Professional Orchestration Vol 1: Solo Instruments and Instrumentation Notes - PDF eBook

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  • Author:Peter Lawrence Alexander
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Recommended by winners of the Academy, Grammy and Emmy Awards, Professional Orchestration. Volume 1, Solo Instruments and Instrumentation Notes is the first orchestration book to be written on the scoring stages in Los Angeles, with instrumentation notes checked and edited by the elite film studio musician community. As Jerry Goldsmith's (Star Trek, The Mummy, Air Force One, Total Recall) orchestrator commented one day over at Warner Brothers, "You've got everything in here that we steal from!"

Says Jerry Goldsmith, Academy and Emmy Award Winning Film/TV Composer
The best orchestration book since Forsyth.

Volume 1, which we're calling the First Key in learning Professional Orchestration, covers all the main orchestral instruments, and percussion, with electronic scoring notes. Where available, nearly all the book’s examples, by instrument, are organized by demonstrating the instrument in its low, medium, high and very high ranges.

What you see, you hear. What you hear, you learn in your inner ear so that when you hear the device in your musical imagination, you know what it is and how to write for it.

By organizing the examples by range you'll see and hear:

  • how each instrument sounds in each major range break;
  • where composers write across the range breaks;
  • how the instrument projects in each range break;
  • at what dynamic levels to write background instruments based on the dynamic of the solo instrument;
  • and compositional insights for each solo instrument.

This method of demonstrating the instruments in their low, medium, high and very high ranges is followed in each succeeding volume in the series. As a result, you’ll learn from common practice how and where specific devices and combinations work best. No other orchestration method teaches you this way.

At almost 800-pages, with its full page/full score examples, formatted in 8.25"x11" size, you’re able to see and hear what the instrument sounds like in a particular range within the context of the full orchestral score. This approach goes beyond the typical instrument/range instruction as you learn more clearly how to write for a solo instrument.

In studying how the great composers taught themselves, self-instruction was the #2 skill for success, and you’ll learn that skill in Professional Orchestration.

Says Conrad Pope, Multi-Award Winning Orchestrator
Peter Alexander was the "real deal". Though I'm not a "fan" of most orchestration books, Peter's is one that I think many musicians will find to be not only informative but inspiring as well.

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

Do you read music or play by ear? To get the most out of Professional Orchestration, you need to read music. If you learn mostly by ear, please see the Visual Orchestration series of courses.

Additional Titles Available To Enhance Your Studies

The Professional Mentor Workbook for Volume 1 is a radical departure from traditional orchestration workbooks. Rather than do academic exercises, you'll create a 2-minute work for each solo instrument. Result: your own portfolio of works for solo instruments. And if you do MIDI mockups of them, you’ll end up with demos of your music and, potentially, an album! Now that’s practical!

Professional Orchestration MP3 Audio Packages. The Volume 1 Audio Pack covers approximately 70% of the musical works quoted in Professional Orchestration Vol. 1. Licensed from, these are the full works, or movements the examples are found in (over 12 hours worth!) Timings for book examples are included in a PDF spreadsheet.

Both titles are included in the Professional Orchestration Home Study Bundles, or can be purchased separately from the Professional Orchestration Audio & More subcategory.


A paperback edition of this title is available to order from Amazon or through most major bookstores using the information below:

Title: Professional Orchestration Vol 1: Solo Instruments & Instrumentation Notes
Author: Peter Lawrence Alexander / ISBN: 978-0-939067-70-1

Table of Contents for Professional Orchestration Volume 1: Solo Instruments and Instrumentation Notes

Chapter 1: String Section Overview
Chapter 2: The Violin: Basic Information
Chapter 3: The Viola: Basic Information
Chapter 4: The Cello: Basic Information
Chapter 5: The String Bass: Basic Information
Chapter 6: Bowings, Effects, and Bowing Effects
Chapter 7: String Stops
Chapter 8: Divisi
Chapter 9: Muted Strings
Chapter 10: Pizzicato
Chapter 11: Natural and Artificial Harmonics
Chapter 12: Woodwind Basics
Chapter 13: The Flute
Chapter 14: The Piccolo
Chapter 15: The Oboe
Chapter 16: The English Horn
Chapter 17: The Clarinet
Chapter 18: The Bass Clarinet
Chapter 19: The Bassoon
Chapter 20: The Contrabassoon
Chapter 21: Brass Basics
Chapter 22: The Bb Trumpet
Chapter 23: The Tenor and Bass Trombones
Chapter 24: The Tubas
Chapter 25: The French Horn
Chapter 26: The Harp
Chapter 27: Piano, Organ, Celeste, and Virtual Orchestra
Chapter 28: The Percussion Section

772 pgs.

The Works Referenced in Volume 1 (in alphabetical order)

Beethoven - Symphony 5
Beethoven - Symphony 6
Beethoven - Symphony 7
Beethoven - Symphony 9
Berlioz - Symphony Fantastique
Bizet - Carmen Suites Complete
Borodin - Symphony #1
Debussy - La Mer
Debussy - Images
Dvorak - Symphony #9
Mahler - Symphony #1
Mendelssohn - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Mozart - Symphony #36
Mozart - Symphony #41
Prokofiev - Lt. Kije
Ravel - Mother Goose Suite
Ravel - Daphnis and Chloe Suites
Ravel - Rhapsodie Espagnole
Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade
Rimsky-Korsakov - Cappricio Espagnole
Sibelius - Swan of Tuonela
Strauss - Don Juan
Strauss - Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks
Strauss - Salome's Dance
Stravinksy - The Rite of Spring
Stravinksy - The Firebird
Stravinksy - Petrushka
Tchaikovsky - Symphony #4
Tchaikovsky - Symphony #6
Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker Suite
Wagner - Parsifal Prelude
Wagner - Tristan und Isolde Prelude
Wagner - Lohengrin Prelude
Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries
Wagner - Die Meistersinger von Nuremberg Prelude

Endorsements: Professional Orchestration Volume 1

Conrad Pope, Multi-Award Winning Orchestrator
Peter Alexander was the "real deal". Though I'm not a "fan" of most orchestration books, Peter's is one that I think many musicians will find to be not only informative but inspiring as well.

Jerry Goldsmith, Academy and Emmy Award Winning Composer
The best orchestration book since Forsyth.

Bruce Broughton, Emmy Award Winning Composer
Professional Orchestration offers more opportunities to see and hear the combinations which formerly could only be imagined.

Emanuele Ruffinengo, Three-time Grammy Award Winner
Peter Alexander has done a huge work in this book. I'm completely delighted with what I've received. Reading only a few pages was enough to realize the high significance of this text, so thanks again! I will definitely recommend it to my students and friends.

Paul Thomson, Spitfire Audio
Every time I open this book I learn something new.

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