Full Orchestral Arrangement Project Update

Last week I wrote about the action orchestration piece that I’ve been working on with the help of my music teacher. We’d laid out most of the ideas that we wanted to have and wanted to start incorporating more and more instruments. As of this week, pretty much all of our instruments have something to do, and in this post I’ll be writing about how we did it.

Starting from where we had left off last week, we were still missing the entirety of the winds section, horns, trumpets, and needed to write in the melody for the violins. Those were the elements that we thought were essential, so we wanted to get them sorted out before starting on anything else. We started by copying in the piano midi into the first violins track and adjusted the expression, modulation, and midi notes in order to make sure that the violins didn’t sound too fake.

Our next step was to figure out how we were going to harmonize the melody because the first violins sounded pretty bland on their own. We figured that the most obvious choice was to use the second violins by having them play the same melody in a different interval. It took some time getting the notes to fit with the key and chords, but eventually things worked out.

After writing out the main melody for the violins, we wanted to use the horns for a sweeping countermelody that would fill the gaps in between the violins. I found it pretty difficult to find the right timings and notes, but my teacher was able to guide me along with the process. The end result fits really well with the violins and adds a second layer of interest.

At this point, the piece hasn’t had too much going on, so we wanted to introduce the big climax next. It started by having all of our percussion working together at once but with a more urgent feeling to them. The strings were doing the same thing they’ve doing before except our first violins jumped the melody up an octave and the second violins using a different interval for harmony. We then, brought in the winds by having some of them layering the melody in different octaves and the rest of them playing fast runs in between. The horns also stopped playing their counter melody, and instead were used to be another layer to our melody. Lastly, I thought that this would be the best time to bring in the timpani for those powerful hits.

Overall, I think that we’ve done a lot in the past week, but I still need to write out a part for the trumpets when the big climax hits. I also want to see whether or not adding in some tuned percussion like a glockenspiel and a choir could be viable to intensify the moment. Other than that, the piece has been coming along pretty well, but there’s still some more work to do.

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