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Orchestrating with JohnBucket


SYS65
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20th Century Orchestration Lessons.


Hello John,

I'll handle very customized lessons depending on the student, so I first want you to tell me a few things about you..

Have you written for orchestra ?

How do you feel about writing for orchestra ? looks very difficult, confusing, nah looks easy ... ?

You feel you don't know how to start ?, how to use instruments ?

You feel you do know the instruments and stuff just you haven't written anything yet ?

What kind of Orchestral music you like ? and would like to sound like that ?

Do you have orchestral scores ? Have you studied them ?

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Have you written for orchestra ?

Yes, but I gave up halfway.

How do you feel about writting for orchestra ? looks very difficult, confusing, nah looks easy ... ?

I feel it is especially difficult for me as I am a pianist by training, and I haven't had much experience working with ensembles.

You feel you don't know how to start ?, how to use instruments ?

You feel you do know the instruments and stuff just you haven't written anything yet ?

I have a rough idea, but I do not know the instruments in detail.

What kind of Orchestral music you like ? and would like to sound like that ?

In terms of 20th century orchestral music I have great respect for Shostakovich. Other composers whose orchestral music I am familiar with include Mahler, Messiaen and Tchaikovsky.

Do you have orchestral scores ? Have you studied them ?

Yes and yes, but I have not really studied any of them.

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Ok, all that sounds good.

I will use a very graphic method for explaining my points, it doesn't matter if it looks like a kindergarden method, trust me, it will work fine. :)


A few words about Orchestration....

Colors:

1izol.jpg

Your instruments are you tools to create sounds, let's compare the instruments with colors:

A: If you place all the colors in the same place, the colors simply get lost, it turns into a combined color, which is not "incorrect" but cannot be used for long, it certainly requires something else.

B: if you place all the color in different place but in a very similar position, they do look different one from the other but still much imagination is expected

C: You can place several colors in the same position for some segments, you create combined colors, but suddenly you move one or two into a different position so it can be noticed by its own, then perhaps can return to be part of a group.

Balance:

wv7uxs.jpg

Each instrument has its own character in timbre, abilities, and loudness, you will learn to judge the importance of your motifs, harmony elements, melodies, counter melodies, and you'll choose the proper instrument to play each one of those elements of sound.

If a weak instrument is chosen to express something is important for transmitting the idea, it won't work well, same case with powerful instruments playing "decoration" stuff.

D: Powerful lines doing what small should do.

E: Powerful lines keeping the strong structure, small lines keeping "decoration", additional lines to complete the idea.


Now, let's choose your ensemble. I know there's a common rule of using only what you need, although I've seen people using incomplete ensembles, like strings sections with violins and basses only, or flutes and bassoons, well, that could work, but let's just say is far from being recommendable.

The existence of certain instruments in the orchestra has its purpose, and has been defined through many centuries.

I will give you 3 types of ensemble that we can start with:

Minimum:

2 Flutes

2 Oboes

2 Clarinets (in Bb)

2 Bassoons

4 Horns

3 Trumpets (in Bb)

3 Trombones

Tuba

Timpani

Violins I

Violins Ii

Violas

Cellos

Basses

Common: (recommendable)

1 Piccolo

2 Flutes

2 Oboes

English Horn (if no number, we mean 1 instrument only)

2 Clarinets (in Bb)

Bass Clarinet (in Bb)

2 Bassoons

Contrabassoon

4 Horns

3 Trumpets (in Bb)

3 Trombones

Tuba

Timpani

Percussion*

Violins I

Violins II

Violas

Cellos

Basses

Complete Enough (not recommendable to start, but if you feel He-man... )

1 Piccolo (doubling 3rd Flute)

2 Flutes

2 Oboes

English Horn

Clarinet (in Bb) doubling Piccolo Clarinet (In Eb)

Clarinet in Bb

Bass Clarinet (in Bb)

2 Bassoons

Contrabassoon

4 Horns

3 Trumpets (in Bb or C)

3 Trombones

Tuba

Timpani

Percussion*

Harp

Violins I

Violins II

Violas

Cellos

Basses

*Percussion instruments are common more or less in this order:

(unpitched)

Cymbals (Pair Cymbals, aka Clash)

Cymbals (Suspended, may be the very same cymbal used as pair, but you place it in a stand, or other cymbals like "Crash", "Ride", "Splash" others....

