• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Topic: Good Orchestration Book Recommendation?

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Good Orchestration Book Recommendation?

    Now that I have finally graduated from high school (woohoo! ), I'd like to spend my summer making money for college and, of course, writing and studying music.

    I'm not sure how often this subject comes up, but I'd like to study orchestration techniques and such, and now that I have GPO, I can put what I learn to good use. I have a bunch of midi's that I've made over the years, but I don't want to merely import them into Overture SE. Instead I'd like to work with them, and make them sound as good as I can. I've started one of them and just having the cello and the contrabass sections slowly playing low notes and the timpani softly pounding in the background sounds so good with GPO, there is certainly a level of realism that can never be achieved with midi files.

    Can anybody recommend a good orchestration book I can study that could help me use the orchestration of GPO as effectively as possible? I don't have too much money after buying GPO itself and a new computer for college with a nice soundcard and 1 GB of RAM to run GPO, but I'd like to purchase a book that I can spend lots of time with over the summer and really put some work into creating some new pieces. It would be nice if I could have some pieces to submit to Garritan's orchestration contest in December.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Senior Member CString's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    152
    Sean,

    The Samuel Adler text (I can never remember the bloody title despite the fact that I own it) and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Orchestration." You could also check out Walter Piston's "Orchestration" but I don't think it's as good as Adler's.

    The other thing you should do - and this has the most benefit as far as I'm concerned - is pick up some scores and recordings and study the scores while you listen. Dover scores are cheap and are good for this purpose. You can read a book for the rest of your life but you will never orchestrate well without hearing the real thing in action. If you can swing it, attend some orchestra rehearsals. Those are gems for learning how to do things. Oh yea, take the score with you to the rehearsal.

    I make my comp students learn orchestration properly before I agree to listen to anything of theirs that comes out of a synth. If you base all of your learning on synthetic sounds you will never EVER get good results with the real thing regardless of how good the samples are. It's a balance issue.

    -Chad

  3. #3
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    West Seneca, NY
    Posts
    11,075

    Thumbs up

    Follow that lead boy! Those are a couple of excellent text to always have on hand.
    Good luck.
    Styxx

  4. #4
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Orcas Island
    Posts
    11,454
    Sean,

    Congratulations on graduation. With college ahead of you it is good to get a head start of music studies.

    Here are some of the standard texts you may run across if you stidy orchestration in college:

    - Principles of Orchestration - Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov (Peter Alexander offers a revised edition)

    - Study of Orchestration

    - Orchestration - William Blatter

    - Orchestration - Cecil Forsythe

    - The upcoming 3rd Edition of the Guide to MIDI Orchestration will also be very good.

    Being that funds are low, you can find these and other texts at your library and used copies are always being sold on ebay.

    There are other texts and you may find the following threads helpful:

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...estration+text

    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...estration+text

    Hope this helps. Good luck in your studies and let us know if we can help.

    Gary Garritan

  5. #5

    Re: Good Orchestration Book Recommendation?

    Yes, Alder's and Korsakov's are probably the best texts on orchestration out there. And I agree with CString: you will learn as much by reading orchestral scores. I would recommend the following to start with:

    Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations.
    Gustav Holst: The Planets.
    Claude Debussy: Prelude a l'apres midi d'un faune.
    Edward Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite.
    Musorgsky: Pictures of an Exhibition.

    I use these a lot to find how to reach different textures I need.

    Anton

  6. #6
    Senior Member CString's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    152

    Re: Good Orchestration Book Recommendation?

    Anton's suggestions are excellent. I would add a few more to them:

    Mozart's last six symphonies (available from Dover) and Brahms' 2nd Symphony. I would start with those. If you can't write for woodwinds by twos before exploring a larger orchestra, you will have trouble later with a bigger palette. It usually results in alot of wasted color i.e. Richard Strauss Don Juan. As great as that work is there is a ton of color you never hear. It is, of course, also filled with absolute master strokes.

    Stravinsky's Petrushka and Rite of Spring.

    Mahler's 1st and 2nd Symphonies.

    Any orchestral J.S.Bach you can get your hands on - orchestrating counterpoint is an art unto itself.

    Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe (or just about anything else by Ravel)

    Debussy's La Mer

    Carl Orff's Carmina Burana (available from Schott publishing).

    There are many more but that ought to give you plenty to chew on for quite some time.

    Have fun and let us know if we can help.
    -Chad

  7. #7
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    West Seneca, NY
    Posts
    11,075

    Re: Good Orchestration Book Recommendation?

    Sean,

    "There are many more but that ought to give you plenty to chew on for quite some time."
    Hey with all this reading why bother with college! Just stay home and bury your nose in these books and scores and you should be composing great works in no time!
    Styxx

  8. #8

    Re: Good Orchestration Book Recommendation?

    Wow! Thank you all for dedicating the time to answer my question, I appreciate it. What a wonderful community.

    I was very dissappointed to find that my local library had none of these books. I was even more dissappointed to find that my local bookstores had none of these books. I'm sure my college's library will have a much larger selection, but for this summer, I've asked my library to order some, though I don't know what they'll say.

    At Borders I did find tons of Dover orchestral scores and spent some time looking at what they had. It was amazing, I had never come across them before. I didn't buy anything, but I did get an application. It would be great if I could get a job at Borders this summer to make some money, and, more importantly, to get a nice 30% discount on everything I buy (heh heh heh).

    Thank you for your guidance!

    Hey with all this reading why bother with college! Just stay home and bury your nose in these books and scores and you should be composing great works in no time!
    I'd love to! I don't think my parents would allow this, though . . .

  9. #9

    Re: Good Orchestration Book Recommendation?

    My favorite was the Alfred Blatter book, but it looks like it's gone out of print. You can still get Walter Piston's Orchestration , or Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles of Orchestration, which is bit old fashioned, but still extremely relevant. Another one that I am not personally familiar with, but which is generally seen as an excellent resource is Treatise on Instrumentation by Berlioz/Strauss. I think I may buy that one myself, even though I already own the three other ones. It's supposed to have some wonderful examples.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  10. #10

    Re: Good Orchestration Book Recommendation?

    A surprisingly helpful book is Adam Carse's History of Orchestration. Seeing how the use of instruments developed through history really helps you get a handle on what good orchestration is, and why. It's available very cheaply at www.doverpublications.com.

Go Back to forum

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •