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Topic: Orchestration and composition

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  1. #1

    Orchestration and composition

    With all of the orchestral libraries coming out and even more apparently about to be announced at NAMM, I wanted to post a question re learning how to use these tools properly. I poked around and didn't see this topic discussed - at least recently, so hopefully this is the right place to do it.

    Besides listening to lots of music and attending actual concerts...

    Would anyone care to share some additional sources... perhaps books or even websites... that they've found to be a good source of information?

    I've seen a few books like those by Gilreath, Forsyth, Adler, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc.

    ...and of course picking up some scores. At the risk of revealing my ignorance... I've seen various designations for the types of scores available. Is the conductor score or a study score the one to go for? I don't want to wind up with a watered down 'high school band' type arrangement.

  2. #2

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    Good luck! There is much to learn from a good score. The only difference between study and conductors' scores is staff layout. If you have reasonably good eyesight and no need to place the score on a music stand 4 feet in front of you, the study score is more practical for studying. They should have exactly the same music in them, hopefully. If you live near a big city, sometimes the libraries can have a surprisingly good selection of scores -- some university libraries, too, though only some of them. In my experience, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York all have enough scores to spend a year or so working through. I still remember Boston Public Library's score of Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty, a giant three (?) volume score I could never have afforded at the time I was studying it.

  3. #3

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    i have found it difficult to find a wide selection of scores at music stores in the US. A large store in Seattle is better than our Pepper store here in Tacoma. But neither compares to the wide selection that I found last summer in Vancover, British Columbia. Then again, one can purchase any number of scores over the internet.

    David

  4. #4

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    Here's a thread on good orchestration books:
    http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ighlight=adler

    And you can get orchestral scores here for cheap:
    http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/store/...rt=11818219230

    Both are really helpful on learning to orchestrate.
    Mark
    ---------------------------
    http://www.markderrico.com

  5. #5

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    I have the Adler, Rimsky-Korsakov and 3rd edition Gilreath books. The Adler is essential, I've read many of the other options and I think the Adler is most comprehensive and easy to read. The Rimsky-Korsakov is interesting but more subjective and not as clearly structured. The Gilreath book is a great book to start with. It has good basic information about instrumentation, orchestration and dealing with samples. The developer and composer interviews are a great read to anyone interested how and why these things are done. There is also good reviews about sample libraries but of course all the new stuff is missing.

  6. #6

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    Thanks everyone so far... it sounds like I'm on the right track. Just had no idea whether I was. I have the Gilreath book and found sheetmusicplus too. I've also seen the Adler book online and was thinking of odering it.

    We used to have a pretty big sheet music store here downtown, but it closed its doors a while ago. When I was younger I used to love going in there and exploring. Oh well.

    Gugliel, thanks for the info on study vs. conductors' scores. Also thanks for the mention of checking libraries. That's a great idea! I want to have some scores in front of me so I can compare what I hear (or think I'm hearing) to how it's written out and what is actually happening. Another thing I want to learn is how certain sonorities are achieved.

    ...and how not to write something that might actually be impossible for a real player to play, etc.

    Mark, thanks to the links to the other discussions. Those will be my next stop!

  7. #7

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    Quote Originally Posted by Seq
    I've also seen the Adler book online and was thinking of odering it.
    If your going to buy the Adler book, MAKE SURE to get the accompanying audio CD's!! In my opinion, orchestration (or music for that matter) is about SOUND (I know its obvious, but easy to forget when reading books, scores, etc.) I personally feel its a complete waist of time to just read about techniques, ranges, without experiencing it through sound. I guess Adler thought so too, because he went so far as to create not only Audio CDs, but also a CD-R with quicktime videos showing the different techniques. I know its a little pricey, but well worth the investment.

    Best of luck,
    Jon

  8. #8

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    Quote Originally Posted by Seq
    With all of the orchestral libraries coming out and even more apparently about to be announced at NAMM, I wanted to post a question re learning how to use these tools properly. I poked around and didn't see this topic discussed - at least recently, so hopefully this is the right place to do it.

    Besides listening to lots of music and attending actual concerts...

    Would anyone care to share some additional sources... perhaps books or even websites... that they've found to be a good source of information?

    I've seen a few books like those by Gilreath, Forsyth, Adler, Rimsky-Korsakov, etc.

    ...and of course picking up some scores. At the risk of revealing my ignorance... I've seen various designations for the types of scores available. Is the conductor score or a study score the one to go for? I don't want to wind up with a watered down 'high school band' type arrangement.
    The REVISED Rimsky-Korsakov's Principles of Orchestration
    http://www.truespec.com/store/books/rimsky/index.shtml

    Orchestration: A Practical Handbook

    http://www.truespec.com/store/books/...ok/index.shtml

    Writing For Strings Level 1

    http://www.truespec.com/store/books/...gs/index.shtml

    ALL of these titles are available as PDF downloads.

    Sorry, but I disagree with Janilla. The Rimsky-Korsakov book is highly structured because he methodically shows you the orchestral combinations you need to know along with various scoring problems.

    To learn these combinations, it's best to start with more accessible melodic scores that are easily studied. A few of these would be:

    Faure - Pavanne
    Bizet - Carmen Suites 1 & 2, L'Arlesienne Suites 1 & 2
    Tchaikovsky - Nutcracker Suite
    Borodin - On the Steppes of Central Asia
    Williams - Raiders of the Lost Ark

    This is a good starting collection of scores, the majority of which are available on Dover.
    Peter L. Alexander
    www.professionalorchestration.com
    www.alexanderpublishing.com
    Learn it right the first time.

  9. #9

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    Quote Originally Posted by JT3_Jon
    If your going to buy the Adler book, MAKE SURE to get the accompanying audio CD's!! In my opinion, orchestration (or music for that matter) is about SOUND (I know its obvious, but easy to forget when reading books, scores, etc.) I personally feel its a complete waist of time to just read about techniques, ranges, without experiencing it through sound. I guess Adler thought so too, because he went so far as to create not only Audio CDs, but also a CD-R with quicktime videos showing the different techniques. I know its a little pricey, but well worth the investment.

    Best of luck,
    Jon
    Actually that makes a LOT of sense and I'm glad you mentioned this as the tendency is oftentimes to skimp. I'll have to make sure the cds are included when I order the book.

    Thanks!

  10. #10

    Re: Orchestration and composition

    Quote Originally Posted by peter269
    To learn these combinations, it's best to start with more accessible melodic scores that are easily studied. A few of these would be:

    Faure - Pavanne
    Bizet - Carmen Suites 1 & 2, L'Arlesienne Suites 1 & 2
    Tchaikovsky - Nutcracker Suite
    Borodin - On the Steppes of Central Asia
    Williams - Raiders of the Lost Ark

    This is a good starting collection of scores, the majority of which are available on Dover.
    I just had a chance to check out Truespec... Peter, the items that you mentioned all look good. I also like the idea of the mentoring program. I like that idea because just reading a book is one-sided; it's good to have interaction and feedback. It sounds like you have it set up pretty well... I've done a phone-based exchange in the past. I also already have the Now Discover Your Strengths book via that experience! :-)

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