(orch) Orchestration Assignment 2, Stravinsky Tango (Comments)


Due Tuesday, 9/8:

Orchestrate the first 24 measures of the Stravinsky Tango for Piano, up to the Fine in m. 24 (excluding the last two sixteenth notes of the measure). A copy of the Tango is in my iLocker account, as is a recording of the piano version. Your finished orchestration will include the score with all instruments transposed (on the score), title, composer name, your name as orchestrator, and tempo. You must also generate and print individual parts (which should have all the same relevant information, and be transposed for the instrument). Every part should include dynamics and appropriate use of articulations for each instrument.

The music suggests at least six instruments. Additional instruments will double (or triple) other parts, and can be used for additional volume/thickness and/or color possibilities.

Your instrumentation can include:

  • 2 Flutes (A, B)
  • 3 Bb Clarinets (A)
  • Bassoon
  • Trumpet
  • 2 Trombones (tenor and bass for either) (B)
  • Tuba (B)
  • Piano (but not simply playing the existing piano part)
  • 2 Guitars
  • 3 Violins
  • Viola
  • Double Bass

(don’t use harp or percussion for this assignment)

Be creative in the service of the music (i.e., don’t just try anything, but perhaps try a nonstandard thing or two). The original score has minimal dynamics. You may wish to use additional dynamic instructions while keeping the original indications in mind.

Stravinsky himself orchestrated this at least twice. One orchestration is for large jazz ensemble (5, 5, 5, plus rhythm section), and the other is for a small chamber orchestra (4 Cl, B. Cl, 4 Tr, 3 Tb, Guitar, 3 Vn, Va, Vc, and DB). Although it is possible to find recordings, don’t listen to what Stravinsky did and copy him. In fact, it is better to not listen to either of Stravinsky’s versions of this piece. If you would like an idea of Stravinsky’s style of orchestrating for a mixed ensemble such as our class, listen to his Ragtime for 11 Instruments (a piano version exists as well). You can easily find this online through the Naxos Music Library.

A final note about tempo. Most piano recordings of this piece are comically fast. If you listen to one of these versions, imagine trying to dance to that tempo. The example recording is the slowest version for piano I could find at our library or through Naxos. The tempo is around 84 beats per minute. I’ve heard the jazz orchestration conducted by Stravinsky himself, and it is much slower – around 60 beats per minute. For Stravinsky, this is a very melancholy work.


12 responses to “(orch) Orchestration Assignment 2, Stravinsky Tango (Comments)”

  1. kakitzmiller Avatar

    No saxophones then?

  2. Additional instruments available for this assignment:

    2 Alto Saxophones (one is performer A)

    1 Melodica (36 keys, but you need to contact Richard Anatone for the range) The melodica is a “blow organ,” most like an accordian in sound.

  3. falconmoogle Avatar

    Hey…the recording you gave us has a note that is not what the score says…measure eleven, the melody on the recording plays A-F-D, rather than A-D-D…which should we use? I personally like the F, and it makes more sense musically. thanks

  4. The Melodica and the piano are the same performer, right?

    One of the alto saxes is also flute/oboe (‘A’), but who is the other? Maybe it’s Patrick, whose also the trumpet…

    I should have my French Horn in F by Tuesday. My other instrument options are bass and tenor trombones.

  5. *whose –> who’s

  6. The melodica and the piano are the same performer. The other flute is the trombone/tuba (Will Frazier). I’m not going to put the horn on the list just for simplicity. You can use it if you want.

  7. John’s Stravinsky:

    Violins I, II
    Double Bass
    Bass Trombone
    Alto Saxophone

  8. Violins I, II
    Double Bass
    Trombone I, II
    Bb Clarinet
    Guitar (Maybe)

  9. Correction “Muted Trumpet”

  10. kakitzmiller Avatar

    I’m the other saxophone (C?)

  11. Kyle – you’re the other saxophone player. The letters are used to help people keep track of doublers, so that the doublers don’t get selected twice for an orchestration.

  12. pwmarquissee Avatar

    Clarinet Bb
    Trumpet Bb
    Bass Trombone
    Violin I, II
    Double Bass

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