Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One Plus One, Equals Two, Equals One!

I was recently orchestrating on a project that allowed me to create some very unique and interesting instrumental timbres... while doing so, I discovered a few new combinations of instruments that were inspiring and gave me the idea for creating this new post.

I have always found that the majority of formal orchestration study books, etc... generally address timbre by traditionally relating or contrasting instrument families with and/or against one another, even when utilizing instruments of the same families in unison lines, etc...
This is all fine and good of course, however it stops short of demonstrating the beautiful timbres that several or more instruments can create when playing notes together in the manner described below.

I have found that it is very exciting and useful to combine several instruments in the same way that I used to combine elements in subtractive synthesis when I was in music school... in other words using one patch/instrument for the attack and another for the decay portions of the desired sound/timbre.

One of the combinations I recently found to be extremely pleasing was to use a Bassoon playing the attack of notes staccato style, while a Bass Flute played the same notes legato style in order to provide the decay of the notes... this combination was truly sublime in nature and a new favorite.

Instead of merely combining instruments in order to achieve an overall timbre by combining the two, I am now on a mission to find as many combinations as I can by utilizing the method above.

When one takes into account the vast number of possibilities one can achieve, by exploiting all the various combinations of individual instrument characteristics, ranges, dynamics, techniques, articulations, etc... my god, the possibilities are beyond exciting and surely endless.


How about these suggestions as a starting point for example?

1) Winds... a reed instrument for the attack with a mouthpiece instrument for the decay...

2) Wind instrument for the attack with a Brass instrument for the decay...

3) Pitched Percussion instrument for the attack with a Wind instrument for the decay...

4) Wind instrument for the attack with a String instrument playing harmonics for the decay...

5) Flutter tongued instrument for the attack with a String instrument playing tremolo for the decay...

6) Vice-Versa, etc... and on, and on, and on, and on...


I might very well create more follow up posts along these lines as I discover some of my own personal favorites and potential uses for them musically!

Thank you as always for reading along and I hope this post gets some of your neurons firing.