Bass Drum

Triangle

Snare Drum

Tam-Tam (this one it is a Gong, just it's correct name is "Tam-Tam" because there are other gongs, we will not use for now)

Toms,

Others....

(pitched)

Xylophone

Glockenspiel

Tubular Bells

Vibraphone

Marimba

Others...


Choose your ensemble and I will speak a little about each instrument, (specify me percussion).

Questions, doubts etc....

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Ok, like I said in the description I sent in the PM, I will allow the student to treat his ideas first, do you already have something to start with ? ideas ?, themes ?, incomplete sketches ?

Also, what notation software do you use ? I use Sibelius 6, will be very fast if you could just send me a sib file, and I could make corrections and suggestions.

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well, you have a quite large ensemble there, we definitely have to reduce it for now, but I don't think reducing this symphony would be ok, what do you think ? is your call, you could leave the score the way it is, but you would be using 4 horns instead 8, 2 bassoons instead 4 etc, it currently doesn't demand that number of instruments, so it could be reduced.

Looks like you don't have very much problems with ranges and that stuff, just your woodwind section is too large, all this is very Shostakovich, but he didn't call for this large woodwind section. If you reduce the woodwinds to the "common" list I wrote, I suggest you do turn a bit down the volume of your woodwinds instruments in the sibelius mixer, so you can get a more realistic idea in balance.

if you think is better to leave this piece to rest, and start w new piece, I create you a manuscript sib file, because this file is huge.


In this score:

The order of instruments in the score is how I wrote it above, you only have to place trumpets below horns.

The Tuba used in the symphonic orchestra is a Contrabass Tuba in C, aka Tuba in CC, you can just call it "Tuba".

Tuba.GIF

The lowest G,F#,F,E,Eb,D become slower in abilities, but quite powerful.

"Tenor Tuba" refers to a Euphonium, sometimes to a Wagner Tuba, both are higher in range, used more for solos that bassline support, we weill not using these ones for now.

You don't call fro 2 Tubas unless you have a very good reason.

Timpani:

You have to learn to stay with a 4 kettledrums Timpani Set. I know is not easy, wasn't easy for me. You will only call for a second when you really need it, You can use two players in a single timpani set, (two staves if needed)

timpanirange.jpg

Common set has no the 20 inches kettledrum, you can get that high A with the 23 but won't sound very good.

You will use abbreviations or Tr symbol for rolls.

Demo_Perc_rolls.JPG

The Tr~~~~~ doesn't specify any velocity on the roll, abbreviations do specify number of notes, although many have written wrong abbreviations usually calling for something too fast, that the player simply play what he can. So is not big deal if you write too fast abbreviations, for instance you can write 3 dashes for snare drum, it's ok, the snare drum roll won't be that exact but is not an incorrect notation. For Timpani you can use both.

But that z looked quite strange to me... did El Zorro left his mark there ? :toothygrin:


The Overall, orchestration.

Orchestra is not a band. In the orchestra instruments (specially winds) have a much more individual role, I don't call for a 4th trombone unless I know I really need it. 8 Clarinets is too much man :w00t: just too much.

I made corrections in the 1st page only, later I continue, or if you want to start a brand new piece, is ok.

Symphony in C major Correction1.sib

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I would not like to continue with this piece - too much of a workload, and yes, ensemble is too large. You can create me a new manuscript .sib file :) Percussion - snare and bass drums, and xylophones.

