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Topic: Best Orchestration Text book?

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  1. #1

    Best Orchestration Text book?

    Thanks to all of you for your input and advice. What a helpful forum this is! Alan Belkin referred to some orchestration books by Rimsky, etc. I need to get one. What is everyones preference?
    Have a good New Year, and thanks for all the help. It will be so nice to get what I'm hearing in my head on paper and into GPO!

    Regarding the sound card on a previous post - I decided on the Sound Blaster Audigy 4 (most bang for the buck) For what it's worth, I'll give you my unbiased opinion about it when I get it in a few days, though my tastes may not be as discriminating as all of yours. Now I need a good set of speakers for my limited space. Thinking 2.1 format, with digital inputs.

  2. #2

    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    I don't know if there is a "best," but I own three and I've learned something from all of them.

    I have Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Principles of Orchestration" - an excellent work, made all the more useful if you own a fair amount of his music on CD (since so many of the examples in the book are from his own music).

    Cecil Forsyth's "Orchestration" is quite comprehensive if somewhat dated (but that can really be said for all of these books - the ideas certainly aren't new but they are still worth learning). Forsyth also had a sense of humor that comes through in his writing.

    And finally I own Walter Piston's "Orchestration" which should (IMHO) be in everyone's library. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think I go back to it for reference more than the others.

    - Jonathan

  3. #3

    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    I would strongly recommend that you get Samuel Adler's 'The Study of Orchestration'. It's a fine work, very thorough, and most of the score fragment examples can be auditioned by using his 6 CD set of real orchestral fragments. In this CD set (which costs a bit) there are also video clips of bowings and other instrument articulations - 'in the flesh' so to speak. If this was not enough, also there is a workbook available. All items purchasable seperately.
    If even this is not enough, and most importantly, expect to hear some news on this forum soon -(ish) there is a little pot of ideas boiling..but you know what Zero says... nothing

    - yet.

    Zero

  4. #4

    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    [QUOTE=ZeroZero]I would strongly recommend that you get Samuel Adler's 'The Study of Orchestration'. It's a fine work, very thorough, and most of the score fragment examples can be auditioned by using his 6 CD set of real orchestral fragments.
    Thank you for the advice. I will start looking on the internet for the mentioned books / packages.

    Awesome forum for a newbie like me!

  5. #5

    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    Everlastingman, above, named my three top orchestration books, and in just the right order. The others imo are much less valuable.

  6. #6
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    Quote Originally Posted by EverlastingMan
    I don't know if there is a "best," but I own three and I've learned something from all of them.

    I have Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "Principles of Orchestration" - an excellent work, made all the more useful if you own a fair amount of his music on CD (since so many of the examples in the book are from his own music).

    Cecil Forsyth's "Orchestration" is quite comprehensive if somewhat dated (but that can really be said for all of these books - the ideas certainly aren't new but they are still worth learning). Forsyth also had a sense of humor that comes through in his writing.

    And finally I own Walter Piston's "Orchestration" which should (IMHO) be in everyone's library. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think I go back to it for reference more than the others.

    - Jonathan

    That's the ones! Forsythe is very good on strings, does a grand job of explaining what stops are possible, what types of passages are unplayable and why, far better than the others, each of which have their own virtues. Where he is outdated is such things as the double french horn. Piston covers this well. For strings, I rely heavily on Forsythe, and won't write any more for strings until I have studied this thoroughly and freqently.

    These three books seem to be the most widely appreciated and used. They are all within easy reach for me when I am working music.

    Richard

  7. #7

    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    Kent Kennan's book is often overlooked, which is a pity. Also Andrew Stiller's "Handbook of Instrumentation," which is hard to find but worth the search.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  8. #8

    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    Has anyone read Paul Gilreath's The guide to MIDI Orchestration.
    Sounds like it's very good, at 700 pages, and includes both GPO and EWQLSO.
    But $70 is a quite a lot for a book though.

  9. #9

    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    Yes I've got Gilreath its excellent in its way but not a work on orchestration as such - well worth a look.

  10. #10

    Re: Best Orchestration Text book?

    Quote Originally Posted by ZeroZero
    Yes I've got Gilreath its excellent in its way but not a work on orchestration as such - well worth a look.
    Please explain further. What is it then?

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