Scoring Stages #1: Bruckner and Film Orchestration Course

SKU ScoringStages-01


  • Product Delivery:Digital Download (download links expire 30 days after purchase).
  • Download Size:About 1.93 GB compressed / 2.39 GB decompressed (11x zip files containing your course videos, PDF documents and scores, MIDI files / 1x PDF file).
  • Author/Instructor:Peter Lawrence Alexander
  • Required Products:You will need to have the Spectrotone Instrumental Tone-Color Chart (available separately) to use with this course.
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Scoring Stages #1: Bruckner and Film Orchestration
(12 Scoring Techniques For Live Orchestra and MIDI Mockups)

Visual Orchestration #1 covered the Spectrotone Instrumental Tone-Color Chart and Span of Orchestration where the orchestra’s range is divided into five parts: sub bass, low, medium, high, and very high. Here we saw that the melody and background line can be placed in any register. Visual Orchestration #2 covered the core basics of orchestration and applied those insights to setting up the virtual orchestral template. Here we went one step further and looked at recording issues including the RT60s (reverb tails) for where both films and virtual orchestral libraries have been recorded.

Scoring Stages #1: Bruckner and Film Orchestration brings the two together in a problem/solution composer’s workshop using video mini-lectures where you immediately do (compose and produce) what you just learned.

"So what does Anton Bruckner have to do with film orchestration?" you might ask! Well, Bruckner has been dubbed the Grandfather of Film Music because the influence of his use of harmony, span of orchestration, and thematic elements can be found in many film scores. In Scoring Stages #1, we'll look at 12 of Bruckner's scoring techniques that you can learn from and apply to your own compositions.

Watch a Sample Lesson Video from Scoring Stages #1

*If you can’t see the YouTube video above, please accept cookies to view and play the video.

The 16 Video Mini-Lectures in Scoring Stages #1: Bruckner and Film Orchestration

LECTURE 1: What You’ll Learn & Do (4:12)
Throughout this course, you’re given 12 brief score excerpts from Bruckner symphonies 4, 6, 7 and 8 to study. Some look very easy. But if you choose to mock them up and mix them, you’ll find a real challenge on your hands. Chief on the list is getting strings to blend as a section, creating effective brass lines and brass harmony for horns and bones, trumpets and bones, the whole section, then full orchestral tutti’s, and a few more. Your task is to produce your own original work based on each technique.

LECTURE 2: The Grandfather of Film Music (5:04)
Anton Bruckner has been called the Grandfather of Film Music because of his innovative harmonies heard so often on screen, his use of span of orchestration showing clarity of line, and thematic elements which have made their way into many films.

LECTURE 3: Instrumentation and Music Production Issues (9:31)
We’ll look at the instrumentation of Bruckner symphonies 4, 6, 7, and 8 then look at the issues involved with finding the right samples for the job.

LECTURE 4: Bruckner's Orchestral Setups - Spatial Application to Your Virtual Orchestral Template (11:31)
We’ll look at Bruckner symphony stage setups of well known conductors to see how they achieved their sound. You’ll then apply this in your own template with spatial placement.

LECTURE 5A - 5E: 1-Part Span of Orchestration: 1 Theme (46:06)
5 techniques taught: 5A) Full Orchestral Tutti; 5B) Horns and Bones; 5C) Brass, Woods and Strings; 5D) Brass in Octaves; 5E) Divisi Strings On a Rhythm.

LECTURE 6A - 6C: 2-Part Span of Orchestration: 1 Theme and 1 Background Line (27:06)
3 techniques taught: 6A) Rhythmic Strings and Solo Trumpet; 6B) Rhythmic Strings and Soli Celli; 6C) Rhythmic Strings and Brass/Winds Tutti.

LECTURE 7A - 7B: 3-Part Span of Orchestration: 1 Theme and 2 Background Lines (20:05)
2 techniques taught: 7A) Rhythmic High Strings, Melodic Low Strings, Answering French Horn; 7B) Rhythmic Strings, Melodic Brass/Winds, French Horn Background Line.

LECTURE 8A - 8B: 4-part Span of Orchestration (10:32)
2 techniques taught: 8A) 4-Part Span of Orchestration; 8B) 4-Part String Writing.

How You Learn With Scoring Stages #1

The course makes use of pattern/stepwise instruction, which is the way music people best learn.

That’s why in Scoring Stages #1: Bruckner and Film Orchestration, you’re given 12 orchestral excerpts organized by 1-part, 2-part, 3-part, and 4-part span of orchestration. Each of these is a model representing a specific scoring technique or production problem that takes place in both live performance and when doing MIDI mockups. After being given a brief analysis of each orchestral score excerpt in the Video Mini-Lectures, including tone colors from the Spectrotone Chart where appropriate, you’ll then imitate what you’ve just learned by creating an original 30-60 second composition which you then mockup. Where appropriate, production issues will also be considered within each mini-lecture. You're encouraged to go the distance by doing a MIDI mockup of each full page Bruckner excerpt.

PDF Scores, Audio, and a Score Excerpt Booklet

Courtesy of The Bruckner Society of America, you get the PDF scores of Symphonies 4, 6, 7 and 8 that we'll be using in Scoring Stages #1. Plus! to maximize your time, a Score Booklet of just the excerpts as studied in Video Mini-Lectures 5A through 8B.

