Jump to content

Want To Write Big Orchestral Music, Where To Go After 4-Part Writing?


Recommended Posts

Hello everyone

 

So I've spent a lot of time studying harmony, practicing and applying all that I've learned using 4-part writing. What do you suggest I study next? When I hear lots of orchesral music there is often less than 4 melodies happeneing at one time, yet the arrangement sounds way thicker than a piece for 4 parts, is this mostly lots of doubling of the fundamental lines? I've read an online article about the background/accompaniment often being big chords with a slower/simpler rhythm than the melody, are these thick lines built downwards from the top note (so basically more complex doubling with mulitple intervals below the main accompaniment line) or are they built upwards from the bass line?

 

Thanks for your time

Edited by ansthenia
Link to post
Share on other sites

The best answers you will find them on the scores themselves, start studying orchestral scores, and try to play them in piano, you won't play every single note on score but try find in piano the main idea of what the composer could have had before completing the orchestration, I recommend for you to start with Sibelius "Finlandia" and "En Saga", or Grieg "Peer Gynt Suites 1&2".

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi ansthenia,

I agree with SYS65: listen to orchestral music and read the scores at the same time. If you hear a sound you are interested in, stop and figure out how the composer made it.

You can find TONS of free PDF scores in the public domain at imslp.com.

I think Brahms' 4th symphony would be another one to check out.

And you're on the right track - big orchestral chords often contain lots and lots of doubling. When I write orchestral music I will often write a piano score version first (kind of like your 4-part harmony excercises). Make notes for yourself along the way for different instrumentation. Then score it for the full orchestra afterward. That's one way to go about it, and I know many composers who do this.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

Hi man, a good thing is to check great orchestral peices, like Beethoven's 9th symphone, and maybe Dvojak's "Symphony of the new world"...

You will notice immense string power in those ones.   The trick there most of the time is octave doubling for a thicker sound, and also a lot of players play the same line, but with different instruments.  Another important thing is mixing the orchestral sound pallete, like putting high woodwinds with low strings, you will see what i mean when you try to combine them in your music software.

 

Have great success!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

I recommend writing chamber music. Work your way up - the orchestra isn't the holy grail that it used to be. If you can write a musically successful chamber piece (say something from 4-9 players, mixed instrumentation), then you're able to manipulate different voices to create a sound that communicates what you want. To me, that's all writing for orchestra is - a different medium to communicate a certain idea, concept, or story. It's just, there are more sounds. So it's scarier :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi!  I also think that if you want to look at some of Mozart's later symphonies, your time will not be wasted. :)

 

Here are some links to Mozart's Symphony No. 40 in G minor:

 

Orchestra version: http://conquest.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/a/ac/IMSLP273436-PMLP01572-III._Zweiter_Fassung.pdf

Piano (2-hand) version: http://javanese.imslp.info/files/imglnks/usimg/5/50/IMSLP14035-Mozart_-_KV550_Symphony_No40__pno_arr_August_Horn_.pdf

 

It might be interesting to compare the original orchestral version and this arrangement for piano solo.  You may find that many of the orchestral textures are simply 3- or 4-part counterpoint, with added octave doublings.

 

Be well and keep us posted!

 

Ezra

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Hello everyone

 

So I've spent a lot of time studying harmony, practicing and applying all that I've learned using 4-part writing. What do you suggest I study next?

 

Hi, would you mind sharing how you got to the "4-part writing" stage?  That would be helpful for me because I'm not there yet.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you mean SATB 4 part harmony, and if you understand how to build chords, and scales within a key.  Then you should be well off for understanding 4 part writing.  

I read Schoenberg's Theory of Harmony to really solidify my understanding, but now I just disregard it, after plenty of time following it. *shrugs*

 

You might be able to find a good cheap copy at your local Half-Price Books.  Otherwise, look online - there is plenty of information on this matter.  So, just jump on in.  Or, just ask here - open up your own thread. :)

:::

If you meant 4 part fugal counterpoint...then it would still be good to know scales and chords :P.  And decide if you want to sound like a specific period or not, and base your writing on the rules used in those times.   Or, you could just sound like yourself, and follow your own ear instead.   

 

Again, ask for specifics - so we know where you are exactly, and can help you a little more specifically.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...