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MUSIC 3J03A Orchestration & Arranging

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Multiterm

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Christopher Mayo



Phone: 905-525-9140 x

Office Hours: Wednesday 2:30-4:30

Course Objectives:

- To study the characteristics and roles of the individual instruments and families of instruments that make up the modern symphony orchestra and additional auxiliary instruments. 
- To learn the techniques of scoring for large & small ensembles.
- To study the practice of orchestration in significant works of the repertoire
- To create numerous small orchestrations, some of which will be workshopped during class.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Adler, Samuel. The Study of Orchestration, Third Edition. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd.

Method of Assessment:

Assignments: (50%)
Five 1 to 2–minute orchestrations of given excerpts for each of string quintet, wind quintet, brass quintet, percussion ensemble and harp. Worth 10% each. - assignments will be set approximately once per month September-January and will be due 2 weeks later

Small Ensemble Orchestration: (20%)
One 2 to 3–minute orchestration of a work of the students’ own choosing to be workshopped by fellow students in-class. The instrumentation will be determined based on the primary instruments of enrolled students. A copy of the original work must be submitted with your completed score. Both the original and your orchestration of it must have all bars numbered. Full score and individual instrumental parts must be submitted. - due February 1 2016

Final Project: (30%)
One 3 to 5-minute orchestration for symphony orchestra of a non-orchestral work of the students’ own choosing. The instrumentation for these works will be: 
    3(III=picc).3(III=ca).3(III=bcl).3(III=cbn) — — timp — 3 perc — harp — pno(=cel) —
Additional auxilary instruments (saxophone, guitar, mandolin etc.) may be included with prior approval from the instructor. A copy of the original work on which the orchestration is based must be submitted with your completed score. Both the original and your orchestration must have all bars numbered. Students must have their choice of work approved by instructor before beginning the assignment. - due April 6 2016

All submissions may be hand-written or typeset on computer software (Sibelius, Finale etc.). Several computers in the Humanities Computing Lab run Sibelius, a popular music notation software. Whether hand-written or typeset, the scores and parts must be well presented and properly notated. 

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late assignments will receive a 10% reduction in grade. After one week, late assignments will not be accepted, except in the case of a justifiable absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.