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Challenges, Puzzles, and Exercises => Exercises => Topic started by: Michel.R.E on January 29, 2012, 07:55:01 AM

Title: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 29, 2012, 07:55:01 AM
Simple exercise.. or is it?

Set the attached measures for orchestral string section (1st and 2nd violins, violas, cello and contrabass).

No alteration can be brought to the musical excerpt (ie: no notes not already present, no new countermelodies).

This is originally meant to be played at the piano, so consider carefully how a pianist might play this excerpt, when deciding on which instruments will get which parts.

The goal is to render in the most effective manner the "musical intent" of the excerpt.

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Ron on January 29, 2012, 11:54:50 AM
Here's my answer.

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 29, 2012, 03:42:37 PM
hahaha! very inventive there, Ron.

a few details in your realization I wouldn't have thought of. I like.

nice way to get the "pedal" to come through in the orchestra part.

Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: winknotes on January 29, 2012, 05:00:59 PM
Here's my version. 

The first measure was the hardest for sure.  I like Ron's version.  It's like the sustain pedal is down on the piano.  Very clever. 



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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 29, 2012, 05:16:57 PM
Steve: the only issue I have with your example is that the sudden octave leap on the addition of the violins breaks the actual melodic line.

measure 2, be careful of the "intent" there... notice that in the piano reduction, there IS a rest for the lower part. you are modifying the melodic curve here by adding the Eb in the cello part.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: winknotes on January 29, 2012, 06:56:42 PM
Steve: the only issue I have with your example is that the sudden octave leap on the addition of the violins breaks the actual melodic line.

measure 2, be careful of the "intent" there... notice that in the piano reduction, there IS a rest for the lower part. you are modifying the melodic curve here by adding the Eb in the cello part.

I understand what you're saying about the upper octave and I think I understand what you're saying about the cello. 

Here's another stab at it. 

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 29, 2012, 07:31:11 PM
Steve: it's very straightforward, but I see nothing wrong with that. I feel it better renders the expected musical outcome than your first version.

have you looked at Ron's version? it might give you ideas and questions to pose.
His example is quite inventive and effective.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Ron on January 29, 2012, 08:54:01 PM
hahaha! very inventive there, Ron.
a few details in your realization I wouldn't have thought of. I like.
nice way to get the "pedal" to come through in the orchestra part.

You did say you wanted us to keep it like a pianist would play it. So, all I had I do was picture you at the keyboard. I can hear it in my mind's ear.

My problem was to keep the string entries as smooth as I could, which is why they are overlapped.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: winknotes on January 30, 2012, 05:59:58 AM
I looked at Ron's version again. 

He does the same thing with the violas that I initially did with the celli.  But I'm guessing the line isn't changed because he also has the violin II following the original line correct? 

And as I said before Ron's captured the pedaling as well. 
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Ron on January 30, 2012, 08:32:53 AM
I just looked at my sample again and see a "boo-boo." Going from 2nd to 3rd measure I have a parallel octave between the 1st violin and lower viola (Bb - Bn). In my own writing I probably would have had the viola drop to the G# (Ab). I was trying to stick as close as possible to the original but voice leading can be a problem if you follow too literally.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 30, 2012, 08:58:56 AM
I don't think I'd analyze that as a parallel octave... I look at it as a doubled melodic line.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: FossMaNo1 on January 30, 2012, 10:07:08 AM
Okay, no Finale at work... done by hand... Sorry for the scan quality...

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 30, 2012, 10:16:24 AM
ok, Foss, the same comment as I made to Steve regarding that rest in the left hand part, measure 2.

one particular element of "Standard 4-part harmonization" that comes into play, in my opinion here, is that viola part... the leap up from the Gb to the E is... a bit odd voice-leading.

