In music, instrumentation refers to the particular combination of musical instruments employed in a composition, and to the properties of those instruments individually. Instrumentation is sometimes used as a synonym for orchestration, which more properly refers to an orchestrator's, composer's or arranger's craft of employing instruments in varying combinations.
Writing for any instrument requires a composer or arranger to know the instrument's properties, such as:
- the instrument's particular timbre, or range of timbres;
- the range of pitches available on the instrument, as well as its dynamic range;
- the constraints of playing technique, such as length of breath, possible fingerings, or the average player's stamina;
- the relative difficulty of particular music on that instrument (for example, repeated notes are much easier to play on the violin than on the piano; while trills are relatively easy on the flute, but extremely difficult on the trombone);
- the availability of special effects or extended techniques, such as col legno playing, fluttertongue, or glissando;
- the notation conventions for the instrument.
- String section
- Hornbostel-Sachs instrument classification system
- Randel, Don (1986). The New Harvard Dictionary of Music, pp. 397, 575-577. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-61525-5 (hc)
|Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Instrumentation.|
- Treatise on Instrumentation by Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss
- Instrumentation by J. Addler