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rrayner 10-03-2017 03:20 PM

Volksliedchen - Small Orchestra
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From time to time, as a change of pace from my usual musical activities, I dip back into my musical past in an attempt to relearn much of what I have forgotten over the years.

As Composition Majors at Berklee, we would be given work projects to expand our knowledge and improve our skills. To this end, we were assigned a classical piano piece to be orchestrated with an instructor-assigned instrumentation. One drawback to this instructional approach was that we only ever got to hear the orchestrations in our heads, as they were never performed. Queue Notation Composer! Now, after all of these years, I can get an opportunity to hear my efforts. I make no claim that my efforts represent a good orchestration. I offer it only as a view to how to orchestrate.

“Volksliedchen” by Robert Schuman was one of my assignments. Schuman wrote this piece for his children, and if my ragged German supports me, this translates to “A Folk Song for Children” (is this reasonable, Reinhold?).

I have included dynamics in the score, but I have not done any balancing within the parts.

Here is a link to a free French version of “Volksliedchen”, in case you are interested in seeing the original piano piece. I hope this will be of value to some Forum readers.

Ralph R. Rayner

dj 10-04-2017 12:46 PM

Re: Volksliedchen - Small Orchestra
Hi, Ralph:

Very nice. The alternation of pizz. and arco strings is nice.

I note that your prof was nice enough to give you non-transposing instruments for this exercise! :)

You start the cellos in bass clef and then have a mid-bar change to tenor clef at bar 5. Was that your intent or an artifact?

Nothing starts off a day like a bit of Schuman.


rrayner 10-04-2017 02:07 PM

Re: Volksliedchen - Small Orchestra
Thank you, David.


Originally Posted by dj (Post 68609)
You start the cellos in bass clef and then have a mid-bar change to tenor clef at bar 5. Was that your intent or an artifact?

Ha-ha! You caught me there! This score is from about 55 years ago. I faithfully transcribed my score into Composer, and that's the way it was scored. I have no idea why I didn't start out in tenor clef. Truth be told, I had probably never seen a tenor clef symbol until that semester.

I was a small town country boy who could barely read treble clef when I started at Berklee. Most of my playing experience was "faking it" in trios and quartets in Ice Cream Parlors, Elk's Clubs, etc. - eventually in Night Clubs and Bars. I was pretty good at hearing a tune and quickly memorizing it and playing it on demand. But written music - that was another story altogether.

I agree with the profs - doing orchestrations is an excellent way to break down a piano piece, or other small instrumentations, and learn an awful lot about composition. At the top end of orchestrations, I truly marvel at the orchestration done by Maurice Ravel of Modest Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition".


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