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Pathetique Sonata arrangement, reached a writer's block

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So this is my first orchestral arrangement. I figured I should do an orchestral arrangement before I go on to write my symphony in Bb(which I have been doing a lot of planning on). My symphony in Bb, I also have a nickname for. That nickname is, The War Symphony. As you may or may not be able to guess, it is influenced by Beethoven, more specifically his Eroica Symphony. Anyway, I also figured that since I am a pianist and Beethoven is my favorite composer, it would only make sense that I arrange a Beethoven piece for orchestra. Hardest part was deciding on what Beethoven piece to arrange. But I eventually settled on my favorite Beethoven sonata, his Pathetique Sonata. It sounded orchestral in its nature, even as a piano solo, so I figured that this sonata would be well suited to an orchestral arrangement.

Since there were up to 4 voices in the bass and in the treble, I thought to myself:

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I am going to need more instruments than Beethoven's orchestra for this arrangement. Specifically, more bass instruments. So I will add a bass clarinet to the woodwinds. If that isn't available in a particular orchestra, I can make an alternate part for bassoon. I will also add a tuba so that I can get those 4 voice chords in the bass clef in the brass.

Now, I have been told that I need to clarify how many instruments I have, specifically how many horns. That is indeterminate at this point. And what if I wrote for 6 horns but the orchestra only has 4 horns? Who would take up the 5th and 6th horn parts? 2nd and 3rd Clarinets? Would they just not be played at all?

So far, I have been using the tympani to provide an accent where I feel one in the original piano score. The first theme of the Allegro was much like the Grave in terms of which instruments play the bass line and which ones play the melody. However, because of all the woodwind solos in the Grave, I decided to give the woodwind players a break in the first phrase and bring them back in the second phrase which is basically a repeat of the first phrase. In the second theme, because the bass register became part of the melody and the bass line went into the treble clef, and the horns weren't used much, I decided to have the horns take up the bass line and the cellos and bassoons play a more melodic role. I also had alternations between the different woodwinds. This also provided some much needed contrast on top of the major/minor contrast that was already there. Then, like in the crescendo towards the end of the Grave, in the closing material of the exposition, I built up to a full orchestral texture. The second Grave section is more woodwind dominant in the sound compared to the first Grave section which is more string dominant. I don't know why though. I mean I have fewer woodwinds(bassoonists get a well deserved break after playing the lowest possible note and the bass clarinet takes over the bass role) so shouldn't the second Grave be more string dominant than the first Grave, especially given that all the instruments are at the same dynamics?

Everything went fine in my orchestral arrangement. That is, until I reached the development section. Now I realize, Musescore doesn't provide a good balance(like the brass stand out a bit too much in the fortissimo) but that is not the problem. No, I have reached a writer's block with this orchestral arrangement. It would be nice to get some feedback on what I have done so far. So here is my orchestral arrangement of the Pathetique Sonata(the sound ends at about 6:18 in the MP3 file because it is incomplete):

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It sounds nice, but I do ask “why is their no English Horn?” You have the woodwinds in threes but you left off the English Horn.

also, make sure you are careful of the Timpani. I see you use five different notes for the timpani in the first three measures. There’s only four drums for a standard Timpani, and each drum has a specific range. I think you should read up on the timpani. Also, use less of it. It’s effect as an accent in the piece is overused.

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24 minutes ago, EquillaBeasley said:

It sounds nice, but I do ask “why is their no English Horn?” You have the woodwinds in threes but you left off the English Horn.

also, make sure you are careful of the Timpani. I see you use five different notes for the timpani in the first three measures. There’s only four drums for a standard Timpani, and each drum has a specific range. I think you should read up on the timpani. Also, use less of it. It’s effect as an accent in the piece is overused.

 

You're talking about why I have no English Horn with the oboes like how I have piccolo with the flutes, bass clarinet with the clarinets, and contrabassoon with the bassoons? Well, it is mainly a spacing thing. I have it set for A3 size paper in Musescore and I know that you can only have the staves so close before notes start overlapping. I honestly don't know if adding an English Horn staff will get it to that minimum spacing or not. If not, then I can add it without any problems. If it does though, then it is better for me to leave it out so that the conductor has an easier time looking at the score. Also I'm not sure what notes I would put in the English Horn if I do add it, given that I already have most of the notes of the sonata. Only ones I left out were the higher notes of the octave tremolo in the original piano score.

Also, I have heard of there being pedals on tympani drums to raise the pitch without retuning the drum. I don't know how far up the tympani pedal can raise the pitch though.

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16 minutes ago, caters said:

You're talking about why I have no English Horn with the oboes like how I have piccolo with the flutes, bass clarinet with the clarinets, and contrabassoon with the bassoons? Well, it is mainly a spacing thing. I have it set for A3 size paper in Musescore and I know that you can only have the staves so close before notes start overlapping. I honestly don't know if adding an English Horn staff will get it to that minimum spacing or not. If not, then I can add it without any problems. If it does though, then it is better for me to leave it out so that the conductor has an easier time looking at the score. Also I'm not sure what notes I would put in the English Horn if I do add it, given that I already have most of the notes of the sonata. Only ones I left out were the higher notes of the octave tremolo in the original piano score.

Also, I have heard of there being pedals on tympani drums to raise the pitch without retuning the drum. I don't know how far up the tympani pedal can raise the pitch though.

 

Yes, the timpani can change it’s pitch, however it takes time and must be notated that a certain drum has to change pitch. The time to change pitch, on average, is 4 measures in moderate time. If you want them to use the pedal during playing and not during rest, mark the change in pitch as a glissando.

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Very nice orchestration! Each detail is accurate.

The choice of the piece is great, I really love that sonata.

Congratulations!

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