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A well-crafted orchestration is a thing of beauty. It is important for a well-rounded musician to possess a basic knowledge of orchestration. Orchestration is essential for film scoring, composing for interactive games, backgound tracks, arranging, editing, critique, copying notating , conducting, orchestral performance, score reading, teaching and many musical endeavors.
In this revised internet edition, we have attempted to remain faithful to the original translated text which was written nearly a century ago. Hear and See the Scores with Real-time Examples One of the best ways to learn orchestration is by simultaneously listening and visually following the score.
Rimsky-Korsakov himself recommended: "The best plan is to study full-scores, and listen to an orchestra, score in hand. Starting with Lesson No. In a few cases a substitute or supplemental example was provided if it could better highlight what was being conveyed.
Many of the illustrations were taken from the classic text. We also replaced the complex "Rimsky-Korsakov algebra" with easily understood graphics and added various illustrations for clarification and color. Also, we supplemented the text with dozens of our own exercises to apply the principles and concepts that were taught. This is how the master Rimsky-Korsakov himself learned orchestration!
He taught himself orchestration so well, in fact, that he later wrote this book and even taught Prokofiev, Glazunov and Stravinsky. May you reach such heights also! First you read the Lesson.
You watch and listen to the various animated score examples to understand the concepts. We will discuss the lesson on the forum. You can also share your exercises on the forum and get feedback from others.
There will be online "professors" who will share their expertise and help guide the discussions. The "Interactive Principles of Orchestration" will initially be offered on this forum only. The course is expected to consist of between twenty-five and thirty individual lessons.
A new lesson will be posted every week. The lessons will be presented in a systematic step-by-step approach as Rimsky-Korsakov approached it in his original text. We will approach the material as Rimsky-Korsakov presented it and from his perspective. A lot has changed over the past century with the orchestra. We may update or add supplemental material to elucidate a point.
If you come in late, start with Lesson 1. This course follows a logical order and it is not beneficial to race through it. It is important to read, listen, follow the scores and understand it. The lessons are offered in small segments so it will be easy to digest the material. Each reading and listening example should be completed before advancing to the next. Some professors and educators will assist in guiding the discussions.
There should be plenty of resources and people to help. It is assumed the learner has some necessary basic musical skills including some knowledge of music theory and practice.
This course is not for the casual learner or beginning learner and requires a serious commitment. First it is a pre-requisite that you are able to read music. This course requires following scores and being able to read treble, bass and alto clef is important.
Rimsky-Korsakov assumed the reader had a basic knowledge of the instruments of the orchestra. Instrumentation is only briefly touched upon in the first few chapters. This course will not cover the later chapters dealing with opera and voice although we may add these chapters later when the choir library is complete.
If you are unsure about your level of proficiency it will not hurt to try some lessons to see if they are right for you. Learn at your own pace and try to supplement your knowledge in areas that are lacking. If you have mastery of material being taught, please try to help others who are learning. The course is offered free of charge and there is no obligation to buy anything.
Although every example was done with Garritan Personal Orchestra, GPO is not required to benefit from this course but it will help with the exercises. It is essential to have the latest Flash Player in your browser installed in order to see the flash enabled scores. Macromedia has recently released their latest version of the Flash Player Plugin Version 8. You can download the latest Flash Players here. Acknowledgements This online course would not have been possible without the help of some very talented and dedicate people.
A big thank you to Alan Belkin for his annotations. Thanks to Sean Hannifin for doing all of the Flash work so that the music follows the score. Fiebke Jr. Thanks to David Sosnowski for technical guidance. Thanks to Dan Kury for the video editing and realization and Michael Sandberg for illustrations.
Orchestration Competition at the End of the Course At the end on this course, when the last lesson is posted, we plan to announce an Orchestration Competition whereby learners will be afforded the opportunity to apply what they have learned. The top winners of the competition will have their works performed by a real symphony orchestra. More details will be provided later. I hope you will all participate in the competition.
Our aim with this online course is to educate musicians about the fundamentals of orchestration in a new and interactive way. This course is initially being offered free of charge and it is our way of giving back to the musical community. I believe that education is more important than just products and we are committed to providing every musician the means to improve their knowledge and skills.
Please spread the word about this extraordinary learning opportunity. Mention it to your friends or on forums, blogs, chats, publications as well as to anyone who would benefit from this course. I hope you will use these principles of orchestration in your own music and that what you will learn here will benefit you for years to come.
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