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Good vs Bad Orchestration

Discussion in 'Tips, Tricks & Talk' started by Doug Gibson, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. I posted this over on VI-C and thought I would drop this off here too. I wrote this in a music journal/diary of mine about 10 years ago.

    What does it mean to have a good/bad orchestration?

    I have pondered this question for years. There are levels or layers to this answer. bad to good.

    1. Writing notes for a instrument that extend beyond its range. Example: F below middle C for a violin, or D (middle line bass stave) for Vibraphone. etc.
    2. Writing music that is not idiomatic. This really still has nothing to do with ensemble playing. Every instrument has its own character, dynamic curve, patterns that fit will etc. For example: once I was playing in a new music ensemble at Interlochen as a guitarist. A composer saw that the guitar and flute roughly had the same range in a orchestration book. Since he had a piece he was re-working he took the flute part from his previous piece (which was pretty complex) and simply pasted it onto the guitar part via notation program. It was like getting served blue bananas. The whole thing felt awkward, and difficult to play. This is why many classical musicians can get PTSD after playing with living composers.
    3. Tough to balance: Another way to put it is composers shooting themselves in the foot. It could be a really high trumpet, or vocal part with a (pp) dynamic marking. It can also be trying to divide a triad between 2 trumpets and a flute with music above the stave and a very soft dynamic. Good orchestration would be more like running downhill. Say a harp and flute instead and there is no problem to play soft.
    4. The orchestrator/composer generally speaking has their head up their ass. Another way to say this, is they are not thinking very musically or creatively. Often it means they have no sense of “the whole”. They think orchestration is assigning notes to instruments, and loose sight of what else ads life to music. Phrases are divided between instruments oddly, everything is tutti all the time, no articulations or dynamics (or its opposite going 100% micro manage everything and never trust your musicians are musicians). Expect it to sound like it did on their computer….. the very first time, not thinking about people needing to breathe etc. etc.etc.
    What makes good orchestration is a little harder to answer without a specific task. Good orchestrators are like fine tailors. We can make things to suit, and what works fantastically for one setting, might not for another. Basically good orchestrators “bake in” ways to make the musicians sound great, and make rehearsal efficient. Another thing would be that the sum is greater than the individual parts. Of course great orchestration feature soloists or solo passages, and highlight individuals, but a lot of “great” orchestrations are simply great moments of music. Hopefully you are emotionally transported, and then you can deduce the magic.

    My last answer was general as Debussy (for example) was a great orchestrator, but if you give it to “Thomas Jefferson middle school orchestra” its going to fall apart 9 out of 10 times. The Chicago Symphony……. WOW ! Thus a composer like Dvořák is great sounding and less difficult from an orchestration point of view, and survives the middle schoo

    Update: I just found this document of notes I made …. maybe 10 years ago. Can’t really recall, but I thought I would add it in case it is of use.

    In the Preface to RK, he says there are 3 kinds of orchestration:

    - that which sounds OK at first try

    - that which sounds OK after much rehearsal

    - that which never works

    If you want to attain the FIRST category - a VERY good goal for a beginner - write things which "just work". Getting 2 horns to play quietly enough to accompany a low solo flute, by writing seperate dynamics, is between category 2 and 3. Using divided strings, without too much movement, or harp, is category 1.

    This is an important distinction, especially for beginners. Do NOT depend on writing seperate dynamics to make your orchestrations work; choose instruments, registers and idioms, so that they will work "automatically".

    Orchestration is one of those fields where there is always something to learn, but I thought it would be useful for beginners here to have some concrete goals to start with. As a first goal, aim to orchestrate what I call "CLEANLY".

    These are the most basic questions to ask yourself:

    1) Is everything I have written reasonably *easily* playable? For your first orchestrations your musicians will not be members of the world's best ensembles. It is ALWAYS better to make things as simple to play as you can. Even with pro orchestras it saves rehearsal time (=$$$).

