How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite - PDF eBook

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  • Product Delivery:Digital Download (download links expire 30 days after purchase).
  • Download Size:About 25 MB compressed / 25 MB decompressed (1x zip file containing PDF eBook).
  • Author:Peter Lawrence Alexander
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How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite - A Variety of Musical Moods

Maurice Ravel’s Mother Goose Suite began life as a piano suite based on the Mother Goose short stories (not the 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.
See How Ravel Went From Piano To Orchestra

By matching the music to the stories, you'll find an amazing set of scoring devices you can apply and use in your own compositions today. From the music score, you can see how Ravel went 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 suit 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.

A New Approach To Learning

In How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite, this classic work has been completely re-engraved with the condensed piano part at page bottom in an oversized A4 format (which can be easily resized on your home printer if you want to print the book out).

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, you'll find 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 our Professional Orchestration. series of books.

How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite goes beyond traditional analysis by including two literary works by Edgar Allan Poe which greatly impacted Ravel, The Poetic Principle and The Philosophy of Composition.

Also included is a brief section on Ravel’s method of working which goes a long way to taking the mystery out of orchestral scoring.

Click on the Contents tab above to see the Table of Contents for this book.

Watch The Symphony Orchestra of the Liszt School Of Music, play Maurice Ravel's "Ma Mère l'Oye" (Mother Goose) in 5 Suites, conducted by Prof. Nicolás Pasquet:

Additional Titles Available To Enhance Your Studies

How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite MP3 Audio/Score Package. Includes an MP3 audio performance of Ravel's Mother Goose Suite, licensed from eClassical, and conducted by Sir Neville Marriner and the chamber orchestra of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. You can listen to the audio as you study each movement in the book. Also included are three (3) color-coded movements from the Suite showing how Ravel went from piano to full orchestra. You also get a bonus PDF of the complete score from the book that you can print out and mark up for your own private study.

The Mother Goose Suite MP3 Audio/Score Package is included in the How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite PDF Book/Audio Bundle, or can be purchased separately. Both are available from the How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite subcategory.


A paperback edition of How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite is available to order from Amazon or through most major bookstores using the information below:

Title: How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite
Author: Peter Lawrence Alexander / ISBN: 978-0-939067-12-1

TABLE OF CONTENTS - How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite

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

210 pgs.

Endorsements: How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite

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.

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