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  1. Lately I've been toying with the idea of including saxophone and euphonium in some of my orchestral works. I'm interested in not only using them as solo instruments, but also using them as more integral members of the orchestra, i.e. blending them with other instruments of the ensemble to create interesting textures. Do you guys have any suggestions for works that showcase these instruments in an orchestral context? Also, if you have any experience using these instruments in orchestral works, do you have any advice or wisdom to share? There is of course plenty of works for band with these instruments, but I'm wondering if there are good examples of these instruments blending with strings. I found a couple of suggestions from Wikipedia for Euphonium and Saxophones. A couple of notable ones I'm familiar with: Euphonium: The Planets (some good blending with strings in this piece), Ein Heldenleben Saxophone: Shostakovich's Suite for Variety orchestra (shows both solos and blending with strings), Bolero, Pictures at an Exhibition Any others, or any advice for using Euphonium/Saxophone in orchestra? Edit: Also, do you recommend any sample libraries with good sax/euphonium sounds? Currently looking at Vienna Symphonic Library...
  2. I've been having the impression I was playing a bit too safe with my harmonies lately, so I've done what I used to do at the beginning: do a restricted writing exercise and re-harmonize or rethink simple folk melodies. You may recognize the third piece, its lyrics have been translated to English and Spanish, at least. There's also some trivial quote hidden in there. I include both the full orchestral score, and the initial piano sketch. Edit: At the present moment, this is just a study for a future, longer piece. I'm thinking of something like Grieg's Norwegian Dances, where folk tunes are fleshed out into large forms with "classical" development. As a curiosity, I also include pics of the first 2 folk dances. Both involve steel-reinforced wooden sticks, and are fast-paced and violent. Someone breaking a bone isn't that rare (the xylophone in the first basically parodies the bones breaking). I danced myself to the 2nd melody.
  3. This is an ancient melody, spread from East Europe to West Asia. I love armenian chant, and I suppose I only know it in its "modern" version. I took this melody, which is, in fact, a monody, arranged it, added transition parts, harmonized and orchestrated it fully.
  4. Good evening everyone! I'm ready to present a new piece I have been working on for the last couple of months or so: Adagio for Orchestra. It’s a relatively short piece, not as large in scope as some of my other works I have posted here. Admittedly I’ve had a little bit of writer’s block recently, so I toned things back quite a bit and instead focused on simple themes and experimenting with an expanded orchestra, including Euphonium and Saxophone with the usual instruments. I'm interested in any and all constructive feedback. I had a few goals in mind as I composed this, feel free to chime in on how well I accomplished them: Focus on simple, memorable themes. Experiment with orchestration, using auxiliary instruments to create some unique textures. Integrate Euphonium and Saxophone with the rest of the orchestra. Write something that would work as a middle movement of a larger work, such as a symphony. The piece is loosely structured in a binary form with repeat (ABAB). (0:00 - 1:09) – Introduction. Euphonium solo that is passed between and elaborated by other members of the winds, punctuated by sweeping string lines. Most of the thematic material from the piece is extracted from this opening solo. (1:09 – 2:41) – A Theme. A melancholy dirge carried by a bell-like ostinato played by harp, celesta, and piano, with rustling tremolo in the strings and an eerie chant in the winds. (2:41 – 5:00) – B Theme. A floating theme first presented by the oboe then embellished by the strings to the first big outburst of the piece. Material from the A Theme is elaborated here, then the strings carry the oboe theme to a new momentary high, before settling back into the recap. (5:00 – 7:11) – A Theme recap. The dirge returns, this time building to a euphoric climax, then drifting away into the upper register of the woodwinds and strings. (7:11 – 8:13) – B Theme recap. This time the clarinet sings the theme. I experimented with some polytonality/polymodality/whatever-you-want-to-call-it with the chords in the horns, trumpets, flutes, keyboards, and harp. I’m curious how well I pulled this off. (8:13 – 8:38) – Coda. Return of the Euphonium solo, this time drifting off into silence to end the piece. As usual, I have few specific questions I would like specific feedback on. Feel free to answer as many or as few as you wish: What effect does the music have on you? Does in conjure up an image? Or an emotional feeling? Does it tell you a story? This can be the piece as a whole, or a specific part or parts. What was your favorite part? What was your least favorite part? Do you have any comments or critiques on technique, e.g. harmony, melody writing, counterpoint, orchestration, voice-leading, etc.? How do you feel about the overall form? Is it effective? How well do you think the euphonium and saxophone are integrated with the rest of the orchestra? How do you feel about the harmony in the B theme recap (the nondiatonic chords against the melody in the clarinet)? Is it effective? Do you have any comments of the quality of the performance in the audio file? I really want this to be a decent representation of how the piece would sound if it were performed live, since it is unlikely it ever will be. Feel free to put your "conductor hat" on and critique the "orchestra". I have included a score and welcome any constructive feedback on its presentation. And if you're like me it's a lot more fun to follow along with the score. Are there any composers this reminds you of, that I might enjoy listening to? Sound libraries: Spitfire Symphonic Orchestra and Spitfire Percussion VSL – Eb clarinet, Bass clarinet (in the intro only), Alto sax, Bassoon (for the solo only), Bb Trumpet (for the solos only, and some reinforcement in louder sections), Euphonium, Piano Thanks for listening, I hope you enjoy! If you liked something I did and want me to explain how I did it, feel free to ask as well. -gmm
  5. Hi all, I have recently launched a website to help composers and virtual orchestrators learn how to create an effective midi mockup. https://synthestration.com There is currently a launch sale active where you can receive 15% off any order, just use the coupon code LAUNCH15 at checkout. The current products available include a downloadable project file containing all MIDI data, routing and mix settings, and comment markers to show you exactly how a specific piece of music was 'mocked-up' and what techniques were used to achieve specific articulations and tone. The project file can be downloaded for either Logic or Cubase (more DAWs to be supported in the future). There is also a fully orchestrated score to accompany the project file for you to reference. As of this writing, there is only one piece available, which makes use of East West's Symphonic Orchestra sample library, and their Spaces reverb plugin. Both are included with their Composer Cloud subscription. In summary, you will see everything that was done in order to achieve this result: https://soundcloud.com/synthestration/symphonic-explorations If you purchase a product from synthestration.com, you gain access to an exclusive chat server where you can ask an unlimited number of questions about the product, or indeed anything that is on your mind! Of course, feel free to ask any questions via our contact form on the site, or simply respond in this thread. Cheers, Jayden https://synthestration.com
  6. Hey all, I finished a rough draft of a work and need feedback on its orchestration, playing techniques, etc. I will adjust any notational errors later as I have not proofread the work yet. Any general advice/feedback is great, as the form of the song is set in stone. Thanks!
  7. Hi, I know there is expert people here. I want to study some big score to learn orchestration. I'm interested in romantic-postromantic and modern orchestration. Any suggestions? Perhaps Mahler is too much to start. I thought about Tchaikovsky's Pathethique Symphony.... I love it and I've listened to it many times... Holst, The Planets? Thanks.
  8. So... I want to compose more for orchestra and begin to build a decent corpus. Only thing... is that I'm more knowledgeable on string techniques and writing -with a growing understanding of woodwinds. Brass are my main issues... I just don't know the best ways to compose for them! I get that they can play soft... I understand that trombones and horns can provide nice padding to any texture -but, I'm scared to death to use them because I don't want to overpower the winds and strings. I can hear the brass instruments in my head (which is a good thing for orchestration) -but I still am hesitant to use them. Any tips or suggestions?
  9. Finally, I have the 6 pieces. It was not easy to do this because this work is quite "synthetic". Always in piano-pianissimo, very short pieces. It was hard to give a role to all the instruments.
  10. I'm not new in atonality but I never have written anything for orchestra in this style. Just to learn, I'm trying to orchestrate Schönberg's six Little Piano Pieces. They're short and good to try. This is nº 2 (although I've always thought it is in a sort of "extended" G major). What do you think? The piece is mostly "quiet" and it is not easy to give voice to the whole orchestra in less than a minute.
  11. So, one thing I like to do to strengthen skill sets is mess around and just create things that focus on whatever it is that I'm wanting to strengthen in my writing. This particular beginning is focused on orchestration. I've got the winds interlocked in the tutti chords (tonic: d minor). Following these, I bring celli, bass, 2nd violins, and viola in with an accompaniment pattern (doubled with bassoon). Clarinet and Oboe share a resonant countermelody as the flute and violins present the initial theme. Horns, in this example, add punctuation to the rhythmic motif found in the celli.
  12. Hello! I just would like to have some feedback on this track I wrote. I wanted to represent a typical traffic jam situation in a very big city. The piece is written for a large woodwind ensemble, piano and percussions.
  13. For both practicing orchestration and just for fun I made this attempt to orchestrate my favourite piano sonata by Mozart which, I think, is well suited for a symphonic setting: http://www.gerdprengel.de/Mozart_PianoSonata-KV457-1_orch.mp3 http://www.gerdprengel.de/Mozart_PianoSonata-KV457-1_orch.pdf (score) http://www.gerdprengel.de/Mozart_PianoSonata-KV457-2_orch.mp3 http://www.gerdprengel.de/Mozart_PianoSonata-KV457-3_orch.mp3 Gerd
  14. 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.
