A wind band, or concert band, consists of woodwind, brass and percussion instrumentss. Such bands are popular in schools, owing to the flexibility of the instrumentation. On the other hand, they are also suited to much higher levels of skill. There are many professional wind or symphonic bands that perform music as well as any orchestra. The usual instrumentation is as follows (in score order):

  • Piccolo (sometimes D flat piccolo)
  • Flutes 1,2(3)
  • Oboes 1(2)
  • Bassoon (sometimes E flat sopranino clarinet)
  • Clarinets 1,2,3 in B flat
    • Alto Clarinet in E flat
    • Bass Clarinet in B flat
    • (Sometimes part for E flat contra-alto or B flat contrabass clarinet)
  • Saxophone
    • Sometimes soprano saxophone in B flat
    • Alto Saxophones 1,2 in E flat
    • Tenor Saxophone in B flat
    • Baritone Saxophone in E flat
  • Trumpets/Cornets 1,2,3 in B flat
  • Horns 1,2 in F/E flat
  • Trombones 1,2,3
    • (Sometimes bass trombone in place of trombone 3)
  • Euphonium in B flat
  • Tuba
  • String Bass
  • Sometimes a continuo part for keyboard or guitar
  • Percussion
  • Timpani

There is little music written specifically for the wind band, but an extensive repertoire of arranged music is available. Symphonic band music is usually much more difficult, and contains more parts (for example, 3rd and 4th horn parts, cor anglais parts, etc).

Table of contents
1 Problems with wind bands/wind band instruments

Problems with wind bands/wind band instruments

The Oboe

Many smaller bands with an oboist often find that (depending on the skill of the player, of course) the oboe does not blend well with other instruments, especially as amatuer oboists frequently produce a very loud, strident tone that suffers from bad intonation in the higher registers. If this is the case, the oboe may be kept silent when there are not many other instruments playing. If the oboe must play a
solo, it may be softened with two flutes, one at the same pitch as the oboe, and one an octave higher.

The Clarinet

Throughout its history, the clarinet has always been beset with problems of fingering, making playing in extreme
keyss (or even moderatley difficult keys) difficult to the point of being impossible. For that reason, clarinets have been made in several keys (mostly B flat for flat keys and A for sharp keys). Unfortunately, not many amatuer clarinettists own instruments in A, and there are few wind band parts calling for them. Also, larger or smaller instruments than the type B-flat clarinet are only made in one key (sopranino, alto, bass, contra-alto, contrabass). So this restricts wind bands from using many "acceptable" key signatures (for instance, to play in concert D, a B flat clarinet has to play in E, and an E flat instrument in B!). There is no solution to this problem. Also, many beginner clarinettists are much averse to playing "on the break", so when arranging/composing it is important to write either above or below the break, and avoid using the written B above written middle C as much as possible.

The Tuba

The major problem with the tuba is that its valves are frequently out of tune with one another. As the tuba rarely plays solo, this is not a serious problem, but when directing a wind band it is important that the tuba player be aware of this. Using tubas equipped with four or more valves greatly helps.