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Orchestration: PART 1 (woodwinds) discussion

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Guest QcCowboy
Oops. I almost didn't do Exercise 5. Sorry.

hehehe, I think a LOT of people have forgotten the orchestration course!

ok, some comments on your example... it's a lovely start.

One thing I find is that your flute part is maybe a little too consistantly low. It's always borderline "weak register" throughout. even when all the rest of the isntruments come in. Since your flute seems to be carrying the main melodic material, it would either need to be in a stronger register, or at least be doubled by another instrument.

for example, the third measure the clarinet is above the flute, and the oboe is in its very strongest register... that flute is a bit lost in there.

another thing to watch out for is 2nds. when you have those 2nd frictions in the harmony (which are beautiful, by the way), you ahve to be very careful about where they resolve and what instruments are playing them.

In the 2nd measure it could work with the flute and oboe. the resolution opens to a 3rd, and the texture is very clear.

however, the 6th measure where the clarinet plays that 2nd above the flute then the 2nd BELOW as well!!! that might not work as well. it ends up sounding a bit muddy.

Since your phrase is very contrapuntal, you might consider changing flutes for oboes in the opening, then having the clarinets do the oboe part, and the flutes an octave up do the clarinet part.

try it that way to see how you like it. it will make the texture a bit more transparent as well.

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Oh, I didn't notice the second 2nd (ha ha) in that measure. I was trying for a sus. 2 because I had never really used one before, but I fudged it. So I took it out; I like it without it better.

I like the switching of the parts much better. I've got the changed file attatched.

Exercise 5.MUS

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Guest QcCowboy
Oh, I didn't notice the second 2nd (ha ha) in that measure. I was trying for a sus. 2 because I had never really used one before, but I fudged it. So I took it out; I like it without it better.

I like the switching of the parts much better. I've got the changed file attatched.

lovely!

that works a whole lot better.

care to take yet another jab at it? this time mixing and matching the timbres, as we've been learning through-out this course. by this I mean not trating 2 flutes together, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets... how about 1 flute and 1 oboe? or 2 clarinets and a flute? here and there, break up the symmetry of your orchestration.

The solo lines was a good start... but could have been a bit more colourful with a blended timbral colour - flute and clarinet solo unison?

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I believe I followed the first bit of advice correctly and made other minor changes, but I'm not sure I understand what to do about the last bit. Are you saying to do something like change the oboe solo to a flute and clarinet soloist duet? Or should I put the flute an octave down?

Exercise 5.MUS

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Guest QcCowboy

ok, David, I re-orchestrated your piece (which is very pretty, BTW) to include a bit more full woodwind sound.

try to notice where I did unison and octave doublings, and where I camouflaged some parallel 3rds/6ths to thicken textures.

Also try to notice where or for how long the unisons last.. sometimes they're only for a few notes, and it can be enough to help with instrumental density.

David's woodwind example

david woodwinds.pdf

PDF

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Ok, I am done with my fifth exercise. I took me about 6 or 7 hours, scattered over three days. Reason why it took longer than I expected was that I re-wrote it 3 times ;)

I am still not too pleased though, so I thought that it might be better for you to check it out and point out the faults.

The melody in the bassoon [bar:2-4] which is doubled with the Oboe in bar 3, is the balance ok? I had a hard time figuring out which of the melodies would be prominent, maybe it is well balanced *shrugs*

Exercise N

Exercise N

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Guest QcCowboy
Ok, I am done with my fifth exercise. I took me about 6 or 7 hours, scattered over three days. Reason why it took longer than I expected was that I re-wrote it 3 times :sweat:

I am still not too pleased though, so I thought that it might be better for you to check it out and point out the faults.

The melody in the bassoon [bar:2-4] which is doubled with the Oboe in bar 3, is the balance ok? I had a hard time figuring out which of the melodies would be prominent, maybe it is well balanced *shrugs*

I like the 3rd measure best.

the first two measures are a little bit weak sounding. I think it's because the flute is doubling 3 octaves away from the bassoon. and the clarinets are playing rather open intervals between (one note of which doubles partially the melody).

the sudden drop in density of the 6th measure COULD work, OR... you could also have the flute and oboe drop down one octave, you might consider using only one oboe for the 6th measure...

you might also consider using the 2nd clarinet to play the 1st bassoon part in the 6th and 7th measures.

my sense is that it's a tiny bit too disjointed... I'd like to get a better sense of homogeneity of the woodwind group.

Could you try it again? Keep the same music (which is really nice also!) but look to make things as smooth as possible.

Blend the instruments - enbricking, enclosing, superimposing... remember one of the first lessons. It applies to melodic passages as well.

Reduce your musical meterial to its bare essentials, then from there decide what is "important", what is "melody" and what is "counterpoint" and "harmony".

