Tone Colour in the Woodwind Section

When writing for woodwinds, you have to be aware that you’re dealing with groups of instruments of highly diverse tone colour. Combining instruments in this section will never create a homogenous sound that is comparable to the one of a strings or even brass section. Especially the oboe has a very special tone colour that will stand out.

This of course might become a bit tricky when you want to balance out the section and get a really homogenous sound, however it opens up endless possibilities of colour combinations. When orchestrating a chord in woodwinds, just by the placement of instruments in that chord (or switching them around) you can alter the sound of that chord from a really reedy oboe-dominanted quality to a really breathy and airy flute dominated sound and anything in between. Depending of the character of your music, this can be a great tool to “colourize” your orchestral sound.

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