few curious modifications. Instead of using a slide, the valve trombone has three valves that can be used to play chromatic pitches. This construction makes it possible to play quickly and more cleanly than on a regular slide trombone. However, without a slide, some of the glissandos and special slide techniques characteristic of the trombone are lost.


The sackbut resembles a modern-day trombone, but with a smaller tubing size and bell. The slide works much like a modern trombone, but it does not have an extra slide on the end of the trombone that can be tuned like a trombone. This instrument required the use of several crooks and additional tubing to adjust the pitch to match the ensemble. The instrument may be found in true interpretations of Renaissance- and Baroque-period music.

Piccolo Trumpet

The piccolo trumpet looks like a small trumpet that has been compacted upon itself. There isn't much room to place the hand and the index finger of the right hand has to rest along the side of the tubing. This instrument has an odd look to it and its small size allows it to play an octave higher than the regular trumpet. Playing the piccolo trumpet can be difficult since the compact design actually pushes air back to the performer. A strong embouchure must be developed to play the piccolo trumpet. The embouchure consists of the muscles in the mouth and how they are focused on producing sound. You form an embouchure each time you try and suck through a straw.

Double-Bell Euphonium

The euphonium and the baritone are two terms used to describe two different-sounding instruments. The baritone has a brassy sound akin to a trombone while the euphonium has a mellow, sweet sound similar to the fluegelhorn or French horn. The horn has two bells, one bell-shaped like a euphonium bell and the other like a baritone. This makes it possible to quickly switch between baritone and euphonium sounds. The switch can be made be depressing a fourth or fifth valve. The number of valves depends on the instrument manufacturer. Some instruments have an extra valve to improve the low register sound.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Violin Parts & Terms

8:00:00 AM
The violin has several parts that every composer or violinist should know.

The violin has several components, and each one has terms associated with them. Knowing the names of these parts is useful for composers that want to learn how to write for the violin. The ability to identify each part of the violin also makes it easier to learn about how the instrument is played.

The F-Hole

The F-Hole looks very similar to an F.

Each violin has two F-Hole openings on the main body of the instrument. The F-Holes allow greater resonance in the instrument; they also control the level of frequency the violin emits.


Only aged and "seasoned" wood is used to make violins. The most commonly used types of wood are spruce and maple for their sturdiness and resonance. Violin makers intentionally choose a light type of wood and avoid using wood from newly cut trees. Like a fine wine, the wood of a violin gets better with age.


The scroll serves only a decorative purpose.

The scroll serves no practical purpose other than to balance the weight of the instrument. Without it, the violin would be bottom heavy. The addition of a scroll at the end of the neck provides some extra stability. The design of the scroll is completely up to the violin maker, but there is little variation in design from violin to violin.


The neck of the violin allows the violinist to support the instrument.

The neck is between the scroll and the fingerboard of the instrument. The left hand is placed at the neck of the violin with the fingers curved around the strings. The neck helps support the instrument and allows the violinist to activate individual strings with her fingers.


The four pegs of the violin each corresponds to an individual string.

The four pegs correspond to the four strings. Each peg allows the violinist to tune an individual string. The individual violin strings wind around the peg to create tension for the desired pitch. The pitch increases as the strings are wound tighter.


The fingerboard is where the fingers are placed to play individual pitches.

The fingerboard is, as expected, the place where the violinist puts his fingers. Each finger will play a separate string to allow for quick movement up and down the fingerboard as needed. The fingerboard curves slightly so each string can be played individually.


There are four strings spaced a fifth apart on the violin ranging from G below middle C to E on the top space of the treble clef staff. Each string overlaps with the range of the adjacent string. This means there are multiple ways to play a single passage. Occasionally, composers will indicate to the violinist that they want a passage played entirely on one string. However, the violinist usually makes this decision.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Vocal EQ Tips: Music Recording Tips

8:00:00 AM
Setting the equalizer correctly will improve the audio sound.

