Very High Notes out of Nowhere

Most players, especially brass players, find it hard to play very high notes without any preparation. Try to avoid having anyone come it in extreme ranges. This also applies to the lowest range in most instruments. If you want to have very, very high trumpets after they have been silent for some time, at least give them a few quiet lower notes so they can prepare. The higher it gets, the harder the embouchure is for brass players because of less space between the harmonics. For very skilled players, very high notes out of nowhere usually are not a big problem, but it always adds a bit of insecurity. Besides, is it plain rude to stress people like that. Usually you can find some way to circumvent high notes out of nowhere.

Sampled instrument volume

While any kind of sampled instrument is a great tool and can be very useful for composing, there is one thing that creeps up again and again: Instrument volume.

On many libraries, especially low to mid-price, the development of the overall volume of an instrument is not correctly set. Most instruments have a part of their range where they are pretty quiet as well as a part where they really shine. In some libraries, the whole range of an instrument has the same volume. This leads to lines that can be perfectly heard in the sampled version to not come out at all when played by real instruments.

The best example perhaps is the flute, which is very quiet in its lower register (from Middle C (C4) to about E5), but gets really loud after that. Ranging up to C7 (sometimes even higher, depending on the player), it is very piercing and easily can be heard over the rest of the orchestra. When writing for the flute, keep in mind that it is very ineffective in its lower range. You can use it in this range to add a special shine to strings, but this only works on quieter passages.

The same appies to other instruments as well. Also keep in mind that with real instruments you cannot just crack up the volume to make it loud! You can use unnaturally loud instruments as an effect and this is commonly used in sampled music, but as soon as real people have to play your piece, it won’t work.