Air notes

Blowing air through the instrument without deliberately sounding a pitch. Notated with a verbal instruction. Very quiet.
Air notes:

Circular breathing

Sustaining a note while breathing in through the nose. Notated with a verbal instruction. Although this is easier on double reed instruments than most others, it should be regarded as an unusual technique and players should be consulted before it is used!
Circular breathing:

Key clicks

Rattling instrument keys. Notated with x-shaped notehads and a verbal instruction. Not particularly loud.
Key clicks (oboe):
Key clicks (cor anglais):


Playing chords. In non-specific situations, notate by writing a bottom note with the word 'chord' above. There are many multiphonics on both oboe and cor anglais. However, instruments and players vary in the multiphonics they can find. For more specific notations, consult specialist manuals.
Multiphonics (oboe):
Multiphonics (cor anglais):



Intervals smaller than a semitone. Notations vary, but the examples above show a microtonal inflection and a quartertone. Produced by using 'fake' fingerings and/or adjusting the embouchure.

The Orchestra: A User's Manual is a free resource and will remain so. It still receives between 8,000 and 16,000 unique visits per month from all over the world. See the testimonials. Thanks to all the donations, I have been able to create this responsive re-design. But the movies and sound clips recorded in 2004 do show their age. I would really like to re-record everything and add many more techniques, especially for solo and ensemble writing. I estimate this will cost around £30,000. If you know a source of such funds, please contact me: a.hugill [at]