Questions tagged [orchestra]

A sizable instrumental ensemble that contains sections of string, brass, woodwind, and percussion instruments.

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Bass Ad Lib Instruction on conductor score of Britten Simple Symphony

I'm playing double bass for Britten's Simple Symphony as part of a string orchestra and the conductor score for movement 3 (Sentimental Saraband) has bass 'ad libitum' written at the first bar of the ...
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Are there any conventions or usual patterns on how brass is commonly used in classical music, precisely, in a symphonic orchestra?

I hear many people tell me that each brass instrument has its own unique timbre and one cannot be confused with another. However, I often see them used together and they seem to blend together ...
brilliant's user avatar
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2 votes
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When did the oboe wind up being the standard to tune other instruments in an ensemble / orchestra?

As a follow up to the question why does the orchestra tune to the oboe, I'm asking since when this became standard practice? For example, was it since the Modern oboe, or already since the Classical ...
GratefulDisciple's user avatar
1 vote
4 answers
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Can I use A2 (420x594 mm)size paper format for a score if absolutely needed?

My arrangement for the piece "Alpha" by C418 has a lot of instruments, because I'm combining Band and Orchestra in that score. It has a total of 30 staves. I read that staff heights/sizes ...
mikechad's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
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Can saxophones be in orchestras, not just like the symphonic jazz orchestras/big band?

I'm arranging a game piece from Minecraft called "Alpha" (aka end credits theme). I thought the idea of merging school band and orchestra would be a cool idea, but I don't know if writing ...
mikechad's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
89 views

How many symphonic instruments in the same group to specify

In a symphonic orchestra, or any other, how many of the same instruments do I specify in the score, if they play the same score? For example, for violins, there is just one line. What about the ...
Eugeniya Bentsman's user avatar
6 votes
4 answers
3k views

Which wind instruments are often doubled in symphonic orchestra just for the sake of loudness?

Which wind instruments are often doubled in symphonic orchestra just for the sake of loudness? What I mean is two instruments of the same kind and type (for example, two bass clarinets, or two a3 ...
brilliant's user avatar
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9 votes
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What does ff mean for time duration?

I found a cue manager for composers and saw a record: Start TC End TC (hhmmssff) (hhmmssff) h - hours m - minutes s - seconds I don't understand what f(ff) means. Can you explain me please? the ...
Алексей Шиманский's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
687 views

German abbreviations for instrument names in score markings (Deutsche Armeemärsche)

I'd like to know to which instruments are these signatures referring. And these parts: Additionally, I'd like to how to use this score music. This book is titled as "Particell". Does it ...
Getleft's user avatar
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3 answers
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Is it reasonable to expect a lower-level orchestra to have four trombonists?

My symphonic piece has a passage that requires four independent lines from the trombone section. Since brass instruments can't play more than one simultaneous note, this requires four trombones. I don'...
OprenStein's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Secondary brackets in the string section

In an orchestral score, each section of the orchestra gets a thick square margin bracket, e.g. the woodwind section. Within these, thin square secondary brackets are used to group instruments in the ...
Elements In Space's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
246 views

What is the best way to create a Midi file of transcription of orchestral score from audio or sheet music?

There is a song that I cannot find in midi format, and was wondering what the best process would be to create such a file, if I have either the original score and/or an audio recording of an orchestra ...
Steven Hatzakis's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
49 views

What tips would you give to a beginner violinist to execute these pieces well? [closed]

I am practicing these two pieces to enter orchestra, but I am having difficulty practicing it. Specifically, as I am quite a beginner, I am not sure about many things technique wise. For example, how ...
Lily's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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No Saxophone part in band sheet music

I am attempting to have my band/orchestra students learn a song for our holiday concert, but the song doesn't have a saxophone part. Which other instrument part could I have my saxophone players join ...
Lindsey J Sanford's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
501 views

Arrow below staff pointing to number

What does this arrow below the staff pointing to six mean? Do I repeat the measure until 6, rest until 6, or something else? If it helps at all this is pit orchestra music for a musical :) Thanks!
Devious Capybara's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
240 views

Bb vs. A clarinet in union orchestras [closed]

A sometimes-mentor and someone in the know at a professional orchestra advised me recently on writing for orchestra. I'll paraphrase his advice here: Writing for a flute player doubling on piccolo ...
nuggethead's user avatar
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How quickly can a [skilled, professional] percussionist switch between tam-tam and bass drum?

