General Orchestration Question

This may not even belong on this forum but there are a few orchestrators here so I thought I’d ask. For symphony orchestra, woodwinds in pairs, which woodwind is the most likely/ most scored for “utility” player? I need about 16 bars of a saxophone solo that could be handled by a doubler. I’m thinking 1st or 2nd Clarinet. All help, info, and ideas appreciated.

In a symphony orchestra context I wouldn’t suggest thinking of saxophone as a double. It’s not common enough that you can take it for granted. A dedicated sax player will usually be brought in no matter how small the part. But I would agree with your reasoning that the clarinets would be the most likely candidates to double.

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@Headphonomenon - thanks. It’s a “pops” situation and sort of a “comic relief” solo. Thanks for the info!

@Headphonomenon is right. In a professional situation, clarinetists are permanent personnel, a saxophonist is hired for the occasion. I can think of a few instances in which musical theater scores have been made available for semi-staged concert presentation (the Bernstein shows, for instance), and in those cases the “doubler” parts have been redistributed into their individual instruments, even at the cost of very long tacets for the players. (And even if the players happen to be capable of a particular double.) Of course this doesn’t apply to auxiliary instruments within a family – the last-chair flute routinely needs to play piccolo, last-chair oboe plays English horn, etc. But that’s not what you’re asking about.

Now if this is a more informal (or nonprofessional) situation, in which you know the players and they have no personal objection to doubling outside their family, then it would again be the last-chair clarinet (2nd clarinet, in your example) who would play your short saxophone solo.

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@Rinaldo - perfect! Thank you.