    2) Have I used my ensemble fully? Unlike in a virtual orchestra, adding 4 extra tuba parts is not free in the real world. Adding 4 extra tubas to play 3 notes each means lots of $$$. Is it worth it? Wherever possible, write for STANDARD ensembles, for the same reason.

    3) Is the orchestration CLEAR? Is the main line properly emphasized and does it stand out enough in relation to accompanying material? Make the orchestration balance on its own wherever possible.

    4) Does the orchestration respect and enhance the form? Making major changes in orchestration in mid-phrase usually will simply distort the music.

    5) Are the score and part professionally presented? Nothing gives away an amateur faster than parts badly copied or a score with a weird ordering of instruments. Standards exist here for a reason: The musician does not have to learn new conventions for each piece. N.B. Having a computer make your parts does NOT guarantee they are OK. Computer generated page turns are sometimes ridiculous, the parts may not be big enough to be read at a distance (remember, the trombone has to be able to see his part at quite a ways off!), etc. etc. ...

    There is much, much more, of course, and some points (like #4 above) could be discussed at great length, but I'd say if you can't answer an unequivocal yes to all of the above, you don't DESERVE a real orchestra yet!
     
  2. String section is the main section in a symphony. It is not just because of it's biggest section in an orchestra, but namely, because of its sound versatility. I would say, strings play similar role in the orchestra like piano in the composer's study room - a must.

    It is fairly easy to resound the strings: there are only a few things which, if kept, may let practically anything sound well. Below, please, find some notes and suggestions from my experience:

    Violins: while there is no difference between the 1st and 2nd violins sound (except the pan effect), there is no reason to cross the staffs and write 1st violin lower the 2nd and vice versa. Think about the 2nd violins rather as about the lower violins, less expressive in the performance and less technically skilled than the 1st violins.


    Violas: thanks to the middle registry tone range, a bit covered sound, less extensive group in the orchestra and usually with worse technical abilities, many composer considered violas as orchestral pads - playing just the harmony. However, if doubled with e.g. french horns, they can play nice expressive melodies, as well.

    Cello is probably the most all-round instrument in the orchestra. Its sound can be both soft and sharp, and usable in all registries. Cellos should be considered "the 1st violins" on low registries.

    Double bass: there are many jokes about the double bass play technique and sound. Its namely because of they usually produce very muddle sound with heavy-handed technique. If writing for a double bass, think of the sound of subwoofer. To get sharper sound, use it doubled namely with percussion (timpani), low piano (great colour) and/or low brass.

    Notation: I would strongly suggest to everybody to spend some time on "debugging" the score and parts in accordance with the "Principles" as well as the general notation rules (see my earlier post, "general conductors comment"). The more time you'll spend on reviewing the parts, the more time you'll earn on rehearsals and/or recording. As far as for the strings notation specifics: please, don't use the 8va--- lines, as most players did always complain of that. The 1st violins are used to read even the highest positions quite comfortable, and for violas, celli and double basses, switch rather for an upper (treble) clef. Although these octave transpositions may - in general - look easier to read, string players rather rate it confusing.

    Divisi: in orchestral parts, double stops are usually supposed to be divisi.

    Bowings: unless you are an experienced string player, don't spend much time trying to write correct bowings. String players will most probably change it, anyway. Good bowing is a challenge even for string players. Moreover, it is also a bit internal question at every orchestra (have a look into the parts, how many changes were made on bowings over the years in every orchestra....)

    Legato, staccato, etc.: it is easier to write general expression notes, than work out every single note in the score (usually, this is the case of computer notation - play loopback). Moreover, it is also much easier to read for both the conductor and players.

    Pizzicato: this technique has a few limitations - it can't be too fast, and changes between arco and pizzicato will require a little preparation time (similar to a "breath")

    Skips and jumps: most common problem in orchestral scores today. Although on sample libraries, all jumps and skips are allowed, in real life, they aren't. Jumps over 1 (1 and 1/2) octave are practically impossible to play in a section, all together and in tune.

