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The Visual Orchestration Trilogy
The Visual Orchestration Trilogy
Model #: VisOrch-Trilogy
Manufacturer: Alexander Publishing

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About the Courses


Contents of Bundle

  • Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course - Master Edition
    - Includes 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart
  • Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations & Templates
  • Visual Orchestration 3: Doing The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix
  • 17 Custom IRs from Numerical Sound in 44.1 kHz for Early Reflections, Reverb Tails, and TILT Filters (EQ)
  • Supporting PDFs and Web Links (PDFs are updated roughly once a year to keep their contents and links up to date).

  • TOTAL VIDEO TEACHING TIME: Over 14 hours of instruction!
    TOTAL DOWNLOAD SIZE: Approx. 5.45GB compressed / approx. 7.04GB decompressed (split into multiple files per course for easy downloading)

    Visual Orchestration 1 Course Icon VISUAL ORCHESTRATION 1

    1. Seven video lectures totaling approximately 3.7 hours of instruction;
    2. The Spectrotone Instrumental Tone Color Chart™ (and two training guides) in PDF format that you can print out on either Letter or A4-sized paper (or larger depending on your home or office printer), or 18” x 24” poster size at your local print store;
    3. Plus supplemental course PDFs with supporting material.

    in a short weekend afternoon with the Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course™, you’ll learn a boatload of practical writing concepts that you’ll use every time you begin creating music, whether for live ensemble or for a MIDI mock-up.

    About Visual Orchestration 1
    Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course is a short course in orchestration giving you valuable professional scoring information over seven Video Lectures that's rarely, or if ever taught, in orchestration courses. The information is directly applicable to both live performance and MIDI mock-ups.

    By the end of Visual Orchestration 1, whether you read music or create by ear, you’ll have been taught a new common sense tool kit explained in MIDI-speak that can absolutely transform how you currently score, whether for live performance or MIDI Mock-ups.

    For those who want to learn orchestration by ear, Visual Orchestration 1 is the ticket because you don't have to read music to learn a lot to do a lot as it combines instrumentation, orchestration, composition and some recording information. That’s because Visual Orchestration 1 distills the core principles of orchestrating so that the ability to read music is not required. The focus is on the things you do by ear using the Spectrotone Chart as your visual guide.

    But for those who do read music, you’ll find that Visual Orchestration 1 covers advanced concepts rarely taught in the college classroom, especially in the practical application of counterpoint, and creating combinations.

    The Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course teaches you by emphasizing the aural aspects of orchestration which is the heart of orchestrating whether you read music or create by ear. That’s because all orchestration, every single bit of it, is done by ear in the musical imagination before ink hits paper or an orchestral sample is triggered by a MIDI keyboard.

    The 7 Video Lectures in Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course
    The Visual Orchestration 1: Spectrotone Course has seven video lectures totaling 3.7 hours of instruction. To learn effectively, we'll be looking at some specific pieces from both the orchestral repertoire and film scores. Scroll down to the heading labeled "MP3s Needed" to see which pieces you're recommended to have for listening analysis.

    Lecture 1 - Introduction (approx. 18 mins)
    Looks at the beginnings of instrumentation and orchestration; four aspects of music notation separate from the creative process; starting point for the instrumental composer; orchestration’s goal; Visual Orchestration course goals and how they’re achieved.

    Lecture 2 - How the Spectrotone Chart Came to Be (approx. 40 mins)
    The four men who influenced Arthur Lange in the creation of the Spectrotone Chart; the origin of Span of Orchestration; why we use C4 instead of C3; what Rimsky-Korsakov started that Arthur Lange finished with the Spectrotone Chart and then some.

    Lecture 3 - First Steps in Using of The Spectrotone Chart (approx. 32 mins)
    MIDI Note Numbers; Span of Orchestration; instrument ranges; musical language; technical language; Hz frequencies; Span of Orchestration and EQ’ing; Tone Colors; Tone Colors and instrument range; application to the flute and other instruments, muted brass; and the string section as a whole.

    Lecture 4 - Orchestral Registration (approx. 44 mins)
    Tone Color transitions; ethnic instruments and the Spectrotone Chart; 3-Part span of orchestration; contrasts by register; melody placement by register; common knowledge; Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Princess Leia’s Theme ; Sayuri’s Theme.

