Orchestration – Shaping a Phrase

Orchestration – Shaping a Phrase

The ability to shape a phrase orchestrally should be one of the primary concerns of a developing orchestrator, not just thinking vertically. Something I’ve observed in many early orchestrational efforts is the concept that orchestration is mostly about combinations of sound and color. Developing orchestrators tend to think about the big picture a lot, and…
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Video Tip of the Week: Reading Natural Brass

Video Tip of the Week: Reading Natural Brass

A video installment in my daily series of tips. Please follow me on Twitter for the Orchestration Online Tip of the Day at @OrchestrationOL, or join the Orchestration Online Facebook group for feedback, resources, and advice. Score-read the following works, transposing horn and trumpet parts: Beethoven Symphony No. 5, Movt. II Haydn Symphony No. 100,…
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Horns – No Key Signatures, Please!

Horns – No Key Signatures, Please!

Despite what several modern orchestration texts may claim, horn and trumpet players prefer not to have key signatures. I picked up the Alfredo Casella orchestration text in an English translation a while back. Some of the presentation of principles is truly original, and I can recommend it as a supplement to a more thorough book…
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Horns – Slurring Up vs. Down

Horns – Slurring Up vs. Down

It is much simpler to slur up on a horn than to slur down. Most non-wind and non-brass players don’t instinctively understand this, and it can lead to scoring that is much more difficult than the composer realizes. For a brass player to slur upwards, pressure must be increased and the embouchure tightened. This is