Reply To: Band Seating
I did some research on this as a piece of my master’s project. From what I remember, Sousa, Leonard Smith, Begian, Goldman, and many others were consulted in articles and other research. These guys were obviously successful and their opinions were all different. What it basically came down to is that we should seat sections in a manner that will aid the students in listening across the ensemble to other sections and parts and that projects the balanced sound to the listeners. No seating arrangement is/was universally agreed upon to be right for every circumstance. It doesn’t matter if the horns are on the right, left, or center or the flutes are on the right or left, or if the clarinets are on both sides of the flutes (Leonard Smith by the way). Whatever is going to sound best for your group, do it and don’t be afraid to try new arrangements.
By the way, Schoonoverj541 is correct. It was noted several times that a better balance and blend is usually apparent with 4 rows or more.