Orchestration and Arranging

Orchestration, practiced at its highest level, is like painting with sound. Each instrument has its characteristic colour, as do the musicians who play them. It’s not just a matter of deciding whether the flute or the oboe should take the melody but how best to surround and support them in a way that enhances the film. Learn the process of expanding from sketch to a full orchestration for mid-size hybrid ensemble, in the process discovering the range and character of the instruments. Learn how to think like a player and the players will give you what you want.

Module 5 (3 credits)

In this module, building from foundational elements such as leadsheets and piano reductions, you will discover how to expand the sonic palette, beginning with woodwinds, then the strings, and finally brass and percussion, building confidence and command until you are ready for the semester’s summative writing/recording assignment. You will learn to think “from the inside of the instruments” and the fingers, lips, and tongues of those who play them. All lessons will be integrated with the requirements of the writing/recording assignments and will feature abundant examples from the repertoire of both concert and film music. Regular exercises will acquaint you with range, physical constraints of the instrument, balance within and among the sections, and optimum blending of colours, allowing you to utilise the orchestra as a single voice.

What will you learn in this module?

  1. The unique characteristics and technical aspects of each orchestral instrument, including strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion, while understanding their range, timbral palettes and individual features.

  2. Balancing timbral results ensuring that the orchestration choices made do not interfere with dialogue and other sound elements while effectively applying the desired timbral qualities to underscore the visual narrative.

  3. Integrating composition and orchestration, combining composition skills with orchestration techniques to create large-scale orchestral scores that bring out the intended emotional impact and support the storytelling of the film.

How does this module meet industry expectations?

  • Mastering orchestration allows you to express your creative vision by harnessing the power and versatility of orchestral instruments to create captivating film scores.

  • By understanding orchestration techniques, you can effectively manipulate the timbre and dynamics of the orchestral ensemble to evoke specific emotions and enhance the overall impact of the film.

  • Proficiency in orchestration opens doors for collaboration with filmmakers, directors, and other industry professionals, allowing you to contribute your expertise and enhance the overall value of the production.

  • Developing orchestration skills expands your toolkit as a film composer, making you more versatile, knowledgeable, and marketable in the competitive field of film and game composing.

Assessed recording assignments

  1. Comic Cue for Mixed Wind Ensemble

  2. All Recording Assignments Listed In Techniques of Scoring For The Screen Are Assessed As Part Of The Orchestration Module

Have questions about this programme?

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