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?)

  • 4
    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
  • 1
    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

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
  • 2
    "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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.