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General Music Theory and Tutorials => Orchestration => Topic started by: Michel.R.E on April 06, 2011, 04:03:29 PM

Title: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: Michel.R.E on April 06, 2011, 04:03:29 PM
Please use this thread for questions and comment regarding the Orchestration tutorial.
Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: bandcoach on May 22, 2011, 08:48:06 PM
Only one critique at this point Michel, it would be good to have sound samples to go with the images - I know there are links out, but this is probably better served by having an embedded mp3 as most other music sites have. Would like t osee what you plan on doing about percussion, one of my own areas of playing expertise and writing.

I've just checked over at smf and there is a BBC (BulletinBoardCode) like add-on that provides an embeddable mp3 player:

http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=829

I'll also PM Ron about adding this feature to the site, which is still in a new infancy. It is a terrific feature, which I use significantly at a number of other sites, including my own: much better than relying on whatever is implemented in individual browsers.
Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: Ron on May 23, 2011, 08:29:07 AM
Only one critique at this point Michel, it would be good to have sound samples to go with the images - I know there are links out, but this is probably better served by having an embedded mp3 as most other music sites have. Would like t osee what you plan on doing about percussion, one of my own areas of playing expertise and writing.

I've just checked over at smf and there is a BBC (BulletinBoardCode) like add-on that provides an embeddable mp3 player:

http://custom.simplemachines.org/mods/index.php?mod=829

I'll also PM Ron about adding this feature to the site, which is still in a new infancy. It is a terrific feature, which I use significantly at a number of other sites, including my own: much better than relying on whatever is implemented in individual browsers.

This is something I'll have to take a closer look at. One of my main complaints with the old forum code is that I had to make extensive changes to the actual source code to get it to work for us. I am a bit hesitant about getting into any mods that require me to open the source code because as soon as one does that, all support goes out the window.  Maybe SMF is different in that regard. I'm just saying I'll have to think seriously about it.

Meanwhile, could you explain why having an embedded mp3 player would be an advantage over what we do now? (posting the actual .mp3 file for download to the user's mp3 player).
Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: bandcoach on May 23, 2011, 04:54:22 PM
It's actually advantageous in that you do not have to run a second program. Even with all the great computer technology available to us, I doubt many people have multiple monitor set-ups on their internet computer. That said, having to shift focus from the player to view the notation in the original page can be a bugbear. Also switching back and forth between the two programs to restart the mp3 is time inefficient.

As you would have seen when looking over my site, the embedded mp3 players allow for the continued interaction of the visitor with the pages content rather than switching in and out.
Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: RichardMc on April 13, 2012, 09:25:45 AM
I have the most difficulty writing for woodwinds as an ensemble when I am using them to form the harmonic basis for a passage. This is especially so when I am asking them to sustain in say half or whole notes. In the tutorial you mention that the disposition to be applied (stacking, interlocking, enclosure, overlap) depends on the context. I was wondering if you would be willing to share an example or two of a particular context which recommends one over the other in a given instance.
Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: Michel.R.E on April 13, 2012, 09:34:14 AM
one cannot make "recommendations".
as it says, it's all contextual.

you will rarely, during the course of a composition, need to orchestrate a single chord. that just doesn't happen very often.
and you shouldn't think in terms of orchestrating single chords.

enclosing, interlocking and stacking allow for a wider spacing of notes in a chord. if each instrument gets its own unique note, then for an 8-piece woodwind section, that would mean eight distinct notes.

overlap allows for a smaller space since instruments will be doubling each other during the overlap process.

The sound of overlapped notes is quite different from non-overlapped notes.

enclosing, interlocking and stacking each create different effects as well, as the various timbres of the instruments are either given prominence or melded into the mass depending on the choice.

examine the woodwind sections in scores. look at everything that is happening within that section ALONE. you will notice some of the "total" orchestral effect is being left out of the woodwind part, while some parts are actually being reinforced through doubling.

And mostly you will find that every part is a "line".

The problem with orchestrating "as a chord" is that this negates the idea of lines for each instrument.
Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: RichardMc on April 13, 2012, 09:54:57 AM
Thank you. I will digest this.
Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on November 09, 2017, 07:29:42 PM
I'm uncertain about how to double the same woodwind instrument, i.e., two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons.
 
I've read conflicting advice, one saying to avoid doubling the same instrument at the octave and another saying to avoid unison doublings of the same instrument. These two warnings seem to cancel each other out.
 
And yet I seem to see both used in actual scores. Are there any particular caveats about either?
 
Cheers,
Jer
Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: Michel.R.E on November 09, 2017, 08:05:38 PM
Jerry:

unison doubling alters the fundamental sound of the instruments in question because each instrument of the pair tends to cancel out the upper partials of the other. It's not a "NEVER DO THIS" type of thing (unless it's two oboes), it's a very specific to the circumstances type of thing.

never double at unison as an answer to "I don't know what to do with this instrument". if you are going to double at the unison (or octave) let it be because you WANT that to be the result.

In the 1st movement of Barber's piano concerto, there's a moment where 3 flutes play a run, in unison. They are the only instruments playing that particular run, and the effect is quite novel.

Oboes (since I mentioned them as a "never") should be avoided in unison because of the type of sound production. The double reed sound is very rich in overtones, and the "buzz" caused by unison is unpleasant.
That said, in a fortissimo tutti passage, you might be justified in having the oboes play in unison.

My personal preference, and probably part of what gives my music its "sound", is in always having my woodwind pairs play in intervals (3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, or 7ths) and rarely double at the octave, almost never at the unison.
I'm personally very fond of a thick cluster-ish sound that can be achieved by having instruments in the same register playing the same line, but all starting on different notes. But that suits my music, it will not be the answer to all situations for all composers.

I would definitely say not to avoid octaves, I don't think there's anything wrong with that at all. Unisons, on the other hand, I'd tend to avoid simply because of that modifying effect it has on the timbral quality of the instrument in question.

Title: Re: Discussion thread for Orchestration tutorial
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on November 10, 2017, 01:46:39 AM
Thank you, Michel.
 
That clears up my confusion.
 
Cheers,
Jer