Somebody commented on my Pathetique Sonata orchestration that it is all wrong and how it is wrong. Here I will focus on the part of the comment related to tutti chords.
Here is the link to my orchestration:
And here is the full comment with what is relevant to the question put in bold text:
Very unbalanced and unidiomatic orchestration. There's a lot to go through here, but let's start with the first chord. The woodwind writing is horrible. The flute is in it's lower mid-register and will not be heard over the massive forte of the other instruments. The oboe is way to low in it's register to succesfully play the C in piano. It is very unclear how many of each instrument you have so that has to be clearly written out (my concern is primarily the clarinets and horns). The chord is voiced very badly with very thick harmony at the bottom and rather sparse higher up. Try to write tutti chords according to the harmonic series.
I don't understand at all why you want to double the melody line with the flute. And you don't use the piccolo as it's own instrument but rather as an extension of the flutes register. I also don't understand the need for bass clarinet, contrabassoon and alto trombone. You can do just fine without them.
Bar 11 you write the eighth note tremolo from the original score and write super fast double-tounge in the contrabassoon. This is super unidiomatic as well as tiring and on the border of unplayability for a longer period of time.
These are just a few things to think about. Balance is important too, remember that. I'm also working on orchestrating the Pathetique right now (not on musescore), as well as all the other Beethoven sonatas. It's a very big project and it takes time but it is definitely worth it!
And here are my thoughts on it again, relevant to the question:
The woodwind writing is horrible. The flute is in it's lower mid-register and will not be heard over the massive forte of the other instruments.
At least I'm not putting a forte dynamic in the first octave. That would be impossible, even for an advanced flutist. As for not being heard over the forte, that's a non-issue. I mean, just listen to the first movement of the Eroica symphony. Do you hear the flute as a distinct flute sound in the beggining tutti? Probably not, but it would sound different if the flute wasn't there. Are you saying that my flute part is worse than Beethoven's flute part because it won't be heard over the forte? Because Beethoven's flute part isn't really heard over the forte either.
The chord is voiced very badly with very thick harmony at the bottom and rather sparse higher up. Try to write tutti chords according to the harmonic series.
Are you just saying that because I have 3 bass woodwinds on top of the cellos and double basses playing a bass role? Without using brass instruments or omitting the bass woodwinds, there is nothing really I can do about the sparse harmony above. And if I write according to the harmonic series in every instrument, the flute would be like what 2 octaves up from where it is now? Given that it is already in the second octave, I might as well be writing the flute part in the piccolo staff if I obey the harmonic series. And I was told that the piccolo is unfit for the Grave section and that the more mellow flute would be a better high woodwind. Also you can see me using the harmonic series if you look specifically at the cellos and double basses
So how should I write this tutti chord? The comment about the harmonic series and the woodwind writing(specifically the flute and the forte dynamic) all has to do with the beginning C minor chord.
Here is how it is written currently:
Original piano chord + tonic an octave higher in the flute
Here is how it would be written if I obeyed the harmonic series:
Well, okay, number of octaves doesn't differ but if I obey the harmonic series, the bassoon and the previously lower clarinet will be an octave higher, and the violas will be higher than the 1st violins. Also, I have heard that you can't omit the fifth in a chord. This would tempt me into writing 2 notes for oboe, but then the melodic smoothness goes away unless I write everything in the oboe staff a fifth higher.
So, are my current tutti chords written wrongly? Because I don't see many differences between the current way my tutti chords are written and the harmonic series. By the way, all the pitches shown are in concert pitch.