I am taking a class in school called Inquiry Quest, which is an independent research project that takes an entire semester. Because of the freedom to choose any topic I could think of, and because I had been planning for a while to compose for orchestra, I decided my topic was going to be orchestral composition.
So, for this project I am comparing two methods of composition for orchestra, with the goal of deciding which method is more effective, and which results in more interesting/effective orchestration. I am composing a piece using each method, so that I can come up with a theory based on my results.
The Two Methods:
The first method is to compose the piece on piano, and then orchestrate the result using a music notation software (like Finale or Sibelius). This method is the more natural method for me because piano is my main instrument and most of my compositions have been for piano. I have already finished composing this piece, and am almost finished orchestrating it. (Of course there is still loads of editing that has to happen).
The second method is to compose the piece using Sibelius from the start -- so a piano is not used at all for the generation of ideas. I thought this method would be a lot harder, but now that I've started, I'm realizing it is actually just as possible as the first method. For this one, I've only composed about 30 bars so far, but it will be progressing quickly in the coming days.
I have been collecting data about each of these methods as I compose, and there are clearly benefits and downsides to each method, but I am interested in hearing your opinions about this topic.
If you compose for orchestra, which method do you use or prefer? Are there specific reasons for your method besides the fact that you are more familiar with it? Which method do you think is more likely to result in more effective orchestration?
It would be great to hear any other ideas you might have!