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Thread: Recommend me a book for orchestra composition

  1. #1
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    Default Recommend me a book for orchestra composition

    I'm trying to get my hands on a book or two that discusses composing for orchestra and arrangements. Something that a beginner musician and composer would find really useful.

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    How about Rimsky-Korsakov's "Principles of Orchestration". Great book, but, apart from that, a free, interactive version is available on the internet if you just google it.

    Apart from that, I would recommend Arnold Schoenberg's "Fundamentals of Music Composition", but I don't know how useful it woulf be for starting out.

    I say you should learn from the masters, so definitely try to find one by a composer you enjoy .

    Hope this helps,
    Sam

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    Sweeeet, http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...splay.php?f=77

    I'll see how far I can get on this gem!

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    Senior Member Oneiros's Avatar
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    That will be a good start, but instruments have changed a little since then, if the orchestration principles haven't.

    These two are the best I've come across:

    Instrumentation and orchestration / Alfred Blatter.

    The study of orchestration / Samuel Adler.

    Berlioz's treatise might also be of interest.

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    Yes. Oneiros is right there.

    One thing I will say though. The link you have also provides small sections from modern professors. So really, it's an updated version of Rimsky-Korsakov's text. Any differences between now and Rimsky's day, the professors have written little segments to explain this to us. Really great resource.

    I've not heard of the books you mention Oneiros. However, I'll be sure to have a look. I will especially look for the Berlioz. The reason being, to me, Berlioz is a good composer. He is famous for his compositions. Why would you take compositional lessons from someone whos own output is poor. I have heard of Adler, but not heard his works, obviously he is not one of the more popular composers. Also, I have never heard of Blatter. Is there a reason for this? Of course, it could be that Adler and Blatter are exceptional teachers, so I will still look out for them.

    Cheers!
    Sam

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    I reccomend Adler's Study of Orchestration. It's very clearly written with many examples. Personally, I find Rimsky-Korsakov and Schoenberg's books a little heavy. They take a lot of concentration to take in, and the language is slightly old and doesn't really convey the meaning as well as it probably used to.

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    Mr Salek. Yes, I find the Schoenberg can definitely be like that. I think the Rimsky is less so. However, I find that sometimes a peculiar wording can make me think about something more, so can be useful! The Adler seems very popular so will definitely procure a copy. But I will still defend the Rimsky-Korsakov forever, I have found it immensely useful in my own studies, and hope I will continue to find use!

    One final suggestion. There are some good online texts out there by a guy called Alan Belkin. They're available as PDFs, which is probably the easiest way to read them. Don't have the link to hand, but I think there are 4. All cover different aspects of the craft, think one is harmony, one composition, one orchestration, etc. Either way, give them a look!

    Cheers,
    Sam

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    Senior Member Oneiros's Avatar
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    Hi Sam,

    You made a good point about Berlioz's study - if you want to learn, learn from the best (a shame Beethoven or Bach never wrote out a treatise, eh?). As an aside, I think it's useful to keep in mind that the essential knowledge of composition comes only from experience, so whatever book you read will only be a lead-in to experiential study/practise. Seen in this light, the best book might be judged as whatever is most useful and appealing to you individually.

    Yes, Schoenberg's writings are some of the most difficult I've come across too... Except maybe some essays on academic philosophy, but that's a pretty nasty comparison.

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    Definitely agree on the experience point. There is no substitution for experimentation. Try stuff out. See what works. See what doesn't. Edit and refine. This is surely the way to greatness? I'm sure that if we look at many composers, the very early works will be lacking something which is added in later works. Don't be discouraged, even the best start off slow (apart from Mozart).

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    I eill recommend you the Jamorama, That will be really useful and Handy for the begnners.
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