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What is an overtone? When you pluck a guitar string, there are a variety of ways it could vibrate1: Each vibration will produce a different pitch, because they have different frequencies. For example, the top-left corner has the lowest frequency because it has the smallest number of crests/valleys--its crests are highly infrequent. In most cases, when you ...


22

Is it an important thing to consider in Orchestration? You have in fact stumbled onto the very foundation (and art) of orchestration. Orchestration is about not only knowing how each instrument sounds, but how to blend those sounds together to get the effects / textures you're looking for. Composers generally don't think about blend in terms of harmonic ...


21

The handover is feasible. The circular breathing thing would be classed as a #special skill' I think! But how long do you need? A good flautist might give you 30 seconds without special technique.


21

Vent. is an abbreviation for Ventil, which is the German for valve. Ord. probably denotes ordinary, for non-valved trumpets, i.e. bugles. If you look through the Vent. parts, they do feature chromatic notes, which would require valves. The Ord. parts are all bugle notes, except these bugles have a lowest open note which is an octave lower than today's ...


18

I'm a trumpet player who's played in many orchestras. The first thing to understand is that historically, the trumpet is a relatively new addition to the orchestra. Before the mid-19th century, metalworking wasn't sophisticated enough to build valves, so trumpets from before this time were more like bugles, unable to play fully chromatically. With a limited ...


17

Since the different instruments are not producing the exact same waveforms perfectly phase aligned, there is not nearly a 6 dB boost when the number of instruments playing the same part is doubled. It’s more complicated than that. The doubling has two effects: first, there is a volume increase, and as some instruments are quieter than others, this can ...


16

You begin by listening to individual instruments, to learn what they sound like, and the variations in their sound. Solo pieces, quartets, etc. are one way to do this. Searching Youtube for instrument tutorials is another. I got my start in instrument recognition with Piccolo, Saxo et Compagnie when I was about 3 years old. Then try recognizing instruments ...


15

Other answers so far make good points -- matching timbres (and sound spectra) is actually essential to orchestration, and composers have been noticing these patterns (and using them in orchestration) even before analysis of harmonic spectra was possible. I would add one other related issue to answering the title question about "differences in harmonic ...


14

Wagner was German, so the instrument names are in German. (Die Posa is Latin for "placed on") Yes, Pos. is short for Posuane, German for trombone. Btb. is short for Basstuba, German for Bass tuba (duh :P) Pk. is short for Pauken, German for Timpani zu 3 is short for zusammen drei, German for (literally) "three together"


14

There are several compositions written in purpose to present the orchestra, the instrument sections and the single instruments to the audience and especially for children like Peter and the wolf (Sergej Prokofiev) and The young persons guide to the orchestra (Benjamin Britten). You may listen to any youtube videos, watching or only listening. a) camera ...


13

Posaunen: Trombones. Btb: Bass Tuba. Pk: Pauken = tympani. zu 3 = all three trombones play the same notes.


13

I'm not entirely certain of whether this is providing information that the OP doesn't already have. Apologies if this is a repeat of known knowledge. In the early evolution of the horn as an orchestral instrument, it had no keys, so the player could only play notes in the harmonic series of the instruments, plus-or-minus hand-stopping (which changes the ...


13

Get an idea, how each instrument sounds separately (as covered in other answers) Train to read scores of ensembles with increasing number of instruments while listening. For orchestra pieces like symphonies start with smaller setting like Haydn. (Mahler, Berlioz, Wagner are a league above). Pieces with a singer are helpful (e.g. cantatatas and oratorios), ...


12

Horn fifths are not parallel fifths. Rather, they are the characteristic sequence of intervals that occurs when two horns play their natural scale with an offset of two notes. Since the notes of that scale are (in C major) e - g - c - d - e - f - g - a (the B flat is usually omitted because it is not quite a B flat and doesn't harmonize as well as the ...