In your course downloads, you'll find a PDF with links to downloadable mp3 audio files of Symphonies 4, 6, 7 and 8 that you can freely download from The Bruckner Society's website. You're given timings for the score excerpts matched to these MP3s in your Score Booklet. You're also given links to recordings of live performances of Bruckner symphonies on YouTube (updated roughly once a year to keep links current). As a bonus, you'll find in your downloads the PDF scores of Bruckner Symphonies 1, 2, 3, 5 and 9 that you can study on your own if you want to delve further into the world of Anton Bruckner. You also get bonus MIDI files of most of the techniques being studied. You can load the MIDI files into your sequencing or notation program to help you get started with your own compositions or producing a MIDI mockup of the examples.

Learning From Bruckner's Symphonies If You Don't Read Music

Since we're studying Bruckner's symphonies and will be looking at his orchestral scores, the ability to read music will certainly be helpful for this course, but it's not essential. If your music reading skills aren't that strong, you can still get a lot out of Scoring Stages #1 by listening to the audio excerpts of the 12 Scoring Techniques we'll be studying (with audio kindly provided by The Bruckner Society of America), and using the bonus MIDI files as a starting point for your compositions.

Do At Your Own Pace

There’s no rush! The idea is to apply what you’ve learned by building your composition, orchestration and music production skills as you go. Use the gear you have.

You are encouraged, however, to watch all the Scoring Stages videos first to get an overview of where you’re going. After that, go for it!

What You Need To Provide

You will need the Spectrotone Instrumental Tone-Color Chart for this course.

To Enhance Your Studies

If you have not yet gone through the Visual Orchestration #1 and #2 Courses, you’re encouraged to do so to get the most out of Scoring Stages #1: Bruckner and Film Orchestration, but it's not a prerequisite to taking this course.

If you don't know much about music theory terminology, you might want to consider Applied Professional Harmony 101, or the Music Basics section of The Instant Composer: Counterpoint by Fux to familiarize yourself with some of the basic music theory terms you'll hear mentioned in this course. Again, these are just a suggestion, not a requirement.

What's Included in Scoring Stages #1: Bruckner & Film Orchestration:

  • You get 16 downloadable Mini-Video Lectures in .mov format for Mac and PC (about 2.2 hours), where each of the 12 scoring techniques taught has its own mini-lecture. After going through each technique you’ll create one or more original works applying what you just learned.
  • You get a downloadable PDF Score Booklet containing all 12 score excerpts from Bruckner's symphonies 4, 6, 7 and 8, plus condensed and/or transposed excerpts where appropriate.
  • Courtesy of The Bruckner Society of America, you get links to download from MP3s of Bruckner symphonies 4, 6, 7 and 8 that we'll be studying in the course, plus timings in the PDF Score Booklet to locate each example on the MP3.
  • You get a PDF linking you to recordings on YouTube of live performances of all 9 Bruckner symphonies.
  • Also courtesy of the Bruckner Society of America, you get downloadable PDFs of all 9 Bruckner symphonies, with some in multiple editions.
  • And finally, you get bonus MIDI files as a starting point for your MIDI mockups and original compositions.
What You Need To Provide

You will need the Spectrotone Instrumental Tone-Color Chart for this course.

About Peter Lawrence Alexander

Peter Lawrence Alexander was the first American to create in English the multi-volume Professional Orchestration. Series which has been endorsed by winners of the Academy, Grammy, Emmy, and BAFTA Awards. He’s also the author and teacher of Visual Orchestration, Scoring Stages, How Ravel Orchestrated: Mother Goose Suite, The Instant Composer: Counterpoint by Fux, Writing For Strings, Applied Professional Harmony 101 and 102, How MIDI Works, Street Smart Guide to the Vienna Instruments Player and many more. Peter was also Film Music Magazine’s award winning Music Technology Journalist.

A graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston with a BS In Music Composition, he studied counterpoint privately with Dr. Hugo Norden of Boston University, and orchestration with Pulitzer Prize nominated composer Albert Harris. Peter worked as the music tech for film composer/songwriter Henry Mancini and understudied with film composer Jerry Goldsmith. He also studied orchestration with Goldsmith's orchestrator, Arthur Morton.

Peter coordinated beta test teams for the Vienna Symphonic Library and co-produced the Modern Symphonic Orchestra orchestral sample library for Creative Labs. As a media researcher he produced studies showing geodemographical radio station listening patterns by day segments, and in working with renowned radio programmer Jack McCoy’s RAM Research he laid the research foundation for what later became Arbitron Information on Demand.

With over 30 years in music education and publishing, Peter’s training approach came out of his research into how the great composers taught themselves. His music books and courses are research-oriented and focus on how people learn best. The result of this approach is titles that train for results, and get results when you follow their step-by-step learning approach. As Peter would say, "it’s not about music theory, it’s about practical learning and doing."

Maintaining Peter's Teaching Legacy: Since the sudden and unexpected passing of Peter Lawrence Alexander in 2015, his music books and courses, along with this website, are now maintained and updated by his wife and long-time business helpmate, Caroline Alexander, who holds a Master of Arts Degree in Music Design for Film and Television.

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