Manuals on Orchestration

James McFadyen

New Member
What, if any Orchestration books have you read and which do you swear by?

I have read the Gordon Jacob one, not very in-depth, but it's great if your just learning.

The one I swear by is Cecil Forsyth's 'Orchestration' although it's becomeing somewhat dated now, it is still my pride and joy and serves as my own Orchestral Reference Dictionary! :lol:


Active Member
My favourite is Instrumentation/Orchestration by Alfred Blatter. (pub. Longman 1980).

It is modern, has pictures of all the instruments, it links technique to practice and doesn't assume that we're all writing for the LSO.

Alongside that on my bookshelf is Percussion by James Holland (McDonald and Janes 1978) which is full of common sense advise about the practicalities of perussion playing and writing.

What about ADLER - Study in orchestration. (havnt read it yet but have been told to buy it by my uni lecturer!) :shock:


Well-Known Member
Don't have any concrete information, but I remember about twenty years ago seeing a book on orchestration written by Henry Mancini, believe it or not.

Very useful for certain aspects of scoring in more commercial idioms; had lots of info on mutes for example, and a bit about film scoring.

If anyone knows a bit more about it, I'd be very interested.


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