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Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Orchestration

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I figured that I would start this thread since I am making significant progress with my orchestration of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. You will notice that most of the notes in any staff are taken directly from the quartet score and put into suitable octaves for the instrument. With this thread, you will be able to see how I have progressed with it because I will post an MP3 and PDF once I finish a section. So far, I have the exposition of the Allegro movement orchestrated. I am working on the development section right now. I have decided on this instrumentation for it:

  • 2 flutes
  • 2 oboes
  • 2 clarinets
  • 2 bassoons
  • 2 horns
  • 2 trumpets
  • Tympani
  • 1st violins
  • 2nd violins
  • Violas
  • Cellos
  • Double basses

Here is my first draft of the exposition. How well have I orchestrated it? What issues are there with my orchestration? I vary the instrumentation where Mozart simply repeats the phrase.

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/3/2019 at 12:58 AM, caters said:

Here is my first draft of the exposition. How well have I orchestrated it? What issues are there with my orchestration? I vary the instrumentation where Mozart simply repeats the phrase.

I must admit I'm confused at your arranging attempt and your question. From what I can tell, the strings are playing exactly what Mozart wrote, as if you copied and pasted and then moved on to the other sections. The flute and oboe play violin I and II sections, respectively, while the clarinet appears to be mostly the viola part transposed up an octave. In suit, the bassoons double the cellos. Then you have the brass section (horn and trumpet) that only ever doubles other sections. (And they play some fast sixteenth triplets that sound awkward when produced by these grand-but-inflexible instruments.) A little doubling is fine when done tastefully. A moderate amount of doubling is not great. But a piece that's almost exclusively one section doubling another is purely off-putting.

Effectively what you've done is given every section—regardless of their different timbres and inherent playability—musical passages that were meant to be played by a string ensemble. Eine kleine nachtmusik was written by a master composer specifically for strings. If he'd wanted it to be a symphony he would've orchestrated it as one. That's not to say that it can't be arranged for an orchestra. But having the string section play the original work and simply carbon copying other sections on top of them... that won't cut it. At least in my opinion.

If you want to make this better, isolate sections of the piece that speak to the different voices of the orchestra... if possible. It's difficult for me to imagine any other instruments playing this except the strings. But, hey, I've been wrong before—I'm sure I can be wrong again!

Good luck!

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Agree with Tónskáld    Doing anything to Eine Kleine is likely to sound clumsy unless done with great care. You have to make it sound as if written for an orchestra rather than just strings. There's possibly a case for reinforcing the strings at the very outset (maybe a couple of other places too) but thereafter a choice need be made between strings taking the tune OR the winds. When it comes to the second subject in bar 28, only the strings can bring that off with lightness so doubling them with winds, particularly horns / tpts will thicken the texture to lose all lightness and barely contrast it with the preceding stuff. If you had composed this work yourself and wanted to bring off that tune (bar 28) you'd probably just choose strings or winds anyway.

At bar 5 you could consider letting the flute carry the tune, Vn1 being silent. Bar 11 give the top note to the flute, the lower one to the oboe like you do in bar 15, a far better arrangement. If you still want the Vns playing here, let them be sustained minims (1/2 notes)no grace notes.

However it all depends on the effect you want in which case who am I to comment?

Have you access to a DAW and good sample library so you can try your ideas out? (Your rendering doesn't seem entirely to reflect your score.) You may have exactly what you want in which case please disregard what I've said. :)


Edited by Quinn
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