(orch) Short Orchestration Assignment 1

Due Tuesday, 9/1:

Produce two orchestrations of the following Bach chorale according to the instructions provided below.

Bach-Orchestration 1Orchestration A: choose a relatively homogeneous instrumentation (based on timbre of instruments used).

Orchestration B: choose a diverse timbral collection of instruments.

Both orchestrations should be for 4 – 8 players (you may double some, or all the parts). Each orchestration should be done in a computer notation program such as Finale or Sibelius. (If you use Sibelius in Bracken, go to the Music Listening Desk to check out a MIDI keyboard to enter notes.) You should provide a score and individual parts for each player. The title should be the title of the chorale. You should list J. S. Bach as the composer, and underneath the composer you should list “orchestrated by your name.”

Homogeneous and diverse are best thought of as relative terms that outline opposite points on a continuum. The most homogeneous instrumentation would usually consist of all the same instruments (four violins, four clarinets, etc.). The next most homogeneous would usually be comprised of instruments from the same family (bowed strings, brass). Woodwinds, however, are a more diverse group. While a string quartet (2 violins, viola, cello) is homogeneous, a woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon) is quite diverse. You can listen to instruments on the isfee web site. Ranges are quickly available on the musicarranger site. Be prepared to discuss and explain your choices.

The available instrumentation is:

  • flute (can only be combined with one trombone, and no tuba)
  • 2 Bb clarinets
  • bassoon
  • trumpet
  • 2 trombones (including bass and tenor)
  • 1 tuba (if only one trombone used, and no flute)
  • 3 violins
  • viola
  • double bass

For this first assignment do not use guitar, percussion, piano, harp or singers.


7 responses to “(orch) Short Orchestration Assignment 1”

  1. pwmarquissee Avatar

    Orchestration A: 2 violins, viola, double bass – 4 voices

    Orchestration B: Violin, Trumpet, 1 Bb Clarinet, 2 trombones, Bassoon, double bass – 7 voices

    Are we supposed to take the choral note for note as it is, or are we allowed to make changes? Is this more of an exercise in utilizing the different ranges and timbres of the instruments or writing idiomatically for the instruments?


  2. pwmarquissee Avatar

    Also, are we able to change the key in our orchestration to one that might be better for the instruments we have chosen to use?

  3. You can change the key as needed to better suit the instruments you choose.

    The basics of the chorale should remain. You can add doublings all or part of the time, change spacing of parts (register), etc.

  4. Just to clarify the intent of the first assignment:

    I’m not looking for you to try dramatic creative effects for this project. The essential aspect is the process of producing two short orchestrations from start to finish:

    –choosing the instruments, knowing their ranges.
    –getting a score produced.
    –getting parts extracted and printed.

    Everything else is extra, but will come in time. You can choose to double parts or not, double at unison or octave (or not), expand the register by raising and/or lowering parts (or not).

    This is a pretty simple example because I want to know that all of you can handle the “bookkeeping” part of the process.

  5. ballpython06 Avatar

    Zac Coudret
    Orch. A Violin 1 and 2, Viola, and Double Bass- 4 voices
    Orch. B. Violin 1, Bb Clarinet, viola, and Trombone-4 voices

  6. jshague Avatar

    John Hague

    A – Violins I, II; Viola; Double Bass
    B – Flute; Clarinet; Viola; Bassoon

  7. Christine Avatar

    A – Violin 1, 2, Viola, Bass
    B- B-flat Clarinet, Flute, Bassoon, Trumpet, Trombone

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