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I'm just wondering if pieces for orchestra are/were mainly written on pianos or synthesizers. Is it just written on piano for all the instruments since on the piano it's easiest to play both harmony/melody?

(Even though the piano might not even be used in the actual performance?)

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    It's easier to write music with a pencil than a piano. Your arms soon get tired trying to hold the piano and make marks on music paper with it. – user19146 Aug 4 '18 at 13:25
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    I won't let anyone write on my pianos. It's hell to polish out... – Tim Aug 4 '18 at 14:00
  • Orchestras are never written. Orchestrations, symphonies, concertos, well, that's different. – Tim Aug 4 '18 at 14:02
  • A lot of jazz, rock and blues pieces are composed on guitar. It depends on whether the underlying compositional structure is chord-based or not. – Pyromonk Aug 4 '18 at 23:20
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Yes, composers/orchestrators have generally found keyboard a more useful tool than guitar (though I'm sure we could find a few exceptions).

The future may see more and more composers writing directly into a computer though. One man with a keyboard can try out more than one man with a guitar. One man with a sequencer can try out more than either!

  • As I'm not classically trained, I have never written any orchestral piece on anything other than sequencer. if I need it scoring, I get someone else to do that later ;) – Tetsujin Aug 4 '18 at 15:43
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    "I'm sure we could find a few exceptions" - Two notable exceptions were Chopin (yes, really!!) and Berlioz – user19146 Aug 4 '18 at 16:11
  • @alephzero Wow, did I understand that correctly? They composed on guitar instead of on piano?! – Richard Aug 4 '18 at 16:51
  • @Richard, Chopin composed on the violin and Berlioz - on guitar, as far as I remember. – Pyromonk Aug 4 '18 at 23:19
  • What Chopin composed on, I don't know, but he certainly once said "Nothing is more beautiful than a guitar, save perhaps two" - and he played the instrument himself. AFAIK Berlioz was not a keyboard player - not a competent one, anyway - but he supplemented his income by teaching the guitar. – user19146 Aug 5 '18 at 3:18

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