Can a professional orchestral percussionist play tam-tam and bass drum together? Could he/she position the two instruments near enough that they can played one with each hand? The passage... is loud ...
nuggethead's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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What is a "bass xylophone"?

In the instrumentation of the opera Turandot there is something called bass xylophone, but I couldn't find many things about it. What is it? And, since it doesn't seem to be a common instrument, how ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
218 views

range of notes that can be handled by any symphonic instrument

What range of notes (pitches) can be handled by any instrument in a symphonic orchestra (excluding percussions, of course)? EDIT: In other words, I am asking about that core part of instruments' ...
brilliant's user avatar
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16 votes
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How do orchestras synchronize bow movement?

The last few times I've been to see the orchestra, I've noticed that the bow movements of all the strings are synchronized. I've been in bands and choirs before but never a group with strings, so this ...
David K's user avatar
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8 votes
4 answers
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Why are there pairs of wind instruments in a symphonic orchestra?

Why is it so that there are often two identical oboes, two identical clarinets, two identical bassoons and two identical trombones in a symphonic orchestra? Is it just because one instrument is not ...
brilliant's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
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Describing the difference between a mass and an opera?

I have a tradition of listing to Bach's "Mass in B minor" around springtime of each year, as I was once part of a chorus-ensemble that performed it a number of years ago. My wife doesn't ...
Will's user avatar
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What is the largest number of parts (divisi) an instrument should have?

I often write music for orchestras, and I was wondering what is the largest number of parts I should assign to one instrument. For example, I'll often write 5 french horn parts, and sometimes up to 6 ...
violetorigin's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
193 views

What are popular songs with a philharmonic orchestra arrangement/accompaniment called?

I am trying to understand whether there is a name for this genre, For example, Somewhere over the rainbow and many songs of Ray Charles like this Eleanor Rigby one. and like in this Barbra Streisand ...
Ray's user avatar
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4 answers
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Do scores or ancillary materials often specify the number of string personnel?

A question came up recently about the practice of specifying the performing forces for a score using a string of numbers (e.g. 2-2-1-1, etc), and I expressed surprise that it bothered to also make a ...
Andy Bonner's user avatar
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3 votes
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Nervous about concert! [duplicate]

I have a concert tomorrow and im really nervous, i have practiced many MANY hours but I don't think iv'e practiced enough for the concert, or maybe it just that im really nervous....any tips? I play ...
London Scott's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
584 views

Question about the abbreviation for 2 instruments in an orchestra score

I'm learning an orchestra score and I'm really new to that. I'm figuring out what instruments are included in this score, and I get most of them (correct me if there is any mistake). However, I'm ...
MusicalChicken's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
379 views

The interaction between strings and woodwinds in an orchestral setting

I have only worked with relatively small orchestras, and in that time, one of the biggest problems is the combination of strings and woodwinds, especially in contrapuntal writing where the main voice ...
Gregory's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
842 views

Partially-optimized orchestra scores?

There are two different conventions I have seen for orchestra scores. In one, the full orchestra is shown on every page. Even if the flutes don't play a single note, (for example) their staff ...
nuggethead's user avatar
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8 votes
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495 views

Why do famous conductors rarely conduct ballet?

Why do famous conductors rarely conduct ballet? However, many famous conductors spend a large chunk of their time conducting operas beside just symphonic works.
LAsder's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
129 views

How long to wait before following up with conductors? [closed]

An emerging composer is seeking to have some of their work performed by a smallish professional orchestra (i.e. not something like the Boston Symphony, but a fairly well-known regional symphony). The ...
nuggethead's user avatar
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6 votes
1 answer
812 views

Can you explain the transposing convention in this Jean Sibelius's score?

I am looking at a 1954 edition of Jean Sibelius's orchestral score for Tapiola. It has the Concert Pitch instruments (Flutes, Violins etc) in two sharps. He then has various other key signatures which ...
iainH's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
151 views

Who chooses an orchestra's repertoire?

