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#2076658 - 05/03/13 01:15 PM books on different istruments in orchestration  
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haakonsb Offline
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Norway
hi

I have reasently bin studying orchestration, and i have Rimsky-korsakovs book on orchestration which i find very helpful in learning how to balance the orchestra well, and I think it has many god tips on how to orchestrate romantic style music.

In this study i have found it nessesary to get much better knowledge of the different instruments specifications, and how to write so it will be easy to play for each instrument, like for example learning the different qualities of the different strings on string instruments and what different teqnuiks the instruments possesses.

Does any of you have any good suggestions? Also if there are any other books on Orchestration in general you would like to suggest I would be very happy.

The music I make is tonal and it dosen`t go much more far in dissonans than Prokofiev to give you an idea of what type of music i make.

Here is a link to one of my compositions for piano
LoLtoccata

Sorry for my bad English by the way, my spelling is horrible. tiki

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#2076750 - 05/03/13 04:31 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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Polyphonist Offline
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Originally Posted by haakonsb
Here is a link to one of my compositions for piano
LoLtoccata

Score?


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2076798 - 05/03/13 06:13 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: Polyphonist]  
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haakonsb Offline
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here is a link to the score!
LoLtoccata

It is poorly scored, as it was the first music i notated. it's 1 an a half years old. when i get time i will re-score it!

#2076983 - 05/04/13 03:29 AM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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Charles Peck Offline
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I would highly recommend the Alfred Blatter book, Orchestration and Instrumentation. It has some great detail and can also be a great desk reference. I still use it now and again when I am trying something new or if I need a refresher.

#2077010 - 05/04/13 05:27 AM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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Nikolas Offline
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There's also the Adler book on orchetrsation and instrumention (I think it's called, or I've got it mixed up with Blatters one). Both are very good. The Blatter one goes further into details about instrumentation, but I don't particularly enjoy the language he's using. On the other hand Adler has an excellent text with many examples and more in depth analysis of orchestration but his instrumentation allows some room for improvement...

#2077294 - 05/04/13 05:46 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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the other link didden't work! here is a new link to the score
Loltoccata

#2077375 - 05/04/13 08:30 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: Nikolas]  
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I have the Adler and the Blatter and pretty handily prefer the Blatter. There are plenty of examples in both, but I find the Blatter much better as a desk reference, which is how you would typically use a book like this once you know the basics.

#2077476 - 05/05/13 02:54 AM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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To me, the best books on instrumentation and orchestration are the scores of the composers themselves.

They not only teach you how to effectively score for all possible combinations of instruments but they also teach you how to compose great music.

Thanks to imslp.org you now have access to virtually all music composed up to the end of the 19th century and all of this for free and always at your fingertips.

Listen to some good recordings while you are analysing and studying the scores and note how composers use the instruments in different ways to create all kinds of different effects.

Instead of looking at isolated score fragments in an expensive textbook, see how all of this comes together over the span of a whole work. This will help you understand so much more about how instruments function in different contexts.

An added bonus of studying the scores directly is that it will vastly expand your musical horizon and stimulate your growth as a composer.

#2077844 - 05/05/13 07:11 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: JanVan]  
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Charles Peck Offline
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I agree that score studying is definitely important, for orchestration and many other skills. I do think there is a lot of value however to having an orchestration book. It gives a more condensed overview of all of the instruments without having to study millions of scores. And it includes 20th and 21st century techniques, which could not be studied on imslp. It is also functions as a good desk reference when you need to remember or check something while you're writing.

#2077869 - 05/05/13 08:02 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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If you look at scores - and if you have an orchestration book, then you have the best of both worlds. The thing is, the orchestration book is for reference (as other have already said). Score study, as others have also said, is for inspiration and to find new techniques. So from my point of view, BOTH of them working together are the way to go.

Ravels' orchestration of PIcture's at An Exhibition is great for learning because score gives the complete orchestration and the piano part is included at the bottom of each page. There's a lot to learn from Beethoven and Mozart and Haydn scores. Really, ANY score at all is something to learn from! String quartets, whatever! Then take a look whatever orchestration book you're using to get a second point of view.

