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How To Write Orchestral Music

First Movement Sonata Form

How To Write Orchestral Music – Creating Great Melodies & Countermelodies By Ear

Going to Iraq. I wont get into the details too much, at least not here, but in a period of a few weeks, I went through an emotional roller coaster:

  • I prepped for going, a good friend got shot down in Iraq
  • I was in a car accident, my car was totalled
  • I said goodbye to my family
  • I partied in Scotland
  • I stepped off a plane in Kuwait, into what felt like a hairdryer all over my body
  • Crossing the Berm into Iraq

It was a crazy time.

So with this in mind, I have tried to capture the emotions I felt in a logical way, that will help me compose the Symphony. This is what I came up with. Its basically an outline.

Beethoven Tchaikovsky Mahler And Shostakovitch

First of all, it helps to remember that orchestral writing is a craft that dates back centuries. Quite a few pretty famous people have already been there and done it, some of them rather well! So its not a bad idea to see what we can learn from them.

The size and make-up of the orchestra has evolved over time from the stripped down pre-classical and classical string and two of each woodwind sections, to the much more heavyweight romantic period orchestras of Tchaikovsky, Wagner, and Mahler. The kind of romantic period writing that happened during the 19th and early 20th century typically used bigger string and woodwind sections, a large complement of brass, and a full range of orchestral percussion.

Then theres the instruments themselves. Some of them evolved in radical ways trumpets and French horns became valve instruments during this period enabling them to play chromatically, which wasnt possible before.

So what about the kind of modern day scoring that is often done for blockbuster films and market leading games? I cant do better than suggest that you begin by studying some of the orchestral scores that have already been written, particularly those from the romantic period, where the orchestra size and type of score writing seems to fit most closely with the modern day approach.

Composer Tips For Writing Orchestral Music

My names Geoff, and Im a composer and studio producer based in north wales. Ive been composing for well over 10 years and have a professional background in the creation and production of music. I thought I would share with you my top tips for composing a piece of orchestral music.

1. First create a piano reduction.Often we can get bogged down with one or two aspects of writing music, this forces us to sometimes get fixated on that section, chord progression or musical phrase.

2. Nothing is more important than the musical motif and the bass line.Chords are great, they provide the harmonic content that we need in our piece which solidified the emotive context while also emphasising our cadential phrasings , but this is by far not the most important aspect of a composition, despite it often being the inspiration for the piece we are working on.

I would always argue that the main thematic idea should always be the star, closely followed by the bass line which along with your percussion provide the foundation or bed for your composition. An excellent example of this would be John Williams Main Star Wars theme. If you were to take all the harmonic stuff out it would still be a strong piece because he crafted the two most important aspects first.

4. Horns are easier than you think.Horns, though generally being quite limited in their ranges in comparison to other sections are very easy to write for, theyll do anything you want.

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Inspiration Doesnt Always Strike

When inspiration strikes, new composers usually dont have a problem coming up with ideas. Its committing to ideas and using them logically.

The problem is, inspiration doesnt always strike.

Its important to save your ideas when it does strike, but the real skill is knowing how to use those ideas to create finished pieces.

Is Orchestra A Genre

How To Write Orchestral Music

Although bands are commonly associated with rock music, you would not call a band a genre. The same goes for an orchestra: although orchestras are commonly associated with classical music, it is not appropriate to categorise orchestra as a genre. Also, like a band, an orchestra can embrace a wide variety of genres. Discover just five of those genres below.

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How To Write A Symphony

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Writing a symphony is perhaps the most ambitious task a composer can undertake. Although Mozart was composing symphonies when he was a boy, for most people, construction of a symphony can take months or years. Although writing a symphony is beyond the scope of any single how-to article, we’ll help you learn more about the process of planning, writing and revising a symphony.

Fadding Humanity To A Score

Simply recording MIDI and thats it, unfortunately, is not enough. There is a bit more to it. We have to bring humanity into the whole thing.

Electronic music for example is generated on the computer as expected and is allowed to sound afterwards. So I can place, tune and interlace everything perfectly and sample-exactly.

Orchestral music however is too deeply human. Sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, sometimes a bit imperfect. Just as we humans are. You have to feel the breath of the musicians, you have to feel the room in which the musicians are.

