Dr. Rik Pfenninger
Plymouth State University
All I can say is fantastic! My students, and I were completely enthralled by the analysis you provided, as well as the score with the included piano part. Two of the students are jazz majors and were very excited about how Ravel was approaching harmonization from a chord/scale jazz harmony perspective. They really started to make a connection with Ravel's approach and what they have been learning in arranging class for big band; especially the jazz harmonization and line writing aspect of the score.
The piano part at the bottom of the score is a great teaching tool for orchestration students. All of my students stated that they would like to see more scores presented in this format. They all felt that they were gaining a better understanding on how Ravel approached orchestrating this movement because of the piano part that was included in the score.
The next time I teach my orchestration class, this will be required reading for all of my students, it is that good. I love the new approach.
Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite
began life as a piano suite based on the Mother Goose
short stories, not nursery rhymes.
Out of these stories emerge a variety of situations to be described musically, all of which are ideal for the dramatic, film/TV, and game composer. A partial list includes scoring such moods as stateliness, unsureness, animal effects without synthesizers, romantic anxiety, joy, emotional rising without the basses, happily ever after, the sound of the Orient, and much more.
From the stories, you get an amazing set of devices you can apply and use today. And with the color-coded bonus PDF score you can easily see how Ravel went from piano to orchestra.
From the suites, you see how Ravel orchestrated from piano to orchestra, and where within his own composition he changed things!
This may not seem like a big deal until you realize that there are two approaches for transcribing a score from piano to orchestra (or other ensemble). One approach is to score as close to the piano part as possible to preserve the composer’s intent. The other, is to change as you go. Ravel did both. In his own compositions, he changed them to better the music to the medium of the larger ensemble. But when it came to another composer’s work, like Pictures At an Exhibition by Moussorgsky, Ravel altered voicings and fillers, but didn’t rewrite the work.
About How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite
Alexander Publishing has completely re-engraved the classic work with the condensed piano part at page bottom in an oversized A4 format.
By including the piano part at page bottom, you can see specific devices that Ravel used, where, and how he orchestrated them. Jazz musicians and composers will also see how Ravel composed and orchestrated using altered DOM7 chords, mixolydian chord scales, and triads with the added 9th.
For fast referencing, each bar is numbered at the bottom of the page (original rehearsal marks are also included).
Before each movement is the complete short story that movement was based on. Now you can look at Mother Goose Suite to better understand the dramatic composition and scoring techniques that went into each work. By comparing back to the original story, you gain a better understanding of Ravel’s approach.
Following each movement is a brief orchestration analysis based on the Eight Keys To Learning Professional Orchestration as taught in the Professional Orchestration Series.
How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite goes beyond traditional analysis by including two literary works by Poe which greatly impacted Ravel, The Poetic Principle and The Philosophy of Composition.
Also included is a brief on Ravel’s method of working which goes a long way to taking the mystery out of orchestral scoring.
eBook Table of Contents
How Ravel Worked
The Eight Keys to Learning Professional Orchestration
Story: The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods
Score: Pavane for the Sleeping Princess in the Woods
Practical Analysis: Pavane for the Sleeping Princess in the Woods
Story: Little Tom Thumb
Score: Little Tom Thumb
Practical Analysis: Little Tom Thumb
Story: The Green Serpent
Score: Little Ugly, Empress of the Pagodas
Practical Analysis: Little Ugly, Princess of the Pagodas
Story: Beauty and the Beast
Score: Dialogue Between Beauty & The Beast
Practical Analysis: Dialogue Between Beauty & The Beast
Story: The Fairy Garden
Score: The Fairy Garden
Practical Analysis: The Fairy Garden
Putting to Work What You've Learned
The Philosophy of Composition
The Poetic Principle