Questions tagged [orchestration]

The study or practice of writing music for an orchestra or of adapting music composed for another medium for an orchestra.

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9
votes
4answers
836 views

Horn & Trumpet and Key Signatures

In reading from 100 Orchestration Tips by Thomas Goss, I've come across a tip which I'm perfectly happy accepting, but (perhaps as I'm not a horn player nor a trumpet player) I do not understand. 34. ...
9
votes
2answers
701 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 ...
0
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1answer
94 views

How to orchestrate well? [closed]

I am starting a concerto, and one of the problems is about the orchestration. I have not studied orchestration, do not have an orchestration book, or any orchestral knowledge from a theoretical ...
1
vote
1answer
65 views

How to smoothly change between vastly different melodies [closed]

I'm starting a Concerto(Piano) and all of the problems I have come across are A: regarding the orchestration(this is my first orchestral piece) and B: the 2 subjects of the first sonata movement are ...
5
votes
2answers
290 views

Scales changes in Orchestration

There is a common technic used in orchestration across all genres of music. Sometimes in the second verse or before the singer is about to repeat another part in the song there is a move usually up in ...
3
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2answers
682 views

Are there "left-hand" pianists that keep time with their right hand?

Typically keeping rhythm is a low-end job: bassists in a guitar band, and the left hand in playing the piano. Admittedly I know nearly nothing about playing the piano. But I thought I would ask: Are ...
2
votes
1answer
102 views

how can I study orchestration methods for electric guitar?

In this post, I was given some tips on arranging electric guitars. However, I would like to do further reading on the subject (spreads, range, register, coupling, doubling, unisons, etc), and I can't ...
6
votes
2answers
71 views

Instrument Switching Question: B flat to Bass Clarinet

I'm writing for a classical style orchestra: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, timpani, strings — two parts each, except timpani and strings. There is one spot where I think a ...
1
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3answers
119 views

Doubling notes in orchestration - inversions and extensions

Just a very quick question, because I've found similar answers about doubling notes (for instance, when arranging for four- or five-part harmony), but nothing specifically involving inversions. So, ...
1
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2answers
101 views

When composers score for huge ensembles, how do they manage to keep track of dozens of voices at once?

Examples: Masses/Requiems (Bach, Mozart, Schumann), Scriabin's Mysterium etc. When I had to write simple four-voice chorales for music theory, I struggled to keep track of all the voices - how is it ...
3
votes
1answer
76 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
320 views

Do first violins go first even in repeating parts

During a feedback session on one of my compositions I was told that the first violins always get the first/more/better/complex notes and themes than the second violins. Even if it means that you would ...
2
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2answers
324 views

Is hocket the same as dovetailing?

Is there a difference between the two? There is quite a bit of stuff on dovetailing but I cant find much info for "hocket effect"
16
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4answers
968 views

Voicing in the Finale of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 "Pathétique"

In the opening bars of the last movement of Tchaikovsky's 6th, the strings have some four-part writing with a melody "F# E D C# B C#." However, the score reveals that the first and second ...
5
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5answers
2k views

Which instruments to physically familiarize with to become a better orchestrator?

Physically familiarizing with which two orchestral instruments would be a good compromise between having to buy all the instruments and gaining leverage in orchestral writing? My own opinion is ...
1
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2answers
84 views

Is it commonplace to add further instrumentation to an already published composers work?

There's a really strange sounding instrument, similar to the one you once heard at school aged about seven in your very first music lesson. The only noise one can compare it to is the sound of horse ...
7
votes
3answers
162 views

Note with two stems in snare drum part [Ravel's Miroir]: What is the result?

This is part of the snare drum part from Ravel's Miroirs No. 4: Alborado del Gracioso (The jester's aubade). What is the effect of both sticks playing the same note? If the sticks coincide precisely ...
7
votes
3answers
649 views

Do first violins take precedence over second violins for the main melody or the higher pitched part?

I know that in general within an orchestra, if the violins hold the melody it's usually the first violins which play the main melody and the second violins act as a support to them, but if the main ...
2
votes
1answer
74 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Double basses in Beethoven's Eroica

I have just been listening to Beethoven's Eroica while following a miniature score: Eulenburg score at Amazon. I was paying particular attention to the double basses and I noticed that frequently ...
-3
votes
3answers
87 views

What instrument(s) lend themselves to playing different dynamics rapidly? [closed]

I'm a composer. What instrument(s) would it be easiest to play parts like this on? Thinking along the lines of unpitched percussion, but I'm open to anything. For example:
2
votes
2answers
80 views

Layout of Instruments in Piano, Cello and Flute Trio

So I've written a trio for piano, cello and flute, but was unsure of which order vertically in each system they should go. My initial thought was that it would be highest pitched to lowest pitched - ...
3
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2answers
224 views

Two Stringed Instruments in Unison?

I have been receiving conflicting information from orchestration bigwigs. Some say that composers should never orchestrate two stringed instruments together because they will be ever so slightly out ...
1
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1answer
2k views

Is there a place to get scoreless film clips to practice with? [closed]

I have written a lot of pieces that I feel would fit nicely for a film or commercial and I would like to practice doing some scoring for films. Rather than filming myself, is there a website made for ...
14
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2answers
1k views

Trumpet type or technique?

In Wagner’s “Rule, Britannia”, the orchestration calls for two trumpets. I’ve had no luck searching for what “vent.” and “ord.” mean. “Open” and “muted”, or ...?
1
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1answer
66 views

Do I need to worry about Tympani glissando here?

So I have come across another thing that some people have said about my Pathetique Sonata orchestration. That is that my tympani pitch changes are too quick and that there will be glissando on the ...
3
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0answers
178 views

Should I have the time signature change from 4/4 to 2/4 or from 2/2 to 2/4?