I am not convinced by that double stop in the violas in the initial measure... please justify the D on beat 1.
give me a good reason, and I'll let it go :)
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: FossMaNo1 on January 30, 2012, 10:37:14 AM
I was concerned about the leap in the viola part too, however I was afraid if I doubled the cello (albeit an octave higher), the D would have been too strong (the D is already doubled an octave lower via pizz. bass).  Also, throughout measures 1 and 2 the viola was playing the sustained piano part, but divisi so as to not be as strong.  On m3, however, the E required equal power to the G# and B above it, requiring the full section.  This meant the viola had to go from divisi in m2 to unisoni in m3.  Would it have been better had the viola remained divisi, both playing the E in octaves?

As for the sustained D in the m1 of the viola part, the chord (as I analyzed it) was Cadd2.  Yes, the piano arpegiated it, however the chord still needed the D.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 30, 2012, 10:40:41 AM
don't be so literal with your analysis... the opening measure is a straightforward C chord, no added notes. that D is nothing more than a melodic passing note. :)

I also don't think you should worry about "weight" of sound when using divisi/tutti like in this exercise. even if the violas remain divisi at the end, the relative weight will be fine. it's not like we're talking about going from a solo to a section. the colour won't change all that much.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: FossMaNo1 on January 30, 2012, 07:50:50 PM
Okay, here's my 2nd try.

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: calebrw on January 31, 2012, 01:41:41 AM
Here is my attempt.

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 31, 2012, 07:12:00 AM
Okay, here's my 2nd try.

I don't think I would use the contrabass pizz in the 2nd measure.

why not have the cello, in the 2nd measure, start a half beat earlier, on the D?
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 31, 2012, 07:14:01 AM
Here is my attempt.

I suspect the opening measure would be a bit "muddy" sounding.

now, where's the Bb in the soprano in measure 2?
and the B nat. in measure 3?
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: FossMaNo1 on January 31, 2012, 07:55:20 AM
I don't think I would use the contrabass pizz in the 2nd measure.

I'm not arguing, just wondering... why not?

As for the cello, I could see that.  Thanks!
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 31, 2012, 07:59:06 AM
I don't think I would use the contrabass pizz in the 2nd measure.

I'm not arguing, just wondering... why not?

As for the cello, I could see that.  Thanks!

look carefully at the original.

it will explain why no bass pizz in measure 2, and also why some notes are missing from the proper range in measure 2 and 3.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: FossMaNo1 on January 31, 2012, 09:07:38 AM
I get it... it just fet odd not to include the bass.  Ah well...
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on January 31, 2012, 09:15:04 AM
it's an important thing to get used to.. it isn't ALWAYS necessary to use all of a section.

depending on context, it can be ok to use only 1st violins and celli, or 1st violins and violas.

contrabasses are the same. use them where appropriate, not because you fear leaving them out.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: calebrw on January 31, 2012, 02:43:35 PM
Here is my attempt.

I suspect the opening measure would be a bit "muddy" sounding.

now, where's the Bb in the soprano in measure 2?
and the B nat. in measure 3?
I wonder if this would sound better in a string quintet setting than the full orchestral strings. With the GPO4 solo string patches, I like how it sounds. I'm imagining in the context of a bit of pedal use by the piano player.

As for the notes, the Bb and the B-nature got moved to the viola part and now are on octave lower than they were in the original. When I'm a bit more awake, I don't necessarily agree with this voice leading.

I believe what I was trying to do, with both the Vln II and the viola part ending on G in the first measure, I didn't want parallel movement by them both going to C, so I chose the viola to go to C and the Vln II to go to Ab as a way to emphasize the fact that this isn't a standard chord in C major any more, the same reason, I doubled the G# in the third measure with the double bass harmonic an octave below.

Here is another treatment of the same with a bit different soprano line. I have to say I prefer the harmonic structure of the first way first, but to each his own as to what the ear hears.

