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Postby Piano21 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:32 pm

Is anybody know about basic of orchestration?

i want to compose a piano Concerto but the orchestra is the problem....

i appreciate any help, :D


Re: Orchestration

Postby Jackpringle123 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:05 pm


I am a member on this forum for about a year. Name is Jack. To my best guess you are who most would call a "newbie," am I correct?

It's common courtesy to introduce yourself on internet forums, but especially at pianosociety.com. I am not being cocky--in fact I made this mistake when I started out. Introduce yourself!

Not to be rude, and all joking aside, but there are a few rules for this forum. One is that each member should have an excellent command of rudimentary (or basic if you like that word :? ) English grammar.

So I couldn't help but notice you writing, "Is anybody know about basic of orchestration?"

and wondering 'what the heck does this guy/girl mean??'

Do you see my point?

Now if you were to say that this is a forum about music and not about grammar I could see your complaint, but since you are interested in composition (i am guessing) I will tell you that good grammar form in the English language translates to good form of composition. If he had bad grammar a composer might conceivably play a piece nobody would care to hear. Just think what would happen if the composer of twinkle twinkle little star wrote the piece backwards, it would sound lousy, right?. Maybe that's a bad example. :lol:

But please understand nobody will be interested in helping you if they cannot understand you. Unless they are very sympathetic. That wouldn't be me.. :|

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Re: Orchestration

Postby andrew » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:08 pm

You could try Walter Piston's book on the topic. I have it, but it has been a long time since I last read it.

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Re: Orchestration

Postby pooispoois » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:58 pm

Alkan Belkin has a freely available book on orchestration (and other topics) on his website, that includes a pratical overview of orchestration. Of course, it's not a formula, and you will need your own musical ideas.

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Re: Orchestration

Postby glenn » Sat Jul 31, 2010 6:26 am

Piano21 wrote:Is anybody know about basic of orchestration?
i want to compose a piano Concerto but the orchestra is the problem....
i appreciate any help,

Hello Piano21 -

If you think you can tackle a composition for piano and orchestra, by all means try. Composition is only learned in the doing. One must dream big to tackle something this large. However, as a composer, pianist, and member of a major orchestra, I have a few suggestions.

Know who you are writing for! This is a MAJOR undertaking, and would take an experienced composer a few months. Don't start unless you have an idea of who would play it. Talk to them first!

If you lucky enough to have somebody interested, then learn about orchestras. Books help. Studying scores helps. But nothing helps like experience. Try something small for your friends first. Orchestras don't have time for mistakes.

Get a synthesizer, or Finale or Sibelius with synthesized sounds. What these programs play is what you've written. They also have a lot of shortcuts and perks.

Finally, some hints about the orchestra for a pianist.

Orchestras do not "interpret". If you don't write a crescendo, they are taught not to play one. If you want a note short, you must write a staccato. A slur means different things to different instruments, learn what they are. Orchestras don't do rubato, unless told to do so.
So be very specific, which means knowing exactly what you want with great detail.

Pianists misjudge orchestral attacks, which are soft. A piano is a percussion instrument. If you want a sharp attack, you have to use an instrument that has one. Orchestral instruments also sustain at the same level, they do not decay unless told to do so. Think voice. Always think color, mix the notes of a chord instead of stacking three trumpets on three horns.

If you use pedal in your piano writing, you must orchestrate the sustain with care. You must determine what is to be sustained, and at what level. You can't sustain everything, and you can't write a piano part.

Finally, listen to your performers, and study the parts when they are returned. In fact, look at some orchestral parts before you make some yourself. They need cues, and rehearsal numbers and letters, and they must have good page turns, and be completely unambiguous. Listen to your conductors, don't waste their time.

So good luck! Composition is a great pursuit and teaches the secrets of music. Don't be discouraged. Failure only comes to those who quit. Just dive right in and do it. You cross the bridges as you come to them. It is like sex in that it is hard to learn from a book.

Glenn Stallcop

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Re: Orchestration

Postby Sharma » Thu Jun 02, 2011 1:03 pm

The leading book on the topic these days is Samual Addler's 'The Study of Orchestration' (3rd edition I think). This book is my bible. You can get it with a five CD set of examples which I think is so necessary when it comes to Orchestration. It has a section on writing for solo piano and Orchestra.

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