    Fast arpeggios: Make sure you are using voicings that are 100% idiomatic for the strings. Often this means you need to either "open" the voicing, or use a unique wide/close voicing that takes advantage of the open strings.

    Sound effects: if you feel there is the need of string effects, think about those with sharper sound, suitable for sectional play. These are e.g. pizzicato, "Bartok" pizzicato, sul ponticello, col legno, etc. Softer effects, like con sordino, sul tasto, harmonics, etc. sound well.

    Virtuoso techniques: e.g. left hand (Paganini) pizzicatos, fast double/triple stops passages (non divisi), special bowings, etc. is probably best to omit at all. These effects are mostly unsuitable for an orchestral section: partly because of the orchestral players aren't necesary that soloists, partly, because of these effects sound at best in a solo parts or chamber music. Note, that composing mastery is ussualy not in the writing of complicated parts (the less for an orchestra), but on "clever written parts', they will "sound well" already at the first rehearsal.

    Glissando: unless it is in a slow tempi or in a contemporary "play-whatever-you-want" composition, I would rather suggest to use notated fast runs. Glissando in a section often sounds rather like low quality orchestra, it can't play in tune and all together. But this, I doubt, could be considered as an "effect"
     
  3. This is a really helpful post. Thanks for sharing it.

    Can you clarify this for me? Are you saying you found that it was easier for players to read when you under-notate or when you try to be specific? I've been trying to learn to be more specific in notation and using other scores as a reference for whether I'm ending up too cluttered or too vague, so would love to hear more about your insight here.
     
  4. Hey @John Eldridge, see this article for some insight: http://www.timusic.net/debreved/over-notation-nation/

    To reduce over notating in practice, use style indicator text (marcato, staccato, legato, cantabile) rather than an articulation on every note head. Another option is notate your intention on one or two measures, and mark simile to indicate continuation of the desired style. Certain styles and genres require more markings than others, but it is a subtle balance between establishing your intent and paralyzing the performer with an overdose of markings. I often over notate to make my "Sibelius Playback sound right," and have to edit myself before printing (or use the hide articulations plugins).
     
    John Eldridge likes this.
  5. Perfect. Thanks a lot for the link and the advice.
     
  6. #6 Paul T McGraw, Apr 21, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2018
    Thanks @Doug Gibson for your post. I am an avid admirer of Dvorak's orchestration skill, but rarely find others who share that appreciation. Good to find another advocate of his skill. His woodwind writing is particularly impressive to me.

    One orchestration issue you have not addressed is the recent change in style regarding orchestration compared to the previous usage. The string section was always the heart of the orchestra, for lots of reasons. Today the brass section is the heart of the orchestra. Strings are often relegated to ostinato rhythmic patterns and pads. The primary melodic material is most often in the horns or trumpets. And woodwinds are largely ignored. This is particularly apparent in the EPIC style of music.

    Why do you think this has happened? In your view, are these changes an improvement in the best use of the orchestra?
     
  7. People do not speak words they do not know. They do not espouse philosophies they do not have. They do not express ideas they haven't considered.

    The current generation of composers are largely unaware of what woodwinds can do (they don't listen to symphonic music), do not know how to write for or control them, and have few ideas to express through them. Monkey hear loud brass, monkey do loud brass. It is neither complicated nor an evolution; it is not a byproduct of choice but of lack of skill and control.

    But we're on it. :)
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  8. Mike, here's a challenge for the woodwinds class: EP1C WOODWINDS. Seriously, I'd love to hear thoughts on how they can fit into a "modern" context. A few guys do it well, like John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams, but they're largely ignored.
     
