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Is This Triple Stop Possible

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Or is this supposed to be divisi? I saw no marking for divisi but I'm guessing it's supposed to be implied due to the sheer complexity. Are all of these notes harmonics? If so, is my analysis as to the possible execution correct?

greenhornetharmonicsanalysisofpossibleexecution.png

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dominus, it's obviously not as, again, this is film music. the composer doesn't have time to write out every orchestral detail, as even the biggest movies only allow for about 6 weeks for the music to be done. JNH was obviously wanting some sort of harmonics-sounding 3 note cluster out of the violins, no time to orchestrate it as that is what a team of orchestrators is for (some films have a team of anywhere between 5-10 orchestrators, in addition to uncredited copyists, ghostwriters, etc that help out with the orchestration). So it's the orchestrators' fault as that his job, not the film composer's who has to write 80 minutes or more in 6 weeks or less.

here is an example of the orchestrator doing his job, and this is only for an average sized orchestra mind you, 6 horns rather than 12, not 6 bones, only A tuba, lack of 3rd or even 4th woodwind players. Not many would have time to write directly for such an orchestra, 80 minutes in 6 weeks, and it be decent. Maybe the tonal memory savante Jay Greenberg, but it wouldn't be any good.

greenhornetexample.png

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Writing for orchestra is not hard if you're good at it, doy. Morricone does that amount of writing all the time, or at least he did decades ago when he was younger.

And, you're missing the point. The composer must approve the score that the orchestrator gives him. So it is his responsibility whatever the notes are, even if he didn't press the buttons in Finale to make them.

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fair enough. However, it seems to me, from the analysis I wrote in, that it is in fact possible for a single violinist to play this, just not immediately apparent. Make the D6 a C6 and the Eb6 a Db6 and I am fully able to play this on guitar for instance (the 5ths vs 4ths tuning between the two instruments, just trying to mimic the stretch basically), problems of staggered bowing aside.

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Orchestral string sections will almost always assume divisi unless explicitly stated otherwise. There are several reasons why, chief amongst them tuning, as a pro band will aim to have every instrument on exactly the same pitch. This is particularly true of harmonics, and they are more difficult to balance in a chord with an open string too. One would only write this as a triple stop in a solo part, and then not expect the player to sustain all three pitches equally, especially at this very quiet dynamic which would not be achievable were this asked for tutti. The reason why the orchestrator wrote for both violin sections to divide by three is to avoid an overbalence of one note (otherwise only one section is divided and the other all play the same pitch) and it is easier to do this than expect two sections to suddenly organise themselves into three in the middle of the music. So you can see it is not worth the negligible difference in tone quality to risk bad tuning, imbalance and lack of control in the section, when a much more balenced tone which is easier to play can be achieved. If an orchestrator doesn't have at least a reasonable knowledge of how to write for strings and how players will perform things they won't be very good at their job.

John Williams does his own orchestrations (usually) and historically many film composers such as Korngold, Hermann and Walton too.

Also 'writing 80 minutes of music in 6 weeks, and it being decent' should be weighed against the speed at which Mozart and Handel wrote operas, and Shostakovich completing his Fifth Symphony in under two months. These examples are not even accompaniment background music either, but highly original works that have to stand up on their own.

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No he didn't. All of Mahler's symphonies took several years each to do. Some individual sections and movements went along really fast, but entire symphonies were long processes for him because of his conducting obligations.

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it was the eighth symphony written in 8 weeks, seems easy to remember. still, 8 weeks for all that work is pretty amazing, all of 2 months.

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There is no way Brad or anyone would have meant triple stop, it is impossible to sustain them all at same time. In film scores orchestrators often just write the sounding  notes and the players sort it out, much easier when it is a cluster.

Some people use the word 'div' but it is always assumed that it is always div, and if you put a double stop there is a 90% chance they will divide it anyway. In my scores I never mark a two-way div. I mark a 3-way. Not because I am ever worried they will play a triple stop, but I want to give them a heads up as a 3-way needs to be worked out, where as a two-way does not.

Tim

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Orchestral string sections will almost always assume divisi unless explicitly stated otherwise.

 

I don't find this to be the case for 20th century music, where the opposite convention is followed by most if not all composers - including Stravinsky and Ravel, the masters of divisi.

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It's the convention amongst both professional and non-professional orchestras, at least in Europe, to assume divisi unless otherwise stated in the part.  You need to be aware of this as a composer.  The most experienced twentieth-century composers were careful always to clarify divisi or not, and in many scores it is obviously impossible to perform all the parts at once.  Chamber and solo music, of course, is another matter.

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