This happens through four central interventions:

1 EQ

For humanization, each instrument is provided with an EQ. This allows me to emphasize or attenuate specific frequencies. The following video shows the EQ settings for a double bass and a violin. In this way I make sure that overlapping frequencies of both instruments do not get in the way of each other too much and sum up, and that specific frequencies in which the bass or violin is particularly well presented are emphasized.

So I try to give each instrument its individual place in the frequency spectrum.

2Create and control room reverb

To get closer to classical instruments played by humans, I create a track on which I load a so-called reverb plug-in. This kind of effect lets us simulate space and its sound in the second step.

Now it is necessary to send each instrument to that reverb effect stronger or weaker as required.

3Expression Edit MIDI parameters


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Chops: Secrets Of Orchestral Writing

John Clayton, Billy Childs, and Uri Caine bring in the strings

Many jazz artists have written music for large ensembles, from nonets all the way up to big bands of 16 pieces or more. But precious few have written for classical orchestras, either chamber or full-scale. We spoke with three noted jazz players whove taken that leap to learn a few of their tricks of the trade.

John Clayton was trained as a classical bassist and has written numerous works for orchestras, including most recently Home, a piece inspired by Dvoráks New World Symphony and composed for the CityMusic Cleveland Orchestra. He advises that anyone looking to write an orchestral piece should start basic. Ive learned the importance of not starting with the roof, Clayton says. Build a foundation first. If youre going to write an orchestra piece, dont start with an orchestra piece because you will totally be overwhelmed. Start with smaller ensembles that might reflect the instrumentation of a larger orchestra, such as chamber pieces or string quartets. Find the model that really excites you, and then analyze that. After youve analyzed it, you put your feet in those shoes and you actually create something following the guidelines youve discerned from that example.

Caine uses Sibelius but is aware of its limitations: When youre writing you get addicted to hearing it back, played perfectly in time and in tune, even if it sounds plastic. Thats not the way its going to sound in real life.

How To Write Epic Orchestral Music

How To Write Orchestral Music – Orchestrating Chord Progressions + Structure Basics


How To Write Orchestral Music

how to write orchestral music provides a comprehensive and comprehensive pathway for students to see progress after the end of each module. With a team of extremely dedicated and quality lecturers, how to write orchestral music will not only be a place to share knowledge but also to help students get inspired to explore and discover many creative ideas from themselves.Clear and detailed training methods for each lesson will ensure that students can acquire and apply knowledge into practice easily. The teaching tools of how to write orchestral music are guaranteed to be the most complete and intuitive.

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‘o Mio Babbino Caro’ Giani Scicci Puccini

O Mio Babbino Caro is a emotional soprano aria from Puccinis Giani Scicci sung by young protagonist Lauretta, who is begging her Father to help her get married to the lover of her life, Rinuccio. This piece has earned wide acclaim for its emotional effect, just see for yourself this two-year old getting emotional whilst listening to Puccini:

Dthe Laptop The Software The Setup

Logic Pro is the software of my choice, so its for a purpose: to produce symphonic film music. Logic Pro is just as well suited for producing pumping house tracks or creating a sophisticated sound design. Or as a recording station and host for apps like Skype or Zoom. Logic Pro is so powerful, it forces you not to lose focus. I also work with a third-party software orchestra from Eastwest. The men and women from Eastwest have recorded real orchestra musicians and their instruments in all possible variations. These so-called samples, I play them afterwards.

Writing film music on a laptop brings with it a very specific challenge: lack of space on the screen! I strongly recommend working with external monitors. It prevents you from making any careless mistakes.

The stereo monitors for monitoring are connected to my laptop via USB interface. They are located at two corners of an isosceles triangle, I myself sit at the third corner. The tip facing me, of course. This way I make sure that both speakers have the same distance to my ears. I also often work with headphones. I hate those things that you have to put in your ears. I only use half open, ultra-comfortable and high quality headphones. Also in this area there are models for 100-150 Euro / franc, which are really super good.

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How To Make Your Instrument Writing More Realistic

The real orchestra is capable of playing some things that are practically impossible to re-create with MIDI but equally it is very easy to write parts that cant be played well by live musicians, if at all.

Heres four specific tips that will help you avoid the obvious pitfalls:

Writing well for orchestral instruments therefore means learning about what can work well in the different octave ranges of each instrument what kind of phrases sounds idiomatic. For example, a high flute part can sound very bright effervescent, but a legato phrase written in the lowest octave can sound mellifluous, even seductive.