When a recording is made, some of the natural reverberation will be removed in the mastering process. To restore vocal music settings, your equalizer must be set to the appropriate levels. Poor equalizer settings can make an otherwise excellent recording sound dull and lifeless. Making a few basic adjustments to vocal music ensures the clarity and resonance of the music comes through. When audio engineers speak of EQ they are referring to equalizer settings.

High-pass Filters

A high-pass filter removes frequencies below a specified range of frequencies. When editing vocal audio files, remove anything below 60 hertz. This eliminates the range in which you generally find hissing and humming. Most hums are generally found at 50 hertz, but it doesn't hurt to use the filter to attenuate anything below 60 hertz. This simple setting helps improve the equalization of your audio and reduces the noise that so commonly occurs in this range. On a mixer, this is achieved by pressing the high-pass filter button. This button allows you to you reduce all frequencies below the indicated range. Most commonly, the filter will cut anything below 80 hertz.

Narrow Bandwidth

Look for the equalizer setting that has a setting somewhere in the vicinity of 2.5 to 4 kilohertz. You will have to experiment to find the best setting on your system, but this is the next point in the process that you will want to adjust. Start with the slider for the 2.5 to 4 kilohertz frequency range and then slowly lower it until the vocals obtain a smooth, balanced tone. There is no standard level to which you can set this frequency; you will have to listen carefully and adjust it downward until you find the right setting.

Bandpass Filter

The bandpass filter is used to reduce harshness and increase brightness. Harshness occurs when the music sounds grainy or unclear. Bright music has a clarity of sound and comes through clear and strong. Use the bandpass filter that has a frequency higher than 6 kilohertz. Start at the lowest setting and gradually increase it until the vocals have an increased brightness. Don't adjust it so high that the music starts to become too harsh. If you have a computer application to adjust the equalizer, make sure to save your changes. Each song may need slightly different settings to get the best results.


The bass helps add foundation and support to the rest of the music. Add some bass in the 200 to 400 hertz range by adjusting the slider upward to increase the lower bass frequencies. This setting helps to create more prominent bass sounds and provides the resonance necessary to interact with the vocals in an appropriate manner. This modification only takes a few seconds to adjust, but it can make the difference between a full and rich sound, and a thin and narrow vocal experience.


"Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio"; Mike Senior; 2011

Monday, June 20, 2016

Clarinet Embouchure Correct Technique

8:00:00 AM
Correct clarinet embouchure enables a player to enhance her tone and improve her flexibility on the instrument. Avoid bad habits and incorrect embouchure placement from the beginning of your studies to ensure that you learn to play effectively and correctly from the beginning. Correcting an improperly trained embouchure can be very difficult, so it is important to learn proper clarinet embouchure as soon as possible.


The clarinet should be pointing toward the ground at a 35- to 45-degree angle. The exact angle will change slightly among players. Players with an extended lower jaw will need a greater angle while those with an inward sloping jaw will need less of an angle. The reed of the mouthpiece should be facing the floor, and the actual mouthpiece should extend into the mouth about 1/4 of an inch.


The mouth needs to form a tight seal with the tip of the mouthpiece. To do this, you must tense the muscles in your cheeks. Imagine you are sucking through a straw to form a proper embouchure. Elevate the tongue inside the mouth slightly to create a ramp for the airstream to travel. Place the tip of the tongue close enough to the reed to use the tip for articulations.

Lips and Teeth

The upper teeth will make contact with the top of the mouthpiece. The upper lip then forms a seal between the teeth and mouthpiece. This helps ensure that air does not leak through the sides of the lips. To prevent breaking the reed, the bottom lip curls over the bottom teeth and forms a tight bond with the reed and mouthpiece tip. Flatten the muscles at the front of the chin and point your chin slightly downwards.


Pronounce the vowel sound "ah" to open your throat. When the throat constricts the airflow will be hampered. To prevent this, you must keep your neck relaxed and sit up straight. Poor posture will create tension in your neck and shoulders, preventing you from forming a proper embouchure and appropriate tone production. Try finding the position that gives you the freest sound while pronouncing "ah." Do this by slowly rotating your neck up and down until you find the position that works best.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Description and Parts of the Western Concert Flute

5:36:00 PM
The Western concert flute was developed over the centuries from a simple end-blown flute to the current transverse flute. Transverse flutes are flutes that are held parallel to the floor. To play a transverse, the flutist directs the airstream across the mouth or blow hole and not directly into the instrument. The flute constitutes one of the most important instruments of the orchestra because of its high range, ability to blend in with other instruments and play the melody.

