Notes Near the Range Limits of Instruments

For practically every woodwind and brass instrument, there is the general rule that the closer to the limits of the range you get, the less controlled the sound will be. This means that either the intonation gets problematic (low horns often have that problem) or the dynamic possibilities get more limited (high trumpets can’t really go anything lower than mf in their highest register), or both.

So in general, you should always have a good reason when you push any instrument towards its range limit. While of course trumpets at their top end give a fantastic and edgy sound, trying to use that register in a softer setting will most likely not end well. Be aware of these things. Samples might trick you into believing that on all instruments, all notes are equally easy to play as on a keyboard and the range limit is only set by the fact that you’re running out of keys but this is not the fact.

Writing notes close to the edges of the range of most orchestral instruments is a struggle for every player and in general these notes have certain shortcomings that you can compensate for in a sequencer but that are really tricky to control in a real orchestra situation.

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