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Scott Cairns
02-06-2003, 05:42 PM
Hi, I hope this isn\'t too much of a dumb question (or series of dumb questions) but here goes;

I have received my copy of Advanced Orchestra (ok, when VSL is available here I might sell my car!)
I also have Samuel Adler\'s The Study of Orchestration (book and cd\'s) on order.

In the AO notes it gives you a breakdown of which instruments typically make up an orchestra and how many are in each section.

I don\'t have the booklet in front of me (I\'m at work) but I think for strings it said;

14 1st violins
12 2nd violins
10 viola
8 celli
6 basses

My first question (I\'m slowly getting to the point!) is what is a typical breakdown for brass, woodwind and percussion?

On the note of percussion, do orchestra\'s typically have to \"beef up\" the percussion if going for the Hans Zimmer, hollywood-soundtrack style? Or is that something that is mixed in later with samples?

My final question, (sorry about this) Are there any general rules to help me out in orchestrating? For example, Using trombones for low drones, whilst the trumpets beat out the melody? (I just made that up) I know of course that rules are made to be broken but it would help to know what ensembles work well.

Thanks in advance, Scott.

ed buller
02-06-2003, 07:01 PM
Dear Scott

How,s Sydney , boy do I miss that place . To answer your question the easiest way of thinking about orchestration is \"coloring in a pencil drawing \"

There really are no rules other than the obvious limitations of the instruments in terms of range and dynamics so feel free to use what ever combination strikes your fancy .

If you are after a particular sound however you should study with a score a piece of music you really like . Look at each instrument on its own . I.E. the flute part all the way through and so on .

But a really good idea is to buy the score of Pictures At An exhibition by Mussorgsy . This has the original piano composition and the final Orchestration by Ravel on the same page , so you can see what instruments Ravel decided to use . He was a master .

Also you should own Rimsky-Korsakoff\'s book as well (it\'s very cheap) and a decent recording of Shererazade and the score . He gets a huge sound out of a small orchestra through the perfect placement of ideas in the right registers .

Good Luck

ED BULLER images/icons/wink.gif

unison
02-10-2003, 04:53 AM
Hi Scott

Concerning your question on woodwind, brass etc.

Woodwind:
---------
Usually woodwinds are put in either pairs of 2 or three. Thus in pairs:

2 flutes
2 oboes
2 clarinets
2 bassoons

All of the second players might be asked to play the so called extras, that is piccolo, english horn, bass clarinet or picc. clar. and double bassoon (though this is rare with only pairs)

In pairs of three it can be a mixture of the above. A \"classic\" setup could be:

piccolo / flute III
flutes I, II

oboes I, II
english horn / Oboe III

clarinets I, II
bass clarinet/ clarinet III

Bassoons I, II
double bassoon / fag III

In the orchestra they are seated like this (seen from the audience behind the strings)

cl III, cl II, cl I - Fag I , fag II, c.fag
picc., fl II, fl I - Ob I, ob II, cor. ang.

In other words all the ww solist are next to each other in the middle.

Some composers have called for woodwinds in pairs of 4 or more. For example in most of Mahlers symphonies, Stravinskys Rite of spring, Schonbergs Gurrelieder and most of Richard Strauss. Plus several others (I\'m writing this from memory, so don\'t jump me if I got something wrong)..


Brass
-----

The normal breakdown will be

4 horns
2 or 3 trompets
3 trombones (2 tenor and 1 bass tr.b)
1 tuba

In Beethovens days it was mostly just 2 horns and 1 trumpet (paired with the timpany BTW)

Again you meet bigger setups in the late romantic pieces and often in big film scores:

6 or 8 horns
3 or 4 trumpets
4 trombones
tuba

But as the number of woodwinds and brass increase it is considered a good idea to equally enlarge the string body.
It really all comes down to balance. You will find this matter in detail described in both Adler and Rimsky-korsakov\'s books.

Percussion is very rarely doubled. Most percussion instruments can \"cut through\" even the most dense orchestration on their own.
Thus it doesn\'t make much sense to, lets say, have 4 triangles played simultaneously.

Hope this was any help to you. images/icons/smile.gif

Scott Cairns
02-10-2003, 05:52 AM
Hi Niklas, thank you for taking the time to give me (and I\'m sure others,) a detailed and lengthy explanation.