Head Joint

The head joint of the Western concert flute contains the mouthpiece, lip-plate and the blow hole. There are no keys on the joint of the flute. The mouthpiece consists of the lip-plate and an oval hole in the center of the plate. Lip-plates are also commonly referred to as embouchure plates. Larger blow holes will produce deeper, richer tones, while small blow holes produce sharper, more brilliant tones. The flutist must weigh her options carefully and pick a flute that feels comfortable for her.

Body Joint

The body joint fits between the head joint and the foot joint of the Western concert flute. This part constitutes the largest section of the flute and includes the tuning slide, tenons and the majority of the keys. When all of the keys are open, the flute plays the highest pitches available on the instrument. Depressing keys from top to bottom lowers the pitch as the instrument extends, forcing the air to travel farther. The tuning slide and tenons adjust to make minor intonation changes in the flute. Intonation deals with the actual pitch and whether or not the instrument plays in tune.

Foot Joint

The foot joint connects to the end of the body joint and constitutes the smallest part of the flute. The rod on the foot joint must properly line up with the rest of the keys on the flute. Student model flutes have a foot joint that plays down to middle C, which is the C directly below the treble clef staff. Professional model flutes have a B joint which makes it possible to extend the range of the flute by a major second down to B, just below middle C. There are only a few keys on this part of the flute.

Additional Characteristics

The Western concert flute has a range that extends three full octaves and a fourth up to the F two octaves above the treble clef staff. The flute has several capabilities for advanced techniques, including flutter-tongue, in which the tone rapidly flutters to create a vibrating sound. Flutists can also clack the keys and blow to create a crackling sound. Some flute players have mastered the art of multi-phonics, in which two notes play at the same time. One note sounds by the flutist humming while the other note sounds through actually playing the flute.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Difference Between a Baroque Cello & a Modern Cello

8:00:00 AM
Knowing the difference between a Baroque and modern cello makes it possible to easily identify instruments by sight. The Baroque cello was played in large halls made of stone and with little material to absorb the sound. This made it possible for the cello to be smaller, as the room itself acted to amplify the sound. In contrast, the modern cello is often played in large concert halls with significant amounts of carpeting, requiring the instrument to be larger and louder. [


Modern cellos use nylon strings wrapped in steel. This invention was not possible in the Baroque period. Instead of steel strings, the cellists of the Baroque period used animal gut to string their instruments. Gut strings broke easily and were not powerful enough for large concert halls. Gut strings required a careful playing technique to avoid strings breaking. Steel strings provided a much better option for performers who needed to produce more volume from the instrument.

End Pegs

The peg that sticks out of the end of the modern cello did not exist on a Baroque cello. Performers in the Baroque period would use a stool to support the cello. The end peg that exists with modern cellos was an inevitability given the inconvenience of the need to place the Baroque cello on a stand or stool. The end peg sticks out from the bottom of the cello, making it possible to elevate the cello to the height of the player without the aid of other items.


The bridge consists of a small piece of wood that upholds the strings and allows vibrations from the strings to travel to the main chamber of the cello. A thicker bridge will mute the vibrations, while a thinner bridge will transfer sound more easily. The Baroque cello had a large bridge, making it difficult to produce large amounts of volume. In contrast, the modern cello produces more sound due to the ability to transfer vibrations more easily between the strings and the cello's chamber.

