• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 19

Topic: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    Hi guys...first of all thanks to Gary and the Professors for this gift....my orchestration is really improving......if one day i win an Oscar i will mention you in the people who helped me gettin better! ..just a question ...i'm working with a pop singer....can u please tell me the instruments of a "pop orchestra"??? i mean...bassoon..trombones..double basses......i have to use them too? bye

  2. #2
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Orcas Island
    Posts
    11,454

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by aLfR3dd
    Hi guys...first of all thanks to Gary and the Professors for this gift....my orchestration is really improving......if one day i win an Oscar i will mention you in the people who helped me gettin better! ..just a question ...i'm working with a pop singer....can u please tell me the instruments of a "pop orchestra"??? i mean...bassoon..trombones..double basses......i have to use them too? bye
    I am rooting for you to win that Oscar!

    Good question you raise. When you refer to "pop orchestra" I presume you are referring to something like the Boston Pops. The Boston Pops has been described as the “The Boston Symphony minus the first-chair players." The makeup of the Boston Pops is here: http://www.bso.org/listA/listAThree....20142&area=pop
    There are a number of well known Pops orchestras. It seems a pops orchestra can have all of the instrumentation of a symphony orchestra.

    Perhaps there are some Pops orchestra experts here who can elaborate further.

    Gary Garrritan

  3. #3

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    I've done some Pops arrangements. So far all of them have used something very close to a standard symphony orchestra.

    Often a drum set or a small rhythm section may be added. If the piece is intended to have a jazz or big band feel, saxophones are sometimes added.

    Sometimes an arranger may choose to use only one oboe and bassoon, instead of two or three.

    In other respects, the orchestra is similar in makeup to a standard orchestra.
    Dan Powers
    www.danielpowers.info

    "It's easier to be a composer than it is to compose."
    --Ray Luke (1928-2010)

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    Thank you very much....and for the bass....i mean an electric bass with double basses too??? and Tuba isn't it heavy?? tnx again

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    Sorry if this is silly question, but are you envisaging this as a pop song with conventional rhythm section, say guitars, bass, drums, maybe piano or whatever, enhanced by orchestral colours - say like a Robbie Williams stylee thing, or a pop song arranged for concert orchestra? Both would require a different approach - I'd be happy to throw in suggestions if you could clarify that, but the base line advice as always in these circumstances is to listen to the way it was done on a track that you admire - there's nothing wrong with pinching other people's ideas - that's what we all do, consciously or unconciously (mostly the latter in my case..)

    regards


    Barrie

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    Sorry if this is silly question, but are you envisaging this as a pop song with conventional rhythm section, say guitars, bass, drums, maybe piano or whatever, enhanced by orchestral colours - say like a Robbie Williams stylee thing, or a pop song arranged for concert orchestra? Both would require a different approach - I'd be happy to throw in suggestions if you could clarify that, but the base line advice as always in these circumstances is to listen to the way it was done on a track that you admire - there's nothing wrong with pinching other people's ideas - that's what we all do, consciously or unconciously (mostly the latter in my case..)

    regards


    Barrie

    Thanks...you are right..i need to specify....it's a pop song with drums, bass, guitars and strings....i would like to add flute clarinet and something else.....well the "styles" i always loved are Michael Jackson's stuff...Phill Collins...these guys...i don't know if the name "classical Pop" (i mean with a lot of Orchestral instruments) is exact but i really don't like the new pop/RnB stuff ..Sorry 4 my english!

  7. #7
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Orcas Island
    Posts
    11,454

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by aLfR3dd
    Thanks...you are right..i need to specify....it's a pop song with drums, bass, guitars and strings....i would like to add flute clarinet and something else.....well the "styles" i always loved are Michael Jackson's stuff...Phill Collins...these guys...i don't know if the name "classical Pop" (i mean with a lot of Orchestral instruments) is exact but i really don't like the new pop/RnB stuff ..Sorry 4 my english!
    My mistake . When you were asking about "pop orchestra" I thought you were referring to the "pops orchestra" rather than orchestral instruments to accompany pop music. Leave it to Barrie to figure it out. And Barrie is just the right person to answer this too.

