Instrumentation Tips Instrument Items   William Wieland
1. Ask an instrumentalist to perform your music and offer you advice.
2. Stay on the staff, i.e. avoid ledger lines. Most musicians are the most agile and produce the best tone on the staff. Flute and tuba are exceptions.
3. All woodwinds are written in the treble clef except the bassoons.
4. Repetition makes music easier to perform.
  If you write challenging rhythms, repeat the pitches.
  If you write challenging pitches, repeat the rhythms.
Instrumentation BasicsInstrumental Ranges - Transposed Pitch 
Strings
arco
pizzicato
mute, con sordino
  or senza sordino
double stops
harmonics
Violin
Violin Notes
Viola
Alto ClefSpacerNotesBarline
Cello
(viola notes P8 down)
Bass ClefSpacerNotesBarline
Bass
violin notes upside down
sounds P8 down
Bass ClefSpacerNotesBarline
Flute
Can play very high (3+ ledger lines)
Requires much air (rests/dovetailing)
Very agile (rapid passages/large leaps)
Essentially 2 registers (low is soft)
Piccolo Sounds a P8 up
Oboe
Can play high (2 ledger lines)
Requires little air (needs rests to breathe)
Loud low
Excellent staccato
English Horn (in F)
Clarinet (in B flat and A)
Can play high and low (3 ledger lines)
3 registers
  · clarino or clarion
  · throat tones
  · chalumeau
Amazing dynamic range (ppp to fff)
Bass Clarinet (in B flat)
(Sounds a M2 + P8 down like the tenor sax)
Bassoon
Can play high and low (2 ledger lines)
Bass clef (only woodwind)
Loud low
Contrabassoon
(Sounds a P8 down like the string bass)
Saxophone
Can play quite high (3 ledger lines)
Loud low
Amazing dynamic range
Soprano in B flat
Alto in E flat
Tenor in B flat (sounds M2 + P8 down)
Baritone in E flat (sounds M6 + P8 down)
Horn (in F)
Treble clef
Less agile than a trumpet
Soft low
Trumpet (in B flat or C)
Treble clef
Most agile brass instrument
Mutes
  · Straight
  · Cup
  · Harmon (with or without the stem)
Trombone
Bass clef
Can play high (2+ ledger lines)
Pedal tones
Not agile low
Tuba
Bass clef
Can play very, very low (4+ ledger lines)
Requires much air
Agile!