If you can discuss the score and piece that you're following with someone, that's excellent too.




#2078043 - 05/06/13 01:33 AM Books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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LoPresti Offline
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I am really pleased to see an informed question on the subject or orchestration. As others here have already covered, there is a variety of ways to gain the detailed knowledge of each instrument. You mentioned that you are now learning orchestration, and for that the Rimsky-Korsakov PRINCILPLES is very hard to beat.

Pianists, when they are learning, and sometimes guitarists and accordion players, suffer a unique deprivation of instrument knowledge, because they seldom play with an instrumental ensemble. Why is that important? When one rehearses often with a wide variety of instruments, one becomes acquainted with their capabilities and shortcomings. With the musician’s ear, one hears what they sound like solo, and in various combinations. One notices what works well, and one sees what type of writing is clumsy, or can make an instrument struggle.

So I would like to add a suggestion: If you do not regularly play with an ensemble, attend as many orchestral rehearsals as you can, and make notes, written or mental. Pay particular attention to what combinations seem to work well together, and to which combinations do not. Listen to what sort of writing makes particular instruments have problems. Combine this experiential knowledge with Rimsky-Korsakov’s, or Samuel Adler’s descriptions of the instrumental behavior and timbre, plus their range charts, and you will be writing music that the instrumentalists love to play.

By the way, if I were forced to write (or speak) in Norwegian, I would be completely lost!

Ed


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#2078725 - 05/07/13 09:06 AM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: Charles Peck]  
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Originally Posted by Charles Peck
I agree that score studying is definitely important, for orchestration and many other skills. I do think there is a lot of value however to having an orchestration book. It gives a more condensed overview of all of the instruments without having to study millions of scores. And it includes 20th and 21st century techniques, which could not be studied on imslp.


Be careful! There's a "Modern Classical" ethos, based on rejection of Common Practice, and seemingly interested in novelty and innovation above all else. "New" ways of playing instruments have been discovered. Many new scores are overloaded with them - try finding a contemporary piece for flute that DOESN'T feature flutter-tonguing :-)

#2078801 - 05/07/13 12:05 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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Nikolas Offline
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Exalted: Flt. is not exactly a novelty for quite a few decades now I think wink But other than that I do agree, and it's a shame that this is happening...

Now, back in my lamb roasting activities! grin

#2078843 - 05/07/13 02:05 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: Nikolas]  
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Originally Posted by Nikolas
... Now, back in my lamb roasting activities!

You Greeks are sssooooo Hedonistic (or should that be Platonic?)


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#2079669 - 05/09/13 06:37 AM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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Thanks for all the great feedback! I will seartenly use more time to study scores! I have bought the scores for Grig and Rachmaninoff's 3rd piano concerto, Saint-saens organ symphony an mascagni's cavaleria rusticana! I will also buy pictures at an exebition later as you also can study the piano score, as someone has mentioned.

I was also wondering if there exists a book that explains what harmonies you can play on each string instruments, and how it one can write effectively using real and false harmonics? is there maybe a book dealing whit strings all alone or is it mentioned in Blatter or Adler?

Thanks again for all the replies! and I was wondering if anyone also liked my composition? i'm not the greatest pianist thou! haha

#2086620 - 05/22/13 07:42 AM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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I had one more extra question about strings which I posted, but no on responded, is there because something like this doesn't exist?, i'll re-post the question!


I was also wondering if there exists a book that explains what harmonies you can play on each string instruments, and how it one can write effectively using real and false harmonics? is there maybe a book dealing whit strings all alone or is it mentioned in Blatter or Adler?

#2086861 - 05/22/13 02:42 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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Charles Peck Offline
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It is mentioned in both the Blatter and Adler books. Having said that I'm sure there is a more in depth book somewhere which focuses more intensely on this, though I don't know what it is.