  15. Yowza it feels like forever since I've had time to hang out with y'all!! I've been doing some sketching (mostly for piano, to focus on simplifying my part writing), and explored the idea of creating a melody based on the rhythmic grouping of 5+4+3+2+1 (a half note), and 6+5+4+3+2+1 (a half note), etc. It's not my best sketch, but I decided to orchestrate it for wind ensemble and I think the end product is pretty nifty. I'll post the orchestration and the original piano version if you want to compare. Any thoughts are welcome! #GoodToBeBack #ThanksForListening #Hashtag https://soundcloud.com/transcend_audio/sketch-no-22 https://soundcloud.com/transcend_audio/sketch-no-22-orchestrated
  16. So, I just got this idea yesterday of orchestrating Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Should be easier to do than the Pathetique Sonata orchestration I did before. Since it is Mozart that I am orchestrating, I'm staying conservative with my instrumentation. Here is the instrumentation I plan on using for my orchestration: 2 flutes 2 oboes 2 clarinets 2 bassoons 3 horns 2 trumpets tympani 1st violins 2nd violins violas cellos double basses The reason I haven't put in numbers for the string instruments is because most likely, the orchestra will decide on their own what the best strings:other players ratio is or will know it from playing Mozart symphonies hundreds of times. Either way, it isn't like I know the strings:other players ratio for a classical period orchestra(which is what I'm aiming for with my instrumentation if you can't already tell), so I would have no clue on the ideal numbers for the string instruments. There are some spots where I see Mozart writes a phrase and then he repeats the phrase. These would be prime times to bring in more players or have some players take a rest(really depends on the dynamics of the initial phrase and the repeated phrase). And there are some extended creschendo passages as well. Those would be places where I increase the sound density. Extended diminuendo passages, I would do the exact opposite for. I would decrease the sound density. But do you have any suggestions on how to go from string quartet to orchestra? And in particular, what should I do about the triple stops that start the piece? I have been told that double stops, while they sound great in a solo, or even a quartet, when you get to the size of an orchestra, it becomes clunky in sound. The double stops I can simply either have more than 1 instrument group play it or make 1 staff divisi. But I have no idea what to do about the triple stops. If double stops sound clunky in an orchestra, then triple stops will sound even more clunky in an orchestra, so I obviously can't just leave them as triple stops. But what should I do about those triple stops? Here is a PDF of the entire piece as originally written:
  17. Hello! I am a 17 year old music student from Belgium. I recently wrote a concerto for double bass, and it turned out really well in my opinion. Now that it's finished I actually really want to write a new piece, but I can't find any themes. I was wondering, for those who don't really those "Aha! I've got a theme!"-moments at random, how do you find/look for a new theme? Where do you get your inspiration from? And how do you know if you didn't steal it from an other work? Thanks!
  18. Hey folks, This is my latest composition, Ruth. It will be performed by my church's orchestra sometime in the Spring or Summer. I am looking for feedback on this so hit me with anything you've got! I know each section is pretty short, but it's what I had to do in order to fit the type of concert it will be performed at. Thanks! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c3YJdnU_Lg
  19. Hello all I am looking to improve my orchestration. So, I looked around the Internet and found Berlioz's Treatise on Instrumentation on IMSLP. However, as useful as this has been, it is not exactly what I am looking for. What I try to find is not a book which tells me about about the instruments themselves, but rather how to combine them and make my orchestral scores look and sound good. Glancing at one of my orchestral scores, I can see that the orchestration is very basic, and probably sounds as much. (It is on manuscript, so I cannot hear it) Does anyone know of any books/websites/articles that will help me to improve this aspect of my orchestration? Thanks
  20. Hey guys, sorry for not posting recently. I've just moved to start going to school for organ performance, but I've been getting back into composing over the past weeks. Here's a project I've started and finished during that time.
  21. This is your lord WeeGee bringing to you an exercise for your orchestration skills. Earlier this week, on monday, i came up with a very simple, short waltz (while studying math, of course). Its 1'12'' long, and written for piano (although not exactly playable by one alone). Since its short and harmonicaly simple, i thought it could be a nice exercice for those who are still learning the ways of orchestration (also a good one for those who already know the craft). The ZIP file contains 3 other files: The PDF, the XML (for those who want to use their notation program) and the MIDI (for those who want to orchestrate with their daws). Feel free to add your own little details, ending, octaves, parts, etc. Be creative, be thoughtful and have fun. This is what orchestration is mostly about. Also feel free to post your finished work here. LINK: http://rghost.net/6ZGVFTKYH Keep in mind that RGhost is a file hosting site that deletes its files 90 days after ther last download. If its not available anymore give me a shout here in the topic and i will update it accordingly.