Are the woodwinds very much softer than the rest of the instruments? In the playback I always get the idea that the woodwinds don't come out, as in actual recordings, even if I make all the woodwinds play in unison, though of course I may simply not be using the woodwinds correctly.

Are tubas used as supporting instruments - say, I have a trombone solo, and I want to support it with another brass instrument - are tubas appropriate? Can I use the tuba to provide the bass pedal in a tutti section?

How fast can the timpanist "retune" (not sure if this is the right word) a timpani to a different pitch? Can I use the timpani to play (slow) melodic/thematic lines? Is it possible to play chords with two players on the 4 timpani set, and how fast can I switch chords? (same as the first question).

Can we do a quick run through on percussion?

The Z is a mistake.

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ok, let's start a new project, (I attach the manuscript)

Are the woodwinds very much softer than the rest of the instruments? In the playback I always get the idea that the woodwinds don't come out, as in actual recordings, even if I make all the woodwinds play in unison, though of course I may simply not be using the woodwinds correctly.

Yes, woodwinds are soft, but depends on their zone, usually sending woodwinds high in range is a solution to avoid drowning them.

In Flute, the 1sr octave is very weak, sounds nice but very soft, completely lacks of power, 2nd octave is better, 3rd I'd say is equally loud but as higher the pitch is, easier to be heard within all the jungle, although, 3rd octave requires a fingering a bit less organized, so it becomes more difficult, you know in woodwinds you have a quite organized fingering expect in the highest notes you start making weird combinations of keys.

flute.gif

The range can be extended to low B by using a "B Foot", the foot is the last part of the flute tube, this B Foot comes with 3 keys instead 2, adding the low B, I think professionals have that B foot, but don't call for that note as a Flute sections, only in a solo, very likely one of them has not that "B Foot", but is a matter of hardware, not skills, some can add paper or something to make the flute longer but that's just a trick.

Flute has no octave key, to switch between octaves is an Embouchure issue.

Piccolo is same as flute but without the lowest C key, range starts in D, also soft in first octave, but quickly becomes loud as you go higher and higher, of course, pitch zone also makes it noticeable, nobody else will be playing that high.


Oboe is a soft instrument too, maybe this one doesn't change too much from lower to higher octaves, just the effect of a higher note can be easier to distinguish when many instruments playing. Lowest C,B,Bb are possible only in mf or f < . Highest notes become very thin.

oboe.gif

Comparing these two, oboe is louder in low notes than flute, but flute is louder than oboe in the 2nd and 3rd octaves.


Clarinet can be loud in the highest notes, in has certain power in the lowest too, I'd say the middle zone becomes kinda weak.

120px-Clarinet_range.svg.png

In this range you gonna split it in two parts, 1s,t E2 to C4 (above middle staff line) and 2nd, B3 (middle line) to F5, that pic shows up to C6 but that's not truth, would be forcing the clarinet too much, F5, F#5 is a safe end of the range, G,G# thinking as a pro playing solo, never a Clarinet Section.

To switch from zone 1 (E2-C4) to zone 2 (B3-F#5) you have to move you left hand a bit, this is what we call "Break Point" segments calling for fast notes like and arpeggio is right in that break point, with lower notes of the arpeggio in zone 1, and high notes of it in zone 2, becomes annoying for the player, there is no problem if the arpeggio or fast passage is entirely on the 1 or in the 2, just not part in 1 part in 2. Nevertheless the problematic notes are few, Bb3,B3,C4 in zone 1 are played with left hand, and B3,C4,C#4 in zone 2 are also played with left hand, you do have additional keys to play them with right hand, so let's just say don't put the clarinetist to make circus movements. Write difficult things with in E2-C4 or B3-F#5, and reasonable "passing-through" segments between those zones.

Clarinet is loud in high notes, above G4 is very noticeable.

Clarinets in Bb and A are the same, just with different barrel, (part of the clarinet tube) so you can call for both, no problem at all.

