American Modern Ensemble Instrumentation

The following instrumentation guidelines should be adhered to when submitting or composing works for the American Modern Ensemble. The list of Percussion Instruments Available should also be used as a guideline by performers submitting pieces that use percussion for the MMF Chamber Series. Note that composers are not required to use all of the instruments, and may compose for a subset of the ensemble instead, but additional instruments cannot be added.

For future reference, please also note that the ensemble's instrumentation may change from summer to summer.


NOTE: up to six performers may be used from the following list (not including conductor).

  • Conductor (Optional – works that don’t need a conductor will not be conducted at the discretion of the ensemble)

  • Flute (doubling Piccolo and/or Alto Flute)

  • B-flat Clarinet (doubling A Clarinet and/or Bass Clarinet and/or E-flat Clarinet—please don’t write for all of them, two at most, if possible)

  • Oboe

  • Bassoon

  • Percussion (see Percussion Instruments Available below)

  • Piano (doubling Synthesizer*)

  • Violin

  • Viola

  • Cello

  • Harp

Percussion Instruments Available

  • 4 1/3 Octave Marimba

  • Vibraphone (with working motor)

  • Orchestra Bells

  • Crotales (high and low sets)

  • Tubular Chime (up to 3 singular chimes, not more than one single chime per cymbal stand, strongly recommended to not use these, or use no more than one)

  • Snare Drum

  • Large Concert Bass Drum

  • Drumset Bass Drum with Pedal

  • Large Tam Tam

  • 4 Concert Tom Toms

  • Triangle

  • Tambourine (with head)

  • Tambourine (mounted, without head)

  • Claves

  • 3 Cow Bells (High, Medium, and Low Latin Cow Bells, not Almglocken)

  • Ratchet (with bass drum mount)

  • Claves

  • Finger Cymbals

  • Castanets (mounted or hand-held)

  • Anvil (percussion sound effect)

  • Temple Blocks (5)

  • Police Whistle

  • Woodblocks (high, medium and low)

  • Triangles (small, medium, large)

  • Bell Tree

  • Mark Tree

  • Suspended Cymbals (small, medium, large)

  • Sizzle Cymbal

Note: additional, small, hand-held percussion instruments may be available if we are notified before the festival, or if the composer supplies the instrument(s). Other large instruments (i.e., a full set of chimes, timpani, or a larger marimba) are not available. It is strongly recommend that composers not write for both the marimba and vibraphone in the same piece, if at all possible, and be as economical as possible when writing for percussion. The smaller your set-up, the more likely your piece will be performed in the future.

*Note regarding the synthesizer: this is an 88 key MIDI keyboard connected to an Apple Macbook Pro laptop running Apple's Main Stage. Any programming will need to be discussed with the keyboard player.

Pieces not adhering to these instrumentation guidelines will not be considered or programmed.