    Gary Garritan

  8. #8

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    I have a scarily busy morning ahead - will pop by later for MY thoughts on the subject - I'm sure others will too..

    best


    Barrie

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    So here's a fun way to approach this.. you ARE the arranger brought in to add orchestral parts to this pop song. It's already recorded with a guitar bass drum whatever band plus a guide vocal track. This is often the point at which an arranger gets involved.
    So the song already works by itself, it's important to remember that because anything you add to the track must add value and colour without getting in the way of an already good song, and a REALLY good arranger will not put ANYTHING in if it doesn't need it - a real less is more situation.
    There are of course thousands of ways to arrange a given track depending on the feel the tempo etc, but the key to everything is the melody and WORDS of the song.
    In the old fashioned way of scoring with scoring paper the first thing you always do is write in the melody and words - everything has to work round this, to embellish without getting in the way. The arranger will take a look at this and start thinking about what instruments will help the arrangement - even the of the singer will influence this as certain instruments will 'get in the way' of the vocal range if not used carefully.
    In these days of the luxury of GPO we all have full orchestras at home, but you don't have to use it all!!! The arranger will only book what instruments he needs, and they TEND to be less than you'd expect on a classical session, and the amount will depend on the desired effect.
    You've already said you'll use strings, but our arranger is very unlikely to book a full string section - he probably won't hire in any basses because he has an electric bass on the track, he MAY only book violins if a higher more transparent effect is what he's after, possibly cellos if he likes the idea of more richness and maybe a nice tenor range countermelody. Often there aren't that many players a section because a) it's cheaper and b) judicious use of reverb can make a section sound bigger.
    But think of the context of the song, remember the Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby' - just a string quartet as far as I can remember - but perfectly suited to the claustrophobic feel of the song, a masterstroke by George Martin, and Robbie Williams 'Millenium' a big cinematic re-use of John Barry's theme.. what is appropriate to your track?
    Harp can be useful - we all love harp glisses in to the chorus (Gary Garritan will come over and play one for you) but also nice for doubling melodic lines, maybe giving a bell like attack to a woodwind line... Oh reminds me..I'd always avoid doubling the tune of the singer at any point - it always gets in the way unless you've got an operatic style chorus and soaring strings going on..
    You may want to use brass to subtly boost the warmth of a chorus and to give a climax, but again careful - not too much because a lot of orchestra in a pop song sounds really cheesy and in bad taste with a few notable exceptions.
    I'm a big fan of the french horn too - that can be nice playing an inner part in the background and join the brass if required - it all depends on the style of the song.
    You can use a little bit of percussion if it fits the song, glock (very sparingly) suspended cymbals for a bit of a dramatic 'whoosh' sometimes a little tympani but not a great deal else.
    If you remember to only add colour where it is really needed you won't go far wrong - too much orchestra will kill a pop song, careful use will really improve it.
    A last tip for now - when you have selected who you want from your 'virtual orchestra' and you are happy with what they are playing in your song I strongly advise you to try to imagine everyone sitting in a big studio when you mix, so that you can hear where the strings are sitting and that the brass are, say, over on the right near the back wall - helped by a bit of panning and a little more reverb. If YOU can see them when you mix, your listener will see them there too.
    And always remember to do the final voice recording AFTER the orchestration as this will really influence the way the singer will sing the song!
    If nothing else I hope you'll see that you really don't need that much - LESS IS MORE - don't forget to listen to tracks you admire to see how it's done and more than anything HAVE FUN!

    Bassoons? Never say NO, think of 'TEARS OF A CLOWN'!