For Bass Clarinet the break point problem is reduced because it has additional keys, it has at least a low Eb2 and D2 keys, (sounding C#1 and C1) other models have a C# sounding low B0. Those keys work also to cover the break point zone used as in 2nd octave.

Bass Clarinet is written sometimes as normal clarinet in treble key and sounding 1 octave and 1 whole tone lower. sometimes is written in bass clef sounding only 1 whole tone lower. I prefer the Bass Clef notation.


Bassoon is quite homogeneous in range, pitch and volume not very loud though, Oh, and just don't write acrobatics in the lowest Eb,D,C#,C,B,Bb.

Bassoon.gif

Same for Contrabassoon, a bit louder overall.


Brass, will be always more powerful than woodwinds, high woodwinds only work because brass is not playing that high (the case of the piccolo) but no matter how loud a woodwind can play, it will never be as loud as a Trumpet for instance.

Now, I'm not saying Brass can't play soft, brass can play very soft, horns for instance, as soft as the softest woodwind. trumpet almost that soft, trombone and tuba a bit less but still soft, (also you have mutes)

Are tubas used as supporting instruments - say, I have a trombone solo, and I want to support it with another brass instrument - are tubas appropriate? Can I use the tuba to provide the bass pedal in a tutti section?

The Tuba in CC is not very appropriate to be doubling the trombone all the time, is for supporting the harmony, bassline etc. it can make solos but won't work very well, because this tuba is a very fat sound, is always heard, difficult to be discreet, better to use horn for supporting a trombone solo. Now if you really have a lot of ideas of this kind, you can call for the Euphonium, is not very common but can be used.

Holst - The Planets is a perfect example, (get the score in IMSLP if you don't have it)

euphonium.gif

is in Bb but usually written in C, that range is in C, sounding pitch.

Euphonium WON'T replace Tuba, you still need Tuba.

How fast can the timpanist "retune" (not sure if this is the right word) a timpani to a different pitch? Can I use the timpani to play (slow) melodic/thematic lines? Is it possible to play chords with two players on the 4 timpani set, and how fast can I switch chords? (same as the first question).

Modern Timpani are very easy to re-tune, with a pedal, just don't forget it's range, and the player has only 2 feet, and might be annoying to have to be concentrated in playing a drum and at the same time re-tuning another is like 80cm at right from you, and then perhaps re-tune the other at left, also watch the score with one eye and watch the timpani tuning indicator with the other.

timpani-tuning-gauge-400.jpg

That thing is over D, is moved with a pedal.

img10493823011.jpg

1st timpanist playing and a 2nd tuning could work, as long as you don't make it fight there....

- Move! I have to tune that thing

- wait! I'm playing!!!

No, I don't think Chords may work in Timpani, will be just a confusing sound, like a bassdrum. Octaves can work I think, for D,D#,E,F,F# notes probably G, not more.

Can we do a quick run through on percussion?

Sure,

Percussion it a very colorful section, it will probably not describe on its own an important part of your music (like harmony, feeling) but it will certainly help you to enhance, and improve whatever is the feeling you're treating. Sad to Sadder. Happy to Happier, Dramatic to More Dramatic etc...

All percussion usually have a very soft - very loud range in volume, (except Celesta, considered a percussion). This section will give you a much wider variant of timbres, than if you don't use anything but timpani. Percussion can merge with other instruments and create those new timbres, FX, etc,

People may think some percussion have already his defined character and can't be used for something else, like Snare drum sounding to war, battles etc, or Glockenspiel sounding Christmas... That's doesn't have to be right.

Percussion has suffered for the lack of knowledge by the composers, usually lack of information in the scores, for instance, the Tam-Tam, wow, this is an instrument can't be left uncared, because either can easily make your piece brilliant, can also ruin it all in a second.

Composers never specify the size of it, the mallet to be used, if let it vibrate or not, or how long, all of this is left to the percussionist, and most of the times, they choose a correct decision in everything, but not always, sometimes even conductor forgets about percussion and let the tam-tam play mp when it should have been f, or f when it should have been p, let it vibrate when it should have being stopped after 2 tempos, or stopped carefully in > not that abrupt, etc etc.