  9. You are very welcome. Bradley Boone (aka: the most helpful person in the world) has provided a great answer.

    It's like goldie locks and three bears. You have to find the "just right". Another example that pops into my mind.
    Let's say you have a section with a lot of "hits" or "shots"....like 20 of them. Instead of having all 20 with sfz, you can notate out the
    first say 2 or 3 and then use sim. It simply will be self evident that is want you want until instructed otherwise.

    My "old" classmate writes about this. We had the same composition teacher....way back when. http://www.timusic.net/debreved/over-notation-nation/

    The first 2 features I was orchestrator on all the revisions were about taking things out I had over-done. (hairpins etc)
     
  10. Kon'nichiwa Sensei

    Maybe we can set up a school in the ancient tradition of monks, for teaching proper orchestration



    Arigato
     
  11. #12 Bradley Boone, Apr 22, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
    I guess we're dropping into a subset orchestration (epic). If we're talking modern "trailer music" or "AAA-video game" music, then I hear where @Paul T McGraw is coming from. I don't know that I'd throw all of modern orchestration in that small basket, but there's a pretty clear trend that we'd all agree has been all over the VI composer/cinema world for a while: Taiko Drum Ensembles, Brahmmmmm horns, Rock-Hybrid influences, world music (ethnic voices, chanting, duduk, shakuhachi), 12-horn choirs, etc.

    I don't have data to back up my thoughts as to why this came about, but here's what I see leading to the development (scads of example material from home composers on YouTube). String sampling matured pretty quickly in the industry. They've been pretty realistic and expressive for a while. Brass of the "epic" flavor came out pretty quickly. Winds haven't quite gotten there. Strings and brass as a family have pretty homogeneous sounds, percussion/keyboards you hit or roll (not rocket science to record), while the woodwinds are very nuanced and have individual timbres. Speed of programming, play-ability of the libraries, and the relative ease of balancing and mixing those families in a realistic virtual representation of your composition may have been factors as to why the winds haven't gotten as much attention.

    I don't know if there's any causal relationship:
    • did the developers create the libraries composers want?
    • did the composers buy the samples that worked with some realism/play-ability?
    • did limited memory storage/read times/network speed limit the size and programmability of libraries, which resulted in an emphasis on certain families?
    • can anyone make a playable tenor saxophone sample that is suitable for jazz ballads, bebob, wind ensemble, and saxophone quartet?!?

    As for epicness in general, it has kind of changed through the years. Beethoven, Berlioz, Mahler, Verdi, Wagner, and R. Strauss all share some epic qualities that are precursors to our modern sound. Oversized orchestras, increasingly large brass/percussion families, and some of their works have quite large vocal ensembles. Before amplification, large ensembles = large dynamic range = visceral emotional impact. Now, we can pump 12-horns or 12-oboes through 12,000-watt sound systems, but the "epic" dye was cast and we'll get horns.

    Historically, brasses/percussion were used in martial movements and fanfares. Plus, they're kind of "all-weather" and outdoor friendly, so the setting made sense for epic occasions. It is no wonder that cultural significance sticks around.

    When I think "epic woodwinds," I think flourishes, sustained trills, and contrabass winds. Winds can't compete dynamically in a real setting if the brass and percussion turn the volume up to 11. Maybe the extreme ranges of the bassoon/clarinet and the saxophone family can hang in there, but saxophone doesn't signify "epic" to many listeners. Does volume = epic? I look forward to hearing examples that disprove my epic woodwind generalizations.


    /blush. I'm only helpful when I'm procrastinating or making stuff up.
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  12. #13 Mike Verta, Apr 22, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2018
    "Epic" has lost its meaning; if everything is epic, nothing is epic. And "epic" is difficult to define in absolute terms, which is why comparative measure is important. To wit, there is no large if there is no small.

