As profession[ edit ] An orchestrator is a trained musical professional who assigns instruments from an orchestra or other musical ensemble to a piece of music written by a composer , or who adapts music composed for another medium for an orchestra. Orchestrators may work for musical theatre productions, film production companies or recording studios. Some orchestrators teach at colleges, conservatories or universities. The training done by orchestrators varies.
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As profession[ edit ] An orchestrator is a trained musical professional who assigns instruments from an orchestra or other musical ensemble to a piece of music written by a composer , or who adapts music composed for another medium for an orchestra.
Orchestrators may work for musical theatre productions, film production companies or recording studios. Some orchestrators teach at colleges, conservatories or universities. The training done by orchestrators varies.
Most have completed formal postsecondary education in music, such as a Bachelor of Music B. Orchestrators who work for film companies, musical theatre companies and other organizations may be hired solely based on their orchestration experience, even if they do not hold academic credentials.
In practice[ edit ] The term orchestration in its specific sense refers to the way instruments are used to portray any musical aspect such as melody , harmony or rhythm. For example, a C major chord is made up of the notes C , E , and G. If the notes are held out the entire duration of a measure , the composer or orchestrator will have to decide what instrument s play this chord and in what register. Some instruments, including woodwinds and brass are monophonic and can only play one note of the chord at a time.
However, in a full orchestra there are more than one of these instruments, so the composer may choose to outline the chord in its basic form with a group of clarinets or trumpets with separate instruments each being given one of the three notes of the chord.
Other instruments, including the strings , piano , harp , and pitched percussion are polyphonic and may play more than one note at a time. Additionally in orchestration, notes may be placed into another register such as transposed down for the basses , doubled both in the same and different octaves , and altered with various levels of dynamics. The choice of instruments, registers, and dynamics affect the overall tone color.
If the C major chord was orchestrated for the trumpets and trombones playing fortissimo in their upper registers, it would sound very bright; but if the same chord was orchestrated for the celli and string basses playing sul tasto , doubled by the bassoons and bass clarinet , it might sound heavy and dark.
Note that although the above example discussed orchestrating a chord, a melody or even a single note may be orchestrated in this fashion. Also note that in this specific sense of the word, orchestration is not necessarily limited to an orchestra, as a composer may orchestrate this same C major chord for, say, a woodwind quintet , a string quartet or a concert band.
A melody is also orchestrated. The composer or orchestrator may think of a melody in their head, or while playing the piano or organ.
Once they have thought of a melody, they have to decide which instrument or instruments will play the melody. One widely used approach for a melody is to assign it to the first violins. When the first violins play a melody, the composer can have the second violins double the melody an octave below, or have the second violins play a harmony part often in thirds and sixths.
Sometimes, for a forceful effect, a composer will indicate in the score that all of the strings violins, violas, cellos, and double basses will play the melody in unison, at the same time. Typically, even though the instruments are playing the same note names, the violins will play very high-register notes, the violas and cellos will play lower-register notes, and the double basses will play the deepest, lowest pitches.
The trumpets can perform a melody in a powerful, high register. Alternatively, if the trombones play a melody, the pitch will be lower than the trumpet, and the tone will be heavier, which may change the musical effect that is created.
While the cellos are often given an accompaniment role in orchestration, there are notable cases where the cellos have been assigned the melody. In even more rare cases, the double bass section or principal bass may be given a melody e.
While assigning a melody to a particular section, such as the string section or the woodwinds will work well, as the stringed instruments and all the woodwinds blend together well, some composers give the melody to one section and then have the melody doubled by a different section or an instrument from a different section.
For example, a melody played by the first violins could be doubled by the glockenspiel , which would add a sparkling, chime-like colour to the melody. Alternatively, a melody played by the piccolos could be doubled by the celesta , which would add a bright tone to the sound. In the 20th and 21st century, contemporary composers began to incorporate electric and electronic instruments into the orchestra, such as the electric guitar played through a guitar amplifier , the electric bass played through a bass amplifier , the Theremin and the synthesizer.
The addition of these new instruments gave composers new options for creating tonal "colours" in their orchestration. For example, in the late 20th century and onwards, a composer could have a melody played by the first violins doubled by a futuristic-sounding synthesizer or a theremin to create an unusual effect.
Orchestral instrumentation is denoted by an abbreviated formulaic convention,  as follows: flute , oboe , clarinet , bassoon , horn , trumpet , trombone , tuba.