  22. Hello composers! This will be the place where I will share one classical composition including saxophones per week. The videos are not mine! As a saxophonist, I notice that still many composers do not use the saxophone in classical music. The most important reason for this is because they do not know how to apply the instrument. I often get the question if I could give some study advices for saxophone writing. My answer is always that one has to listen and study the works of our predecessors. This topic is meant to inspire and stimulate composers to write more music for the saxophones. Contents Graham Lynch - Unreal Promenade for Saxophone Ensemble (2015). Jean Françaix - Cinq Danses Exotiques for Alto Saxophone and Piano (1961). Georges Bizet - Suite No.1 from the drama l'Arlésienne (1872). Claude Debussy - Rhapsodie for Saxophone and Orchestra (1901 - 1911). Slava Kazykin - ''Bachiazzola'' for Saxophone Quartet (n.d.). Mark Watters - Rhapsody for Baritone Saxophone and Wind Orchestra (2001). Iannis Xenakis - XAS (1987). Mozart / Arr. Niels Bijl - String Quartet No.15 in D minor, Kv. 421a. Paul Creston - Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, Op.19 (1939). Erwin Schulhoff - Hot Sonata (1930). Carter Pann - The Mechanics for Saxophone Quartet (2013). #1 Graham Lynch - Unreal Promenade for Saxophone Ensemble (2015). More information in the description of the video. Best wishes, Maarten Bauer
  23. I’m writing some music for my friends. More on that in a bit. These little nuggets will one day become my first symphony. I guess wouldn’t exactly call them sketches since the music is written beginning to end, but they feel rough because they are not yet fully orchestrated. Either way, once that final orchestration phase is complete, this work will be a substantial piece of music, with a lot of rich content for the listener to explore. For now I’ve chosen a basic instrumentation of flute, oboe, trumpet, low strings. This can give a feel of being fleshed out, but is small enough to make sketching manageable, and colorful enough to make it fun. This instrumentation also helped me get away from the violin-centric symphony model, since I haven’t included violins in my original sketches. When I sit down and orchestrate this thing for real I will add violins in at my leisure, like a painter who, with one smooth movement, adds a bit of reflected light to a child’s eye. The next step is to dive deep into the orchestration and make some hard choices. But for now, I’m savoring the completion of an crucial leg of this artistic journey. This particular piece has taken years to get to this spot, and where it will eventually lead I am not entirely sure. Sometimes it’s just important to pause and recognize a milestone. The working title is “Homies”: Joe Soeller Evan Adventure Cat Erica Hunt-Shaw I’m not totally settled on all aspects of this music, but the overall arc I love. This is music for my friends. It’s a celebration of what we’ve all accomplished together, what we’ve built, the life we’ve lived, the love we’ve felt. The music goes a lot of different places, as do long friendships. For us the highs have been high, and there really haven’t been too many lows, and even if a low came along, we all know the high was coming back soon enough. Some of this music is an intense philosophical probing, difficult questions asked, journeys of personal growth, a connectivity that grows deep like tree roots, music for my brother. Another part is a long and exotic road trip adventure. Fences climbed, open mics pioneered, tequila bottles also pioneered. This is music to play spinbat to. And yet another section is a song of love, a private song, a hidden cave. When I dive back into this music and turn these nuggets into completed symphony movements, I may end up expanding certain chunks, or slowing down the tempo for a section, or taking the music in a slightly different direction if the mood strikes me. I’m still shaping the clay a bit. But the meaning behind the music will not change. It’s that meaning that underscores every note of this music, every rise and fall. It’s that meaning that drives me to complete it. I welcome any feedback.
  24. Another little something for critique (please rip it to shreds!) I'm not particularly happy with this at the moment. Feels like it's all over the place. I think my main issue is probably the strings — they just don't feel like they're working. It's probably a combination of the writing and the orchestration (and maybe the samples I'm using as well), but maybe some more seasoned composers can give me some tips here (especially at mark D...) As an aside, the director loves it, and is going to use it, but just for my own purposes I want to see if there's anything I can do with this to polish it up a bit. Score is attached, if that's helpful. Anyway, here it is in context (ungraded first cut):
  25. Hello everybody, On FaceBook I have seen an invitation to write for the carillon of the Domtoren (church) in Utrecht. I never came on the idea to write for this instrument until now. The problem is that I don't know how to compose for the carillon. I cannot find much information about the possibilities and limitations of the carillon, so I would really appreciate it if you could tell me more about it! Thank you, Maarten
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