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Challenge: Arrangement


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This topic came into my head whilst perusing a small number of the massive quantity of arrangements of Pictures at an Exhibition that have been produced, whether for full orchestra or wind ensemble or five violas d'amore or clarinet choir or what have you. (I am slightly fascinated with the ideas of arrangement and transcription for some reason which i can't quite put into words just yet, which is a topic for a different thread.)


But in thinking about it i recalled several things—first of all that orchestration exercises are commonly given to music students to hone their skills, and second that with technology a new kind of "orchestration" has emerged, renderings produced in DAWs using soundfonts and so on and so forth. Third that YC exists and maybe i should post some things there.


There are a number of people here who enjoy writing for orchestra or other ensembles, or who wish to improve their instrumentation skills. And there are a number of people who enjoy creating digital renderings of music, or want to learn how.


Here is a short piano piece by Johannes Brahms, two pages in length. The duration varies between interpreters—search for "Brahms Intermezzo Op. 119 no. 3" on youtube and pick your favourite—but it's usually between 1 1/2 and 2 minutes. Your task is to arrange this for something other than a piano. Guitar quartet, mixed ensemble, choir, the screams of damned souls—whatever. Ideally it should be something you're not as comfortable writing for. Either do so (a) in a score, with midi rendering optional, or (b) in a DAW using virtual instruments (or both, if you want). Then post the results here. Hopefully, the experience will prove useful in some way.


Bear in mind that the purpose of an arrangement, apart from providing something for a particular ensemble to play, is often to illuminate or bring to the surface the more subtle or hidden aspects of a composition—at least, this is what the arranger strives for.

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