Bass Bars

The bass bar consists of a small piece of wood that stretches the length of the cello on the inside from the top to the bottom. Bass bars provide additional surface area for vibration and helps to transfer vibrations from the strings and bridge to the rest of the cello. The Baroque cello projected less sound, but spread the sound over a greater area allowing for a smaller bass bar. In the modern period, cellos play in a variety of locations that might not have ideal acoustics. For this reason, the bass bar has increased in size to create stronger vibrations and additional sound.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Differences Between the City Opera & the Metropolitan Opera

8:00:00 AM
Opera houses come in many shapes and sizes and are located around the world. Newcomers to opera may be confused by the difference between several types of opera houses. However, learning the difference between a city and metropolitan opera house is actually quite easy.


Opera is a dramatic event that brings together several art forms.

Opera is a dramatic event that involves singers, composers, choirs, orchestras and librettists. These elements come together in one of the highest musical and dramatic accomplishments in Western art and music. Operas are usually showcased in specially built opera houses, although many universities will offer performances to the public at local campus performing arts centers.

City Opera

City operas are local opera houses specific to a city.

City operas are home to local opera companies run by smaller organizations. These opera houses may gain national attention, but a particular city can claim ownership. The San Francisco Opera, located in California, is one example of a city opera.

Metropolitan Opera

The Met is the oldest opera house in the United States.

The Metropolitan Opera, commonly referred to as "The Met,” is located at Lincoln Center in New York City, N.Y. There is only one Metropolitan Opera. Founded in 1887, the Metropolitan Opera is the oldest Opera house in the United States.


Local opera houses share many similarities with the Metropolitan Opera.

The difference between these two types of opera houses is primarily the level of prestige and location. City opera houses can crop up in any city that has the local support and interest in an opera house. There are many cities with opera houses, including San Francisco and Phoenix, Az. The Metropolitan Opera is the only one of it is kind and exists only in New York.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Differences Between Types of Wood Used in Drums

8:00:00 AM
The type of wood used in a drum will change the instrument's sound. Softer woods create smoother tones than harder woods. Depending on the type of sound desired, the manufacturer will pick a particular wood. Many of the softer, more pliable woods, such as spruce, require special care to avoid breakage during use. Wood acts as a conduit to transfer vibrations from the drum head to the acoustic chamber inside the drum.


When choosing wood for a drum, the maker must first determine which type of wood will work best for his purposes. Some of the factors that go into this choice include: the availability of the wood, its appearance and its ability to be molded and shaped. Wood that breaks easily is not a good choice because drums have to be curved and molded to fit a round shape. Woods that have low levels of moisture will crack easily, and woods that are too pliable will bend under the pressure of drumming. Picking the right wood is as much an art as it is a science.


The texture of a particular type of wood will make a huge difference in the type of sound produced. Soft woods provide a softer, thudding sound that doesn't project well and has limited resonance. Harder woods will create a more well-defined sound that can project farther than with a soft wood. The purpose of the drum must be taken into account when deciding what type of wood to use. For instance, harder woods are necessary for bass drums, which need to resonate; softer woods are ideal for small ensemble drums that don't need to project as far.


The three most common types of wood used are mahogany, maple and birch. Mahogany is the softest and works well for drums that have a low bass pitch, such as the bass drum. Maple is a little harder. It works well when a medium-textured wood is required. Congas and bongos are often made out of maple. Birch is the hardest wood commonly used and provides a penetrating sound that is perfect for snare drums and drummers that need to cut through entire concert halls. Additional woods such as rosewood, spruce, pine and oak are also used, and each has its own specific tone.


Large drums, such as the bass drum, war drum and bass tom, naturally produce lower pitches while smaller drums will create higher pitches. The type of wood used will emphasize the natural characteristics of the drum. Using a thicker wood will mean less vibration, creating a shallower and quicker attack. Using a thinner wood will let the drum resonate longer, but it will not be as loud as the thicker woods. Smaller drums include the snare drum, high toms and bongos. The conga, djembe and tenor toms are medium drums. Small drums include hand drums. The manufacturer determines the wood's thickness.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Differences Between Mandolins and Banjos

8:00:00 AM
There are several differences between a mandolin and a banjo that differentiate them within the family of string instruments. Both instruments are chordophones, which means that they have strings and can be plucked, bowed or struck with a hand or plectrum. The banjo is used in country and folk music while the mandolin is a remnant from the Renaissance period and used for secular songs.