    Despite the tragically tortured wishes of no shortage of people, we are not living in a musical age defined by choice, skill, or talent, but by ignorance and abysmally low ability. We are hearing a style of music written not by choice, but by lack of ability to do otherwise. It's not as though your average, successful, working composer could write symphonically structured works, like Jerry Goldsmith did effortlessly for the Twilight Zone series, or for Star Trek the Motion Picture, and just chooses not to. He/she can't do it, period. They haven't the training, skill, experience, or interest. "I do not want what I have not got." They are not in control. It is not complicated.

    The "causal relationship" dynamic is likewise neither complicated nor debateable. Over the last several decades, the most developed of nations have abandoned production and have become entirely consumption based. As has happened countless times in history, the empires are sustained by lower-class/lower-wage peoples, but the empires decreasingly provide for themselves. This is the same dynamic that happens when people become overly dependent on machines or robots or whatever - they stop doing the work, others do it for them, and thus their ability to create for themselves plummets. As the mean threshold for production drops overall, so too does the mean threshold for competence in any field. Being expert at something is more than a little related to the importance of "doing things" in the first place. We don't do things/create things. Mostly, we buy things. And take pictures of/exaggerate the significance of banal and inane things to compensate. The fact that you can be a successful composer today without possessing a fraction of what John Williams needed to just have an entry-level job in his era is proof of the dynamic. Why do standards plummet? Because they can. Because you don't need to be good; we aren't defined by production. We are defined by consumption. Being good is hard. Most people, being not good, are predisposed to encourage the lowering of standards and expectations so they can play, too. How fun! We can expect to have the same job John Williams has, only without having to do 40 years of work! And that's what's happened.

    But all of this is academic. The only question we face as individuals is whether or not we're to be a part of it. If you're on Redbanned, you've signaled a path already. But even then, notice the number of members, and the number of active members. The number of members in ANY group who are truly trying to excel and improve has been the minority since merely a minority of monkeys decided to leave the trees.

    In a thread about orchestration, I noticed first the absence of what I consider the most defining characteristic of good orchestration: the reason; the why. Orchestration and composition are inseparably linked because the orchestration merely serves the intent of the composition. But this also lays bare the quality of the composition. In short, we can focus on using the biggest words and loudest P.A. system, but ultimately what matters is what we have to say. But that's hard; that requires wisdom and philosophy and reflection and creativity. It's easier to focus on when to double cello than to deal with what we're trying to say in the first place. Ironically, when we have something interesting to say and are clear about it, the most important part of orchestration handles itself. The technical things - doublings, ranges - that's not the hard part. At all. It's a fun, rich world, but at best, it's seated-at-the-right-hand of the composition.
     
  13. #14 Paul T McGraw, Apr 22, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
    That was really interesting Mike. I like the way you linked artless composing with the scarcity of manufacturing in our culture. I can't really disagree with any of your points. But whatever the cause of the demise or the dumbing down, all any one person can do is to try to be the best composer they are capable of being and strive to never give into the lazy temptation to settle for the quick and easy.

    For someone like myself, a hobbyist, it is a choice without much of a downside. I do not strive to make money from composing. I am not in competition with "Two Steps From Hell" and their 5 million views for each YouTube posting. I don't have to beat out Hans Zimmer to score the latest big budget film. Whatever he does these days, after "Dunkirk" I struggle to call it music. At least with the epic guys like "Two Steps From Hell" I can still recognize it as a form of music.

    So would a young person with the exact skills and abilities as John Williams get hired today? I can imagine that John Williams in his younger days would have written a wonderful score for "Dunkirk." But would the director have given that young John Williams a chance?
     
  14. I have said countless times we either choose to work in an industry, or on good projects with good people doing the kind of work we like to do. Sometimes (rarely) those aims overlap. Nope, if you're an accomplished symphonic composer in the vein of John Williams, you're not going to have his career in films. He wrote music they don't write anymore for films they don't make anymore. It's different, and if your priority is an industry, then you are at the whim of the industry.