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I like the 3rd measure best.

the first two measures are a little bit weak sounding. I think it's because the flute is doubling 3 octaves away from the bassoon. and the clarinets are playing rather open intervals between (one note of which doubles partially the melody).

the sudden drop in density of the 6th measure COULD work, OR... you could also have the flute and oboe drop down one octave, you might consider using only one oboe for the 6th measure...

you might also consider using the 2nd clarinet to play the 1st bassoon part in the 6th and 7th measures.

my sense is that it's a tiny bit too disjointed... I'd like to get a better sense of homogeneity of the woodwind group.

Could you try it again? Keep the same music (which is really nice also!) but look to make things as smooth as possible.

Blend the instruments - enbricking, enclosing, superimposing... remember one of the first lessons. It applies to melodic passages as well.

Reduce your musical meterial to its bare essentials, then from there decide what is "important", what is "melody" and what is "counterpoint" and "harmony".

Ok, I will :sweat:

Thank you once again.

P.S You told me days ago that you could have an instrument play thirds to give the piece some density, which I did; I changed it to sixths because I found that the overall timbre was more wide.

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Guest QcCowboy
Ok, I will :sweat:

Thank you once again.

P.S You told me days ago that you could have an instrument play thirds to give the piece some density, which I did; I changed it to sixths because I found that the overall timbre was more wide.

yes, when you have a line that delineates a certain curve, it can be doubled

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yes, when you have a line that delineates a certain curve, it can be doubled

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Guest QcCowboy

ok, this isn't strictly "orchestration", but I'll go into it a bit.

If your main theme requires a sequence of repeated notes, you have the opportunity of creating a simple contrapuntal line to accompany it.

For example, let's say in C major, your main theme starts with repeated Es:

E ----- E - E - E ---------- (the rest of your melody)

you could "thicken the texture" with a 3rd below it (the C),

E ----- E - E - E ---------- (the rest of your melody)

C ----- C - C - C ---------- (continue parallel 3rds)

or take advantage of the length of time you have to creat a brief melodic passage below, that goes from one "valid" thickening note (the C) to another one (the G, a 6th below)

E ----- E - E - E ---------- (the rest of your melody)

C - B - C -B A -G ---------(then continue in 6ths)

there is a great deal of freedom to move from one set of parallel notes which are not "independant counterpoint" but simple thickening of the texture to a NEW set of parallel notes... if you are creating a parallel line in 3rds, you can briefly let the "thickening" veer off by itself to catch up to another note that lets you continue in parallel 3rds or 6ths from that point on. Basically, you choose sections of your melody which will be thickened in a very straightforward way, then find the juncture points where you could make the switches from one sort of thickening to another. By the way, you can also move from unison doubling to thickened texture where appropriate. A thickened line will be "richer" sounding than a simple unison doubling, and again, this is without actually adding any new melodic material.

Here is an example of a simple melody, starting with repeated notes.

below the melody are two possible "thickenings" of the melody - in 3rds and in 6ths.

The first "version" starts out in 3rds and suddenly shifts to 6ths (at the 1st arrow). it then shifts to parallel 3rds (at the 2nd arrow)

The second version starts in 3rds and at the arrow gains a little bit of independance as an oblique counterpoint to become a parallel melody at the 6th, then shifts (at the 2nd arrow) to parallel 3rds.

It ends up sounding like "counterpoint" but it's really nothing more than parallel movement in another voice (which is actually a "no no" in true counterpoint).

Please ask questions if there are things you are not undertanding in this.

8054.attach_thumb.jpg

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When choosing which instruments that should thicken, should one apply the rules of orchestration? Like we are doing now, or are there completely different rules for that?

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Guest QcCowboy

the same general ideas, yes.

you can have multiple instruments on the main melody, either at the unison, or in octaves, and the "thickening" can be either the 2nd desk of each instrument or selected instruments.

for example:

one might have Fl1 and Ob1 on the melody at the unison, FL 2 and Cl1 one octave lower.

the "thickening" could be Ob 2 and Cl 2, in octaves.

it obviously depends on the register of your melodic material.

also, consider that a part might be an octave doubling... that BECOMES a parallel 3rd or 6th (or other interval) thickening the melody.

In teh same way that I made the above examples switch from 3rds to 6ths, an octave or even unison doubling can suddenly become parallel.

however, don't forget to compensate for the sudden lack of density on the main melody that a unison line suddenly switching to an accompaniment function will bring.

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ok, David, I re-orchestrated your piece (which is very pretty, BTW) to include a bit more full woodwind sound.

try to notice where I did unison and octave doublings, and where I camouflaged some parallel 3rds/6ths to thicken textures.

