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Unit information: Advanced Orchestration in 2020/21

Unit name Advanced Orchestration
Unit code MUSIM0043
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Pickard
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Music
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit provides a thorough grounding in the techniques of orchestral writing. Individual instrumental capabilities will be studied, but the emphasis will be on techniques for blending instruments and developing these into more complex orchestral textures. Examples used will be drawn mainly from nineteenth and twentieth century orchestral literature.


  • Provide students with clear understanding of professional orchestral score layout
  • Develop students' ability to blend and balance fairly complex instrumental colours in an orchestral context.

Intended learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this unit will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an advanced working knowledge of the capabilities and blending of orchestral instruments (e.g.1.1 range, 1.2 dynamic profile, 1.3 technical limitations)
  2. arrange passages in appropriate style, using given exemplars
  3. layout complex pages of score in a fully professional manner

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including seminars, tutorials, and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

Portfolio assignment 1 25%

Portfolio assignment 2 25%

Project 50%

Reading and References

  • Adler, Samuel: The Study of Orchestration (W. W. Norton & Co.; 3rd Revised edition 2002)
  • Berlioz, Hector/Strauss, Richard: Treatise on Instrumentation (Dover, 1991)
  • Blatter, Alfred: Instrumentation and Orchestration (Wadsworth Publishing Co Inc; 2 edition 1997).