Encyclopedia > Instrumentation

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Instrumentation is the study and practice of writing music for a musical instrument.

Writing for a specific instrument requires the ability to take into account the special properties of that instrument such as the following:

  • the pitch, timbre and dynamic range of the instrument and available tones in these ranges
  • application of chords or other multiple tones
  • certain kinds of passages can be especially easy or difficult to play
  • playing techniques such as constraints of breathing, fingering, etc.
  • special effects, such as harmonics, clicks, pizzicato, glissandi and so on
  • notation conventions for the instrument.

See orchestration for a description of the difference between instrumentation, orchestration and arrangement.

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