2014 June Orchestration ChallengeThanks to everyone who submitted an entry to the 2014 May Orchestration Challenge! The Evaluations [link] have been posted in the Orchestration Online Blog. Please go have a look to see all the entries, including mine, along with some analysis and orchestration tips.

2014 June Orchestration Challenge

This month’s challenge is the opening of “Reflet dans l’eau” from Book 1 of Debussy’s Images pour piano. I’ve assigned you the first page, or bars 1-15. We’ll be using the orchestra of Debussy’s La Mer: 3324 winds, 4331 brass, timpani of 3 kettles, percussion, 2 harps, and strings. Wind auxiliaries may be used of one each piccolo, english horn, and contrabassoon, but no bass clarinet. Percussion shall consist of two players only using cymbals, triangle, bass drum, and glockenspiel/antique cymbals. While this is quite a large orchestra, keep in mind that you may wish to cut down the available instruments to a size that fits your conception. As before, you may arrange in any style that you choose, but the basic information of the original score must in some way be preserved.

This is a much more notationally complex score, which might cause some annoyance to cut and paste sections from the original layout. Therefore I’ve created a version that includes both the original score and a four-stave dissection of its different elements. This is available below as a Sibelius file, MusicXML, and a PDF. Please note that I have changed the key from D-flat major up a half-step to D major: this is to take better advantage of the string section’s natural resonance. You may change it back if you like, or transpose it into any key. The Sibelius file has an additional advantage for Sibelius users: its score has been formatted to the orchestral numbers mentioned above, with the arranging staves embedded within it. Please delete these staves once you’ve completed your arrangement, thanks.

One last word of caution: just because two harps are included in this challenge, DO NOT take that as permission to score the piano part onto the harps with abandon. I expect every orchestrator out there to adopt an intelligent, judicious approach to scoring the harps, that looks anything BUT a piano part. For this challenge, therefore, the first eight bars of right-hand piano are not allowed to be transferred to the harps. You may score around them, use some notes from them, but a wholesale cut-and-paste of those notes is off-limits. Spreading these chords across two harps is also not allowed. Think of something else, please, and remember that the harp is not a piano substitute.

Please note that new guidelines have been added to the description below. Name your file “201406 (Your Name)” if you wish the score to be added to the permanent archive here at Orchestration Online, and “201406P (Your Name)” if you want the entry to remain private. As always, to share on Facebook, please hashtag your post: “#2014JuneOrchestrationChallenge” will make it much easier to keep track of your score and give you feedback.

Now get orchestrating!

2014 June Orchestration Challenge Sibelius2014 June Orchestration Challenge XML2014 June Orchestration Challenge PDF

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

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