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Topic: Principle... general conductor's comments

  1. #1

    Conductor's comments

    Hello there,

    heartly congratulate to Gary and all of you involved for making such an exciting and invaluable interactive course! Great job, indeed!

    I was encouraged to contribute to this forum with a few comments from my conductor's point of view. So, I'll try to bring a bit different, more technical focus on the art of orchestration. Hope, it may be of any use namely for those, who are considering to work with a real orchestra/choir in the future.

    The most common problem, we do experience with the orchestral scores today, is the incorrect notation. Although the players can read and play even from the incorrectly written parts, please note, that the more time you will spend working out the CORRECT scores, the more time you will earn for the main orchestral recording, rehearsals and so on. In general, there are these few elements one should keep in mind when writing a score:

    a/ correct harmonic spelling; although for a computer it doesn't mind if there is, for example, d-sharp instead of e-flat, under particlar circumstances it could play a significant role with players. In general: always choose the appropriate key signature, try to avoid mixing sharps and flats within a bar. If there is chromatic, use sharps when melody is going up and flats when going down

    b/ correct rhytmic spelling; every bar should have a down-beat on the first and appropriatery structured in measures (i.e. beams for quaters, eights notes etc. in accordance with the time signature). Please, note, that in most cases, there is no reason to construct complicated rhytms and/or use high-signatured bars (like 10/2, 13/4, 11/16 etc.). Often, the maximum impact is achieved with very simple instruments

    c/ expression, dynamic and articulation: this is probably the most difficult part when working out the final scores. Even the professional, well experienced composers make their final adjustments after the first run. Thus, on my experience, don't care too much on these details, unless you exactly know what you wanna achieve there. This is namely the case of film music - sound effects or, if you do write for an instrument, you are very familiar with. Besides of these, there are the players who can handle and customize their parts, at best.

    Let me know if you have any questions and comments. Next time, we can focus on the certian orchestral sections.

    Petr Pololanik
    Conductor and Orchestrator

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Re: Principle... general conductor's comments

    Maestro Pololanik,

    Welcome to this on-line course and thanks you for participating.Having a professional conductor assisting will be invaluable to the learning process.

    I have had the pleasure of working with Petr over the years and his knowledge and experience with the orchestra is extensive.Petr conducted the Moravian Philharmonic for the GPO Orchestration Competition last year.

    I learned a great deal from him and I am glad others will have that opportunity too.
    It will be a real benefit having a conductor's perspective.

    Petr's comments about incorrect notation are right on. Incorrect notation can slow down the process and muddle the intent of the composer, as I learned too well from the competition. This is what makes the conductor's role so valuable in the process.

    One thing great about music is that it is a universal language. You have parts written by someone in the USA or England, but people in the Czech Republic can understand and realize the composer's intent. If you think about it, that's quite remarkable.

    Gary Garritan

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