    Conversely, with 7 billion people on the planet, there is more than a lifetime's worth of clients who love what you naturally do, value it, and will pay you for it, sustaining more than a lifetime's career. It just may not be in film, and it may not be located in the 15-mile-radial cesspool of subhumanity that is Los Angeles. But it's out there, and the entire world is now connected. Go forth, as did your forefathers, and seek your fortune elsewhere if need be. No 4-month sea voyage necessary.
     
  15. Whoa !! We have "chunked" up to a level of conversation I never imagined when posting. (That's fine of course.... just a surprise)

    Or look at what happened to the poor T-Rex



    Everyone has to learn how to stand on their own two feet at some point. The older I get the more I think J.S Bach has is right with "The Art of the Fuge"
    Like the inventions, these were primarily an instruction manual. You know how many words are in the preface ? Zero. Just history changing brilliance all spoken thru the notes. As they say; writing about music is like dancing about architecture.

    Often, when I try and write about the "Why", I end up writing pages of "disclaimers" about how X might mean I change to Y and so on and so on.
    I get so exhausted after that; I have not even begun to write what I am actually trying to write. Just end up writing a disclaimer.

    No....words are not my artform. Music -- (them notes) are.

    I have probably mentioned too often that I used to study with Sam Adler. Almost every week he would say something like "Oh, that damn book.... I wish people would listen to my music". Every day he gets emails about how section X, or comment Y was wrong.

    Lastly: "I posted this over on VI-C and thought I would drop this off here too. I wrote this in a music journal/diary of mine about 10 years ago."

    Mainly these are just notes I took for myself while sitting in an watching a orchestra rehearse. After the rehearsal I typed it up in a more narration style.
    That's all it is. Nothing more.

    I whole heartedly agree with: Orchestration and composition are inseparably linked
    Yes.....times 1000

    This not so much: because the orchestration merely serves the intent of the composition

    But that is ok. Discussion, and good spirited debate can (when positive and met with an open mind) lead to learning new things.

    Lastly, and this is as far as I will go outside discussing musical craft:

    Hindemith said "No two men can hate each other while they are playing music together".
    I do feel concern that mostly people make music in isolation and converse online.

    I know that in my life, music has lead me to make friendships and be mentored by people well outside my social circle.
    Looking back, I am so grateful to have meaningfully interacted with people from other countries, religious beliefs, and other just general "oddities" of personality.

    Hell.... I think Barack Obama is the greatest president in the last 125 years of the USA, and yet my favorite place to hang out is called "Redbanned"
    Go figure...... it makes no sense to me, other than the common "calling/passion" of bettering oneself with music as the conduite for this inner discipline.

    Those of my "tribe" need not think like I do. But the beauty is it lets me see past these differences to acknowledge that something deeper and greater motives us
    and unites us.

    For that.... I am grateful.
     
  16. Thread of the week. Congrats Doug! Lot's of interesting commentary too, but we've clearly diverged from the original topic - I probably didn't help with my sidebar on samples.

    Are we discussing the relationship between composition and orchestration?
    • Successful orchestrations support the overall intent of the composition, and may be integral to the composition itself
    • Orchestration is an art that requires study and practice
    • There's a wrong way to do it
    Are we discussing the differences between composing, composing for orchestra, and orchestration? My 2-cents:
    • Composing - Mussorgsky composed Pictures at an Exhibition, a suite for solo piano. His influence was a series of paintings.
    • Orchestration - Ravel orchestrated Pictures, and is probably the most well-known setting of the composition.
    • Composing for Orchestra - Ravel composed Rapsodie espagnole for a large symphonic orchestra.
    Is it "good" and "bad" orchestration practices?
    • you've got a great list started that gives concise/general info for people not familiar with strings in a large ensemble setting
    • running with this ball, there's a ton of families, performance techniques, & genres that can follow the string post, but with so many resources in the world I would be hesitant to go too deep
    • you can probably save some time and link/refer readers to a lot of informative and reputable blogs
    I love rambling around these questions, and I would enjoy it more at the bar over drinks with a handful of folks from here, but some focus may be helpful.
     