So, I am composing another piece that involves time signature switching. I'm starting with the piano solo improvisation that I recorded and I'm thinking of expanding it from solo piano to orchestra. ...
0
votes
2answers
804 views

Viola and Cello diamond notehead notation interpretation

I'm attempting to transcribe (for playback) Dukas' L'Apprenti Sorcier into Musescore. I don't understand what the following notation means, how it should be played, or possibly be approximated, ...
1
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0answers
37 views

What authors have tried to compare a wide variety of styles, specifically with regards to orchestration?

I have never found a guide to orchestration which systematically discusses differences in the theory behind the orchestration/composition choices with regards to different typical stylistic genres, ...
44
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8answers
3k views

Does the difference in harmonic series between instruments have a significant effect on the consonance of the sound?

We all know that an instrument's timbre is uniquely determined by its harmonic series. Harmonic series are also very effective in describing whether an interval is consonant or not. For example, the ...
1
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1answer
102 views

Is there a certain way to voice chords for an orchestration?

I am new to composing, and I am working on a piece for an orchestra. Currently, I am working on the string section. I have four parts so far (violin, viola, cello, double bass). I am considering ...
1
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1answer
33 views

What is the techniques used at the beginning of "Victory" by Two Steps From Hell?

Apart from the drums and piano at the beginning of this piece, there is some kind of string arrangement happening. I'm not sure what technique is being used, it is also used in several of their other ...
2
votes
3answers
238 views

How am I supposed to orchestrate a D7 when the chordal seventh is emphasized?

This is something I have come across as I try to orchestrate Eine Kleine Nachtmusik for a symphony orchestra. A sort of harmonic ambiguity on Mozart's part. I'm talking about the chord at the repeat ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

Difference between Martele & accent

I’m studying string articulations and I’m having trouble finding the difference between these off the bow articulations. Why should a composer choose to use martele in a situtuation instead of ...
1
vote
4answers
485 views

Writing a score in C (as it will sound)

I want to learn how to write a score for transposing instruments as it will sound (in C). I have a vague idea of how to do this, like for example, you need to know the transposing intervals of the ...
17
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7answers
5k views

How to distinguish between different instruments in a classical orchestra?

I want to train myself into distinguishing the instruments being played simultaneously in orchestral music (primarily Wagner and Bruckner, maybe Mahler). Ideally I want to be able to say at each point ...
2
votes
1answer
202 views

Orchestration: how to know a comfortable playable speed to low register instruments?

During the orchestration of a piano piece, sometimes there are fast passages (with long intervals) in the lower register, like that Villa-Lobos "Saudades das Selvas Brasileiras" passage: Or this ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the typical trumpet parts in classical music?

So I'm a pianist looking at one of my favorite concertos ever, the Rachmaninoff 2. I had been listening to some symphonic works prior to it, so for some reason I noticed that in the concerto, there ...
2
votes
2answers
165 views

Orchestration question: Should I change which woodwinds get which lines?

I have orchestrated the exposition of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and gotten several comments. Here I will concentrate on a single comment that I got, that the oboes are too high in bar 11. I got no ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Duplicate instruments in unison in an orchestra

Theoretically, each addition of a sound identical to the previous one results in a 6db increase in the final sound result. I ask: is that why in some orchestrations we see, for example, 6 clarinets ...
2
votes
1answer
147 views

Clarinets in the Rite of Spring

I am studying a miniature score of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Dover Miniature Scores). For the clarinets, I see this in the instrumentation page: Clarinetto piccolo (D, Es) 3 Clarinetti (B, A)...
5
votes
1answer
424 views

Bass clarinet notation in the Rite of Spring and other pieces

I am a clarinettist so I am a little embarrassed to need to ask this. I have not played the bass clarinet. I am looking at a miniature score of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (Dover Miniature ...
1
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3answers
889 views

How should I write a tutti chord?

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
71 views

Will a forte tympani overpower a quiet orchestra?

So far, I have been mainly using the tympani in my orchestration of the Pathetique Sonata for the purpose of adding an accent. It might change later on to having a more important role but right now, ...
2
votes
2answers
179 views

Should I raise this chord up an octave?

Okay, I asked somebody else for advice on my orchestration and he went a bit into lower interval limits. He did however give me advice on orchestration for the first chord. Here is what he gave me: ...
6
votes
2answers
308 views

How would Mozart have learned orchestration?

In the time before classic books on orchestration by Berlioz and Rimsky-Korsakov had been written, how would a composer such as Mozart have been able to learn to write for orchestra?
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2answers
208 views

Stuck orchestrating the melody of a Beethoven sonata

I have been orchestrating the Pathetique Sonata for months. I looked on IMSLP and saw no orchestral transcription. And I figured, if I am going to orchestrate a piano sonata, this would be the sonata ...
5
votes
2answers
528 views

Will characteristic acoustical properties of real instruments also be observed when using high quality digital samples?

This - comment - has stuck with me, because it described an unintuitive property of oboes. I wouldn't have thought oboes in parallel thirds sounds out of tune. Then I wondered if it would be the same ...
6
votes
7answers
3k views

Orchestral Composition Process

I'm trying to find out about the process of composing for the multiple instruments in an orchestra. Do you just write on the piano for all the instruments and then present the finished piece to the ...
3
votes
6answers
1k views

Can synthesizers match orchestras in terms of complexity and quality? [closed]

To what degree can technically demanding scores such as Tom and Jerry's (Scott Bradley's music) be performed on synthesizers? Which specific synthesizers are capable of the best quality performance? ...