Achievement Standard Music Studies 91273:
Devise an instrumentation for an ensemble

Resource reference: Music Studies 2.8A
Resource title: Media Mayhem
Credits: 4

Achievement -
Devise an instrumentation for an ensemble.
Achievement with Merit - Devise an effective instrumentation for an ensemble.
Achievement with Excellence - Devise a convincing instrumentation for an ensemble.

Student instructions:


This assessment activity requires you to devise an instrumentation for an ensemble with at least four parts. The instrumentation must meet the requirements of a brief provided by a year 12 media studies class. They are creating short media products based on the theme of the elements; earth, air, water, and fire.
An instrumentation involves rewriting a piece of music for different instruments – you do not need to create any new parts. You choose your piece for instrumentation from one of four musical pieces provided.

Read the brief provided by the media studies class (see Resource 1). Choose one of the four options in the brief, and then devise an instrumentation for the ensemble as required.
Although an instrumentation does not usually involve creating any new parts, in some instances this may be appropriate, for example, adding a drum kit part or creating idiomatic accompaniment figures.
You can rework the material so it is voiced differently. For example, a melodic idea, originally in the right hand treble clef piano part could be made to flow between different instruments including bass clef instruments.
There are to be no repeats within the instrumentation, unless the repeated section is scored differently. (If necessary for their task, the media studies students will digitally create their own repeats.)

The skills in the instrumentation that you need to display are:
·       imaginative and idiomatic use of instruments
·       skilful use of timbres and textural density
·       clear, accurate, and detailed written scores (either handwritten or computer generated).
See Resource 2 for a list of things you need to consider to produce a quality instrumentation.
Ensure that you have written for at least four independent parts, that you have completed all the bars of music asked for, and that all the material used is from the specified source material.
·       record the instrumentation
·       convert the recording to a computer sound file (such as MP3 or AIFF)
·       submit the sound file, notated instrumentation, draft copies, and source material.

Resource 1: Choosing a score
In discussion with your classroom teacher, select the passage of music that you wish to use to create an instrumentation.
Your teacher will supply the following scores and play them to you:
·       Debussy’s Reverie (at least 48 bars)
·       Beethoven’s Sonata in C minor, 1st movement, Sonata Pathétique (at least 48 bars)
·       Satie’s Nocturnes (either I and II in their entirety or II and III in their entirety).
Alternative source material can and should be chosen. This could be a piano score, piano reduction, or piano with solo voice of at least 48 bars.

Your choice of source material is important. Consider what instruments you could use as you select your score. If after listening to the pieces above, you do not want to use any of them, you may select another piece. When making your own choice, ensure that:
·       you select an extract of piano music, a piano reduction, or piano with solo voice
·       the extract comprises of at least 48 bars
·       for copyright purposes, you do not use anything without the composer’s permission unless the music is in the public domain (for most piano music the composer needs to have been dead for at least 50 years)
·       the choice of score allows you to produce a quality instrumentation
·       you have cleared your choice with your teacher before starting work.
A good website to collect sources of material from is

Resource 2: Choosing the instruments
You need to write for at least four independent parts.
Choose at instruments that:
·       you can balance, blend, and/or contrast with each other
·       are capable of playing the parts you write
·       suit the atmosphere you are trying to create with the instrumentation.
Examples of possible instrumentation you could choose:
·       String quartet: two violins, a viola, and a cello
·       Brass quartet: two trumpets, a french horn, and a trombone
·       Saxophone quartet: two alto saxophones, a tenor saxophone, and a baritone saxophone
·       Vocal quartet: any voicing – this would suit a vocalisation (for example, “doo da”, such as found in the backing music to the television show Glee, or the King Singers’ version of Flight of the Bumblebee)
·       Rock group: two guitars, a bass guitar, and another single line instrument, such as a trumpet or saxophone (and an optional drum kit).

Resource 3: A quality instrumentation

In a quality instrumentation, you should:
·       make all of the parts playable for the instrumentalists
·       make all of the parts interesting for the instrumentalists
·       make the key signature one that is appropriate for the instruments
·       share melodic ideas amongst the parts
·       use the sound quality of the instruments to create interest
·       reinterpret any piano techniques for the instruments used (For example, a sustained pedal passage may now have instrumental parts playing longer and overlapping notes to imitate the effect, with dynamics indicating the decay of volume.)
·       write a clear and easy to read score
·       ensure all transposing parts are correctly written
·       accurately detail the articulation, tempo, and dynamics for each part
·       creatively use instrumental sound to layer dynamics.