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Ron on January 31, 2012, 04:40:57 PM
Hi calebrw,
I am having some trouble reading your score. I don't understand the VC part at all (as well as measures 2&5 in Vln II). Why the appearance of rests in the mix? Your bowing instructions appear to be wrong as well. The down-beat is usually played with the down bow. I can't see any reason that you would want to reverse it here. Unless you have a very good reason, let the players decide whether to take something in an up or down bow. Also, a slur (1st violin, 1st measure) means to take it in one bow stroke, but you have it notated as an Up then Down bow--you can't have it both ways.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on March 02, 2012, 07:34:19 AM
I wonder if this would sound better in a string quintet setting than the full orchestral strings. With the GPO4 solo string patches, I like how it sounds. I'm imagining in the context of a bit of pedal use by the piano player.

As for the notes, the Bb and the B-nature got moved to the viola part and now are on octave lower than they were in the original. When I'm a bit more awake, I don't necessarily agree with this voice leading.

I believe what I was trying to do, with both the Vln II and the viola part ending on G in the first measure, I didn't want parallel movement by them both going to C, so I chose the viola to go to C and the Vln II to go to Ab as a way to emphasize the fact that this isn't a standard chord in C major any more, the same reason, I doubled the G# in the third measure with the double bass harmonic an octave below.

Here is another treatment of the same with a bit different soprano line. I have to say I prefer the harmonic structure of the first way first, but to each his own as to what the ear hears.

Caleb, again, the problem is that you are breaking one of the conditions of the exercise.
By altering the soprano line, dropping part of it one octave, you are breaking the melodic contour and creating a "melody" that does not exist. While this might work in a development section, to have a melodic contour skip octaves between different instruments, in the strict context of orchestrating a passage, it doesn't work.

Your first example drops the last two notes of the melodic contour, while your 2nd example adds a new high C in the 1st violin part.

Again, twice you break the contour of the original.

There are times where tying to be inventive can also be self-defeating.

In this particular case, the most effective answer to the question is not necessarily the most complex.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: amdg on March 03, 2012, 01:36:04 PM
Hey Everyone:

Here's one that will be a bit of a curveball, but let's see what you all have to say about it!
Thanks.

Brian

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on March 03, 2012, 02:23:05 PM
cello in wrong clef.
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: amdg on March 03, 2012, 02:33:36 PM
Oops!
 Sorry, stupid mistake.  Here's the correction.

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: FossMaNo1 on March 05, 2012, 08:51:47 AM
Why would you put the cello in that cleff?
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: amdg on March 05, 2012, 12:43:28 PM
I probably should have just gone with my original sketch and put in two separate staves.  To condense things and to keep the ledger lines at the top to a minimum I went with an alternative clef. 

OK, OK,  Big Mistake!

Brian
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: johnc on March 05, 2012, 07:11:47 PM
Hi,

Have played it through at the piano, but too busy to upload my version yet.  Would be cheating, as so many good ideas already.

Two big hints from Michele so far:

1.  Piano piece.  Ron picked up on the sustain pedal, which I missed.

2.  Multiple lines.  Hint:  Orchestrate to bring out the lines?

I'll get something together.

Thanks,

John
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: amdg on March 06, 2012, 03:48:32 AM
Hey, John:

Good luck with this.

Just remember to get the clef right, and don't stray from the approved approach to the material and you should be fine.

Brian
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: johnc on March 12, 2012, 03:19:43 PM
Here's my shot at it.

Cheating, given the benefit of all of yours.

Still not clear as to exactly what's going on, though.

Still hear my piano teacher--- find the lines!  He would find lines within lines.  (Bach)

Thanks,

John C

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Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on March 12, 2012, 03:43:04 PM
John, that's not bad at all!
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: johnc on March 12, 2012, 03:57:13 PM
Thanks Michele.

Is this your creation?

John C
Title: Re: Orchestration exercise 2: Strings
Post by: Michel.R.E on March 12, 2012, 05:52:17 PM
yes, lol, I wouldn't call it a "Creation", mind you :)

it's just a quick snippet to orchestrate.