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Instrument Abbreviations

The instrumentation for each work is given in the form of figures and abbreviations in the usual orchestral ordering of woodwind - brass - timpani - percussion - harp - other keyboard/plucked string instruments - strings.

Brackets within the listings indicate alternatives in number or instrument. Brackets with an equals sign indicate that the preceding instrument(s) doubles, eg. fl(=picc) means that the flute also doubles piccolo. Brackets with a Roman numeral and an equals sign specify exactly which player doubles, eg. 2 fl(II=picc) means that the second player only is doubling piccolo.

Numerals listed after strings specify a preferred, but not usually obligatory, string strength (indicated as players, not desks). A numeral in brackets listed after perc indicates the number of percussion players required.

The following information:

3(II+III=picc) .2(II=cbsn).cbsn


3 flutes (2nd & 3rd doubling piccolo).2 oboes.cor anglais.3 clarinets (2nd doubling Eb clarinet, 3rd doubling Eb clarinet and bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (2nd doubling contra bassoon) and a contra bassoon.



picc : piccolo
fl : flute
afl : alto flute
bfl : bass flute
ob : oboe
bob : bass oboe
ca : cor anglais
acl : alto clarinet
Ebcl : clarinet (Eb)
cl : clarinet
bcl : bass clarinet
cbcl : contra bass clarinet
bsn : bassoon
cbsn : contra bassoon
ssax : soprano saxophone
asax : alto saxophone
tsax : tenor saxophone
bsax : baritone saxophone


hn : horn : flugel horn
ptpt : piccolo trumpet (Bb)
tpt : trumpet
trbn : trombone
btrbn : bass trombone
scrt : soprano cornet
crts : cornets
rcrt : repiano cornet
btuba : bass tuba
euph : euphonium
bar : baritone


ant.cym : antique cymbals
BD : bass drum
c.bell : cow bell
cast : castanets : chinese block
chic.cym : chic cymbal
ch.dr : chinese drum : chinese temple block
chimes : wooden chimes : chime bars
crot : crotales
cyms : pair of cymbals
glsp : glockenspiel
mcas : maracas
mar : marimba : metal block
mil.glsp : military glockenspiel
riv.cym : rivet cymbal
SD : side drum
siz.cym : sizzle cymbal
susp.cym : suspended cymbal
t.bells : tubular bells : tambour militaire
tab : tabor
tam-t : tam-tam
tamb : tambourine
TD tenor : drum
tgl : triangle
timb : timbales : temple blocks
vib : vibraphone
wdbl : wood block
xyl : xylophone
xylrim : xylorimba


vln : violin
vla : viola
vlc : cello
db : bass


pno : piano
cel : celesta
synth : synthesizer


gtr : guitar
bgtr : bass guitar

All other instrument names are given in full.


Description for symphony orchestra
Publisher Composers Edition
Category Orchestral
Date 2002
Duration 00:18:00
3333, 4331. timp, 4perc, strings:
Audio Extract
IO was commissioned by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
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