    Lecture 5 - Composition With The Spectrotone System (approx. 27 mins)
    Broad music creation paths; a framework for inner listening to compose; melody and figuration; melody in unison or harmony; scoring in 2, 3, and 4 parts; order of listening; contrapuntal rhythmic structure; Basic Instinct, Star Trek Voyager Theme; Jupiter from The Planets.

    Lecture 6 - Creating Combinations (approx. 37 mins)
    5 steps to learning combinations; combination definition; secret of coloristic orchestrations; combinations and musical language; combination and technical language; layering in Visual Orchestration; four types of combinations; four types of contrast; finding complementary combinations; remote combinations; combinations and the 8 Keys of Professional Orchestration; compositional decision making; 4 applications with strings; what is orchestration; the need to contemplate.

    Lecture 7 - MIDI Mock-ups, Tone Colors and Voicings (approx. 30 mins)
    The dreaded organ/accordion sound; unisons; octaves; the next generation orchestral sample library; tone colors and tonality; Articulation Tables; Sayuri’s Theme, Bizet’s Carmen Suite #1; French horns and ET; Liberty Fanfare; opening to Mendelssohn’s Symphony #4; tone colors and tonality; dominant tone colors for the brass; key points summary; conclusion.

    MP3s Needed
    Because many taking this course want to do film scoring, the following pieces from both the orchestral repertoire and film/TV scores are referred to in this course. References to performances on YouTube are provided for you, but it's recommended you purchase these mp3s (or stream them) from iTunes, Amazon, or other music resellers if you don't already have them in your music collection.

    Bizet: Carmen Suite #1 - Introduction - The Fate Theme
    Benjamin Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes - Dawn
    Jerry Goldsmith: Basic Instinct main theme
    Jerry Goldsmith: Star Trek Voyager theme
    Jerry Goldsmith: The Attack from The Blue Max Suite
    Holst: Jupiter from The Planets
    Mendelssohn: First Movement Symphony #4
    John Williams: Princess Leia’s theme from Star Wars*
    John Williams: Sayuri’s Theme from Memoirs of a Geisha*
    John Williams: Liberty Fanfare*
    John Williams: Adventures on Earth*

    * means John Williams Signature Edition Deluxe Study Scores are available for these titles (published by Hal Leonard).

    Download Info for Visual Orchestration 1 Master Edition:

  • Your download file(s) will be available for 30 days after purchase.
  • x7 .zip files containing your Video Lectures (.mov format for Mac and PC).
  • x1 .zip file containing your supplemental PDF course documents.
  • x1 .zip file containing your Spectrotone Chart PDF and training guides.
  • x1 PDF "Read Me First" document.
  • approx. 1.38GB compressed (1.82GB decompressed).

  • Visual Orchestration 2 Course Icon VISUAL ORCHESTRATION 2
    (From Orchestration to Setting Up the Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix)

    1. Ten video lectures totaling approximately 6.7 hours of instruction;
    2. Plus supplemental course PDFs with supporting material.

    About Visual Orchestration 2
    Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations & Templates™ - From Orchestration to Setting Up the Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix (Foundation For MIDI Mock-Ups) contains ten video lectures, totaling approximately 6.7 hours, distilling the core principles of a college course on basic orchestration directly applied to sample libraries and MIDI mock-up applications. Whether you read or don't read music, you'll get gangbusters out of Visual Orchestration 2.

    Your Intro to Effectively Mixing Your MIDI Mock-Ups
    Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations & Templates goes through the “mechanics” (articulations) for strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion, by defining what articulations and bowings are, performance insights, and how both apply to sample library purchasing, and evaluating existing libraries.

    The second focus is learning the concepts of setting up a virtual orchestral mix within your template, e.g., getting everyone into the same room.

    As with Visual Orchestration 1, Visual Orchestration 2 distills the core principles of orchestrating so that the ability to read music is not required. The focus is on the things you do by ear referencing the Spectrotone Chart. as your visual guide. (Included in your Visual Orchestration Trilogy purchase)

    By the end of Visual Orchestration 2, whether you read music or create by ear, you’ll know the orchestral instruments, the key articulations and bowings that go into a template, dynamic equivalents applied to the virtual orchestra, suggested maximum tempos at which selected articulations can be performed live, plus setting up a basic virtual orchestral mix.

    Because technology is constantly changing and new libraries and software are being released all the time, the principles taught throughout the course have, as much as possible, been designed to apply to whatever orchestral libraries and software you have.