All this can be avoided if you write it in the score. by simply adding slurs and short indications.

Snare drum also can sound in many ways, but is only called "Snare Drum," .. "ok, bring a snare drum, any drum.."

Suspended cymbals if must be played with a mallet (felt stick) sounding softer or with a bachetta (without felt, direct wood) or maybe other thing like a metal beater.

Xylophone can be played with felt mallet, sounds smoother and nice, not always has to be that piercing....

Vibraphone, (this one can't use very hard sticks or you'll damage) but if the vibrato fan must be on or off, or how fast...

In short, you have to say how do you want your percussion or don't surprise if suddenly sounds different of what you had in mind.

Unpitched drums:

Snare Drum:

possible variants are with or without the snare wires (without them sound more like a simple tom), (specify only if its "without")

if ... you want a piccolo snare drum, metion it (try searching in YouTube for these things, to listen)

Bass Drum:

if must be left vibrating (a slur to nowhere)

if you want a very deep sound, you can just call it "deep" :toothygrin: or if you want a dry hit, (with a harder and smaller mallet)

Pair Cymbals, if must be left vibrating.

Suspended cymbals, which one (if no specify, will be the same in pair, or a crash one) if a different one, DO specify ("Ride" usually bigger, sounding less bright, "Splash" smaller, sounding a small crash, "Chinese" "Sizzle" "Ride bell" etc.

Tam-tam,:

available in many sizes, you will only have 2 or 3 choices, if you don't specify any size, will be played with a 28' Tam-tam or close to that size, this is a versatile tam-tam, brilliant in the ff, deep in pp.

When specify sizes I recommend ledt a range, like 30'-34' meaning can be used any of 30',32',34'.

As larger the Tam Tam is, deeper will be its sound, and to make it sound bright you will have to hit it more and more forte, will give you many deep sounds but will be unable to sound bright unless is ff. or fff.

Smaller tam-tams like 26' 24' will have no very much deep sounds, but will be able to give you bright sounds without having to make it in fff.

Chose (24),26,28,30,32,34 inches in diameter.

Good conductors, use several tam-tams (as in cinematic) even if the score only calls for 1, those are good conductors care about avoiding unwanted sounds.

I continue later :nod:

SymphonicManuscript.sib

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Bb and A clarinets are the same, you only use different "barrel"

31m1X1f2HNL.jpg (slightly longer for A)

350px-Clarinet_construction.JPG

if you call for both Bb and A, players needs 2 clarinets because you won't be dissembling you clarinet in the middle of the piece, but all orchestra clarinets have 2 for this issue, sometimes they switch even if the score doesn't call for it, maybe is still written in Bb but is much easier to play in A, depending onthe key signature. Sound is the same.

Eb Clarinet is a different one, smaller, this one also was used with 2 barrels, in Eb and in D, but I think D has been used less and less, don't call for it. Sound is thinner, very funny in my opinion.

C Clarinet I'm not sure, but is not used anymore. Count with A,Bb and Eb only.

I think my explanation about the clarinet break point was a bit confusing, I made this graphic to make it more clear.

10zztz4.jpg

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Not to butt in, but I think you're overstating the break SYS. Professional or even modestly good clarinetists can manage the break quite easily. Your examples labeled as "horrible" aren't that bad. They're not *ideal*, and would probably work better on an Oboe, but they're certainly possible and playable.

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Well, is not bad but it lacks of density because you're using almost unison in some points, like 2nd bar first note is E on Violins II, Cellos and Basses, 3 of your 5 voices are E. Trust in your contrabasses, they can play the bassline alone, I'll tell you when to double Cello/Bass.

In Strings Section as solo, if you feel is weak, you can use divisi, it's ok, but don't use Violins II div in 3, when you have Viollins I, Violas, and Cellos doing the same, use your sections first, and then divide if necessary-

I made two suggestions, on keeping most of your idea, and the other changing a little and I wrote a continuity of what it could be.

