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Topic: Studying Scores

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  1. #1

    Studying Scores

    first of all thanks to everyone especially Gary ! This course really helped me in some questions i had regarding Orchestration !!! I just would like to ask this last question: which is the best way to study scores?? sometimes when i look at some classical scores i found very difficult to assimilate what every instrument is doing...should i re-wright the score or should i play on the piano the part every instrument is doing? other ideas? thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Studying Scores

    This is a good question. There are many levels of score study.

    You can:

    - listen repeatedly to the CD and follow along, perhaps marking the main lines in pencil. You will find at each listening you will notice a few more details.

    - Once you have got the main lines clear, play them on the piano, perhaps also including the bass.

    - Take short sections and go through them one musical element at a time, trying to understand what each is doing.

    The main thing is to start from what is most audible, and work towards the details. Just going instrument by instrument to start with is *not* a good idea, first you need to be clear what is "priority for the ear". Also, if a group of instruments are clearly doing something together - say woodwind harmony - it is a good idea to look at them together.

    Quote Originally Posted by aLfR3dd
    first of all thanks to everyone especially Gary ! This course really helped me in some questions i had regarding Orchestration !!! I just would like to ask this last question: which is the best way to study scores?? sometimes when i look at some classical scores i found very difficult to assimilate what every instrument is doing...should i re-wright the score or should i play on the piano the part every instrument is doing? other ideas? thanks
    Alan Belkin, composer
    Professor of Composition
    University of Montreal

    http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/pers...n/e.index.html (links to examples of my music, as well as my online textbooks)

  3. #3

    Re: Studying Scores

    One other good idea is to try to arrange a score reduction of a favorite passage. For example, one of my teachers has me do a score reduction from a scene of Ravel's Daphnis and Cloe into 4 grand staffs (1 for woodwind, 1 for brass, 1 for perc+piano+harp+chorsu, 1 for strings). Think of this as reverse orchestration. It looks like a pretty good way to get an idea of doublings and voicings and what instrument is taking on what role in a big passage. It also makes MIDI inputting of the piece's essence easier since the ideas have been distilled to their fundamental levels.

    Karim

  4. #4

    Re: Studying Scores

    Thanks !!!!!!

  5. #5

    Re: Studying Scores

    I found it easier to begin with chamber music like Mozart or Beethoven string quartets. Some principles become very obvious there.

    The big step in studying scores (of any kind) while listening is that the ear gets used to a "deep x-ray" mode. Most people only realize the highest voice, then maybe rhythm. But to entirely cut through an orchestra with ones ears in realtime is one of the most important tools for any orchestral composer. Transfer what you hear to your inner ear and then be able to notate it and much of the technical aspect is done.

    Hannes
    All your strings belong to me!
    www.strings-on-demand.com

  6. #6

    Re: Studying Scores

    I've found it helpful to actually write out passages from scores in my notation program and assign the parts to GPO. I listen to the full score that way, then solo each part and listen. Then I listen to a recording of a real orchestra playing the section - by listening to the part soloed first, I'm able to pick it out much easier.
    juan

  7. #7

    Re: Studying Scores

    Many of Ravel's works that were written for orchestra first were also published as 4 hands piano editions by the composer himself - including Daphnis & Chloe. This applies to the works that were written for orchestra initially.
    Ravel's Pictures At An Exhibition is such a wonderful study in orchestration. Apparently he worked from a piano part that Mosorgsky (sp?) subsequently made changes to. There is an orchestration of the amended version by Vladimir Ashkenazy that is available as a recording along with his solo piano rendition. I have yet to get a copy of the score to see how much different the orchestration is,
    David.

  8. #8

    Re: Studying Scores

    davidoro wrote:
    Ravel's Pictures At An Exhibition is such a wonderful study in orchestration. [...]Apparently he worked from a piano part that Mosorgsky (sp?) subsequently made changes to. There is an orchestration of the amended version by Vladimir Ashkenazy that is available as a recording along with his solo piano rendition. I have yet to get a copy of the score to see how much different the orchestration is,

    Hi David,

    They have misinformed you. Mussorgsky wrote Pictures in 1874. It was a piano suite. However, many people thought that perhaps he had the intention of orchestrating it. He died when Ravel was six years old. Serge Koussevitsky commisioned Ravel to orchestrate it in 1922. Although his is the most famous, many others have made different orchestrations of the work, for different purposes. There is a version that includes organ. There is another conceived as a piano concerto.

    Regards,

  9. #9

    Re: Studying Scores

    I'm not prepared to wager my house but here is a quote from one of the Amazon sites:
    "I'm not sure what more can be added to what other reviewers have aleady said, but let me try. First, the music is stunning. Mussorgsky's conception produces great listening by any measure. He wrote it for piano and Askenazy's playing here captures the genuine Russianness of the piece. The dyamics are nearly perfect, from light touches to thundering traversals, this is spine-tingling playing that draws you in. Superbly recorded with close-up presence. For my dollar, easily the best of the piano versions. The bonus here is the orchestral version. Ravel's orchestration is the one heard in all the concert halls and on all the recordings and it is a fine, fine piece. But it has errors in transcription. Ravel used a flawed score of the piano version and thus there are errors transcribed. Not that it really hurts the piece. Ashkenazy went back to the original Mussorgsky piano score and worked the corrections into orchestral piece. He did a number of other things to "tune up" the work. The result becomes something yours ears don't expect, only because you're so used to the Ravel work."
    I would like to know, for my own records what the definitive answer is here, I can't imagine Ashkenazy orchestrating this work without good reason, especially as Ravel, and maybe to a lesser extent Sir Henry Wood are responsible for the most famous versions.
    David.
    PS I was aware that this was originally a piano work, perhaps my reference to a piano part gave the impression that I thought it was extracted from a larger work.

  10. #10

    Re: Studying Scores

    When Ravel orchestrated Pictures at an Exhibition, the only edition of the piece available was one that had been heavily edited by Rimsky-Korsakov and others. The well-intentioned editors took it upon themselves to "correct" or "improve" Mussorgsky's original manuscript, with the result that they deviated from the original in several areas. It wasn't until many years later that an edition of the original was published that confomed more closely to Mussorgsky's intentions.

    (BTW, I've orchestrated it too! )
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

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

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