    Paul T McGraw and Doug Gibson like this.
  17. Thanks for the insight Doug. Very informative and good starting points.

    Just to chime in with some few thoughts of mine:

    1. Writing to the strenghts of the instruments (range, idiomatic)

    Considering the range you compose in defines your later orchestration and instruments you are using as long your stay true and close to your sketch composition. A melodic arrangement on the piano can translate to a orchestral context very different. Sometimes the arrangement even does sound good on the piano but translates not very well to the orchestral instruments. Therefore you need to be aware of that when sketching out a composition.


    2. Saying the most with the least (effective orchestration)

    Questions comes in mind like: Do I really need to double the line in unison or create spreaded lines? Is it for color or it is because otherwise the line would be inaudible? When second comes to mind, I would check the general orchestration and probably also the compositional core aspect.

    3. Usage of the whole palette of the orchestra with different orchestral colors / textures

    Point 3 is of course dependent on choice and style and setting of the piece. There are opulent orchestrations which sound great but feel also heavy at times. I think what makes the cake is the diversity in colors, and using the whole dynamics range of the instruments.

    Sure there are many more things, just that popped up into my head.

    Actually I start orchestrating my piano sketches very basic and I think e.g. "what is my mainline and what is my second line supporting it?". That doesn´t make yet a great orchestration but it helps to focus on a few elements and keep track on the orchestral colors and color changes. I would first make basic arrangements which tells the core of orchestration and later you can arrange it and decided if you need more colors, doublings etc.
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  18. just as a side note:

    The whole epic music / orchestration thing is a subset of filmmusic and therefore very specific also with its orchestration. It uses a very "typical" language. It is not very dynamic and uses just a few instrument groups of the orchestral palette plus just a few articulations and sets of orchestrations, so of course this orchestration style is therefore I would say very limited in its expression and choices. Depending on the composition, the epic music genre is not intended in using the orchestra in its classic form and true dynamic realism. Is it bad orchestration? Well...depends on the perspective. Sure everybody would agree here when I say it is very limited in its way how to say or tell the story. Therfore from a classic strandpoint epic music orchestration would fall into the category of bad orchestration because it utilizes only a fraction of colors and dynamics in the orchestra. Is epic music writing easier than John Williams stuff. Yes, it is easier to learn, but are composers who write epic music are bad composers? There are some good composers and many more bad ones out there. Then entrance level for epic music is more approachable because of its more instant gratification, I would say. It is a kind of feel good thing and "welcome to the Filmmusic" Composing club experience. I have a very good friend who is a drummer (for 20 years) and he started recently with virtual instruments. He also wrote a few epic short pieces and asked me about my opinion. And I realized while his epic tracks were not really the top notch of production level, they weren´t such bad either according to what is presented in the actual music market and sold succesfully as epic film / trailer music. And that backs a bit up my saying: Epic music is very approachable and you don´t need to spent your whole life to make a descent impression of it. Does that diminish the people who are doing that? Not for me. It is a matter of choice because people like to have gratification and it feels good and there is nothing wrong about that. Its not my music of choice but I think recently often "live" and "let live". It makes it a bit easier for my own life.
     
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  19. What ? You mean a T-rex masturbating is off topic ? ;)

    You were not around for my fixed - doh rant, or debating about Scott Smalley's orchestration class with someone who never even attended.

    If there was a way I could post something and lock the thread I would. However that is not the spirit of the place, nor is it really my right to ask for that.
    But if there was a way I would.

    I could have posted my info, locked it, and it would be focused.

    It's all good.

    I am sure I have an idea about orchestration and what it is/ is not that is not a very common point of view. That's ok too. Mike is an awesome composer and person. No one questions that. Most people here fall under the same category.

    The truth is, with so much experience already amongst us, of course we will have slightly different ideas. It's all good man.
     

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