Heres a famous example the opening of Debussys Prelude a lapres-midi dun faune. Note the composers instruction sweet and expressive the range is the bottom octave the flutes lowest note is reached in Bar 9.

Heres another short excerpt the opening few bars feature the oboe this time. The lowest note on the instrument is almost reached in Bar 11. This excerpt was recently featured together with a number of others from the orchestral repertory that oboists would be expected to play in order to audition for top orchestral jobs. Notice in the audio clip the clarinet echoes the oboe, also in its lowest octave.

A Symphony Traditionally Has Four Movements

How To Write Orchestral Music
  • First Movement Tends to be in Sonata form . I will stick with this, as the Sonata form gives you a great vehicle for development. An excellent example of this is Beethovens 5th, 1stMovement.
  • Second Movement Tends to be something slower, and can be in many different forms. Sometimes this is swapped with the third movement, which well talk about below.
  • Third Movement Tends to be a Minuet and Trio or a Scherzo. Well talk about these forms more in depth later on down the road.
  • Fourth Movement Once again, this can be in all shapes and sizes, but it usually has a much more finale type of feel to it. I am thinking of doing a rondo for the last movement, but I havent made up my mind.
  • For my purposes, I am going to swap the 2nd and 3rd Movements. Ill explain in later posts.

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    The Process Of Composing A Symphony

    October 31, 2011 By Jon Brantingham

    The Emotional Process of Composing Music

    Do you have that desire to compose something great for the world? Did you experience something that you cannot explain in words? Music is an incredible thing, that can express the inexpressible, but how does that happen? How do you get from emotion to music? What is your process of composing?

    How To Compose Music: A Step

    Learn how to compose music in this tutorial and guide for beginners.

    In 1924, a friend of George Gershwin advertised that his new concerto would be like nothing anyone had ever heard and would ultimately revolutionize classical music. The problem? The concerto hadnt been written yetand Gershwin initially refused to write one. A few weeks later, New Yorkers were introduced to Rhapsody in Blue.

    Gershwin is a rare example of a music composer who can pull a concerto out of thin air and blow people away with its innovation. And while you might have that potential buried deep inside of you, there are probably a few things about composing a song that you should know before you set a goal to become the next Gershwin .

    In this guide, well walk you through the basics of how to compose music like Rhapsody in Blueor whatever it is that you want to compose.

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    Third Walkthrough: How To Write Orchestral Music

    I love doing walkthrough videos. Showing you how I compose, mix and master my orchestral music tracks. I really hope these videos inspire you. And also help you in writing better music for media.

    I already uploaded two other walkthroughs videos to my Youtube channel. One about an emotional music track. And one about an epic orchestral music track. Both were very well received. I got a lot of positive comments. And that motivated me to create another one.

    The walkthrough of Awakening contains many valuable information. Not only about how to apply the basic concepts. It also gives you a lot of information about composing techniques. And about virtual orchestral libraries and how to use them.

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    How To Write Dark & Horror Orchestral Music with Dissonance

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    What About Music Theory

    Lets say you dont know music theory, that means you dont know what notes are, what chords are, what chord progression is and so on. In this case, you should learn this before trying to make music on your computer. It will save you a lot of stress and time. How to learn music theory? YouTube is a great source of knowledge. Theres also a lot of books for beginners.

    I recommend two main ways to learn music theory. You can read two books I really recommend, Music Theory for Dummies and Music Composition for Dummies. This will give you the basic understanding of the building blocks of music.

    And of course, theres a complete course on this website: music theory for computer musicians! .

    Don’t forget to and subscribe to new posts via RSS or via email.

    Too Much To Learn Not Enough Time To Learn It And Its All Connected

    At a basic level, learning to compose is overwhelming because there is a lot you need to know for things to click into place, and work together.

    For instance, in order to harmonize a melody, you need to understand how harmony works. But in order to understand how harmony works, you need to understand how melody effects it.

    The simple way around this is to give you very specific exercises which only require specific decisions to be made. For instance, how to write a melody over a chord progression that you already have. Once you can do that, you learn to write chord progressions alone. And then you combine the two skills.

    Two separate composing skills become one.

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