Personally, I think the best way to approach this though is to learn the basics and then to start thinking analytically about it. Imagine you are holding a violin or cello and imagine how you would need to place your fingers. I think this will help you to internalize the instrument's capabilities.

But its up to you, I'm sure there is a good book out there somewhere.

#2087111 - 05/23/13 12:45 AM Books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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haakonsb,

We are staying with you here, but you are asking a bunch of composers - primarily composers for the piano - a question which can only be answered by someone who has a fairly advanced knowledge of STRINGS. An example: Years ago, I composed a string quartet in which I used harmonics in the violins. I notated the parts in the traditional way, following the WRITTEN advice found in Rimsky-Korsakov's PRINCIPLES, or perhaps in the Samuel Adler text. When we got to rehearsal, the first violinist made a "humble" recommendation -- the harmonics I had notated were particularly treacherous, and very difficult to execute accurately. His suggestion was to use a different type of harmonic, called a "touch four", which would be easier to play consistently, and better in tune. I pretended to know about the differences, and simply said, "Let's try it". BOTH violinists breathed an audible sigh of relief!

The point is, this is the sort of deep learning one gets only from real players, and rarely (if ever) from books.

Ed


In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#2087135 - 05/23/13 01:51 AM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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Nikolas Offline
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Originally Posted by haakonsb
I was also wondering if there exists a book that explains what harmonies you can play on each string instruments, and how it one can write effectively using real and false harmonics? is there maybe a book dealing whit strings all alone or is it mentioned in Blatter or Adler?
Here are a couple of links, but in all honesty you need to sit down with a violinist and have him/her play their heart out for you! wink

http://www.violinmasterclass.com/en/masterclasses/left-hand/harmonics

and

http://www.lunanova.org/CelloET/harmonics.html

and

http://andrewhugill.com/manuals/bass/mute.html

#2087423 - 05/23/13 01:28 PM Re: books on different istruments in orchestration [Re: haakonsb]  
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Mark Polishook Offline
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Harmonics on a string instrument: You've got your natural harmonics. They're found on the fingerboard right where the note would be. The harmonics themselves go up the overtone series. On the G string on a violin the natural harmonics are G (an octave higher than the pitch of the string) and then continue up to D and G repeats and then on up to B and on to another D and then to F, G and A. And so on. The higher you go the harder it is to get the harmonic.

The "touch four" harmonic is an "artificial harmonic." You get that by pressing the string down and then fingering a note a fourth higher. On the violin's G string if you finger a harmonic a 4th higher (at what would be middle C) what you get is a harmonic that's two octaves higher than the open G string.

So w/artificial harmonics there are two steps involved: fully depress the string and then stop it for the harmonic a fourth higher. That "fully depressed" point is the reference for the pitch you'll get, which again is two octaves higher.

Just to mention, natural harmonics are written with a diamond shape at the pitch where the harmonic will sound. Artificial harmonics are written with a pitch at the place where the harmonic will sound 2 octaves higher. And then the stop point that's a fourth higher is notated with the diamond.

As others have said, you definitely want to work this stuff out w/a string player. The natural and artificial harmonics are there and you can use them. Good players know how to deal w/them and they will sometimes substitute natural for artificial and vice versa to make a passage more playable.

As you work with string players and mine their knowledge you'll start to get a sense of harmonics work and where to use them and why. Holding an imaginary violin in your hand and fingering it as you write a passage IS a good thing to do. Because it's easy to write something that unplayable depending on what else is going on in the music.

One last point is harmonics (artificial and natural) can be played in tune. But they're really there more as a special effect and depending on the passage it can be difficult to get them perfectly in tune ... depending on the passage ....

If you're thinking about the different colors you can get from artificial harmonics, you probably want to investigate sul tasto and sul ponticello too. I'll leave those terms for further investigation ....

Lastly, along with getting a string player to show you how harmonics work, just look in scores to see how and where they're used. Ravel and Stravinsky are excellent sources. There are som idiomatic ways to use them and both of those composers pretty much demonstrate that.

Hope this helps!


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