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First large scale orchestral work, not really stuck but would like opinions: orchestral fantasie in Em


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Hello people,

This is my first attempt at full orchestration of a piano piece I wrote with the express purpose of orchestrating.
I started composing music about a year ago, and have a digital piano since 6 months. I have listened to classical music and read scores for about 8 years. I am currently reading
Korsakov's principles of orchestration, J. Jay Berhume's book on part writing and try to use Elaine Gould's book to make the notes look good. I have watched countless videos on music theory from the likes of Bruce Lee, Rick Beato, Adam Neely and others. I am self taught, have had some piano lessons as a child, but with very little success. I had difficulty playing correct notes physically and my teacher saw that as a reason to forego all theory, assuming I did not understand the music I played incorrectly. The cheer joy I know get from trying new theoretical concepts, performing a smooth modulation, seeing somewhere that Neopolitan 6th chords exist, getting closer to the secrets of the composers I so admire, it is sad that the piano teacher did not see the potential of that and that I had to light that spark myself.

I tried composing in sequencers before finding Dorico and Noteperformer and working notation based is a vast improvement for me: notes click with  my brain, and it is the tradition that my heroes have used for centuries. My musical tastes vary from late baroque up untill Wagner and the occasional Strauss. Top five composers (in no particular order): Bach, Schubert, Wagner, Beethoven, Mozart(s operas). I am a huge fan of the opera and it is my ultimate dream to one day compose a work of such magnitude.

 

With regards to this excerpt of orchestration:

* I purposefully went not too crazy with the instumentation, only string, woodwinds and horns (that I have not yet used). A bit like a Haydn symphonie score, in terms of insturmentation. The only excessive instrument I added in comparisson with Haydn Symphonie is a picollo.

* A point of self critique is the overuse of arpeggiation for harmony, especially in the viola section. It works, but is a bit cliche. I wonder what you would advice.

* I don't know if the second violin offers enough counterpoint on all places, its function is often just harmonization.

* I have tried my best to write authentically playable things, but would very much like critique on that.

* I wanted to attempt to go to piano, because the introduction of this piece is quite forceful and adds up to a large tutti in measure 11, I am not entirely sure how to go back now, because this is not the piece's end... (Maybe the horns!)

* I am well aware that the engraving of this piece is not quite there yet and that esp. in terms of how dynamics are communicated it is a bit all over the place. There must be tricks that don't require quite so much dynamic abrupt signalling. 

* Are the divisi doable / not too complicated / somewhat idiomatic?

* There is an Asus2 chord (a-e-d) on measure 11. In my piano score this was far easier to resolve to Am, I am wondering what can be improved there.

Any comments would be very welcome. Thanks a lot,

B.

 

https://soundcloud.com/basdekwant/fem-v1

Edited by bdk
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  • bdk changed the title to First large scale orchestral work, not really stuck but would like opinions: orchestral fantasie in Em

I think you have a great variety of different kinds of chords and inversions here.  What I do miss is a melody that is really tuneful although that might not have been your goal.  Maybe you would also get more responses here if you posted the original piano piece which you used as the basis for this orchestration.

On 11/10/2020 at 3:44 AM, bdk said:

A point of self critique is the overuse of arpeggiation for harmony, especially in the viola section. It works, but is a bit cliche. I wonder what you would advice.

 

I personally don't like doing this but you could use a tremolo between two tones to provide a similar kind of harmonic pad underneath.

On 11/10/2020 at 3:44 AM, bdk said:

I have tried my best to write authentically playable things, but would very much like critique on that.

Well, things that are playable on piano might not always easily translate for orchestra and vice versa.  If you plan on making a piece for orchestra, I would suggest just writing a piano partiture in preparation for that where you're already planning what you're going to do with the orchestra rather than writing idiomatically for piano - so that even if it's not possible to play on piano, it is a good plan for the orchestration.

On 11/10/2020 at 3:44 AM, bdk said:

There is an Asus2 chord (a-e-d) on measure 11. In my piano score this was far easier to resolve to Am, I am wondering what can be improved there.

Do you mean the Asus4?  You divisi the 2nd violins at the point to E and D but you never resolve that dissonance to the expected E and C.  That's the only issue I can find there.

In an orchestration such as this you're limited somewhat by the original piano composition which is why I think it would be beneficial if you posted it here as then we could critique the musicality of the original without getting distracted by the orchestration.

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Nice texture, instrumentation and articulation.

The music can use a little bit of space, like use one section at a time. Or copying lines from one instrument to another. The polyphonic stuff works better in small settings so it won't get cluttered, if you see what I mean? Take care

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