Also, a belated thank you to Ed Buller. images/icons/wink.gif

It is very much appreciated.

I am expecting my copy of \"Samuel Adler\'s The Study of Orchestration\" tomorrow. (hopefully!)

Regards, Scott.

Scott Cairns
02-11-2003, 04:43 PM
Hi Jesse, I actually received the CD\'s a couple of weeks ago and am still waiting on the book. (hopefully today darn it!)

From what I have seen on the cd\'s so far it is very, very good. It is professionally produced and concise. It shows a video clip of each instrument in the orchestra and even shows different playing techniques. I especially liked the clips of the violin player demonstrating legato, con sordino, etc. THese are things mentioned in the string sample libraries that we buy but I confess I never knew what it all meant - except maybe for pizzicato.

I have read a lot of good reports on this book and I believe it is considered \"the\" guide to orchestration. It is used widely in schools and colleges around the world.

I will post my thoughts on this guide when I do eventually get it.

Regards, Scott.

Rob Elliott
02-11-2003, 07:51 PM
Originally posted by Scott Cairns:
Hi Jesse, I actually received the CD\'s a couple of weeks ago and am still waiting on the book. (hopefully today darn it!)

From what I have seen on the cd\'s so far it is very, very good. It is professionally produced and concise. It shows a video clip of each instrument in the orchestra and even shows different playing techniques. I especially liked the clips of the violin player demonstrating legato, con sordino, etc. THese are things mentioned in the string sample libraries that we buy but I confess I never knew what it all meant - except maybe for pizzicato.

I have read a lot of good reports on this book and I believe it is considered \"the\" guide to orchestration. It is used widely in schools and colleges around the world.

I will post my thoughts on this guide when I do eventually get it.

Regards, Scott. <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Scott,

Thanks for the report. I ordered mine today and I am really looking forward to learning how much I don\'t know - which is a ton.

Rob

Netvudu
02-12-2003, 06:47 AM
sorry if I´m pretty slow, but are there two versions?
I mean, amazon shows two versions at different prices (I suppose the on which is more expensive will have more CDs?) and then there´s also something called the workshop, which has pretty bad reviews.

Could you explain the difference between:

1. The Study of Orchestration (3rd Edition) -- by Samuel Adler (Editor); Audio CD
Buy new: $93.75 -- Used & new from: $88.94

3. Study of Orchestration, Third Edition -- by Samuel Adler; Hardcover
Buy new: $65.35 -- Used & new from: $54.55

Scott Cairns
02-12-2003, 07:08 AM
sorry if I´m pretty slow, but are there two versions?
I mean, amazon shows two versions at different prices (I suppose the on which is more expensive will have more CDs?) and then there´s also something called the workshop, which has pretty bad reviews.

Could you explain the difference between:

1. The Study of Orchestration (3rd Edition) -- by Samuel Adler (Editor); Audio CD
Buy new: $93.75 -- Used & new from: $88.94

3. Study of Orchestration, Third Edition -- by Samuel Adler; Hardcover
Buy new: $65.35 -- Used & new from: $54.55 <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hi, I didnt work it out right away either. Option number 3 that you listed above is the book on it\'s own. This is the primary subject material.

The workbook is like a series of exercises to test yourself on the knowledge from the main hardcover edition as best as I can tell. I believe that schools use it to test students.

Now where it is a little confusing is whether or not option 1. mentioned above gives you both the hardcover book AND the audio cd\'s togther. I think at that price it should.

Here in Australia I purchased the hardcover books and cd\'s for roughly $90 U.S. so it sounds about right.

Regards, Scott.

Rob Elliott
02-16-2003, 11:14 AM
I ordered the $93 CD option thinking that I was getting everything (CD and Text) Only got CD\'s. Buyer beware.

Rob

Scott Cairns
02-16-2003, 04:41 PM
I ordered the $93 CD option thinking that I was getting everything (CD and Text) Only got CD\'s. Buyer beware.

Rob <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Sorry to hear that Rob. Maybe I should start exporting the sets here from Australia cause for just over $90 U.S. I received the whole lot.

I should state that the first thing I ordered was only the CD\'S so at that point I had spent aorund $50 U.S. I then went and ordered the book that was a little cheaper; around $40 U.S.

It seems that the packaging of an otherwise excellent product needs to be more clear.

