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Topic: Arranging/Composing question...

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  1. #1

    Arranging/Composing question...

    Which instrument would you guys believe to sound particularly good solo\'ed with a piano?

    I want to layer Rachael\'s Redemption with a single solo instrument, I\'m thinking a cello...?

    Any thoughts? Any personal favorite duos including a piano and another solo instrument? The mood I want to create is stark, yet warm. Something along the lines of this:


  2. #2

    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    Dude... you are never going to grow or learn anything unless you experiment with orchestration. You can even go down the line and ask, \"What goes good with a trumpet? What would best accompany a triangle? How many solo flutes should compliment a kazoo?\"

    In my experiences, experimenting with different combinations of instruments has resulted in some interesting timbres.

    As far as what goes good with piano? EVERYTHING (except kazoo)! Solo clarinet, cello, voice, muted trumpet, trombone, flute, ect.

  3. #3
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    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    Considering the mood of the music and dynamics, cello will be great a choice. Viola will be o.k. but it might not have enough power. Violin... I don\'t know if it fits the mood that I am looking for. Any high woodwinds and brass are out of my choice. Bassoon or Bass clarinet might be interesting one.

    Just a thought...

  4. #4

    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    Thanks Ken,

    The bass clarinet might work just as well as the cello, I\'ll play with it when I get home.

    @A_Sapp: Sorry if I offended you by asking for advice, but I haven\'t had the experience that most here have to know what will help me achieve the mood that I\'m looking for, I can hear all this stuff in my head, and am slowly learning how to get that sound from my DAW by spending countless hours \"experimenting\". That\'s how I came up with the cello.

    Then, and only after putting those hours in, I post here to get seasoned pros responses, maybe I overlooked an instrument, maybe while I was playing around with one of them I didn\'t hit the right notes to give me the sound I wanted, even though, under someone else\'s hands, it may have been the perfect compliment.

    I get a feeling of \"RTFM\" from your post, only there is no manual! At least not one I\'ve come across yet that can give me the experience/knowledge/personal attention that this board can.

    Thanks to anyone who\'s given me feedback/critisism in the past, I really do appretiate it, and feel it is helping me grow each time I post...

  5. #5

    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    Originally posted by Alan Lastufka:
    Which instrument would you guys believe to sound particularly good solo\'ed with a piano?

    I want to layer Rachael\'s Redemption with a single solo instrument, I\'m thinking a cello...?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">This definitely sounds like a \"cello\" piece to me!

  6. #6

    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    No offense taken here at all - I just assumed it was natural that all composers would rather figure out the \'appropriate\' instrumentation themselves - whatever the result may\'ve been. Ultimately trial and \'error\' led you to the cello - go with it! And yes, getting advice from the pros on this board helps, but it doesn\'t compare to the rewards of working on instinct or intuition.

    No malice in my post. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  7. #7

    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    I haven\'t had the time to listen to your piece, but some general thoughts, Alan.

    The RTFM you should be reading is an orchestration book. Second, are scores with recordings.

    Starkness and warm are not necessarily guidelines for instrumental choices, they\'re too broad. And to me, the grammar suggests opposites. The guide I\'d look to define is your harmony and the range in which you write your melodic line.

    The one place Aaron is right, is that you have to experiment. Don\'t look for formula canned answers. Right now I\'m orchestrating Debussy\'s Jimbo\'s Lullaby from Children\'s Corner. Bars 29-32 took some thinking. Ultimately, I made an instrumental choice, and using GPO, quickly tried out eight or more combinations to test and confirm my original thinking.

    You have to give yourself permission to experiment vs. trying to come up with perfect solution the first time. Beethoven\'s notebooks showed that he didn\'t. Give yourself a break.

  8. #8

    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    Be aware that Cello accompagnied by piano is a really overused cliché. And it has a specific melancholic and sad sound which you might like, but isn´t very individual or personal anymore. And you can´t escape it.
    I like the bassclarinet idea.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    Hi Alan,

    What the piece is evoking to me is a sort of lonely, melancholy. I am having a hard time figuring out whether you intend to clash that Eb in the downward 4-note hook against the Bb triad in the low bass. If it\'s intentional, it\'s evocative of someone sitting at the piano and not really being very astute harmonically--as a mood generator. If you\'re looking for it to be the motive upon which an \"opus-grade\" opus is based, I\'m not sure it holds up. You might either consider a IV 6-4 by voicing Bb,Eb,G under the clash, or even using the Eb as an 11 and voicing a minor 7 in the left hand. Or if it\'s an intentionally \"naive\" piece, designed to sort of harmonically stumble around, you need to wrap the entire thing in some other kind of musical \"glaze\" that evokes the mood...perhaps a completely different orchestral layer which provides a moving \"soup\" upon which the programmatic piano rests.

    I think this is probably the thrust of the puzzling answers you\'re receiving to very straightforward questions. At present, when I listen to the piece, I think you could leave it alone, exactly as is, and it would be a suitable \"cue\" for a very particular kind of mood when used programmatically. But as a launch-pad for something with an album cover, and an Opus title, you\'ve only gotten about a pixel\'s worth of work done on your musical picture.

    Does that make sense? I\'m just not sure how to relate to the piece, so I\'m stabbing in the dark to give you any help. Is this the length you want the finished piece to be? Are any of my assumptions about the artistic goals of the piece in the ballpark? Can you fill in the blanks? I think that would be the most helpful thing if you\'re looking to get good feedback. I\'m usually a good judge of musical \"direction,\" but in this case, I\'m not able to tell where you\'re going without a little more info from you.

    I think that may be why you\'re getting the \"RTFM\" sorts of responses. The question here is so wide open, there\'s not a lot someone can tell you.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Arranging/Composing question...

    Also, I think the fact that you can express yourself very well visually holds promise.

    Take some lessons from your picture.

    The palette is restricted to ochres and muted blues. Why? How do you support that musically? Why are the roses faded or dying? How do you support that? The typeface is elegant and somewhat restrained. How do you support that? The naming of the piece as Opus 2 No. 1 implies a concert or art music setting, an almost academic formality. How does that relate to what the music says? What is it saying about your goals?

    There\'s a lot of negative space in the picture. How does that relate to the construction of the piece?

    Everything you\'re learning in art school can be directly applied to musicmaking. What you need to do, is exactly what you\'ve mentioned...DO read the manual. Get a bonehead theory book, find a music major that will tutor you in exchange for some artwork, and dig in. Next semester, TAKE MUSIC THEORY!! You need to learn to relate the abstract concepts you already know to the musical language, which you don\'t know.

    The good thing to take from it is this: Conceptually, you already know how to compose. But you\'re trying to run before you\'ve learned to crawl...to write poetry before you have a vocabulary from which to draw. I think getting some basic theory under your belt will start connecting the dots for you, and you\'ll have a big leap as a result.

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