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Well my first arrangement for orchestra of just string and winds (of course Horn). 

Did this as part of a class but would love any comments from those expert at orchestration. The sound sample is not good - just Sibelius sounds.  Score and midi file attached attached 

Here is the original:

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My orchestral arrangement of it.

Also I deleted the midi, it is just too crappy to give even a vague approximation. Sorry about that. Score is still up.

Bob Porter said:

My personal taste is that this score is a bit over marked dynamic wise.

Doesn't look like there are any more dynamic markings than in a typical Rachmaninov orchestral score.

I'm not an expert, but here are some thoughts:

- Always specify the number of instruments playing. It should be instantly clear how many flutes, oboes etc. you want. Also, if you have two clarinets, always specify whether both clarinets have to play a line (a2), or if it's a solo part (1. or 2.). For example, at bar 10 it's not clear how many flutes are going to play the Bb and A.

- Maybe con sordino up to bar 10 could be a nice effect for the strings.

- The horn is not a very lyrical instrument, and its sound in mf will be quite massive against the other instruments (bar 1). Personally I would have used a solo violin, an oboe, or if you want to stay in the lower octave, a bassoon. The soprano voice doesn't necessarily have to be kept on the same instrument all the time.

- Bar 16: Two unisono horns is a little risky, since their intonation will be slightly different.

I don't know if this helps...

Maybe "lyrical" is not the expression I was looking for. What I mean is that when I think of an instrument that reminds me of lilacs the horn is not the first one that comes to my mind.

In any case, I also wrote "personally". It's a choice, not something right/wrong. ;-)

Bob Porter said:


"The horn is not a very lyrical instrument". Well, I think 300 years of composers would disagree with you. Listen to The Firebird. One of the most beautiful and profoundly simple horn solos around. Perhaps you have not known any good players. Christopher has used it quite well here.

Thanks all for the comments. Bob yes I agree the spacing and alignment could be better.  As for dynamics, I was a little bit fussy to ensure a little bit of a swell in dynamics occurred.   Thanks for the comments about a 2. Also the con sordino idea is a good one for the opening, then the coda would be just a little different in the strings but not too much.

I would keep to the horns but I agree now that the dynamics would have to be dropped a notch or too. As for intonation, well I have heard two horns reach high notes if prepared which i think I did OK.  But yes, that A (D concert pitch) later in the work is going to be a little bit of a risk, that is why I chose to have oboe and or cello and bassoon double to help the horns have a guide for intonation. At least that is what I hope!

Finally yes, horns are quite lyrical - check out any Richard Strauss score for gorgeous and challenging horn writing that can be performed well with rehearsal. Maybe you are thinking of the natural horns which can be more unstable with intonation?

Though I agree a recording is ideal, we have to remind ourselves that for hundreds of years people had to rely on their inner ear. Granted I would  need more time than a seasoned orchestral composer to get an aural idea of my own score but I think it is important. I will attach the midi but it is a midi created by compressing a Sib wav file due to the memory constraints of the uploads on this site.   Note, as I learned through experience, horns always sound much higher than the computer realization, and pardon the weird phasing in and out of the harmonics, they are loud and drop in and out for some weird reason. One of my goals in the next two years is to learn how to make better realizations.


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