    The 10 Video Lectures in Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations & Templates
    Visual Orchestration 2 has ten video lectures totaling approximately 6.7 hours of instruction with selected audio demonstrations included in the course. Supplemental PDFs for many of the lectures provide links to YouTube with demonstrations of different bowings and articulations, plus links to performances of musical works as additional research aids for you.

    Lecture 1 - The Orchestra: The Real vs The Sampled (approx. 39 mins)
    Starting at the very beginning by defining what a real orchestra is by various sizes, and how big that equates to sample libraries. For application, we look at the Rule of 4s and how that applies to building your own orchestral sound.

    Lecture 2 - Real Orchestral Seating, Orchestral Sample Library Seating, and Spatial Placement (approx. 36 mins)
    The standard orchestral seating position is first evaluated by the Spectrotone Chart. Learn the five different ways of seating the strings plus a look at the Wall of Brass. Applied to sample libraries to learn how to evaluate tone color placement, then to create your own tone color spatial placements.

    Lecture 3 - Where's p: Musical Steps to Setting Dynamic Levels In the Mix (approx. 42 mins)
    Examines the Italian language for dynamics and what the terms mean, how dynamics are implemented in orchestral sample libraries, why all dynamics are relative, what the Italian terms really mean, dynamics and specific libraries, the performable p by instrument and linear register, dynamic equivalents and how they apply in MIDI mock-ups. Audio demonstrations.

    Lecture 4 - The String Section (approx. 59 mins)
    Bowings NOT articulations, how strings on the Strings are numbered, parts of the violin, violin tuning, easiest major and minor keys for the strings to perform in, the string bow, bowings by types, three bow positions, on the string bowings, two types of legato playing, multiple legato types in sample libraries, legatos and sustains, two pieces for legato study, detache: the missing bowing, detache types, staccato and staccato types, staccatos and repetitions, testing staccatos with Jupiter from the Planets, Off the string bowings, the need for testing legato bowings at various tempos, pizzicato, tremolos, measured tremolos, trills, spatial placement, two specialty bowings, briefly: divisi. Audio demos.

    Lecture 5 - The Woodwinds (approx. 30 mins)
    The vent, number of core articulations for woodwinds, woodwinds and vibrato, the need to test faster rhythms, woodwind embouchures; single, double and triple tonguing per woodwind instrument, what tonguings are available from each library?, woodwind doublings, the flute and flute articulations plus tonguing speeds, the oboe, the English horn, the clarinet and tonguing tempos, the bassoon: the great woodwind blender, woodwinds and templates.

    Lecture 6 - The Brass (approx. 30 mins)
    Three core articulations for creating brass templates, brass and vibrato, embouchures and tonguing, how many brass instruments in your library (solo, in 2s, unison sections?), French horns: the great blender, types of brass family combinations French horns are found in; number of French horns, dynamics, and woodwind weighting within the mix, 15 works with 6 or more French horns, sonic weight of the trumpet and the trombone, number of woodwinds needed to equal one trumpet or trombone at f, number of strings needed to equal one trumpet at f, number of strings needed to equal two French horns at f, 3 schools of trombone writing, the tubas, brass section sizes, jazz brass section sizes.

    Lecture 7 - Percussion, Harp, Celeste (Approx.28 mins)
    9 conventional uses of percussion in a live score or MIDI mock-up, 2 categories of percussion, common snare drum stickings (articulations), timpani, timpani sizes in the orchestra, timpani range, nine orchestral uses of timpani, the concert bass drum, vibes and vibes effects, the xylophone, glockenspiel, celeste, the harp, key harp techniques, stage positioning in the live or virtual orchestra, questions to ask developers!

    Lecture 8 - Setting Up The Virtual Orchestral Mix - Part 1 (approx. 34 mins)
    The situation: recording with that which has been previously recorded, four components, differences between concert halls and recording studios, studios where film scores and sample libraries have been recorded, RT60s of key studios, the Hollywood sound vs. the concert sound, covering reverbs, two examples of dry film orchestras before processing was applied, studios and what well known films were recorded there, more.

    Lecture 9 - Setting Up the Virtual Orchestral Mix - Part 2 (approx. 46 mins)
    Clearly defined music production goal, 5 mixing problems unique to orchestral sample libraries, review: the 3 strategies for getting everyone into the same room, spatial placement learning order, studio footprints, 4 key blocks of a reverb, how reverb tails can effect getting everyone into the same room, orchestral setup charts for applying early reflections and reverb tails, audio demos demonstrating key concepts, more.