The mandolin has four sets of strings for a total of eight while the banjo can have four or five strings. The double strings on the mandolin help to give it some of its unique timbres. Musicians will use a pick or plectrum to pluck the strings of the mandolin; it is rarely strummed with the fingers. The banjo, on the other hand, uses extensive strumming techniques and can be played with the fingers or by using a plectrum.


The body of both instruments is significantly different. Both instruments have a hollowed center that acts as an acoustic chamber. The shape of this chamber helps to differentiate the mandolin from the banjo. On a banjo, the body is a cylindrical drum with a flat bottom and top; the top can be covered with animal skin or a hard cover similar to a drum. The mandolin, on the other hand, has a circular back that curves inward toward a flat top and is always made out of some form of hardwood, such as maple or spruce.


A mandolin is generally tuned lower than a banjo and the strings are spaced in musical intervals of a fifth. Mandolins can also play higher pitches than banjos. The banjo can vary greatly from model to model. Five-string banjos are generally tuned in fourths. Other types of banjos consist of only four strings. The tenor and Irish banjo are tuned in fourths and the plectrum banjo is tuned with a fourth on the bottom and thirds between the top strings.


Mandolins and banjos both have frets on the neck of the instrument. A fret allows the player to determine the exact location to finger individual notes. By placing the finger between the two metal frets, the length of the vibrating portion of the string changes, which makes it possible to play different pitches. The banjo has a longer and skinnier neck than the mandolin. The thicker neck of the mandolin is due to the fact that there are more strings on the instrument.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Difference Between Loudness & Pitch

8:00:00 AM
Loudness and pitch are two elements that refer to different aspects of a musical composition. Each element is crucial to the performance and interpretation of music. Composers will use these two elements in different ways to invoke certain emotions and provide the listener with an enjoyable musical experience. The properties of loudness and pitch sometimes overlap, but usually they serve different purposes in the composition.


Musical pitch can exist in several registers on the musical staff. High pitches are more penetrating, but not necessarily louder than lower pitches. The highness or lowness of pitch is what creates melodies. With loudness, there isn’t a registral space to be concerned about. There is no differentiation between high or low loudness, only the intensity of the loudness. This is one major difference between pitch and loudness: pitch can be high or low in the register, while loudness merely affects the volume of the pitch.


Higher pitches and louder pitches are both penetrating elements in music. With pitch, the higher notes are more penetrating than the lower notes, but this does not make them louder. It simply makes them more visible since higher pitches are more likely to be near the surface of the music. This is why it is easier to hear the melody than the harmony in a piece of music. Loudness can make a pitch that normally wouldn’t be heard, audible to the listener. Unlike pitch, loudness doesn’t need to be high to be heard, it just needs to be loud.


Melody utilizes both loudness and pitch in different ways. Melodies can exist at a very high pitch or a very low pitch and they will still sound like the originally melody. The register change will affect a melody by changing the timbre. Most instruments sound different in the higher and lower range. Loudness on the other hand, doesn’t change the timbre, it just makes the music more audible. Loudness can be used to make a melody come out over the ensemble, whereas pitch can change the character of the melody.


The final difference between pitch and loudness is how these elements function in music to create effects. High-pitched screams create moments of dread and fear, especially in film music. Loud thumps and booming basses help to create the sensation of movement and suspenseful climaxes. Horror movies will often turn the volume of the music up substantially during high-intensity scenes. Loud music works to put the audience into a state of heightened awareness, while pitch may simple scare them in a moment of onscreen panic.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Fun Ways to Teach Children Music Notes

8:00:00 AM
Teaching children the names of the notes on the treble and bass clef staff can be difficult since they have to learn to recognize spatial relationships on the staff. It can be hard for a child to find the second or third space of a staff. With practice, these skills can be learned and the child will improve his ability to identify notes. Turning exercises into a game will greatly improve the child's ability to learn.