Also try to notice where or for how long the unisons last.. sometimes they're only for a few notes, and it can be enough to help with instrumental density.

David's woodwind example

Okay. I think I get it. I'm not sure how well I'd be able to execute it now, but this helps.

And thanks for the lovely comment. :happy:

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Guest QcCowboy
I have written a completely new one, I hope that the timbre change works, as well as I hope that it is much better than my previous attempt.

OH MY!!!!!!!!

this is a first! you have given me shivers up and down my spine!

This was VERY beautiful.

Yes the sudden shift to the clarinets works beautifully.

There may be a few spots where the harmony could have been more clearly defined, but that would be the job of your composition teacher.

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OH MY!!!!!!!!

this is a first! you have given me shivers up and down my spine!

This was VERY beautiful.

Yes the sudden shift to the clarinets works beautifully.

There may be a few spots where the harmony could have been more clearly defined, but that would be the job of your composition teacher.

Wow, hearing praise from you surely is something special :)

well I did work all night and re-fined it today.

I was not sure about the beginning, I wanted it smooth; so I had a Flute I and Oboe II play in unision, followed up by Flute II and Oboe I (then I did not have the extra measure in the beginning). Well I am glad, that I have finally written something beautiful :happy:

I have to thank you a bunch :)

Now, patiently waiting for next exercise :)

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Guest QcCowboy

well, where praise is due, praise is given :happy:

I think all of the people participating in this class are deserving of it at some point. there is a great deal of talent floating around this forum.

I added two new chapters to the course material thread.

time to start reading.

exerises will follow.

You might consider applying the new material to your already existing exercise. for example, adding two horns to the mix without altering the pre-existing orchestration.

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I will start reading now :happy:

Oh, yes I noticed that the ending was awkward, so I changed the last chord to C :)

I've uploaded them if you want to listen.

Exercise N

Exercise N

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Guest QcCowboy

Saiming, I particularly like the way you brought in the instruments one after another rather than in blocks. that's a beautifully effective way to build texture.

Very nice independance of voices as well. The crossing of 1st and 2nd desks works beautifully.

Once you've assimilated a bit of the new material on the french horn, how about adding parts for two french horns to this?

I made a few minor modifications, see if you can find them and figure out why I made them.

score and recording are here:

Recording

score

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Saiming, I particularly like the way you brought in the instruments one after another rather than in blocks. that's a beautifully effective way to build texture.

Very nice independance of voices as well. The crossing of 1st and 2nd desks works beautifully.

Once you've assimilated a bit of the new material on the french horn, how about adding parts for two french horns to this?

Yes, I will surely do that. I guess you want them to be the resonance instruments?

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Guest QcCowboy

yes, horns as resonance... and reread my above post, I added a few things about your excerpt.

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I have compared your modification and my score. First thing is that your's is not written in Concert pitch, forgot to click away that.

Now, beginning from measure I:

You changed the Flute II by inserting two 1/4 notes, I guess that is to give the piece a smoother introduction to the motif? You changed the dynamic to p instead of pp

In measure II:

You take away the pause in Flute II and add a 1/2 note, so that it will become a triad.

In measure III: You change 1/2 notes so that they overlap one another.

There is added dynamics for Bassoon I, mf to f. So that it doesn't sound to weak compared to the bassoon II playing f in the following measures.

IV: Transpose the Flute II one octave, the flute too weak I presume (I was actually thinking of having and enclosure, but then I realized that it should have been usage of Flutes and Clarinet instead of Flutes and Oboes, or does that not matter? Eitherway, the flutes to weak.)

VI

Dynamics added, f in all instruments playing as wells ad a diminuendo, this is so that the listener gets reassured that the climax has passed and it is to lead into another part.

The following measures you have added p to all play instruments, so that a contrast is created?

I hope I found most changes :happy:

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Guest QcCowboy

wonderful. yes.

I also added some phrase markings. they were purely subjective, so you might actually phrase the music differently.

and I REALLY liked your short music excerpt. it has a very personal style.

Most of the changes I made were to add to the smoothing of transitions. Sometimes a cadence requires that a note holds over in one instrument before dissappearing (this was the added flute note at the end of the initial phrase).

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wonderful. yes.

I also added some phrase markings. they were purely subjective, so you might actually phrase the music differently.

and I REALLY liked your short music excerpt. it has a very personal style.

Most of the changes I made were to add to the smoothing of transitions. Sometimes a cadence requires that a note holds over in one instrument before dissappearing (this was the added flute note at the end of the initial phrase).

Ah, yes forgot to mention them. I noticed something I have not seen before and I don't know how it is played. It is the very first note in Flute I, it was two phrase markings.

Haha, don't flatter me so! Me, personal style, never knew I had any - always thought I was some really bad xerox of a handful composers.

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