    BONUS LECTURE! Lecture 10 - How Music People Learn Music and Music Technology (approx. 58 mins)
    Every individual is born with 7 thinking processes that function in an order unique to the individual. Two of these processes include music and logic/math. By understanding these processes you learn how to build musical memory from which your intuition draws from to create music and to operate music technology programs through which you produce your music. In this unique stop and smell the coffee video lecture, Peter Alexander explains how to learn music and music technology without feeling like a “MIDI idiot”, including where the start point is for learning music basics, counterpoint, harmony, and orchestration - based on how the great composers of the past learned their craft.

    Download Info for Visual Orchestration 2:
  • Your download file(s) will be available for 30 days after purchase.
  • x10 .zip files containing your Video Lectures (.mov format for Mac and PC).
  • x2 .zip files containing your supplemental PDF course documents.
  • x1 PDF "Read Me First" document.
  • approx. 2.19GB compressed (2.87GB decompressed).

  • Visual Orchestration 3 Course Icon VISUAL ORCHESTRATION 3

    1. Ten video lectures totaling approximately 4.2 hours of instruction;
    2. 17 Impulse Responses from Numerical Sound featuring 10 Early Reflections, 4 Reverb Tails and 3 TILT Filters (will be emailed to you separately by Numerical Sound);
    3. Supplemental PDFs with links to orchestral libraries and software covered in videos, plus additional resources for research;
    4. BONUS PDFs: 1) For owners of LA Scoring Strings v1-1.5; 2) For Vienna Suite FORTI/SERTI owners; 3) For Verb Session owners.

    About Visual Orchestration 3
    Visual Orchestration 2: Articulations and Templates™ taught how to setup the basic virtual orchestral mix through effective setup of your template.

    Visual Orchestration 3: Doing The Basic Orchestral Mix™ is the next step with this hands-on video lecture course. The course is aimed at those who create with orchestral sample libraries, and also for those with some recording training, but who’ve had little to no background in mixing virtual orchestral sample libraries.

    So what do we mean by the “Basic” virtual orchestral mix? In the virtual orchestral world, I've defined two types of virtual orchestral mixes. The first is basic, the second is advanced. The “basic mix”, our sole focus for this course, is either a single library recorded in the same room, or a mixture of libraries that are being combined in the same template but not layered. An “advanced mix” is where, for example, you might create a violin section by layering two or more different libraries playing the same line. We will not be covering the “advanced mix” in this course.

    The teaching idea behind Visual Orchestration 3 is recognizing that you’re recording with that which has been previously recorded, and that no two orchestral libraries from different developers have been recorded in the same location. As each library has its own set of early reflections and RT60s (reverb decay time), the challenge when combining different libraries in your template is how to get everyone sounding like they’re performing in the same room and, as best as possible, sounding like a single orchestra. Once you buy two orchestral libraries from different companies, you also have to learn how to spatially place them stage left to stage right and stage front to stage rear. In Visual Orchestration 3 we’ll look at some of the tools and techniques needed to tackle these mixing issues and you’ll learn how to work with the included IRs from Numerical Sound to work toward getting a good professional sound. You’ll apply the concepts you’ll learn to your own compositions. The learning principle is this: we teach, you do!

    Libraries we’ll look at in this course: Cinematic Strings 2.0; Cinesamples: Strings/Brass/Winds/Percussion; EastWest: Hollywood Orchestra Series/Quantum Leap Symphonic Orchestra series; AudioBro: LA Scoring Strings; Orchestral Tools: Berlin Series/Symphonic Sphere; ProjectSAM: Symphobia/Orchestral Essentials; Sample Modeling: Brass; Spitfire Audio: Albion/Percussion/Mural (Mural is now Symphonic Strings); Vienna Symphonic Library.

    Note: the principles learned in this course can be applied to whatever orchestral libraries and software you have.

