Welcome to my blog

I have created this site in order to provide performers, listeners and composers with a description of a composer's experiences with the creative process. The posts will provide discussions of the inspirations, challenges, and successes of a composer from the inception of the piece to the culmination in performance. I will provide a link to where you can see and hear the works in progress. Comments and questions are always welcomed. They will not posted unless you grant me permission.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Arizona Centennial Overture - Orchestra Version

I have begun work on the orchestral version of Arizona Centennial Overture in between doing a major revision to my website. Since it has been a while since I have posted and I have finished scoring the Fanfare and Pioneer section, I thought I'd share some thoughts about the process of making this transcription.

My first consideration was which instruments from the band will not be used in the orchestra version. In the woodwinds, I will not be using 3rd clarinet, alto and bass clarinet, and saxophones. In the brass, the euphonium will not be used. I tend to write for standard orchestra because extra instruments means hiring more musicians and that places an extra burden on the resources of orchestras. It is often challenging enough to get performances without this additional consideration. The string family gives me an entirely different color to work with. My goal was not to just put the missing wind parts in the strings, but to create a valid orchestration as if I was writing for orchestra originally. This means re-scoring the wind parts as well. Additionally, I want to make the strings a focal point of the composition and not just an after thought.

While I am working on the score, I have left all the band instruments in place and just muted the ones that I will be omitting so that I can hear the balances during playback. The score is quite cluttered right now, so I will wait until I finish the transcription before posting audio and visual examples. The first section is the most difficult to re-score because it uses a wide variety and combination of wind colors. The strings are mostly used as reinforcement of the already existing wind lines. Both pizzicato and arco are used depending upon the line. The violins and violas take the clarinet trio part and measure 50. The absence of the 3rd clarinet has been one of the biggest challenges because in the band version the homogeneous sound of three clarinets needs to be broken up into a heterogeneous sound of two clarinets and another instrument. At measure 50, I just omit the clarinets and use the homogeneous sound of the strings. I also took the oboe solo at measure 39 and made it an oboe duet by adding a harmony part and then doubling it in the violas and cellos. This makes a nice rich sound.

Re-scoring the Native American section is next.

Dr. B

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