Isaac Albéniz’s "Granada" from Suite Espagnola

2014 October Orchestration Challenge

Isaac Albéniz’s “Granada” from Suite Espagnola

The next orchestration challenge will be the last of this year, due to several extensive upcoming projects, including my next macProVideo course Orchestration 102: The Wind Section. As you can see by the date above, this will be an assignment with an extended date, allowing 50 days within which to score the above work, or excerpts thereof. When the Orchestration Challenge returns in 2015, it will have even more to offer, with an overall structure and longterm plan. More I cannot say at this time, but it’s part of big plans that I’m currently developing for the coming year.

Albéniz’s “Suite Espagnola” has actually been orchestrated before by several prominent arrangers, including the conductor Rafael Frübeck de Burgos. If you wish to participate in this challenge, do NOT listen to or score-read any of these arrangements! Treat the score like an undiscovered country, and explore it on your own terms. Your challenge is to score the first movement, “Granada” – in either single excerpts covering specific sections, or the entire movement. The orchestra allowed is the same as that Albéniz used in the score to “Catalonia.” Please note the restrictions below on percussion and harp! Also, check the Guidelines below for start and end dates, and new options regarding recordings.

It’s been a terrific experience organising and evaluating these orchestration challenges this year. Let’s make this one the best of all!

October Guidelines

Challenge Deadline: October 31, midnight your time. I may extend this deadline another 5-10 days upon request, or if I get bogged down with other things.

Evaluations Posted: November 15

Orchestra numbers:

  • 3333 winds (optional auxiliaries of piccolo, english horn, bass clarinet – but no contrabassoon)
  • 4431 brass
  • timpani
  • 2 percussion players covering triangle, bass drum, cymbals, and tambourine (see Restrictions below)
  • 2 harps (see Restrictions below)
  • Strings

Sections to be arranged:

  • EM – Entire movement, or…
  • OA – Opening to figure A
  • AB – Figure A to Figure B
  • BD – Figure B to Figure D

(please refer to the PDF, XML, or Sibelius file below for rehearsal figures. Excerpts have been preformatted for Sibelius)

Restrictions: IMPORTANT! Please read…

  • No harps covering the right hand rolled chords at the Opening or Figure D. De Burgos already made that mistake.
  • No harps mindlessly covering the left hand patterns between Figures A and D.
  • In fact, the less harp the better. Use for little bits of atmosphere, filigree, or punctuation only, thanks. No “harp concertos” that are basically just the piano part copied down.
  • No more than two percussion players at a time. Leave 2-4 bars between instrument changes.
  • Also, sorry, no maracas, guiros, or castanets. Just the instruments above.

Submittal: Please post in the Facebook group, but also send a copy to me here or via email. Too many scores are getting bumped down the feed now that our group is so large.

Recordings: Starting with this challenge, we are going to embed links to any mockups you may wish to share in the Evaluations PDF. Please send me the link and post it to Facebook. Soundcloud or another such site is preferred. Please, no Dropbox links.


  1. Don’t view other Facebook posted entries until you’ve scored your own.
  2. Only one entry per orchestrator will be accepted – no endless revisions! Make your entry as good as you can, then let it go.
  3. All feedback on these entries must remain constructive and supportive. This is a challenge to test your own skills, and compare your approach to other orchestrators.

Though the content of each entry will be considered the intellectual property of its orchestrator, participation shall be considered agreement for said works to be used as content in Orchestration Online videos and teaching materials.


  • PDF file preferred. Sibelius files are also accepted.
  • Audio files also encouraged for Facebook postings.


  • Please use the following filename format to assist us in cataloguing your entry:
    6-digit Year+Month Your Name
    Example: “201406 Hubert J. Finkelsteen”
  • Add the letter “P” after the date if you wish your entry to remain private and unarchived:
    Example: “201406P Sue de Nîmes”

Evaluations and Archive:

At the end of each Challenge, scores will receive a general evaluation, and be archived along with a blog post overview. Time doesn’t permit a full analysis of each entry, but certain common approaches will be noted, along with any scores which had some standout qualities. These evaluations will be mentioned in the monthly announcement video, along with a rundown of my own entry.

Award: Your own creative growth and sense of accomplishment.

2014 October Orchestration Challenge Albeniz2014 June Orchestration Challenge XML2014 June Orchestration Challenge PDF

For best results, Mac users should option/click on thumbnails to download.