More details can be contained in brackets. A dot separates one player from another, a slash indicates doubling. For example, 3[1.
Eh] 3[1. Ebcl] 4[1. Examples from the repertoire[ edit ] J. S Bach[ edit ] During the Baroque era, composers showed increasing awareness of the expressive potential of orchestration. Listen The orchestral introduction to the opening chorus of J. Opening orchestral introduction to J.
You can smell the resin [ rosin ] in his violin parts, [and] taste the reeds in the oboes. Bars feature a widely spaced voicing over a range of four octaves. The first and second violins weave curly parallel melodic lines, a tenth apart, underpinned by a pedal point in the double basses and a sustained octave in the horns.
Wind instruments respond in bars , accompanied by a spidery ascending chromatic line in the cellos. Symphony 39, first movement, bars Symphony 39, first movement, bars A graceful continuation to this features clarinets and bassoons with the lower strings supplying the bass notes.
Symphony 39, first movement, bars Next, a phrase for strings alone blends pizzicato cellos and basses with bowed violins and violas, playing mostly in thirds: Symphony 39, first movement, bars The woodwind repeat these four bars with the violins adding a counter-melody against the cellos and basses playing arco. The violas add crucial harmonic colouring here with their D flat in bar In an antiphonal section, the composer may have one group of instruments introduce a melodic idea e.
In the trio section of the minuet from his Symphony No. Charles Rosen , p. One lovely example of its sonorities comes near the beginning. This passage repeats with fresh orchestration: Mozart Piano Concerto K first movement bars The simplicity of the sequence concentrates all our interest on tone-colour, and what follows — a series of woodwind solos — keeps it there.
The orchestration throughout, in fact, has a greater variety than Mozart had wished or needed before, and fits the brilliance, charm, and grace of the first movement and the finale.
The second subject of the sonata form is a deceptively simple tune that, according to Fiske , p. This is followed by a more straightforward version in the major key, with horns accompanied by strings.
The theme is now played legato by the horns, accompanied by a sustained pedal point in the bassoons. The violins simultaneously play an elaborated version of the theme. See also heterophony. The timpani and pizzicato lower strings add further colour to this variegated palette of sounds. When the solo piano enters, its right hand plays a variant of the minor version of the theme in a triplet rhythm, with the backing of pizzicato plucked strings on the off-beats: Minor version of the theme, with piano right hand elaborating the melody in triplets Minor key version of the theme, with piano right hand elaborating the melody in triplets.
This is followed by a bold tutti statement of the theme, "with the whole orchestra thumping it out in aggressive semi- staccato. The minor version of the theme also appears in the cadenza , played staccato by the solo piano: Solo piano statement of theme in the cadenza Solo piano statement of theme in the cadenza.
This is followed, finally, by a restatement of the major key version, featuring horns playing legato , accompanied by pizzicato strings and filigree arpeggio figuration in the solo piano: Final statement of the theme in a major key by the horns after the end of the cadenza Final statement of the theme in a major key by the horns after the end of the cadenza.
The composer was also the author of a Treatise on Instrumentation. The timpani and the double basses play thick chords against the snarling muted brass: Berlioz, March to the Scaffold from the Symphonie Fantastique. The well-known division of that family into strings, woodwind, and brass, with percussion as required, he inherited from the great classical symphonists such changes as he made were in the direction of splitting up these groups still further.
The violins are halved, then doubled by the cellos, a clarinet, and a bassoon, as well as, for the peak of the phrase, an alto oboe [cor anglais]. In the opening phrase, the cellos are supported by wind instruments: Wagner, Tristan Prelude, opening Wagner, Tristan prelude, opening.
When this idea returns towards the end of the prelude, the instrumental colors are varied subtly, with sounds that were new to the 19th century orchestra, such as the cor anglais and the bass clarinet. These, together with the ominous rumbling of the timpani effectively convey the brooding atmosphere: Wagner, Tristan Prelude, closing bars Wagner, Tristan Prelude, closing bars.
He is true genius in this respect, undeniably so, even down to the working out of the exact number of instruments.
Instrumentation and orchestration
Instrumentation and Orchestration, second edition. New York: Schirmer Books. Borch, Gaston Practical Manual of Instrumentation.. Orchestration is a fundamental tool for all types of composers. Top 5 Orchestration Books.
Top 5 Orchestration Books
Instrumentation and Orchestration