In order for me to know what I need to change within my orchestration, I need to understand what I already have.
The starting point is to print off each part individually and analyse them in detail; the range of notes used from highest to lowest, the rhythm, the articulation, the dynamics, the technical effects. There’s lots to consider just within each instrumental line and I start this job this week with the woodwind instruments. And we’re on Thursday. Okay – we’re running a bit behind this week. It will all work out.
There are more global considerations, too;
1) Overall dynamics; do they have starting and terminating marks
2) ‘Groupings’ and rests are correct and placed well
3) Tempo marks are clear and placed well
4) Are parts of an optimum size (I can alter them down to 5.5-6 if needs be)
5) Are the system and page breaks in clear and efficient places so that pages are turned on rested bars?
6) Are the ranges used appropriate for the instrument (this will be uncovered in the individual instrument analysis work)
7) Are the parts playable for the intended standard of player?
8) Articulation – are there appropriate markings to express the music (legato, slurs, staccatos, etc)?
9) Does anything look wrong, boring or need any extra markings to make the music ‘speak’?