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The function of each instrument...

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btriangle
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The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 06:20 PM Reply

I thought this would be a good chance, to tell the people who do not know, and wish to learn to arrange a full orchestrated song, by explaining the function of each instrument in an orchestra.
It will be especially useful if it can be used in context of recording, since the majority of us probably dont have a spare orchestra we can give the sheet music to.

I myself do not know barely a thing, since all i use in my songs is strings, and maybe a tuba or flute here and there. Maybe someone professional can help us out *cough* Nathanallenpinard *cough* Maestrorage *cough* you get the point...

So! Heres the list of the instruments, all you gotta do is fill in the blanks! Hope this helps. Also! I found a site that shows the orchestra layout, here
If i left out some, go ahead and put some in.

Stings
Bass-

Cello-

Viola-

Violin

Brass

Tuba-

Trombone-

Trumpet-

French Horn-

Woodwinds

Bassoon-

Clarinet-

English Horn-

Flute-

Oboe-

Piccolo-

DavidOrr
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 06:24 PM Reply

This is a great idea, but there is a LOT of information to be filled in. So much, in fact, that entire books that are several hundred pages long are dedicated solely to this topic. If you're serious about orchestration I'd recommend checking out Alfred Blatter's book Instrumentation/Orchestration, it's packed with great knowledge. I've read it through a few times, and I still learn new things as I go along!


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btriangle
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 06:26 PM Reply

At 5/7/09 06:24 PM, DavidOrr wrote: This is a great idea, but there is a LOT of information to be filled in. So much, in fact, that entire books that are several hundred pages long are dedicated solely to this topic. If you're serious about orchestration I'd recommend checking out Alfred Blatter's book Instrumentation/Orchestration, it's packed with great knowledge. I've read it through a few times, and I still learn new things as I go along!

Wow thanks man, i'll look that up. Didn't realize their was a book on it. Thanks for the help

Zero123Music
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 06:27 PM Reply

At 5/7/09 06:20 PM, btriangle wrote:
I myself do not know barely a thing, since all i use in my songs is strings, and maybe a tuba or flute here and there. Maybe someone professional can help us out *cough* Nathanallenpinard *cough* Maestrorage *cough* you get the point...

You missed out DavidOrr!!

and yeah, though I would appreciate this kinda thing, there is too much to explain

loansindi
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 06:27 PM Reply

What would be better than trying to organize a list of 'function' would probably be creating a list of tone colors.

These are just descriptive terms that can help you decide what instrument you'd like to use.

For example, a flute goes from very round and airy in the lower registers all the way up to fairly piercing, even shrill, up high.

That sort of thing. Once again though... whole books have been written.

btriangle
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 06:35 PM Reply

I'm just saying supply this thread with some info at the best of your ability. If, whomever it might be, thinks its not enough, they can go buy a book.

EmperorCharlemagne
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 07:07 PM Reply

Each sound is different; each possesses a different quality about it but all the sounds work as a collective whole in a piece.

Do you see music as melody?

Do you see it as rhythm and harmony?

Do you see music as a structure?

Do you see it as concrete?

Abstract?

For each of these answers, the instruments and their functions differ to a degree.

Lately, I have been getting into seeing music as something of a structure, where I use the orchestra to make 'blocks of sound' that create structures of music, as I like to see them. This is inspired by the style of Cluster music made popular or famous by Gyorgi Ligeti and Iannis Xenakis.


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Nekoprism
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 07:13 PM Reply

At 5/7/09 06:24 PM, DavidOrr wrote: This is a great idea, but there is a LOT of information to be filled in. So much, in fact, that entire books that are several hundred pages long are dedicated solely to this topic. If you're serious about orchestration I'd recommend checking out Alfred Blatter's book Instrumentation/Orchestration, it's packed with great knowledge. I've read it through a few times, and I still learn new things as I go along!

I just went on Amazon to check out the book and it's pretty expensive but looks crazy. And if you look at other suggestions the site gives you, you can find countless others. Thanks for the advices... I'm checking those out!


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sorohanro
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 07:26 PM Reply

I'm a trumpet player and I can tell yu about trumpet.
Trumpet have the important role to prove that everybody else is out of tune.
>:(

Here's a funny presentation of instruments
Now, seriously, listen to "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" by Benjamin Britten and you'll hear how the things are ;)

btriangle
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EmperorCharlemagne
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 07:33 PM Reply

Dude, I don't really think a bump was necessary.

I mean, the audio forum doesn't move THAT fast.


If you think you might have secret information listening to me, you're lost.
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Click on ROGA'S for a good time.

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btriangle
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 07:47 PM Reply

At 5/7/09 07:33 PM, EmperorCharlemagne wrote: Dude, I don't really think a bump was necessary.

I mean, the audio forum doesn't move THAT fast.

good....point.....

bump

Darren-M
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 7th, 2009 @ 07:53 PM Reply

OH i get what people do when they post bump now!

anyway i particularly noticed the chart in this post that was listed as a link at the top.

i have used charts like this in computer music when doing a more traditional mix. when using instruments or sampled instruments or even a number of real audio/recorded tracks these kind of charts are great because it taught me how to pan things , i mean its so natural and efficient to do things in this way it even is an enjoyable way to set the stereo field.

im grabbing this one, i havent seen this chart on the webs before

sorohanro
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Response to The function of each instrument... May. 8th, 2009 @ 07:40 AM Reply

Stings
Bass- added later to give more "meat" to the bass line, it's aslo known for burning longer than a cello.

Cello- originally was the instrument to play the bass line, later was used by composers like Ceaikovski (spelled Tchaikovsky for English people) to play melodies together with violins in BIG unisons.

Viola- people had to invent that in order to laugh of viola players (who wouldn't exist without viola)
The legend says that viola was invented when Antonio Stradivari being drunk, was trying to build a violin case.

Violin- That's the trumpet of the bowed strings instruments !

Brass & Woodwinds
All the things you should know about brass and woodwinds is told by Wynton Marsalis:
Wynton Marsalis telling the truth
Well, he's talking more about the Jazz Marching Bands (that's why he said about saxophones and don't mention bassoon, oboe and english horn).
So here's the explanation on the instruments not mentioned there.

Oboe - used to imitate duck sounds, in the lucky days oboe sounds like horny ducks, in less lucky days, oboe sounds like dying ducks and in worst days the oboe player is dying and oboe don't sound at all. That's the worst because you're stuck with viola jokes again :(

English Horn - A woodwind that got its name because it's neither English nor a horn. Not to be confused with French horn, which is German.
From the shape and sound, everybody expect that to lay eggs.

Here's a more serious guide to instruments.