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In the Book
As you go through Writing For Strings youll be referred to specic chapters to read in the required text Professional Orchestration, Vol. 1 (POvol1)


Professional Orchestrations Writing For Strings is a one semester length course designed as the second semester following the standard one semester orchestration course, which is usually given in the senior year of college. Because of its design, Writing For Strings can also be used as a private home study course. The course has newly added lessons and is supported at the OrchLinks tab at The textbook for this course is Professional Orchestration Vol. 1, which is included in our Writing For Strings Expanded - Master Package, or can be purchased separately as a print or PDF eBook from www. You will also need the Spectrotone Chart, which, again, is included in the Master Package or can be purchased separately as a download from

Videos to Watch
Watch the Introductory video

Scores to Study

In the Professional Orchestration book and the included Adobe PDF scores - youll be referred to specic music scores to study.

How Taught
Writing For Strings fullls its purpose by you: 1. Learning the coloristic instrumentation issues for the strings; 2. Learning how to do score analysis; 3. Learning techniques within the context of a full page score to build a set of orchestral compositional devices to draw from for your own writing; 4. Doing a MIDI mock-up of your score analysis; 5. Applying what youve learned to your own original compositions; 6. Attending concerts/watching concert videos to learn bowings and how a melodic line is bowed.

End Result Goals

As a result, the end goals for this course are for you: To learn the basic vocabulary of string writing; To learn what works; To NOT reinvent the wheel as a beginning composer; To write with confidence whether as an arranger, composer, or orchestrator.

Writing For Strings, 5th Edition. Copyright 2011 Peter Lawrence Alexander. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

Tools Included
To facilitate your learning, this course includes: The lessons (one would hope so!); New video lessons to support selected lessons;



The String Positions PDF Booklet; Audio files of students performing the range of each string instrument non-chromatically; Additional scores to study (approx. 500 pages worth); Links to YouTube videos of selected works. Links to download live performances of many works that are unprocessed in terms of reverb, EQing, etc. In all, this is a very complete learning package for you.

How Achieved
Not to sound harsh and mean, but the purpose and goals of Writing For Strings can only be achieved by your sitting down at a desk, turning off the cellphone, and focusing on the task at hand. The learning approach set up for you has been proven successful for several hundred years. What Ive added thats new is the use of MIDI mock-ups to hear lines that you may not hear, even when listening to or watching several different versions via DVD or YouTube. Here I want to encourage you to repent from a notion plaguing modern students, which is that youre not accomplishing enough when listening to or viewing a complete work with focus. As a composer, once beyond having learned the facts of music, your job is to develop your musical imagination so that you can conceive the complete work, including its full orchestration, in your mind. This is how professionals work. And it takes time. Unlike in the movie The Matrix, you cannot insert these lessons into your brain, download them, and instantly have them at your ngertips! This imaginative muscle is developed by hearing a work, repeatedly, in its entirety. When I worked as a media planner/researcher in an ad agency, the general rule for budget planning was that until a customer actually saw/heard a commercial at least three times, they hadnt learned what the ad was actually saying. This came out of a study from General Electric called Why Three Exposures Might Be Enough. Apply this idea to any Mahler symphony. After having listened to any Mahler symphony three times, on three separate occasions, without napping, can you genuinely say youve heard that work to the point that you can remember it, bar for bar, in your imagination without needing a CD or MP3 to remind you of what it sounds like? Mahler must have, because he wrote it!

Therefore, listening/viewing is working, more so if you attempt to conduct the work. This active involvement brings the score page alive where you literally see things missed when just actively listening, including seeing/hearing the devices/combinations in score context that Ive worked out for you in the books Professional Orchestration 2A, 2B, 3, and beyond.



For Those Who Dont Read Music

One of the most difcult teaching tasks Ive encountered in the past few years is trying to teach students orchestration who dont read music and have no solid foundation of harmony and counterpoint from which to draw from in their studies. While youll denitely glean a lot of insights, please note that Professional Orchestration: Writing For Strings, is designed to be a second semester collegiate course, so the more you can read music the more youll get out of this course.

MIDI Mock-Up Tools

If youre mainly using notation programs like Finale, Notion or Sibelius, you can use the orchestral sample libraries that come with them. If, however, youre using a sequencing program (which I recommend), then look at libraries like the EastWest Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra Gold, IK Multimedias Miroslav Philharmonic, or the Vienna Special Edition. If your writing (and your pocketbook) are more advanced, consider Audiobros L.A.Scoring Strings Full or EastWests Hollywood Strings GOLD with the 64Bit PLAY 3.0 player.

Study Time
When a Writing For Strings class is offered in college, its usually worth two credit hours, which means two hours in the classroom and four to six hours studying outside of class per week. So if youre studying independently, schedule a lesson or so a week, then budget an hour a day or so for score analysis and doing MIDI mock-ups. Be sure to do your score analysis in a notebook, not a music notation program as the eye/hand combination is critical to the learning process.

Ive also set up a learning forum for Writing For Strings at the Alexander Publishing web site. This forum is for questions and learning. For customer service concerns, please write For additional web support, please click the OrchLinks tab at www. If you nd links you think others should know about, please post them in the forum thread I set up for this, and after evaluation, Ill add them at OrchLinks.

Live Performances of the Included Scores

In researching the web, weve found a number of live performances of the scores included for this material. Many of these were performed by the Peabody Concert Orchestra and Peabody Symphony Orchestra in Baltimore, Maryland. All are available for free. Heres the list: Debussy La Mer: Jeux de vagues (2nd Mvmt.) Performed by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (2002-2003 Season): Mozart Jupiter Symphony #41 in C major, 1st Mvmt: Allegro Vivace, K551 Performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra Ravel Rapsodie Espagnole: Malaguena (2nd Mvmt.) Performed by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (2004-2005 Season): Rimsky-Korsakov Scheherazade (excerpt from 2nd Mvmt.) Performed by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (2003-2004 Season): Mozart String Quintet #6 in Eb Major, K614 Allegro di molto Performed by the Fine Arts Quartet Wagner Parsifal Overture, Act 1: Vorspiel Performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Part 1: Part 2: MIDI File: Stravinsky Petrushka: 1st Mvmt. Performed by the Peabody Concert Orchestra (2002-2003 Season): Stravinsky Rite of Spring: Dance of the Young Girls (Le sacre du printemps, 2nd Mvmt.) Performed by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (2000-2001 Season): Holst The Planets: Jupiter Performed by the Peabody Concert Orchestra (2002-2003 Season): Tchaikovsky Symphony #4, Part III: Scherzo Performed by the Peabody Symphony Orchestra (2001-2002 Season):



Ravel Ma mre loye: Petit Poucet (Hop-o My Thumb, from Mother Goose Suite) Performed by the Columbia University Orchestra: Ravel Ma mre loye: Laideronnette, Imperatrice des Pagodes (Empress of the Pagodas, from Mother Goose Suite) Performed by the Columbia University Orchestra: Ravel Ma mre loye: Le jardin feerique (The Fairy Garden, from Mother Goose Suite) Performed by the Columbia University Orchestra:



Be Blessed! Peter Lawrence Alexander Summer 2011