Resources to Learn Orchestral Programming for Sub Beginner

Auyard

SS.org Regular
Joined
Feb 16, 2008
Messages
733
Reaction score
39
Location
Delaware
Kind of a two part questions really. One, any good resources (online or print) that kind of breakdown orchestration for like a 5 year old? I have bad problem, where I don't really analyze stuff. I'm definitely a I like this or I don't like this mindset. I don't really listen to music I like and break it down as I'm listening to it. I might with the guitar parts, but like if I'm listening to Inferi I just get lost in it, I'm not picking out the synths/orchestra/bass/guitar/drums separately. I like some classical stuff, but I really have no idea how the different sections interact with each other or what instruments make which sounds (beyond the obvious strings vs brass). Just some kind of primer on what makes classical orchestrations what they are.

Secondly, I'd like to start messing around with programming some orchestrations (I'm currently using Reaper). Just to see what happens and what riffs I can write with it. I've tried to google like what some of my favorite bands do that have symphonic elements, but I can't find any examples of what programs they use (such a niche question I guess). For example, the aforementioned Inferi, really love their orchestrations.

Any help anyone could throw my way would be appreciated.
 

Steinmetzify

CHUG & SLUDGE
Joined
Jun 2, 2012
Messages
6,189
Reaction score
3,190
Location
In the shadow of a mountain near SLC UT
Check out Mike Verta’s master classes. You can pick and choose which ones you want to do, and he’s got a forum as well that he’s really active on.

Really nice guy too, answered all my questions when I was just starting that stuff, gave me feedback regarding mixes etc.
 

Winspear

Tom Winspear
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
12,226
Reaction score
3,167
Location
Yorkshire, U.K
You should learn something called Part Writing, your basic chord construction, Voice Leading, some Counterpoint. Those skills will let you take a metal riff, analyse and simplify it into a basic chord-per-bar progression or similar, and write an interesting string part or at minimum a nicely voice-led synth-strings keyboard pad over it.
Focus on just writing a basic SATB (soprano alto tenor bass) style 4 part choral or string section to start with I'd say.
As for orchestration then getting down to the textures and articulation of orchestral instruments, Thomas Goss Orchestration Online is excellent. Hundreds of hours of youtube videos to go through and such. You'll want to go back to the basics though that's not to say the recent uploads are progressively more complex or something. But orchestration is a real big subject - Focus on my first paragraph (which is more just about music theory and composition) executed well before worrying too much about the actual instruments and how to use them well.
Look into Spitfire BBC Symphonic Orchestra VSTs.
 

DoctorStoner

θάλλ
Joined
Jul 24, 2007
Messages
128
Reaction score
66
Location
Knoxville
Spitfire BBC Symphony and LABS are great. I think you have to request the symphony plugin and wait 2 weeks or they charge like $50 for immediate download.
 

Aewrik

SS.org Regular
Joined
Aug 7, 2012
Messages
210
Reaction score
210
Location
Sweden

Dr. Caligari

SS.org Regular
Joined
Jan 30, 2022
Messages
118
Reaction score
84
I feel like a distinction should be made between classical/orchestral and metal/rock. Like, which one is it, what's the end goal here? Do you want to write orchestral music or do you want to write metal music? You can't just take these two very different things and put them together, it doesn't work because the dense nature of the guitars/bass will just eat up 90% of the orchestra and it will be a mushy mess where nothing can be heard properly.

If the end goal is metal with symphonic elements then I think the question should be what is there actually room for? Maybe some high register orchestral stuff could cut through and be heard, but the approach for writing/arranging that would be way different than if you were writing for a full orchestra.

My point is, the more orchestral stuff you add in to music with distorted guitars, the worse it's gonna sound and the more difficult it's gonna be to fit everything together, especially for lower/middle register instruments. So don't expect to learn orchestration for classical pieces and then be able to just stick that on top of metal and have it work. The approach is/needs to be different.
 

Winspear

Tom Winspear
Joined
Oct 23, 2009
Messages
12,226
Reaction score
3,167
Location
Yorkshire, U.K
^ Fleshgods King is a really good reference and luckily they released an orchestra only verison;
Obviously dynamic 'actual classical' music isn't the way to go, but 'full' orchestration that stands by itself as a dramatic Hollywood soundtrack (Zimmer etc) type style seems to work well (Well, at least with someone as talented as Jens Bogren at the mix haha).
Definitely want to consider good writing principles in the voicing and voice leading when looking at the orchestra combined with the guitars though that's for sure
 

jack_cat

SS.org Regular
Joined
May 1, 2013
Messages
98
Reaction score
25
Location
Deep in the tropics
The art of classical orchestration may be found in a book by the Russian composer Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, which explains how to treat the horns, woodwinds, and strings each as separate sections which should each be given a full four-part harmony. But this whole approach to composing was last used commercially in the movie soundtracks of the 1930s like Gone with the Wind. You could use it nowadays for composing for a "virtual" symphony orchestra, and I'm sure that some people do. But it assumes a pretty thorough background in classical music and in the (now-obsolete) theory of functional harmony, which is in another book by Rimsky Korsakov or in "Aldwell and Schacter Harmony and Voice Leading" or Walter Piston's Harmony, but all that is pretty tough sledding for modern guitar players, because the whole style, approach and nomenclature is obsolete 19th century stuff, no chords like CM7 etc, that wasn't done yet. And modern film composers use loopers and samples and so on, none of which existed then.

After WWII the movie industry's star composer of film scores was Henry Mancini. His book Sounds and Scores explains how to write for horns and strings his way, which is different than Rimsky-Korsakov's method. If the book is not out of print, it should have a CD with it with the sound clips that are in the book, so you can listen and look at the scores. All examples are by Mancini. You know, the guy who wrote the Pink Panther theme.

regards
jack
 


Top