Passacaglia in F# minor correction1.sib

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Quick question: What do you mean by "this is empty by itself"? I noticed that you set the volumes of the woodwinds and the brass very low as compared to the strings. I have to strain my speakers and my ears to hear the woodwinds. Is this normal? I am using the Sibelius 6 Essentials sound set.

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Ok, This is what I found:

Use Alto clef for viola, unless is above C5 something like that switch to Treble.

I am considering these lessons as orchestration only, but orchestration is not the only aspect of a piece written for orchestra, there's form, harmony, development etc, I will be influencing a little in those aspects too, cannot be avoided entirely. but I will try to remain in orchestration only.

I think if you conceive your strings segment as a chord progression will be easier, no matter if doesn't look so organized and a viola suddenly goes up or goes down to fill the chord, but I think will work better for you right now.

Thinking as independent lines is not bad, actually can give you better results but perhaps not at this moment, I feel the strings are playing something (in my very personal preference) confusing in harmony. That's why I wrote the chord letters and somehow set some order an all this, a more clear way to think in this part.

I see you have now used the cello better. in the 8th bar when violins play 2 notes, I think divisi there would be correct, "div in 2".

Also Violins II can divide those 2 notes, you set divisi only where is 3 notes, no I think div in 2 for those 2 notes and when 3, counting viola, would be 4, you can write 2 for Violins II and 2 for violas, both divisi.

Doubled Cellos/Basses is correct in this part.

I'm not sure if muted horns is would sounds better, Horn can play very soft even without mute, so you don't have to mute it in order to reduce the volume.

Trombone will be very noticeable there, if that's what you want is ok, if not maybe the 3rd horn would play that.

Bar.15

Let's talk a little more about the Trombone.

Trombone is probably the loudest instrument in the orchestra, it can sound really really loud, you wouldn't like to be in front of it the entire concert.

trombonerange.jpg

here you have the complete range in several sections. The "Tenor Trombone in Bb" range is what is called there "Normal Range" . There are trombones with an extra piece of hardware that is called "F attachement" or "F Trigger" that allows the trombone to get down to the low C ("Trigger range" in the picture), That's the trombone you will be using in the orchestra at least for 1st and 2nd Trombones and "Trigger" + "Normal" will be your safe ranges.

"Pedal range" will be for your 3rd (or 4th) trombone which will be very probably a Bass Trombone, with 2 extended mechanisms. Although the "Pedal" range won't be a careless zone.

Below "trigger range" you have B natural, that you will not use. Some can play it, but very often is considered an impossible note. the Bb, a powerful pedal, you can use it with care, always give time the player to breath, and not very acrobatic passages this low, as lower A,Ab,G they become more difficult, more breath, can't sound unless is forte, and you gotta have an experienced trombonist to have fair control in that zone. You will not call for these notes many times, you have the contrabassoon for this (if very soft) or the Tuba to solve you all the problems in this zone.

Below E of normal range, trombone becomes more and more sharp* in its tone, you need the body of the Tuba sound, low A or Ab in trombone lack of pitch clearness, when playing with other instruments.

(I wouldn't recommend the usage of the lowest F# and F)

Said this, your part at bar15 is to be written for tuba /the low octave) and only 1 trombone (said the loudness) in the high octave of your F#,B,G#,C# .

Don't use mute for Tuba, they don't like to carry that thing :D

Tuba can control all these notes very well, in pp-fff,

Tuba.GIF

here you have it, no complains in this one, maybe the lowest Eb and D are slow to speak, that is all.

At bar 15 I convince myself that horns should be un-muted from the beginning, remember, a mute doesn't work as a volume pedal, it changes the tone quite much,

Woodwinds look find to me, just the harmony sounds like collisions to my taste.

bar.21 Pizzicato won't work very well that high in Violins I. Glockenspiel was a good call here., a single note for each violin section will work better too. You can use harp, tell me if you want to enter into the Harp issue.