12

More specifically, a horn fifth is a form of direct fifth that occurs when two parts moving in the same direction progress through a fifth. So called because: it is characteristic writing for natural horns, it is considered an acceptable form of otherwise contrapuntally weak motion. Here's an example using the notes available on the natural horn:


12

Well Hector, I'm a composer who's written for orchestra several times, and I'm happy to tell you how composers typically wrangle that beast. There are 3 primary ways composers work, depending on their preference: Piano Score Short Score Open Score Piano Score – when a composer writes everything on a grand staff (like you would for piano). Often composers ...


12

Beethoven wrote those low notes even though he knew they were not playable on the instruments available. The subject of Beethoven's disregard for the range of the bass has been much discussed. Stephen Buckley has written a dissertation on the subject: " Beethoven's Double Bass Parts: The Viennese Violone and the Problem of Lower Compass". One of the possible ...


11

Does the difference in harmonic series between instruments have a significant effect on the consonance of the sound? Absolutely - and not only between instruments. Different ranges of the same instrument have different harmonic structures - a commonly-given example is the 'muddy' sound at the bottom end of the piano, caused partly by relatively weak lower ...


10

No textbook is flawless. Even ignoring the occasional typo, every student is different and learns in a different way, so the best textbook for one student might be just "eh" for another. (And don't even get me started on cost...) I've worked extensively with both the Laitz and Clendinning/Marvin textbooks, and I can enthusiastically recommend both. They ...


10

There doesn't necessarily have to be separate people for arranging, composing, writing, etc. Whoever does any of it becomes the doer. However, I'd define to you in my own words composing, arranging and writing. Writing: Writing may mean writing the lyrics of a song. Maybe a poetic person is asked to write the lyrics of a song that would have deep ...


9

From an article by Ralph Wood entitled The Piano as an Orchestral Instrument (which is dated 1934, so maybe there's more recent scholarship): So far as I know, the earliest composer to add the piano to his "battery" was, as might be expected, Berlioz. In Lélio [1832–ed.] he used a piano (à 4 mains) to produce certain crystalline, ethereal ...


9

In general, yes - a high quality sample is essentially a high-quality recording, and will capture the overtones/harmonics, as well as other 'unstable' noises, that would be heard when simply listening to the instrument. One situation where you might not hear these characteristics reproduced faithfully might be where the sample in question has a small ...


8

The issue is your assumption that the horn and trumpet are in fact in F and B-flat. Trumpets can be pitched in a variety of keys, and horn historically has played in one harmonic series or another without the use of valves, but by using crooks to pitch the instrument in one key or another. In this case, the horn part is written in C and the trumpet part is ...


8

Conventionally, 1 and 3 take higher parts and 2 and 4 take lower parts. In many scores, horns 1&3 are given one staff and then horns 2&4 are given the next staff. I prefer that method, but you will see plenty of scores that group 1&2 and 3&4—however it will still generally be the case that the odd numbers have higher parts and the evens have ...


8

Overtones are harmonics, or upper partials; extra notes which sound when a fundamental note is played. The words are almost synonymous, but not exactly. When a string is played, or a note blown, the loudest sound we usually hear is the fundamental - the one we would sing back, or use to identify what the note is. It has, to greater or lesser degrees, other ...


8

I assume you're asking whether you can play an English horn part on aviola, because you have a viola player at your disposal and not an English horn player. It's possible, but there are a few problems: The viola player will be used to reading in alto clef, not the treble clef in which the English horn part is written. The English horn is a transposing ...


8

Good question; this is a much harder thing to practice than, say, writing a modulation to the dominant. Score Study The most efficient method will be through score study. Study scores of other composers and see how they orchestrated. What do they do that is successful? What do they do that isn't successful? How are instruments treated in relation to other ...


7

One of the best bits of advice I've had about writing good, comfortable sounding trumpet parts is "keep it on the stave". Sure, the trumpet range extends beyond this, both above and below the stave, but the range on the stave is comfortable and will generally blend well with other instruments. Back when I started composing and arranging (a pretty long time ...


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