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Old 03-31-2008, 10:50 AM
DVDave DVDave is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MPLS
Posts: 96
Default Help understanding Orchestral music, Instrument ID

Im a new user to the EastWest Gold Symphonic VI......got it cuz of my interest in emulating adding that 'movie soundtrak' sound.

My first challenge is understanding what im hearing. Take a Audio picture the Starwars theme, the main part, no drums, sounds like strings.....but im sure there are specific blends that produce the main handful of thick layered ensembles that make up the hollywood movie sounds (as opposed to Mozart-classical)

of the 4 main groups woodwind-brass-string-percussion> in the popular soundtrax from Starwars to Close encounters composed by...oh you know...(williams?) to Batman (Elfman) to Alien-s to Independance Day i hear the same blends over and over. Lots of contrast and cressendo, like rock &

roll there is a rythem part and lead parts, bridges....thick & busy to simple and thin.....but always emotional-moody obviously why used in movies to convey feelings and emotions.

My first ID is brass- French horn. I hear that in every soundtrak usually layered and contrasted with lush strings. if the french horn is rythem and strings lead, i also hear variations that i can't tell what's being played.

The main parts overlap and change to a different mix of instruments, contrasted w/ a lead that sounds like violins but also could be blended w/ a number of other instruments, but i can't tell by auditioning them seperatly.

what im seeking is a Play by Play of ANY popular soundtrak. Like the Darth Vader part of Star Wars theme which is the 'dark' omionus sound juxtapose the light 'hopeful' counterpart that sounds like a string section blended w/ ?? (flute) ......and then what is that dark part ? (oboe) ??

If anyone would take the time......wow, how great it would be to pick A Movie sountrak that your familier with and simply narate. starts with flute and grand piano, 10;12 picillo-viola-contrabass.12;15 perc bridges to brass combo FH & trombone.....etc etc.

or maybe simply making a list what you use as popular blends or 'MULTIs' as EWQL calls them would be so awesome.

1] is there training material on video or DVD that explores an Orchestra or basics on composing ?

2] any material clip-musical of a modern symph that can be purchased or rented that happens to show up close the assorted sections of an Orchestra where i could see and ID what there playing ? (netflix had a ton of DVDs under the heading Orchestra but too many to know what i would get)

3] any home-made / youtube lessons on how to use EWQLSO or the Moto VI ?

4] lists of instruments to blend or ANY way to figure out what is being used in the average hollywood action adventure-sci fi- soundtrak ?

thanks.....any ideas would be appreciated

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Old 03-31-2008, 11:19 AM
dubaifox dubaifox is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Dubai U.A.E.
Posts: 1,243
Default Re: Help understanding Orchestral music, Instrument ID

You need to get the Samuel Adler Orchestration Book and accompanying DVD's that show all of the instruments up close, the various sounds they make, as well as musical exerpts from orchestral literature.

It is the perfect orchestration 101 class you are looking for.

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Old 03-31-2008, 03:05 PM
The Dougfather The Dougfather is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 3,200
Default Re: Help understanding Orchestral music, Instrument ID

I recently purchased Garritan Personal Orchestra and i was in the same situation as you. Over at the garritan they have full lessons with audio examples, it's also includes a lot of info about where the instruments tend to sit in the audio spectrum, it's quite impressive for us noobs.

Garritan had a competition a little while back for there users to create a composition and then have it played a proper orchestra. Check out a piece called Knights & Magic by Richard Birdsall, done completely using Garritan. They use live parts of his track to show the difference between cellos, violins etc and how they contribute to the piece.

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Old 03-31-2008, 03:08 PM
GunnyT GunnyT is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: TN
Posts: 190
Default Re: Help understanding Orchestral music, Instrument ID

This info is much better than what I contributed...to the same guy...with the same post...in the VI forum.

Which is really where this post belongs.
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Old 03-31-2008, 03:33 PM
stoneinapond stoneinapond is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: ny
Posts: 993
Default Re: Help understanding Orchestral music, Instrument ID

If you are really serious about orchestration, then I recommend the following book.

Treatise on Instrumentation

Written by Hector Berlioz well over 150 years ago, it is none the less a very instructive tome and carefull study of it will repay you ten-fold in matters of orchestration.
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Old 03-31-2008, 04:28 PM
Starcrash Starcrash is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Marin County, CA
Posts: 778
Default Re: Help understanding Orchestral music, Instrument ID

I'll be nice, but you're essentially asking how does one "fake" orchestral composition which is an extremely difficult question to answer.

Why not take some music theory classes at your local community college? I did a 2-year program at my local college and it helped me gain a much greater understanding of harmony and orchestration. I learned to read music, sang in the choir, and played 'cello in the school orchestra (and I'm still just a bonehead rock'n'roll musician).

As far as analyzing some scores, go out and buy some printed scores and see how it's laid out.

Here's one you can order:
Star Wars (Suite for Orchestra) - Deluxe Score
Pascal Garneau | IMDb
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Old 03-31-2008, 07:52 PM
filosofem filosofem is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Christchurch NZ
Posts: 11,864
Default Re: Help understanding Orchestral music, Instrument ID

Currently working my way through The Guide to MIDI Orchestration by Paul Gilreath. A very insightful read, he has a command on the concepts of how to produce MIDI realism.

Aaron Mulqueen - 001 HD Native
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