First Chair Simulation in Mock-Ups

First Chair Simulation in Mock-Ups A good way to make loud brass chords in the same family (e.g. a triad in the trumpets) sound more realistic in mockups, is to have the top note playing with a slightly stronger dynamic than the other notes. In real orchestras, this...

The Danger of Composing on the Piano

The Danger of Composing on the Piano Composing on a piano is a great tool but can also be quite limiting. For example, chord voicings that sound good or decent on a piano don’t neccessarily translate too well to real orchestra. Usually, the biggest problem with such...

String Divisi Part 2

String Divisi Part 2 As a follow-up on my post about string divisi from two weeks ago, here a few more things to consider: 6.) Four-part triadic homophone harmony in violins, especially in the higher register is best divided in the way that the first violins play the...

Pitch impression on Double Basses

Pitch impression on Double Basses Double basses have a quite unfocussed sound, especially in their very low register. In some occasions, it might be even tricky to actually identify clearly which note they are playing. This occurs on passages where the basses have a...

Organ effect problems

Organ effect problems One of the most common problems of inexperienced orchestrators is the “organ-effect”, which happens when you double too many instruments in a middle register with relatively long notes. At a certain point, the transparency gets lost and the whole...