Harp – Range of Multiple Harmonics

(Tip no. 68 from “100 Orchestration Tips,” Part 4: Harp) Left hand multiple harmonics are only practical up to around middle C. Higher than that, the hand position prevents them from speaking with ease. This is a tip that I’ve not seen in ANY orchestration manual anywhere, period. Most manuals tell you that the right …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 19: Harp Concerto Premiere, Baby Pops, and Aftermath

The view outside my window has shifted from a condo parking lot to a stand of redwoods. I’ve changed locations 5 times over the last seven days as my business trip has shifted over to some more personal vacation time. From this point on, this Diary is going to go on hold, to be replaced …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 11: 3rd and Final Harp Concerto Rehearsal

10:55 a.m. I’m listening to the recording of Tuesday night’s rehearsal and taking more notes as I go. Here’s the complete list: Movement I bars 7 & 74 trombone solos need to be played with more projection bar 14 horn I solo ditto winds need to back off a bit at the intro fine-tune bars …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 10: Orchestral Treasure in the Desert Sands

There’s no other way to write this entry other than narratively. So here goes. Forgive the human drama, and rest assured that there’ll be orchestration in there eventually. About 100 years ago, in a little town in Arkansas, there was a rich but infertile housewife, and a 15-year-old, secretly pregnant teenage girl. The mother of …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 9: Harp Concerto Rehearsal 2

6:52 p.m. I’m typing this at an internet cafe just a few blocks down from the rehearsal site, where I’ll shove off to in a few minutes. But first, I thought I’d write down a few words about the conductor/soloist meeting I just attended. It was over in Century City, a couple miles down the …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 8: Harp Concerto Notes III

9:25 p.m. Currently uploading photographic files to the macProVideo server. mPV got me a license with a royalty-free image company, granting me the ability to download up to 25 shots per day for my orchestration course. It’s not a bad source for certain images – good closeups of orchestral instruments and their players are in …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 7: Harp Concerto Notes II

10:30 p.m. Very little in the way of work today. I tried out the new camera, shining a light against the wall in a dark room, then checking the corners of the image for noise. There’s still some, but not so pronounced as with my cheap little pocket camera. Hopefully, this will resolve the resolution …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 6: Harp Concerto Notes I

11:55 p.m. Been a very long day, filled with intense personal commitments. Still, there was time for my career, which never stops. Even at my most distracted, it’s always humming along, like that train that I can hear passing by about a mile from window, rippling the soundwaves with its churning as it bites off …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 5: Rescuing the End of the Concerto

6:00 p.m. Today’s meeting with the conductor and soloist is canceled, mainly because I’m apprehensive about driving to a West L.A. address by 5 p.m. in an expensive borrowed car. Especially after driving on the other side for over a decade. I still feel the instinct to left turn into the oncoming lane, and I …

Diary of an Orchestrator, April 4: San Ber’dino

3:38 p.m. One thing a composer or writer should never be without is a notepad or sketchbook, or in the 21st century, a laptop. Thus my time sitting in the San Bernardino County Recorder’s Office isn’t wasted. The drive out here was uneventful. My borrowed car, a very up-to-date BMW with a nav system, is …