One of the most effective ways to teach children music notes is to provide them with an instrument. Playing an instrument requires that students have to learn to recognize where notes are on the staff. At first, they will likely write fingerings underneath the staff, but with time they will begin to learn what the notes look like and be able to identify them without resorting to fingering charts. A great instrument for a classroom setting is the recorder. It is not just an instrument for elementary school, recorders are useful for teaching music at any level.

Note Drill

Provide each student with a sheet of music that has a treble and bass clef staff. Write in 75 notes on the paper with lines underneath the notes for the student to fill in the note name. Make copies and hand the sheet out to each student in the classroom. When handing out the sheets, keep the papers face-down so that the student can't see the notes. Set a timer for one minute and say "Go." The students will then turn the papers over and fill in as many notes as possible. The student that gets the most answers correct wins.


Break the classroom up into two teams. Have each team select one member to participate. Create two staves and write 10 notes on each staff. The notes should be identical on each staff. Face the children away from the board while you write in the notes. When ready, ask the children to turn around and write in the note names. The first child that finishes will win, provided all of the notes are correct. For this reason, the second child should continue to fill in the rest of the notes since they may win if they get more correct. This way, accuracy will be more important than speed.


When you spell out the names of the lines and spaces on the bass and treble clef you are left with 5 lines and 4 spaces that can act as an acronym for a phrase. For instance, the spaces on the treble clef spell the word "face." However, you could also create a phrase based on those letters such as, "finding apples creates entertainment." Ask the students to write a letter from the staff on each line of a sheet of paper, and then tell them to create words to go with each letter. This will help them build familiarity with the note names.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Elements and Objectives of Music

8:00:00 AM
The elements and objectives of music break down into six main subject areas. Each of these subject areas has a different role for both the performer and the composer. Through a careful study of each of these main elements and their objectives, musicians develop the ability to understand music on a deeper level than the average person. Any musician who is serious about his craft should undertake a rigorous study of these elements and objectives.

Ear Training

Ear training develops the ear so musicians can quickly identify intervals, chords, scales and progressions by ear. This is the place where most musicians will start their training. By studying on a daily basis, performers will gradually attain the objective of learning to identify the building blocks by ear. This is the aural part of music.

Music Theory

Music theory develops the mind so that musicians can identify key signatures, intervals, chords, scales and progressions by sight. In combination with ear training, this is a very powerful element of music for a musician. The objective of studying theory should be to increase a musician's knowledge and ability to interpret the written score. Students of theory will learn about several styles of music and how they differ theoretically. This is so the students can quickly analyze and understand new music.


Instrumentation concerns itself with the instruments of the orchestra and their mechanics. Students will learn about the practical limits, ranges, special techniques and timbres of the different instruments. This is an essential element of music study for composers and musicians who need to write and play ensemble music. The objectives of studying instrumentation are to learn about the instruments and to better understand how the choice of instruments affects the music.


Orchestration is the culmination of instrumentation, which should be learned before moving on to orchestration. While instrumentation will teach musicians how to write for particular instruments, orchestration will teach musicians how to arrange the instruments to get the best sound. The objective of the study of orchestration is to learn how to combine instruments in ways that produce acceptable and creative sounds. Composers and musicians must study orchestration if they are to understand the inner workings of the orchestra and how its individual parts relate to the group.


Counterpoint is an element of music taught after basic and advanced music theory courses are completed. According to the Craft of Music Composition website, counterpoint literally means "point against point." This means more than one musical line plays counter to each other in order to create harmony. The study of counterpoint’s objective is to teach composers and musicians how musical lines interact in an orchestra. By paying attention to each independent line, the musician will be better informed and able to perform her part in correct proportion to the rest of the orchestra.


Form is the last subject that a musician typically studies. Form teaches the composer and musician how pieces function on a large scale. Composers will separate differing musical ideas into sections to make it easier for listeners to keep up with the piece, and to provide a logical progression for the composition. A sonata provides a typical example of one kind of form. The composer will write an introduction, followed by a middle development section, and will close with a reintroduction of the original ideas. This structure helps to give form to a composition. The objective of musicians and composers learning form is to better understand how the music functions.