Author Topic: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)  (Read 12389 times)

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Michel.R.E

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Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« on: March 12, 2012, 03:14:22 PM »
Here is a more difficult, more challenging, but in the end, far more rewarding, exercise.

This is an excerpt from the slow movement of Ravel's piano Sonatina.

The exercise is in multiple phases.

1) orchestrate for strings ONLY.
taking into consideration pedal effects that would occur if played at the piano.

2) orchestrate for woodwinds by two, and strings.

3) orchestrate for larger ensemble, including woodwinds, brass, and strings (you are not limited in scope, but take the nature of the music into consideration.. it would more than likely not suit a Wagnerian 150-piece orchestra).

ONE fixed rule: no harp.
the reason? it would be far too easy to use a harp to imitate the piano's sustain pedal effect.



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« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 09:21:05 PM by Michel.R.E »
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suspenlute

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 04:54:57 PM »
So in other words we're expected to post three "entries"?  ;D ;D ;D

Michel.R.E

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 05:12:33 PM »
actually, yes.
it's an extended orchestration exercise.
using the same music makes it easier to compare.
and it also forces you to think more, as you can't re-use one part to do the next.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

Jamie Kowalski

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 06:56:48 AM »
and it also forces you to think more, as you can't re-use one part to do the next.

You mean I've been doing it wrong all these years?  ;)

bear

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2012, 09:02:04 PM »
Thanks Ron for posting this again. I've been determined to do this since 2010!.

Before I do the strings and winds together, I decided to do just the woodwinds. Since I really played in an orchestra since the 70's, it was good just to hear how the woods blended together and the type of texture they have in different combinations. I'll work on another version for Strings and Winds, then the larger ensemble.

Thanks Michel for the original exercise and thank you Ron for finding it again.

Michael

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Michel.R.E

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 07:33:06 AM »
Michael: I'm sorry it's taken so long to get back to you on this one.

just a few quick comments.
most of your exercise is pretty good. I'd have liked to have seen a few "common tones" be held through in some places (ie: a note that is common to the harmony of both measures) to create a bit more of that sense of piano pedaling.

still, be careful when your dynamic reduces (from louder to softer) that you aren't fighting against it by ADDING new instruments to the mix. We are working to "orchestrate our dynamics". In other words, it gets softer, remove instruments. It gets louder, add instruments.

and be careful about range... that 2nd oboe part is out of range at the end. also, remember that flutes get increasingly softer and have less carrying power the lower they go.. BUT, the opposite is true of oboes.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

bear

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 12:41:20 PM »
Thank you Michel for the comments. I never thought that that we are orchestrating the dynamics and I like you point about taking out instruments when getting softer and vicea versa.

I'll add the strings to the winds next.

altasilvapuer

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2012, 04:30:11 PM »
Attached is a PDF of a rough attempt I made of the strings and woodwinds exercise.  I also did a quick mock up of the string exercise, but I haven't finale'd it, yet, and I don't have a scanner at home big enough for the page I used.

I'm a little concerned that it might be too heavily-scored, but I'm hoping the increased distance of the woodwinds in an orchestra would be enough to mollify that, somewhat, in a live performance.  Ditto the softer dynamic and mutes of the sustained string parts.

I'm reluctant to post the audio from Finale (even with the GPO4 sounds) because I very much disagree with Finale's interpretation of the indicated markings and I don't have the time, currently, to mock up a playback score.

-asp

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Michel.R.E

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 07:31:14 AM »
sorry I haven't gotten around to commenting here.

quick notation issue: whole-measure rests in 3/8 should be whole rests, not dotted quarters. rests that fill a measure completely are always a whole rest, regardless of the actual time signature.

I'd like you to explain the dynamics please.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

altasilvapuer

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2012, 09:15:28 AM »
Whoops, wasn't paying attention with the rests.  The notion that a whole-measure rest is always a whole rest has always felt a little bit weird to me (at least in comparison with a whole note), but I understand why it's there.  Occasionally I catch myself using note-value rests without realizing it; missed those.  I'll go back and change them.

As to the dynamics, do you mean the overall choice of dynamics, or the difference between the instrument groups?
To the former, I felt the character and the nature of the piece needed a lighter touch, dynamically.  (I tried to keep the orchestration lighter, too, but it still feels like it edges a little heavy in places.)

If you mean the latter, this is an issue I've always been torn on that I took a little too far, looking back at this.  I know players don't see each others' dynamics, but the conductor does.  In the case of the woodwinds, I wanted the flute sound to be added to the oboe sound, rather than the other way around.  A (possibly overly) subtle thing, yes, but in my mind's ear, the color fit better.

The strings' dynamics were marked below that of the winds (with mutes) because I wanted to use them more for the sustain pedal effect.  The viola's octave double I notated piano largely for the same reasons that the flute's unison double.

Looking back, I think I would've been better off notating the strings all simply piano (as the mute on those sustaining would likely have covered the difference there, anyway, and makes the pianissimo feel a little superfluous), and I would've left out the mezzo forte in the oboe (bar 5) because I think mezzo piano would be fully sufficient within the orchestration there.

-asp

(As an unrelated sidenote, I remember plugging this into Finale somewhat in a hurry in between school, but man does some of my notation feel sloppy.  Point of future improvement, I suppose.)

Michel.R.E

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2012, 12:23:46 PM »
thank-you for explaining.

the reason I ask is that I am not a proponent of the use of multiple simultaneous dynamic markings.
I find far too many poorly-orchestrated works often use this poor man's attempt at balancing issues.

unless it's really for a special effect, dynamics should, in general, agree throughout a vertical plane.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"

altasilvapuer

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2012, 01:01:37 PM »
Fair argument, there.  As I was typing up that last reply, I took a second look at the dynamics, out of curiosity, and it does look much cleaner and easier to decipher when I simplified the dynamics.

Hopefully sometime soon I'll find the time to attempt the full orchestra portion of this exercise and to type up my rough sketch of the strings-only portion.

-asp

FossMaNo1

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 02:09:23 PM »
I've been off this board for a while and so never got to participate in this exercise. Is it still open?
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Michel.R.E

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Re: Orchestration exercise 3 (Ravel Sonatine)
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2013, 03:10:04 PM »
absolutely.

just follow the established rules as listed in the original post.
"Writing music to be revolutionary is like cooking to be famous: Music’s main function is not revolution. – Alan Belkin "

"Saying something new about something old is still saying something new. – Jamie Kowalski"