As some of you likely know, I love orchestral music. For me personally, this manifests itself in several ways…
First, I love going to orchestral concerts. Hearing the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Disney Hall, the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall, and so on.
Second, my personal music collection is packed with orchestral recordings. I’d say 75% of my personal music collection is orchestral recordings, either concert or film music.
Third, I analyze every orchestral score that I can get my hands on. Not to be overdramatic, but everything that humans know about writing for orchestra can be found in the repertoire of orchestral scores. On its own, each individual score is a window into the mind of a particular composer. Taken as a whole, the full collection of orchestral scores represents the complete body of human knowledge regarding orchestral composition.
While we can no longer study with the likes of Beethoven, Mahler, Tchaikovsky or Stravinsky or chat with them over coffee, we can study their scores. Their scores are a detailed documentation of their knowledge, talent and emotional perspective…and these guys were really, really good.
Fourth, I personally strive to incorporate the orchestra in my studio and recordings. This can entail recording large ensembles, overdubbing single instrumentalists, incorporating samples or a mixture of all of the above. Certainly, such possibilities have expanded and evolved significantly in recent years…and are likely to continue doing so into the future.
In this blog, I primarily plan to explore points three and four above – score analysis and orchestral music production. In some posts, I will look at a basic musical idea followed by the fully orchestrated passage and discuss how the composer got from A to B. In others, I will take a look at a computer file or a specific technical challenge and discuss ways to improve the sound.
I hope that you will find each informative and that you’ll be able to improve the quality of both your ideas and your recordings.