• My approach to string orchestration
  • Started by MrBouzouki
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My approach to string orchestration
on: April 28, 2018, 15:56:35
@Leonard Scaper made a comment on my latest track about what a full sound I had achieved ;-)

That got me thinking to show my approach to getting that sound in case it's of use to other Kitchen members. I feel a bit wary about posting this as I'm no expert on orchestration, have no formal music training and probably break all the accepted rules as I  bumble along. Despite that I though it might be of value to some people to see what I did and more knowledgable musical types can fill in the blanks.

I assume Lenny was talking about the full string sound so I wanted to show what I did. This is a section from when the Uilleann pipes and bodhrán are playing too.

The first layer is my main strings layer. There is nothing fancy about it with no legato etc.

and it sounds like this


Notice how they are only basic chords and keeping that A on top most of the time. 

Next up is a layer I called Strings Bottom End. I used a different patch for this, I think it was Cello dominant

and it sounds like this


Notice how it's just root and fifth of the chord , no third to muddy the water. The chords( Intervals) are mostly doubled notes but with the different patch and missing third sounds quite different. I do drop down to lower notes in places too to give a nice deep sound.

This is the sound of both parts


The beauty of doing it this way is you can just try out different combinations of full and light strings and even automate a change to make a more dramatic section whenever you want.

Finally then a bit of choir to top it off

and adding that layer in too makes the complete backing sound like this


Obviously every layer you add gives you more mixing possibilities and chance to change the sound throughout the track.

I hope this is of value to some. As stated at the beginning, I'm no expert but this approach seems to work for me so I thought I'd share

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Re: My approach to string orchestration
Reply #1 on: April 30, 2018, 03:58:09
Hey @MrBouzouki ... good stuff!  :)

So that thing you are doing with the low strings using perfect fifths and octaves.... you're intuitively following what is called "low interval limits" in harmonic theory and arranging.  ::Note::
Basically, as you work your way down lower into the bass clef, there is a certain point where close intervals and chords will sound too muddy to use. The open intervals will still sound good!  :)

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Songwriter, Keyboards, Arranger, Producer & Engineer for November Sound

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