    If I can clarify any of this nonsense get right back

    Good Luck... let us hear how it goes!

    regards

    Barrie

  10. #10

    Re: OT: Question on Pop Orchestra

    Quote Originally Posted by BarrieB
    So here's a fun way to approach this.. you ARE the arranger brought in to add orchestral parts to this pop song. It's already recorded with a guitar bass drum whatever band plus a guide vocal track. This is often the point at which an arranger gets involved.
    So the song already works by itself, it's important to remember that because anything you add to the track must add value and colour without getting in the way of an already good song, and a REALLY good arranger will not put ANYTHING in if it doesn't need it - a real less is more situation.
    There are of course thousands of ways to arrange a given track depending on the feel the tempo etc, but the key to everything is the melody and WORDS of the song.
    In the old fashioned way of scoring with scoring paper the first thing you always do is write in the melody and words - everything has to work round this, to embellish without getting in the way. The arranger will take a look at this and start thinking about what instruments will help the arrangement - even the of the singer will influence this as certain instruments will 'get in the way' of the vocal range if not used carefully.
    In these days of the luxury of GPO we all have full orchestras at home, but you don't have to use it all!!! The arranger will only book what instruments he needs, and they TEND to be less than you'd expect on a classical session, and the amount will depend on the desired effect.
    You've already said you'll use strings, but our arranger is very unlikely to book a full string section - he probably won't hire in any basses because he has an electric bass on the track, he MAY only book violins if a higher more transparent effect is what he's after, possibly cellos if he likes the idea of more richness and maybe a nice tenor range countermelody. Often there aren't that many players a section because a) it's cheaper and b) judicious use of reverb can make a section sound bigger.
    But think of the context of the song, remember the Beatles 'Eleanor Rigby' - just a string quartet as far as I can remember - but perfectly suited to the claustrophobic feel of the song, a masterstroke by George Martin, and Robbie Williams 'Millenium' a big cinematic re-use of John Barry's theme.. what is appropriate to your track?
    Harp can be useful - we all love harp glisses in to the chorus (Gary Garritan will come over and play one for you) but also nice for doubling melodic lines, maybe giving a bell like attack to a woodwind line... Oh reminds me..I'd always avoid doubling the tune of the singer at any point - it always gets in the way unless you've got an operatic style chorus and soaring strings going on..
    You may want to use brass to subtly boost the warmth of a chorus and to give a climax, but again careful - not too much because a lot of orchestra in a pop song sounds really cheesy and in bad taste with a few notable exceptions.
    I'm a big fan of the french horn too - that can be nice playing an inner part in the background and join the brass if required - it all depends on the style of the song.
    You can use a little bit of percussion if it fits the song, glock (very sparingly) suspended cymbals for a bit of a dramatic 'whoosh' sometimes a little tympani but not a great deal else.
    If you remember to only add colour where it is really needed you won't go far wrong - too much orchestra will kill a pop song, careful use will really improve it.
    A last tip for now - when you have selected who you want from your 'virtual orchestra' and you are happy with what they are playing in your song I strongly advise you to try to imagine everyone sitting in a big studio when you mix, so that you can hear where the strings are sitting and that the brass are, say, over on the right near the back wall - helped by a bit of panning and a little more reverb. If YOU can see them when you mix, your listener will see them there too.
    And always remember to do the final voice recording AFTER the orchestration as this will really influence the way the singer will sing the song!
    If nothing else I hope you'll see that you really don't need that much - LESS IS MORE - don't forget to listen to tracks you admire to see how it's done and more than anything HAVE FUN!

    Bassoons? Never say NO, think of 'TEARS OF A CLOWN'!

    If I can clarify any of this nonsense get right back

    Good Luck... let us hear how it goes!

    regards

    Barrie



    Hi Barrie...i think i will not say anything more about this ....because..YOU did THe Song for me!!!!!!!! Thank you so much.....!!!!!! i'll let you know...Thank you again Bye!

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
  •