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Topic: orchestration process

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  1. #1
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    orchestration process

    I'm not a schooled orchestrator, although I'm familar with ranges and the color that the instruments have in those ranges. I'm wondering how other people go about orchestrating. I like to orchestrate piano scores and of course keeping the composers intent as I orchestrate. I look at the piece as a whole and make mental notes of color in certain place. Then I just orchestrate as I go. I don't really have a plan as I do this, but I try to be as faithful to the original harmonies, voicings, tempos and of couse melodies as I can. Does anyone care to have some input on this subject.

  2. #2

    Re: orchestration process

    I orchestrate as a part of the composition process. I don't consider it seperate from composition for my purposes. The selection of color is part of the creation of the work.
    - Jamie Kowalski

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

  3. #3
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    Re: orchestration process

    I agree. And most textures and counterpoint for orchestra cannot be conceived on a reduced score. Sometimes I start out with a particell, and end up throwing it away because its easier to write with 24 stave orchestration score...
    75,000th Post Winner on the Garritan Forum
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  4. #4

    Re: orchestration process

    I think Bob is talking more about orchestrating piano scores by other composers, not his own.

    Most orchestration books cover this to some extent; and many chapters devoted to this can be found in better arranging texts.

    I believe perhaps I saw another thread that covered this matter in more detail, but I cannot recall when/where.

    Anyone remember where that is?

    David.
    www.DavidSosnowski.com
    .

  5. #5

    Re: orchestration process

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob De Celle
    I'm not a schooled orchestrator, although I'm familar with ranges and the color that the instruments have in those ranges. I'm wondering how other people go about orchestrating. I like to orchestrate piano scores and of course keeping the composers intent as I orchestrate. I look at the piece as a whole and make mental notes of color in certain place. Then I just orchestrate as I go. I don't really have a plan as I do this, but I try to be as faithful to the original harmonies, voicings, tempos and of couse melodies as I can. Does anyone care to have some input on this subject.
    Couple of things to remember, Bob, when transcribing from piano scores:
    1) Take account of the effect of the pedal. Sometimes a bass note written as a single beat may have to be sustained for a bar: sometimes an arpeggio may be better as a straight chord held whilst others move. And an Alberti bass is usually best rewritten as a mixture of sustained and moving notes.
    2) When people like Beethoven and Brahms wanted a massive effect (dare I say an orchestral effect?) they would write a tight bunch of notes in each hand and separate the hands by one or two octaves. Don't transcribe that literally into the orchestra! A better spacing is to have octave gaps in the bass, with intervals getting closer and closer as you reach the top of the chord (densest at the top). Another point about the early pianos is that, having a much thinner tone than modern ones, dense chords in the bass didn't sound too heavy: they certainly will if you crowd a lot of notes down there in the orchestra.

    Terry

  6. #6

    Re: orchestration process

    When it comes to orchestrating your own work, I agree with Skysaw--the composition process and the orchestration process are not mutually exclusive, and it's best to think about color and orchestration as you are composing.

    When it comes to orchestrating pre-existing piano works, look to Ravel for some good examples. He has a number of piano pieces which are also orchestrated. Samuel Adler's orchestration book has a whole chapter on this, including some Ravel pieces. Oh, and there's also Pictures at an Exhibition, one of the better examples of an orchestrated piano piece. Just make sure you also look at some 20th-21st century works too--tons of ground has been broken in orchestration in the last hundred years, but it seems like a lot of modern composers are still stuck in the Romantic era writing dead-people music.

    My undergraduate orchestration class had a lot of projects like this--we were giving a piano piece (or a piano reduction of an orchestral piece), and were required to write an orchestration. Then we had to compare ours to the *actual* orchestration by Ravel or whoever--it's a good idea, you might want to try it.

    chris.

  7. #7
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    Re: orchestration process

    Wow! I didn't expect such a response. The comments are so valuable to me I'm going to print this page.
    Yes, I was talking about existing piano scores. I've always loved the color in orchestration and it's fund to experiment with al the possibilities. Of course I realize that this is only a part of the composition process but an important part.
    I don't know Blatter, as "Prince of Music" suggests. Do you know where it's available?
    B.D.

  8. #8

  9. #9
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    Re: orchestration process

    Thank You Poolman:
    That's a wealth of information. I'm familair with Forsyth and Piston but none of the rest.

    B.D.

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