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Topic: Classical Scoring

  1. #1

    Classical Scoring

    I\'m a classicaly trained pianist and have played violin in an orchestra all throughout elementary to high school so I have a solid understanding of classical music and the orchestra. I\'ve been scoring orchestral pieces for a year now and wanted to learn some more of the techniques in composing that are used that aren\'t that obvious to me. What books would you guys suggest? Is there a bible for orchestral composition? Thanks!

  2. #2

    Re: Classical Scoring

    The book I have are \"The Study of Orchestration\" by Samuel Adler and \"Orchestration\" by Walter Piston. I also recommend listening to recordings of the works referred to in the books whilst studying the scores.

  3. #3

    Re: Classical Scoring

    VincePro, well there isn\'t any \"bible\" but there are some good books availble. Brewick mentioned very good books about orchestration.
    However, if you\'re looking for book about how to compose for orchestra or compose in general then I can recommend \"Fundamentals of Musical Composition\" by Arnold Schoenberg. It will take you through the basics and toward more advanced stuff.

    Anyway, it\'s also question about what style you want to know better. 21st century? 18th century? etc.

  4. #4

    Re: Classical Scoring

    I think that one of the challenges for composers of classical music is to become fluent in modulation. There are many ways to modulate. Of all the pieces I know, I believe that Dvorak\'s slavonic dances are a textbook in straightforward modulation. These are dances, not symphonies, so he cannot spend many measures on complex modulatory sequences. But the music modulates all the time, and every instance is an instance of good techniques in modulation. Studying these scores should be helpful to any composer.


  5. #5

    Re: Classical Scoring

    Thank you for your responses. I guess I should have clarified that I\'m interested in composing \"Hollywood\" scores, which in most cases is quite different from \"classical\" music. Do these books still apply??

  6. #6

    Re: Classical Scoring

    Sure they apply. I can´t see why they would´t.

  7. #7

    Re: Classical Scoring

    I would say that they certainly apply, and there are three titles I have that I would reccommend. The Adler is a must have, the third edition especially. (Thats \"The Study of Orchestration) Also, there\'s \"Orchestration and Instrumentation\" by Alfred Blatter, \"Principles of Orchestration\" by Rimsky-Korsakov, and the Orchestration book by Cecil Forsythe. Hope that helps.


  8. #8

    Re: Classical Scoring

    I\'ve been a professional writer for 15 years. I never read a book on writing that was of any help to me or my career. I\'ve come to the conclusion that you either have it or you don\'t.

    There are two things that taught me to write:

    1. Reading. I\'m a fiction writer, so I read fiction (and just about anything else I can get my hands on). I\'m a screenwriter, so I read screenplays (and watch movies).

    2. Writing. A*s in chair. Years and years of hard work before I broke in.

    While I\'m sure the books mentioned have their merits, and may teach you some of the fundamentals of orchestration, the only REAL way to learn is to listen. And listen. And listen. And listen.

    Then write and write and write and write.

    There are no shortcuts and, frankly, if you don\'t already have the ability to HEAR orchestration, I seriously doubt a book is going to help you much.

    Like writing fiction, you either have it or you don\'t.

    Harsh words, to be sure, words that probably won\'t win me any popularity contests, but true in my opinion...

  9. #9

    Re: Classical Scoring

    There are no shortcuts and, frankly, if you don\'t already have the ability to HEAR orchestration, I seriously doubt a book is going to help you much.
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">That\'s a bunch of nonsense. He said that he\'s a classicaly trained pianist and violinist. He\'s obviously a musician, he just hasn\'t had any training in orchestration (neither have I).

    I suppose when Beethoven went to have couterpoint lessons with Haydn, Haydn should have responded, \"I seriously doubt anyone can teach some one counterpoint. You either HEAR it or you don\'t. Go away, you aren\'t a real composer!\"

    It\'s ashame that some one with so many years of professional writing experience would still post something so incredibly stupid.

  10. #10

    Re: Classical Scoring

    First, I wasn\'t speaking specifically of him. I\'m speaking in general terms. I knew my comments would get a response like this -- and, as I said, it\'s my opinion.

    You can teach someone ALL of the fundamentals, but you CAN\'T teach them talent. You CAN teach someone what to listen for, but you CAN\'T teach them to hear. And, no matter how you try, you CAN\'T teach them to write -- that has to come from within. As I said, some have it, others don\'t.

    Re: Beethoven, let\'s look at a time when he played for Mozart. Beethoven played a piece that was technically quite good, but Mozart was unimpressed.

    Then, Beethoven improvised for a few moments, showing off. Mozart later told Haydn that he thought Beethoven was pretty much a genius.

    Obviously, Beethoven\'s ability to simply \"play the notes\" meant nothing. You either have it or you don\'t.

    We can all learn WHAT to do from books, but you\'ll never learn HOW to do it. That comes from within.

    Incredibly stupid, as you say? I don\'t think so. But you\'re entitled to your opinion.

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