Orchestrating Attitude: Getting the Best from Yourself and Others
Sometimes this may not be necessary. The scene may call for simplicity. Endless computations could occur. Dave considers this very well in his post. I don't know for sure if this still occurs, but some writers couldn't actually play a musical instrument. They were known as 'hummers' and got good orchestrators to score out the whole deal for them.
Some writers just borrow from different genres for instance and try and fit them to different scenes. I was watching a film last night called The Mark of Zorro.
Listen to the filmscore. One minute your'e listening to some kind of Rodrigo balls up and the next your'e listening to Jerry Goldsmiths Alien.
Ideas, Insight & Inspiration
You were right Ivan. You question, albeit a really good one, has finally driven me mad. One thing I failed to mention is the ultimate goal of relating to the orchestra as a single instrument so to speak. Just as we relate say to a single synthesizer keyboard. If I'm aware of all the "sounds" on a keyboard anything from extremely electronics sounds, to Rhodes, to whatever then I have a good handle on how things are going to sound without having to play them by virtue of familiararity. I don't have to play a Fender Rhodes patch to know how it's going to sound. I also don't need to play a french horn part to know how it will sound.
It seems to me that ideally - writing for the orchestra should be notes going straight on the page in the actual instrument at conception and then fine tuning using various principles. If I hear an aggressive rapid passage in an upper register I'm not just hearing notes but the instrument that will play it, like strings. I may after the fact decide to "strengthen" this passage with a flute which is an application of an orchestration principle following an original creative idea.
The creative idea was NOT an orchestration question. It was a compositional idea that happened to include all aspects of the sound - aggressive string sound. Even when composers "sketch" in 4 parts on piano score they don't do it in a vacum. They know already what they're writing and hearing. The orchestration that follows then becomes an enhancement to what was already pretty clear in their mind. Does this sound right gentlemen? I'm investing all that I got for music, leaving other things behind, and scoring without having completed my musical studies, I have done some films following my own instincts, sometimes with great results but also aware of my lack of technique too, but I am always learning something new everyday Dave, That not only sounds right but it is put so well, in a way I never consciously thought of.
If you actually have written for orchestra enough, it indeed does become like a single great instrument. Ivan, That is great you are investing everything - go for it. But save at least a little money for food and shelter. I'm not sure you really need my answers because you seem to be aware of all the things any good composer worries about. I really like your attitude, and if you get any answers yourself, please let me know! Also, you've got a great approach with learning something new everyday. I just wish most people had that attitude I'm investing all that I got for music, leaving other things behind, Steady on, old boy, we don't want to get you into trouble.
What a great attitude you have. That makes up for any lack of so called technique in my book. I must have felt like this once. I agree with Paul and William that Ivan has a very good attitude with his balanced self appraisal and tremendous enthusiasm and openness. It's true that this type of thinking is what brings someone to the tools neccessary for more cogent self expression. I have a process question. I am a relative new comer to orchestral writing. I have been composing on classical guitar for many years until I recently discovered that it had become impossible for me to play what I was hearing so ultimatley I chose to remove the limitation I had imposed on myself.
Now I'm in big trouble!. It seems to me that great orchestral writing has everything to do with relating to the entire orchestra as one living and breathing singular entity. It's so obvious once the masters have done all the hard work and bring this to light. In great work everthing so naturally seems to call and respond with grace. How do you all find your way to this sense? I am wondering if some of the magic is in the patterns that appear on the score itself I realise this is a sweeping and broad topic! I would be interested in your comments around how you witness your scores unfolding.
Robert, Every imaginable approach will work for you at this stage. Your own suggestion of visual clarity equaling musical clarity is often true. Listen to symphonic literature with the score through both ends of the telescope so to speak. That is, sit back and watch everything go by perhaps tracking with the elements that the composer is emphasizing such as a melody and how he has managed to draw your attention there.
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This cursory approach entrusts the learning process to the subconscious and will prove fruitful all along the way. Then find a passage of interest to you which could be two or three measures and sweat bullets over every note in every instrument while reconstructucting it on the piano, untill you have a total Conscious understanding to where you could explain it to someone else.
Try to understand the general intention of the composer in the passage but also try to understand why he might have done something that is not immediately apparent and almost baffles you. That type of detective work can be very rewarding. All other approaches of score study generally fall somewhere between the first two. Follow one section, such as the strings. Then, follow the upper, then the lower, then notice the viola seems to be married to the upper then the lower. Once you have a handle on what the strings were doing during say a period in which they were dominating the music look at what the composer did with other instruments to either blend with or contrast with the strings.
When another section winds for example are dominating, what are the strings doing? The other permutations in this approach are obvious. Make mental notes of what unison writing sounds like in each section and what harmonic spreads sound like in each section. What do unison strings sound like against spread harmony in Brass and vice verse.
And so on, section by section. If you a have a MIDI setup you can play around and get immediate feedback on what works. Play a favorite passage from a symphony into a computer sequencer and you will learn a lot. Don't worry about spending a ton of time on 8 measures or flying through 8 symphonies, you cannot help but absorb. You will also instinctively know what approach to take and when because you will crave what you feel you need at any given time. Assuming you have at least a basic understanding of composition, all these things will just start showing up in your writing, plus you will know where to look for a certain sound or texture in the literature as well.
Hope that helps a little, Dave Connor. Dave, Thanks for the very helpful response. Yes diving headlong into the score of a great work reveals alot. In doing what you suggest I note an almost holographic effect with families of instruments moving to the forfront and back, passing through roles harmoniically, rhythmically, and melodically. There always seem to be several musical dimensions being expressed simulataneously.
It's facinating to see how the roles are ever flexible. I come from a jazz backround where there is a definite sense of the harmonic structure as it relates to the melody in every moment wheather it's written or improvised. The roles of instruments tend to be more static. The bass is most often providing the functional bass movement for instance.
Orchestrating Attitude: Getting The Best From Yourself And Others
In the most general sense in orchestral writing I am observing that any instrument can provide a "bass line"for example. Can't take yourself too seriously rule 6. Give everyone an A - show who the person inside is without the fears, etc. Enroll every voice in the vision. Great leaders see new pathways Try to remember that your barriers do not need to be there.
Radiate possibilities to escape the downward spiral.
P. Shannon Elswick, FACHE - ppt download
Ask questions and ask for favors. Stand tall and smile. Be human, humorous and hands-on. Slow down, shut up and listen. Maintain esteem… yours and others. Frankl, Holocaust Survivor and Philosopher In a landmark study, participants who were more positive lived an average of 10 years longer than the other participants. We draw into our lives that which we constantly think about — good or bad.
Kotter and Dan S. If I work harder, will I be more successful? If I am more successful, will I be happier? Bring Success in Beliefs. My presentations Profile Feedback Log out. Auth with social network: Registration Forgot your password?
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