2 Trumpets at ff are too much for that last motif. I think 2 is ok, but not ff, just mf or f top.

Check in piano what is what you want in bars 19 and 23. Can't determinate how to improve that part, in harmony, you gotta do it. (check double sharps, and enharmonic notes, is not incorrect, just will look better.)

*Sharp may not be the word, english is not my first language.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkZ_Im0th24

Hear it by yourself, this guy is playing Pedals Bb,A,Ab chromatically descending down to Ab, one key BEFORE the first in Piano, so is not impossible, just notice how does he takes breath on every note, and the obvious extra care he has to do for every single note. Like he mentions, he played the B natural (the one in the middle of Pedal and Trigger ranges) by doing a trick, moving the slide of his F mechanism. Tricks are possible, but don't demand an orchestra full of magicians.

Passacaglia in F# minor correction2.sib

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in bar13, violins II, if you want to keep those 3 notes is ok, just that div doesn't specify how to div, you could set "div. in 2" and set 1st note with beam up, and lower notes with beam down so one division play F# and the other play A+C.

bar 25, Trombone low F#.. I won't remove it, but is outside your safe range.

Bb_D_F_Bass_Trombone_Range.png

just trust you'll have a tough guy there :D

bar.27 not sure about the tuba sustaining that alone, but is not incorrect at all, rather interesting.

I modified a bit your woodwinds in bar 33, your fast notes arriving to bar.34 are not very important, won't be very noticed as harmony, better to take care of the comfortable for the players.

Quite strange your fast motifs there in strings and woodwinds, the dialog is correct, but I have written a better suggestion at the end of the score, keeping the idea, but a more understandable sequence.

This will help you to have a better idea of what you're asking: (Violin)

fingerboard.gif

Passacaglia in F# minor correction3.sib

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About the divisi in bar 13. I've notated the score such that one section plays the upper note, and the other section plays the lower two notes, although sometimes this is not possible, and the upper section has to be given the double stop e.g. the first chord I have a F# and C# double stop for the upper section and A in the lower section. Am I doing it right?

There is also a three note chord section at bar 33 foll., how do I notate that? Can I assume the cellos will be divided into three? I am not sure which doubles stops are possible for cellos. :P

In bar 27 - should I double the tuba with the trombone, or leave it as it is? I would prefer to have the tuba alone, as long as the main theme is not masked by the woodwinds (which I doubt).

EDIT : Can I assume that the range for the individual strings are the same for the viola? I.e. C string goes up to the F above the high C, etc.

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Bar.13 I would divide Violins II and Violas, each "div in 2", two notes on Violins II, two notes in Violas, no problems with double stops positions , unison in b.17 (b.15)

b.33 like my example, Cellos and Basses "div in 2" each, two notes per staff, no double stops, Strings can play two or three notes, but that doesn't make them polyphonic instruments.

b.27 No I think tuba alone is ok, will be noticed but that's the point, the tuba color suddenly quite clear, then will merge with the rest of the orchestra, a trombone doubling that will catch too much attention, poooossibly contrabasses doubling Tuba in p, but if you want the entry at b.30 then let the tuba alone. Ah!!!! contrabasooon, I don't know if you decided to include it, can double 1 octave lower.

Your edit, you mean the violin chart ? yes for viola just ignore the E string, and think in A as 1st, D as 2nd, G as 3rd and add the C as 4th.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick question: can woodwinds double at the unison? Say I have a part for flute - can I strengthen it by doubling it with another flute, or an oboe, at the unison?

Quick note: When doubling woodwinds, oboes are not really blending instruments. If you want to double the flute, and not drastically change the character, and depending on which range it is in then go for some instrument such as the clarinet, if possible. Otherwise, doubling woodwinds is perfectly fine. I haven't read the whole thread so I'm not sure if someone mentioned that already.

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