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!

And here is an example of a two piano reduction of the score. Or to reverse engineer it, a composer can write a two piano version and then orchestrate later.

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