Alfheim – The Beginning

It’s been a while since I last wrote here.  As I have finished up all the sections of the winds in the band I don’t have as much to post.  Yes, I do plan on getting to percussion, miscellaneous instruments, and technical aspects in the future as well.

What I have been working on is finally sitting down and beginning the work on a symphony I’ve been planning for ages.  I’ve had ideas for this work dating back about 20 years.  A lot of the ideas that I’ve written about on this blog are going to be incorporated into my new symphony – Alfheim.

I’ve always had a penchant for the large, and this will be no exception.  I fully intend, when complete, that it will be the largest composition ever written for band.  Will it ever be performed?  I seriously doubt it.  Time will tell.

As of right now, this is the ensemble that I am using:

8 Flutes

  1. Piccolo and C Flute
  2. Piccolo and C Flute
  3. Piccolo and C Flute
  4. Piccolo, C Flute, Baritone Flute
  5. G Treble Flute, C Flute, Alto Flute
  6. C Flute, Alto Flute
  7. C Flute, Tenor Flute
  8. C Flute, Bass Flute

4 Recorders (sizes to be determined later – Sopranino through Great Bass)

8 Oboes

  1. Oboe
  2. Oboe
  3. Oboe and Baritone Oboe (or Lupophone)
  4. Oboe and Bass Oboe
  5. Mezzo-Soprano Oboe
  6. Alto Oboe
  7. Alto Oboe
  8. Tenor Oboe

16 Clarinets

  • 2 E-flat Clarinets
  • 2 C Clarinets
  • 4 B-Flat Clarinets (1 = A-flat Clarinet)
  • 2 F Alto Clarinets
  • 2 Bass Clarinets
  • Contra-Alto Clarinet
  • Contrabass Clarinet

8 Saxophones

  1. Sopranino Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
  2. B-flat Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone
  3. Alto Saxophone, Piccolo Saxophone
  4. Alto Saxophone, C Tenor Saxophone
  5. B-flat Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
  6. Baritone Saxophone
  7. Bass Saxophone
  8. Contrabass Saxophone

8 Bassoons

  1. Alto Bassoon and Bassoon
  2. Tenor Bassoon and Bassoon
  3. Bassoon
  4. Bassoon
  5. Bassoon
  6. Semi-Contrabassoon and Bassoon
  7. Contrabassoon
  8. Contrabassoon

10 Horns

  • Horns 7 and 8 = B-flat Tenor Wagner Tuben
  • Horns 9 and 10 = F Bass Wagner Tuben

8 Cornets

  • 1 E-flat Soprano Cornet
  • 3 B-flat Cornets
  • 2 Alto Horns
  • 2 Baritone Horns

8 Trumpets

  1. B-flat Piccolo and C Trumpets
  2. B-flat Piccolo and C Trumpets
  3. E-flat and C Trumpets
  4. C and B-flat Trumpets
  5. C, B-flat, and F Alto Trumpets
  6. Bass Trumpet
  7. F Cimbasso
  8. C Cimbasso

8 Trombones

  • 1 Alto Trombone
  • 4 Tenor Trombones
  • 2 Bass Trombones
  • 1 Contrabass Trombone

12 Tubas

  • 4 Flügelhorns
  • 2 F Alto Flügelhorns (Mellophoniums)
  • 2 Tenor Tubas
  • 2 Bass Tubas
  • 2 Contrabass Tubas

Various Percussion to be determined as composition goes on.

2 Harps




2 Mandolins

2 Guitars (acoustic and electric)

1 Baritone Guitar (acoustic and electric)

1 Bass Guitar (acoustic and electric)

8 Basses


With one on a part, this will land the total of about 120-130 players.  The equivalent of a work like The Rite of Spring or a large work by Mahler.  By no means impossible, but very large.

You may note my curious labeling of some of the instruments.  As families of instruments grow, I find it best to use names that reflect what the instruments truly are (Baritone Flute instead of Contra-Alto Flute, Mezzo-Soprano Oboe instead of Oboe d’Amore, etc.).

You will also note my inclusion of 3 instruments that do not currently exist: Baritone Oboe (a.k.a. Bass Oboe in F), Bass Oboe (a.k.a. Contrabass Oboe), and Semi-Contrabassoon.  Music must exist before these instruments can come into being.  Why not start now?