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Orchestration
#1151285 03/30/08 02:04 AM
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blacvi Offline OP
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As I continue to experiment with composing a bit, I feel the need to gain some formal knowledge of orchestration rather than continuing to wander blindly around. How should I approach this? Of course, I'm continuing to listen to various symphonies and such, but are there any good texts out there people know of? Is Berlioz's treatise on orchestration worth looking at? And does anybody know of a good source of scores I can study from?

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Re: Orchestration
#1151286 03/30/08 12:13 PM
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Usually orchestration classes start by having the students write pieces for solos or small groups and then proceeding to small orchestral groups, etc.

For more modern information on instruments I recommend Piston's book, but for learning how combinations work in practice and theory I recommend you look at Rimsky-Korsakov's book on orchestration. It should have musical score excerpts at the back that are referred to in the text.

A helpful exercise can also be to listen to some later Mozart symphonies with score in hand. The reason this can be valuable is to learn how a full sound can be produced with remarkably small forces. This is also very true with Rameau, but good scores of his music are not usually at hand or even in the nearest music library. Following any well done orchestra music with a score will yield some insights whether it's Mozart or Ravel or Tchaikovsky.

To start though, it is best to learn about the instruments, their ranges, limitations and special effects and go from there.


Scott
Re: Orchestration
#1151287 03/30/08 02:33 PM
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Scott is quite right to what he says! Start small and get larger...

The techniques of the instruments, the limits, and the general study of what each one can do and how it sounds, is called "Instrumentation" in one word and is a great chapter and part of the more... generic idea of orchestration.

As for orchestration there is something rather good, for a free offering: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=77

With flash scores, music rendered (very good for what it is) by GPO and a bit of explaining from professor Belkin, a great Canadian composer and friend of a friend (of a friend of a friend of a friend... *ahem*)

As for scores... Try getting the Mozart symphonies (as Scott suggests!) They should be right HERE: http://dme.mozarteum.at/DME/nma/start.php?l= (along with all of Mozarts scores). And btw, recordings as well, as it appears, although slow: http://www.mozart-archiv.de/

The other excersize that is REALLY useful, but difficult to do alone and one teacher who wrote a book is dead and his book is... extingued in English is Luibowitz (I think is the spelling). Transcribing from piano scores to orchestral. Take a piano score reduced from an orchestra and make it back for orchestra. Then check with the original.

There should be 2 piano editions of various pieces of music, older usually, so you could get ahold of that and start slowly.

Re: Orchestration
#1151288 03/31/08 10:00 AM
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You really can't go wrong with Piston. As a composer, I would also pick up some Norton scores and tapes. Just looking at how great masters orchestrate goes a very long way!


Daniel E. Friedman, co-owner of www.pianolessons101.com
You CAN learn to play the piano in a fun and positive way.
Re: Orchestration
#1151289 03/31/08 11:11 AM
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I can't comment on the Piston book, but I have both the Berlioz and Rimsky-Korsakov books and both have been very useful to me. Personally I like the Berlioz a little better, but they're both very good.


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Re: Orchestration
#1151290 03/31/08 11:31 AM
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About as basic as you can get is this:

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Arranging and Orchestration" by Michael Miller.

Don't scoff and don't let the title scare you off - it's a good bottom line intro with large sections on instruments and sample arrangements & a CD. Find it here: Michael Miller

Also recommended are these highly useful additional reference works:

"Principles of Orchestration" by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov

"The Study of Orchestration" by Samuel Adler

"Sounds and Scores: A Practical Guide to Professional Orchestration" by Henry Mancini (yes, THAT Henry Mancini).

"Contemporary Choral Arranging" by Authur E. Ostrander & Dana Wilson (which I have worked thru and highly recommend).

JF


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Re: Orchestration
#1151291 03/31/08 11:31 AM
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I've heard that Samuel Adler's book is quite good. There's also an accompanying set of CDs with recordings of all examples.

Other than that, scores are always good to have. Starting with classical or early romantic scores would be best. Of course, some later composers like Mahler, Strauss, Stravinsky, Debussy and Ravel were great orchestrators, but their scores are often complex and I wouldn't recommend them to beginners.


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Re: Orchestration
#1151292 04/02/08 07:17 PM
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blacvi Offline OP
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I knew this was the right place to ask =)

Thanks for all your responses. I think I've got enough to go on for quite awhile now.

Re: Orchestration
#1151293 04/03/08 09:47 PM
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Wow, what a great thread! Thanks to all who contributed. Nikolas, thanks for the nothern sounds link. Wow, what a great resource! I'm definitely going to give that a try... I'm not sure if I really have the prereqs, but I'm sure I'll get something out of it. Thanks again! smile

dave


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