Leonard Bernstein – What is Orchestration?


Leonard Bernstein. Young people’s concerts. What is Orchestration?. March 8, 1958

Bernstein discusses orchestration beginning with Rimsky-Korsakov live performance examples. He also plays examples of bad orchestration.

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Introduction to Orchestration


Introduction to Orchestration by Thomas Goss. See my “Orchestration” category here on my blog for more music orchestration study tips.

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Holst Mercury – Example of Orchestral Sketch and Piano Reduction


Gustav Holst – The Planets Op.32 Mercury, the Winged Messenger

Here is an example of the full score and following that is a two piano reduction. I have been racking my brain in several futile attempts to find the most economical and free way to do orchestral sketches on the computer – and I think the two piano reduction idea is fantastic. It seems like a painfully obvious approach to me now – but I was very frustrated with the idea of sketching with a single piano part because it’s difficult to think in tonal colors and sections with that approach. I don’t want to spend a lot of time editing – I want to input the ideas. The 2 piano approach gives me room for counterpoint between sections – and to insinuate different textures. Orchestrally, the counterpoint happens between sections and textures rather than just notes – so Viola!

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Orchestration: Copland Appalachian Spring


Insight into how Aaron Copland would sketch his music before full orchestration.

Appalachian Spring rough sketch page 15 by Aaron Copland. Copland wrote his orchestra sketches at the piano at a slow pace, often at night.


Aaron Copland sketches can be found here:

Appalachian Spring second sketch, a little cleaner with more notes and info on score: