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Topic: The ever-shrinking pit orchestra

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  1. #1
    Moderator/Developer Brian2112's Avatar
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    Question The ever-shrinking pit orchestra

    While in D.C., my father took us to see “Momma Mia!” at the National Theater. The "pit orchestra" was two guitarists, a percussionist, a bassist, and a guy conducting (when he wasn’t playing a Korg Triton). Now, granted, it was re-arranged and heavily orchestrated ABBA music, but where was the orchestra hiding? What about those thunderous drums and the full choir? I think the answer was in the small cable connected to his Triton which seemed to go off to racks of computers and stuff . Lotsa empty space in the pit these days…

    ...2112
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: The ever-shrinking pit orchestra

    Been there done that. If it wasn't money it was availability. Mostly money. I put Annie on using midi, a few pit musicians and myself playing percussion. However, I can tell you there is nothing like having a full orchestra of live players under your baton! Momma Mia!
    Styxx

  3. #3

    Re: The ever-shrinking pit orchestra

    I went to the new Cirque-du-Soleil show in Vegas a couple of months ago, "KA". Massive, extravagant theatre and stage construction, hundreds of loudspeakers, the cheaper tickets started around $100 as I recall.
    The pit orchestra? All I could see was a couple of guys, one with a guitar. Offstage- racks of gear running EWQLSO.

    Trond

  4. #4
    Senior Member rwayland's Avatar
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    Re: The ever-shrinking pit orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian2112
    While in D.C., my father took us to see “Momma Mia!” at the National Theater. The "pit orchestra" was two guitarists, a percussionist, a bassist, and a guy conducting (when he wasn’t playing a Korg Triton). Now, granted, it was re-arranged and heavily orchestrated ABBA music, but where was the orchestra hiding? What about those thunderous drums and the full choir? I think the answer was in the small cable connected to his Triton which seemed to go off to racks of computers and stuff . Lotsa empty space in the pit these days…

    ...2112
    Well, at least 15 years ago, the entire orchestra for Phantom of the Opera production in SF was 1 man, 1 piano, 1 Yamah DX-7. (This was not the ALW version, but the original.)

    Richard

  5. #5

    Re: The ever-shrinking pit orchestra

    I do a lot of pit orchestra conducting, and it's more and more common to find "small ensemble" scores, with just a few players, and 2-3 keyboard parts, annotated. A lot of times the keyboards take the place of a string section, since nobody can afford a full string section these days. String players who can play in tune don't come cheap, and when you need 12 of them there's not much room for much else. Of course, keyboardists tend to cost more than your average woodwind guy, but not compared to the entire section they're covering.

    A lot of times the keyboards are used for "flavors" too--for example, they'll cover Accordion, Ukelele, etc. sounds.

    chris.

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