Instrumentation Guide

There is no standard instrumentation for steelbands. Some people use guitars, others cellos. Some both. Some have Double Seconds that go down to E, others only F#. This sometimes makes it a challenge for directors to choose and play pieces. We try to make it easier for you by providing the ranges for each piece we sell. Here are some things to consider when reading our instrumentation and ranges:

  • All instrumentation is generalized. A piece may call for double tenors, but you only have double seconds. It's usually easy in cases like these to simply play the double tenor part on double seconds.
  • Sometimes parts are split, as in DS1 and DS2.
  • If a part is included that is not integral to the piece, like a tenor bass part that doubles the six bass, it is in parentheses—like (TB).
  • We use standard range notation, so C4 is middle C, and A3 is three halfsteps below middle C.
  • Ranges are sometimes really important, other times they are not. Sometimes a simple octave change in one part for a few measures is all it takes to adjust a piece for your band. If you find something here you really want to play, but one of the parts goes out of your band's range, go ahead and give it a shot. Or better yet, ask us about it. We'll tell you if a piece is a good fit for your band.

Instrumentation Guide

T: Tenor
DT: Double Tenor
DS: Double Second
Q: Quadraphonics (can sometimes by played by guitar)
G: Guitar
C: Cello
FP: Four Pan
TB: Tenor Bass (can sometimes by played by either six bass or cello/guitar
B: Six Bass