My first "serious" attempt at a full blown, properly notated and orchestrated composition. 

The piece is satire in nature, and it's meant to reflect how most of the corporate working class are frustrated in their own little corporate world of work, and to an outsider of this environment looking in, it is kind of funny to watch people bustle about and seem so frustrated, yet when they step out the door into their home lives, none of this matters. 

Of course, you can interpret it however you like, as the most common comparison I'm getting is "Tom and Jerry" (Sigh) 

I call for help now from the experienced folk here that have knowledge in orchestration since I am new to this in my studies.

For now, I have the orchestral mock up exactly how I want the final product to sound - but the score you will see remains incomplete, and only in 4 voices - it will give you the general sense of what is going on, as the whole piece is based off four voices. Which is where I need help, developing the full score

Before I move on to develop the full score for each part, I wanted to see if I am heading on the right path.

Let me explain my ideas with bare bones score and how I'm going to bring it to full scale:

(and keep in mind each part is slightly modified off the score you will see vs the mock up, for example octave registers, string techniques, articulations of instruments, etc)

Staff 1- Woodwinds high register- Voice is assigned to Flutes/Piccolo, Oboes,  Bflat Clarinets

Staff2- Strings- Voice is assigned to Violins 1&2,Violas,Cello,and Double bass 

Staff3- Woodwinds low register- Voice is assigned to Bassoons, Contrabassoon, and Eflat alto clarinets

Staff4- Lower register brass- Voice is assigned to Tubas, Trombones

The work does not call for Trumpets or French Horns

The current notation does not show the Cymbal part, but there is a cymbal part and Timpani part that only will use one player. Nor does the current notation show dynamics or most articulations, as obviously there's no sense putting those in until I have the full score figured out- I have implied what they will be via the mock up you hear here.


 My concerns:

 -Is it OK to have a full orchestral piece pretty much working off of only 4 voices?

-I question if the 16th notes at the very end are impossible for a strings/woodwind section to perform accurately

-What is the typical writing process for an orchestral work? Do you figure out the voices first, then begin assigning them to the appropriate instruments? More simply put, do you figure out the notes first COMPLETELY then assign/orchestrate completely?

-Are there any glaring, laughable errors?

You can see I am early in my orchestration studies, so any other thoughts or blatant mistakes I've made this far along in the process, please let me know. 

Wild Frustration In the Working Class.pdf

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  • David,

    What a neat little piece, which is going to lend itself well to the orchestra. I really enjoyed its nervous energy.

    As you are aware, it has not reached its potential yet. As Dave has suggested, your approach to scoring the 4 lines is the wrong way to go about it.

    In terms of process, you have to learn to think in terms of orchestral sound, preferably hand in hand with the compositional process. Often in this state of mind, an idea will also suggest the appropriate instrument or combination. You must also consider what you want to say and how. This seems obvious, but can get lost when just trying to find an idea. Instead of trying to find the right notes, perhaps sometimes think in terms of colour prior to starting. For example, I want to start with the horn section pp and in a low register moving slowly and becoming more agitated with a crescendo leading to a flutter tongue transition chord -  that immediately helps in your choice of notes and how you write at that moment, as it'll be based on the horns capabilities. You might then think, the crescendo needs more here, strings tremelo might help along with some wind doubling to strengthen the dynamics...etc.etc.

    Throughout your studies, as you progress and become familiar with the defining characteristics of instruments individually and in combinations with each other, you will find that thinking in terms of colour and notes makes the initial task of being faced with 40 odd staves a little less daunting. 

    4 lines of music is a great way to start off as a lot of music for orchestra can be reduced to that amount. The style of your music could lend itself very well to an antiphonal treatment. But in order to do this, you will have to consider dynamics and register more carefully. It'd be great fun (as well as enhancing the music) to throw phrases back and forth between different sections or combinations. Dynamical contrast (p then f, or pp then ff!)  might be good in appropriate places, as would registral changes, ie puting a phrase up or down an octave for more marked contrast. These things I heard in my head immediately as I was listening and is of course a subjective opinion, but in a way, it might be good for you to try this just for fun. Your 4 lines are very well constructed and work well, they are definitely instrumental in character and as such can withstand all sorts of treatment. As it is scored at the moment, it sounds ok, but I think you are missing a trick or two. Contrasts both in terms of colour and dynamics is the way to think here building at the end to a terrific full sound to finish.

    The semis at the end are not a problem for ensemble. Listen to the last mvt of Prokofieffs' Classical Symphony for repeated semis and how fast they can be. (actually they are quavers, but as fast as your semis).

    No laughable errors at all, but be careful about the low brass, especially the semis as trombones may have trouble there, but there are plenty of ways around that. I look forward to seeing the score......well done, nice writing.

  • EXCELLENT did a wonderful job:) I enjoyed every minute of it.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Thanks Bob

  • Thank you all so much for taking the time to provide valuable feedback. I value the time needed to write such detailed and appropiate responses. 

    Yes, the sound file / DAW is exactly how I want it to sound. Essentially, it is already orchestrated but needs notation. The piece was written as notation via the score you see here. Then the score was exported to MIDI, and put into the DAW, and the four lines were assigned to the appropriate instruments. Then, depending on the instrument at hand, the line was altered either by octaves, articulations, and the notes themselves. I experimented with this very much and simply determined what instrument plays what by ear. 

    The task at hand is indeed what Bob mentioned- working backwards now to take the orchestration out of the DAW and back into the notation editor. 

  • In regards to creating a complete score--I might be confused, but is what is notated in each of the four parts of the pdf  played by a composite sound in your DAW? For example are the strings played by one patch composed of vln vla cello and db, sounding whatever is sampled in its range in each one.?

    If so, I think this might creates a lot of problems as you need to ascertain the range of each separate instrument sounding as the composite instrument and using something like "split notes" according to this range, separate them in a full score, the problem in this being their is range overlap between the instruments, plus there could possibly be transpositions in the samples, that isnt reflected in what ends up in the score.

    Or am I totally confused in this?:) (Apologies if thats the case--wouldnt be the first time..LOL!)

    Thanks Bob

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