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Topic: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

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  1. #1
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    Ok, I'd like to survey and make a list of orchestration devices...in simile to Gardner Reeds Thesaurus. Here we go...my contribution:

    Flute and Harp
    Oboe and Harp
    {insert your soprano/alto instrument} + harp

  2. #2

    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    Well, if this thread is about interesting combination choices (I don't see that as "cheap tricks"), then here are some from my personal bag of tricks:

    Horn + Horn + Tuba = beautiful brass trio
    Bsn + muted Tpt + Picc (three parallel octaves) = pointy biting melody
    Intertwining harp / celesta / glock / piano = ooh, sparkly!
    Bass Clar + Bass Flute = haunting duo
    CBs doubled at the octave by violas = more interesting than CBs + Cellos

    However, my personal "defining" trick as a composer is this:
    If you insert a note by accident, entertain the notion of keeping it there.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  3. #3
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    Yes, muted trumpet is a good substitute instrument for an oboe...

  4. #4

    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    Bassoons playing in thirds. I don't know...it just sounds GOOD! (to me, anyway)
    Violin and flute: very versitle. It can make the violins more transparent, or give the violins a more haunting quality.
    Contrabassoon, bassoons, bass clarinets, and clarinets in octaves: good for an underlaying melody. If you need it to come out more, add the basses and cellos in octaves (or the violas, as mentinoed by Skysaw)
    Piano in octaves: always a nice 'n' big, grand sound
    Fat pipe organ/brass chords: Good for a royal, or plain BIG sound.

    That's all I can think of at the moment.
    Good thread! Keep 'em comin'!!!

    -Chris

  5. #5
    Senior Member newmewzikboy's Avatar
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    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    Everyone seems to love the 8va.....FX

    Hmmm bassoon...say arent you a basoonist???

  6. #6
    Senior Member squoze's Avatar
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    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    For any beginners (like me) out there, I put togehter this excel spreadsheet with some instrument combinations that are listed at the Vienna Symphonic Library website
    Its a rather unwieldy spreadsheet but I do refer to it to see if certain intruments will work together nicely. It is zoomed out to 50-you can zoom it to 100% or just click on the cells and read what it says up at the top.
    I'm assuming that these combinations are as they say they are, I wouldn't really know.
    Tom C

  7. #7

    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    Quote Originally Posted by squoze
    For any beginners (like me) out there, I put togehter this excel spreadsheet with some instrument combinations that are listed at the Vienna Symphonic Library website
    ...
    I'm assuming that these combinations are as they say they are, I wouldn't really know.
    Tom C
    Cool spreadsheet...Thanks! Hopefully, as you say, the information is accurate. I'm sure we'll hear about it if it's not.
    ;-)

    Jim Jarnagin - no not THAT Jim Jarnagin, the other one.

  8. #8

    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    Thanks for the link to the spreadsheet, it looks nifty!

    Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestration book also lists a lot of interesting orchestral combinations that are sure to work.
    Sean Patrick Hannifin
    My MP3s | My Melody Generator | my album
    "serious music" ... as if the rest of us are just kidding

  9. #9

    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    The wonderful thing about GPO is that you can try out any combination you may dream up. R-K had some amazingly wonderful ideas, but you might too! If you're curious about a combination you've never heard anyone mention before, you have an orchestra at your fingertips to see if it works.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  10. #10

    Re: Cheap Orchestration Tricks

    Ooh!!! I just thought of another one!

    horn and clarinet. Then the horn can play the melody while the clarinet(s) play the harmony. That way the melody is stronger than the harmony and the harmony doesn't overpower and make it muddy. And they also blend really nicely. It's said that bassoon (yes, I am a bassoonist) is supposed to go 'best' with horn, but I experimented in GPO and I really think the clarinets sound best.

    Being a bassoonist, I really love the sound of the bassoon a lot and think that the bassoon should be heard more in the orchestra, so this is what I do in tuttis where the bassoon(s) would otherwise be covered up. In a big tutti, there is usually the melody, harmony, and some sort of baseline. Sometimes there's counterpoint, so I'll just pretend there's counterpoint so we don't get bored. What I'd do is give all the typical melody instruments (flute, oboe, trumpet, 1st and 2nd violins) the melody and harmony. The counterpoint instruments might go to clarinet, viola, horn and maybe cello. The baseline would go to the basses, trombones, and tuba. To make the bassoon(s) come out more, I'll have them playing the melody in an octave where nobody else is (with no harmony). So (going from highest pitch to lowest) you have the melody (and it's harmony), counterpoint (and it's harmony maybe), bassoons, and baseline. The listener hears these four elements. Mission accomplished! The beautiful bassoon sound is heard!!!!

    I like to use this trick. You can make different variations of this and use it to make a line come out more than an instrument. The lower bassoon melody would bring out the melody. Or if the counterpoint wasn't enough you could put the bassoons in on counterpoint in it's own octave.

    It's fun!!

    *novel of a post over*

    -Chris

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