Cheers, Scott.

Scott Cairns
02-16-2003, 07:18 PM
A couple of people asked me to tell them what I thought of the book (and cd\'s) once I got them so I thought I would share a couple of things I discovered. Hopefully this will help someone out, somewhere along the way.

I have no classical training in music at all so I can\'t give an indepth analysis of the information presented. I can offer my impression on how the information is presented though, from my \"non-trained\" point of view.

The book is generally straight forward and easy to understand. I find it to be intelligently written and thoughtfully layed out. This book does assume some prior knowledge of music though. I have never actually learned to read music so for some exmaples I had to dig out an old school book on music theory.

The accompanying CD\'s are professionally produced and have great examples of different playing techniques and the like.

A couple of things that irked me though; No matter what CD you want to look at (there are 6) You first need to load up CD no6 and sit through the intro. From there you are presented with a main menu. If you want to look at strings it will pop up a message saying; \"Please insert cd no-1\" There is no way around this. This becomes annoying as the cd\'s are clearly marked with their content. You know that percussion is on disc 4 but you still have to go through the procedure described above, each and every time.

The intro features what looks like a student orchestra playing a short piece. This is interesting enough to watch the first few times but becomes downright annoying after that. There is no option to skip the intro which is a big mistake in my book. I studied multimedia at college and some of the things mentioned above were specifically what we were told NOT to do when producing a CD ROM.

Another interesting point to note; Throughout the book it shows examples of music and different playing techniques. In the book, next to an example it will have wording like; CD1/Track 4

For a while I assumed these were music tracks in the CD Rom production itself. On closer inspection though, there was no track listing of songs at all. I loaded a cd into my computer and browsed it\'s contents. There was one folder called \"videos\" and nothing else. I was starting to think that they had made a mistake and not included the audio tracks at all. I then went to folder options under windows and selected \"show hidden files and folders\" - still nothing.

Finally, as a last resort, I opened up Windows media player and clicked on the cd. Suddenly 97 untitled tracks of audio appeared. I clicked on the first one and a voice said; \"Chapter 3, Example 1\" (or words to that effect. I\'m at work at the moment) Suddenly the book took on a new dimension. Every example I had been reading through had an audio example backing it up. I am now starting back at the beginning of the book to hear exmaples of what I have been reading this whole time.

The other main gripe is the same one that Rob had; It is almost impossible to tell at Amazon or anywhere else whether or not you get the book when you purchase the cd\'s. You don\'t. I bought the cd \"package\" and after a week received nothing but the cd\'s themselves. I had to place a second order for the hardcover book.

Hopefully my trials and tribulations will save someone else some time and heartache. I should say, I am really impressed with the book and cd\'s for the sheer amount of information contained in them. THe ability to hear audio examples of what I am reading really blows me away too. I just think some refinement needs to be done on the integration of the cd\'s and the book, and the presentation of the information.

Regards, Scott.

Rob Elliott
02-24-2003, 03:00 PM
Hey Scott,

Yea - I will order my test today (ARGHH!!!!!). To get throught the intro just hit the space bar. Hope this helps.

Rob

PolarBear
02-24-2003, 04:48 PM
Thanks Scott for sharing your thoughts about it!

Hansi

Scott Cairns
02-24-2003, 08:58 PM
Hey Scott,

Yea - I will order my test today (ARGHH!!!!!). To get throught the intro just hit the space bar. Hope this helps.

Rob <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hey Rob, thanks for that. I thought maybe the space bar or the escape key might do the trick but hadn\'t got round to trying it. Lol. For general usability they should\'ve had a \"skip intro\" button. Sorry, this stuff has been drummed into me at college. I once saw a CD ROM from a car company that had a 3 minute introduction on it. THere was no possible way to skip the intro. The CD Rom cost the car maker 100,00 pounds apparently. Anyway, I\'ll shut up now. images/icons/grin.gif

Cheers, Scott.

Scott Cairns
02-24-2003, 09:01 PM
Thanks Scott for sharing your thoughts about it!

Hansi
<font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Hey Hansi, no problems. I couldnt believe there was all these tracks of music hiding away there on the cd\'s.
The book is good but with audio examples accompanying each topic it is awesome.

Like I said above, I actually started the book over again, this time listening to cd\'s.

Cheers, Scott.