Who chooses the repertoire for a large, state-level orchestra (or the orchestra of major city)? In my experience, in smaller amateur orchestras the conductor is relatively easy to contact (via email), ...
nuggethead's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
224 views

How could you make a key change sound natural

I've been working on an orchestral piece for a while and I want to include a key change. For example, from Bb major into Eb major. How could one go about changing keys in a way that makes the music ...
Demi Sobo's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
1k views

Do film scores match film dialogue pitch?

Human speech (including dialogue in movies) has a certain pitch. The harmony between the film dialogue and the film score can be influenced by the filmmakers. For example, the score can be composed ...
root's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
398 views

What is this chord progression/ascension called?

There is this specific sequence of chords that I have always liked, it ascends by fifths at the same time it ascends by whole tones, ending on a melodic minor scale, scale which has always been my ...
user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
864 views

Why do temple blocks come in sets of 5?

It seems like temple blocks are commonly sold, bought, and played in sets of five as pictured here: Image Source My old high school had a set like this, but we never needed more than two blocks for ...
Edward's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
201 views

Does having both first and second violin on the same staff replace the use of div. in a symphony score?

With consideration to the general rule that when div. is presented upper notes in the music are played by the violinist sitting on the outside, and lower notes are played by those sitting on the ...
louziebaby's user avatar
18 votes
2 answers
3k views

Tuning the lowest bass string a hair flat

I was listening to Abbey Road but it's just Bass and it sounds like the low E string is a hair flat in a lot of the songs. How did they get away with that? When I was in the pep band many years ago ...
luser droog's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
292 views

Modern (Hollywood) score convention for Solo & Tutti

I've written my first orchestral score, and I've engraved it, as best I can, in a style to serve recording it by a conductor and orchestra on a sound stage in a short session, Hollywood soundtrack ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why does the exponential curve that shows up in the orchestra not overwhelm anything?

So, I've noticed these ratios of range in the modern orchestra, which is primarily strings: Soprano:Alto - Factor of 4 or 5 more soprano than alto Tenor:Bass - About twice as much tenor as bass Alto:...
Caters's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
236 views

How to conduct a fermata over a rest?

I'm currently learning how to conduct Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique - Reveries and Passions. In the first few bars there are fermatas over a few rests and I know I'm supposed to prolong and hold the ...
Ize's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
539 views

How does a symphony orchestra play in such perfect harmony?

I'm talking about live performances. I respect all musicians who allow us to enjoy beautiful art of music. The number of musicians in a modern symphony orchestra may be up to 100 and each person has a ...
Stewie Griffin's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
163 views

What is the biggest chord ever written for orchestra?

Firstly I must define what I mean by "biggest". I mean the chord that has the most differently named notes in it not counting duplicates. Initially I was assuming equal temperament but if ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
631 views

How do I transpose an orchestral piece if it will push some of the instruments out of their range?

Chord inversions seem to be the obvious choice, but sometimes it changes the overall harmony or disturbs the voice leading. Am I stuck with that key of whatever the orchestral piece is originally ...
David LE's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
85 views

Why are keys changed away from the original in some orchestral pieces

I have noticed recently, take this piece for example, The Thieving Magpie Overture by Rossini. There seems to be several versions in different keys. Why are versions made that are different to the ...
cmp's user avatar
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2 votes
4 answers
168 views

Are there note patterns on each string instrument that can not be played?

I am a high school band kid who is trying to compose orchestral music for the first time. I have done several band compositions, be it jazz or classical, but this is my first time composing orchestra ...
Mridul Singh's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
157 views

I need help to identify the instruments of a composition (in a movie)

Probably this is very easy to answer for people who know the composition of an orchestra and which sound comes from which instrument. My question is, what is the instrument (or the composition of ...
Bevor's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
2k views

How does an orchestra hold groove?

I am used to symphonic orchestras playing classical music which does not take a rhythm as a constant, but rather as a variable which could be adjusted based on stylistic demands of the context (I ...
eugen-fried's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
135 views

Which should I record first?

So my problem is that I don't know which is recorded first, do you record the orchestra first or do you record the drums or guitar first? I've tried recording the drums first but it didn't sound ...
Sky_SWDM360asks's user avatar