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Transcribing Total Annihilation - Attack!

Discussion in 'Score Study Resources' started by Dmitry Egorov, Mar 10, 2020.

  1. Hey guys!

    For the longest time I'm trying to transcribe this piece:

    I'm not very experienced in transcribing orchestral music, and there's no score available, so I thought maybe someone from this wonderful community can help me out.

    I'm trying to figure out the opening line instrumentation. It's definitely horns, but I wonder if they are split divisi and half of them don't play the higher notes, and let the lower ones ring out, and the other half do the smooth legato/rip to the higher note? Or maybe there's another instrument doubling on the lower notes? Doesn't seem like trombones, as they are introduced in the second half of the line, and they don't sound that smooth anyway. Or maybe I'm overthinking it, and the horns just play unison, and it's the room reverb ringing out on the lower notes?

    Anyway, I've been trying to mock up this line, and can't get it to sound close. Maybe it's just the limitation of the vst instruments. If someone knows how to do it -- would love to hear your advice.

    Also if someone can point me to similar pieces -- that would be very helpful. Doubly so, if there's a score available. I know there's a lot of John Williams, but the orchestration feels a bit different to me. I wonder where Mr Soule, and the orchestrator on this project, Larry Kenton, drew their inspirations from. I especially dig the use of mallets with the brass, that sounds really memorable and unique to me. If someone can share the composers they lifted this trick from or overall style -- please be my guest!

    And finally, if someone experienced wants to transcribe the piece for practice and share the results -- that would be the ultimate pleasure for me. You could say Total Pleasure! HA! Anyway... The soundtrack is very interesting and definitely has some unusual orchestrational tricks up its sleeve. That might be my ignorance, though:)

    The post is really long (by today's standard), so thanks fo reading through. Hope for many replies!
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  2. I might ---might - be up for this. I just hate to commit, as my schedule can flip within a day or two. Things might look normal - like now- and then
    it becomes deadline madness, and I would have to drop this.

    Let me think about it, or just see if it's worth spending my free time on.

    Tuba? That would create a "rounder" and lower sound.

    Oh boy, who knows. It's a pretty common device. If you don't know the score "Short Ride in a Fast Machine" that might give you some inspiration

  3. #3 Dmitry Egorov, Mar 11, 2020
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2020
    Thank you, Doug! I've occasionally stumbled on your posts and videos, while browsing this forum for some time, and they're always thoughtful and insightful. You're a small circle star, as they say in Russia, and I really appreciate your reply:)

    Yes, I know that's a lot of work, so I can't ask you for this, only hope that you find your own reasons to do it:) I can point out that other people on this forum might also be interested in the result, since there was a recent discussion of this soundtrack. Say @Martin Hoffmann or @Rohann van Rensburg. Also you can listen to the whole soundtrack and choose another piece that you like more:

    I personally love them all, so I'd be glad to see any of them transcribed:) Or better yet, all of them!! Hehe.

    And also, even if you only transcribe a couple of bars here and there and not the full piece, it would already be valuable for me. Each little orchestrational insight is golden for my learning right now:)

    Right! That might be it! Your experience shows:) I never thought of it since for me Tuba is associated with something low, slow and loud. But of course it can play in a higher range and be nimble and relatively quiet there.

    Thanks, that's quite useful too! I've heard the music before, liked it, but honestly forgot it right away. Apparently its theme is not very memorable for me. But it's an orchestrational masterpiece of course, I should study it to get some insights:)

    Anyway, if you find time and motivation to transcribe the piece, I'd be grateful! Thanks!
  4. Well, things are getting chaotic (this virus stuff and all) so I thought this evening I would at least get you the intro.

    I'm just hearing the open D and A strings in addition to the horns. The other thing I "kinda" hear, is a distant col legno. Sort of like Mars.

    Here is my Sibelius play back to the first 15 seconds.

    If you would like the pdf or midi just let me know.

    BUT.......... PLEASE NOTE: It's just a guess.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  5. Wow, thank you! This is so helpful! Sure, I'd like to have the pdf:) I'll send you my email in a PM to make things easier for you.

    I hear one more thing in the second part of the intro, btw, and it's the string basses + bassoons spiccatos playing the main line's rhythm down below, creating a sort of low rumble. Might require headphones or good speakers, since they are kinda low in the mix.
  6. Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  7. Thanks, Doug! It really is very kind of you to do this! Hope you find more and more enjoyment as you go through the piece as it's quite inventive, IMHO:)

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