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Topic: Orchestral Shrinkage

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  1. #1

    Orchestral Shrinkage

    = When an orchestral score is condenced down to it's bare essence of individual lines minus unison and octave doublings ...........


    I have always been under the assumption that an orchestral score is an orchestration of the four lines SATB , but after casually browsing through
    some scores and shrinking them down in my head I am a little confused
    because I am finding instances where there appears to be more happening
    than SATB

    Can someone please explain a little theory of what is going on in a score
    when there is more than SATB ?

  2. #2

    Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    Quote Originally Posted by Magpie
    = When an orchestral score is condenced down to it's bare essence of individual lines minus unison and octave doublings ...........


    I have always been under the assumption that an orchestral score is an orchestration of the four lines SATB , but after casually browsing through
    some scores and shrinking them down in my head I am a little confused
    because I am finding instances where there appears to be more happening
    than SATB

    Can someone please explain a little theory of what is going on in a score
    when there is more than SATB ?
    It can be two to over eight lines going on at a time...

    Also sometimes composers do some minor variations on the doubling line so it doesn't always just be a copy/paste line

    Btw. Could you post an example of the page your are wondering about?
    Sincerely,
    Falcon1


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  3. #3

    Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    I think what you are discovering is how surprisingly complex orchestral textures can be, especially when compared to keyboard writing. I would suggest to you, besides cracking open some orchestration texts, to actually do some reductions of a few bars of orchestral passages on paper so you can see how the music is put together. The other thing you might try is to get a hold of some piano pieces that were later orchestrated and compare the two scores. It's very instructive to see how orchestral textures are usually not simple expansions of piano parts, there are a lot of expansions in texture that are often made. The pieces that come to mind of course are those by Ravel, ie, "Pictures at an Exhibition," "Mother Goose," "Barque on the Ocean," "La Valse, Valse Nobles & Sentimental, (pardon my French) a couple of others that Ravel orchestrated that I cannot remember right now.
    I guess the take home message is that orchestral thinking is not usually a simple expansion of keyboard texture.

  4. #4

    Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    You might want to look at:

    http://www.musique.umontreal.ca/pers...k.o/index.html

    Good luck,

    Alan

    Quote Originally Posted by Magpie
    = When an orchestral score is condenced down to it's bare essence of individual lines minus unison and octave doublings ...........


    I have always been under the assumption that an orchestral score is an orchestration of the four lines SATB , but after casually browsing through
    some scores and shrinking them down in my head I am a little confused
    because I am finding instances where there appears to be more happening
    than SATB

    Can someone please explain a little theory of what is going on in a score
    when there is more than SATB ?

  5. #5

    Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    Magpie,


    Good observation. What these other fellows suggest is a pretty good explination. Or, the composer, like me, could be trying to give as many individual parts as possible. This can create some very interesting and complex music!

    Jonny
    For more information, check out www.jonathoncox.com/intro.html

    "The trouble with music appreciation in general is that people are taught to have too much respect for music they should be taught to love it instead." - Igor Stravinsky

  6. #6

    Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    Thank you all for your replys and an extra big thank you to Belkina
    for writing the books he gave the link to and making them available
    for free , it is greatly appreciated and I will be reading them from virtual
    cover to virtual cover

    Falcon1 when I have a little time I will browse through some scores and
    try and find some good examples to post referances to


    I am reasonably well grounded in harmony theory and practice , melody
    writing and the rules of correct part writing etc , mostly self taught from
    books by Piston , Shoenberg , and Prout, but also took a bunch of evening
    classes to round things off and give some structure to my musical education .

    The thing is that everything I have learned so far has focused around four
    part writing and I have not encounterd anything that deals with the theory
    and rules of writing more voices and I am thinking that adding more voices
    will result in the rules and laws I have already learned ( yes I know they
    can be broken when you know how ) either made very hard to implement
    or been throwen out the window altogether .

    The questions that come to mind are .......

    If the piece was say for example eight part writing , could the extra four
    voices be thought of as secondry soprano secondry alto secondry tenor
    and secondry bass .

    How do the voices now move without obstructing or crossing each other
    in contrary motion, as the available staff space for each voice would now
    be reduced by 50% not to mention the difficulty of avoiding parallel 5th's
    and octaves .

    And what about harmony .......

    Eight parts will result in eight notes stacked vertically at any given point
    (excluding rests ) thus it is quite possible that the entire eight notes of
    the scale are sounding simultainously or even that the only thing that is
    happening harmonically is that this eight note chord is doing nothing but
    taking on differant inversions from beat to beat from bar to bar .

  7. #7

    Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    Many ways to answer that last question, and it all depends on what style you're writing.

    When following traditional voice leading, you're going to have a lot of trouble trying to keep everything in place once you go over four voices. But that's not how it's really done. If this is the sort of harmony you want to write, it's traditionally approached with doublings (at unison and at the octave). In filling out multiple octave doublings, it's ok to have voices cross each other... octave doubling of tenor above original alto, for example. It's generally best not to have any bass part go higher than any other voices, though. The bass is usually only doubled at the octave downward for this reason. -- All of this is really still four-part writing. It's just filled out four-part writing.

    To have more parts, you are either breaking more voice-leading rules, or you're inserting more rests for individual parts. Nothing wrong with either of those solutions either.
    - Jamie Kowalski

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

  8. #8
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    I fired the whole bass section once, does that count?
    Styxx

  9. #9

    Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    Quote Originally Posted by Skysaw
    Many ways to answer that last question, and it all depends on what style you're writing. <edit>...-- All of this is really still four-part writing. It's just filled out four-part writing.

    To have more parts, you are either breaking more voice-leading rules, or you're inserting more rests for individual parts. Nothing wrong with either of those solutions either.
    Eloquently stated Sky! Couldn't have done it better, myself.
    And if it helps, it might help an arranger to visualize those octave doublings (and unision doublings) as simply one voice, not two. It's a single voice with a special texture...a different instrument in and of itself, as it were.
    ~Rudy
    helmproductions.com
    =====================
    Rock-a-doodle-doooo!!

  10. #10

    Re: Orchestral Shrinkage

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx
    I fired the whole bass section once, does that count?
    NEVER fire the bass...fire the drummer!
    ~Rudy
    helmproductions.com
    =====================
    Rock-a-doodle-doooo!!

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