    Numerical Sound Impulse Responses (IRs) Included With Course
    Visual Orchestration 3 comes with 17 Impulse Responses in 44.1 kHz created exclusively for this course by Numerical Sound. You can load these into whatever convolution reverb comes with your sequencing program. You get:

    1. 5 sets of Early Reflections with one short and one medium length ER per set (10 ERs total) similar to where major sample libraries or film scores have been recorded;
    2. 3 TILT Filters that apply a darker EQ to the majority of virtual orchestral instruments to aid in spatial placement stage front to stage rear;
    3. 4 Reverb Tails covering the small studio up to a larger recording studio (0.85s - 2.5s RT60).

    IMPORTANT! Your Visual Orchestration course videos and supplemental PDF docs will be available for you to download immediately after purchase. Your Impulse Responses from Numerical Sound will be watermarked with your info and sent separately to your email address (about 6MB), normally within 1-3 business days.
    By ordering The Visual Orchestration Trilogy you consent to Numerical Sound in Canada receiving a copy of your order information from FastSpring for the purpose of providing you with your custom Impulse Responses. The information they provide does not include payment details.

    By using these custom Impulse Responses from Numerical Sound, everyone has the same tools to work with – separate from whatever software you’ll be using. You’ll also learn how to apply these concepts to whatever algorithmic reverb you have. Result: total practicality in teaching you how to mix!

    The 10 Video Lectures in Visual Orchestration 3: Doing The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix Visual Orchestration 3 has ten video lectures with selected audio demonstrations included in the videos plus a separate audio files folder for Lecture 10 on Reverb. Audio demos focus on the String Section. You’ll apply the teaching points given for the rest of the orchestra to your own compositions. Supporting PDFs are included with links to the various orchestral libraries and software we’ll look at in the videos for easy reference for you (PDFs are updated roughly once a year to keep their contents up to date).

    Lecture 1 - The Tools Provided (approx. 15 mins)
    Overview, what’s provided, explains the impulse responses included in the course (5 sets of Early Reflections, the 4 Reverb Tails and the 3 TILT Filters, a very brief mini-review of Visual Orchestration 2, what you need to provide to do the course (sequencing program w/convolution reverb).

    Lecture 2 - The 7 Starting Points Before You Begin Your Mix (approx. 24 mins)
    Creating an effective mix has multiple starting points. These include defining your situation, the goal of your template, orchestration issues in setting up your template, seating issues and why they’re spatial placement issues, your virtual instrument players, and defining what the basic mix is.

    Lecture 3 – Three Spaces Where Orchestral Sample Libraries Are Recorded (approx. 17 mins)
    Examines the three spaces where orchestral libraries are recorded and how that impacts the mix: the concert hall, the cathedral/church, and the scoring stage/recording studio and how these affect your virtual mix.

    Lecture 4 - The Sound You Want, The Sound You Have, The Sound You End Up With (approx. 16 mins)
    Considers the importance of working out your own sound followed by a review of the following major orchestral libraries: CineSamples Strings/Brass/Winds/Percussion, EastWest Hollywood Series, EastWest QLSO, Spitfire Audio, Vienna Symphonic Libraries and MIRx. Also considered are Berlin Woodwinds, Cinematic Strings, LASS, Sample Modeling, and Symphobia.

    Lecture 5 - RT60s of Rooms and Libraries (approx. 18 mins)
    RT60s of specific rooms where film scores and orchestral sample libraries have been recorded along with the finished RT60s of specific libraries to begin learning the issues of getting everyone into the same room.

    Lecture 6 - First Steps in Working With RT60s and Early Reflections (approx. 19 mins)
    In this lecture, you’ll learn how to calculate, test and pick early reflections based on the libraries in your mix, and the sound you’re trying to achieve. You’ll start working with the course ERs provided by Numerical Sound. We’ll also review the ERs/Tails for LASS and Vienna Suite’s FORTI/SERTI.

    Lecture 7 - Assigning the Short and Medium Early Reflections (approx. 48 mins)
    In this lecture we’ll look at some common tools used for the purpose of adding Early Reflections. Then you’ll learn how to set up your own scoring stage with the appropriate Early Reflections of short, medium and long - including how to assign the Short and Medium ERs provided for you by Numerical Sound.

    Lecture 8 - Assigning TILT Filters and High Pass Filters (EQ) (approx. 19 mins)
    TILT Filters work in a similar way to EQ in that they tonally shape your sound. They can also impact spatial placement from stage front to stage rear. The three Darker TILT Filters provided for you in this course by Numerical Sound will help in positioning sounds further back in your mix when combined with Early Reflections and Reverb Tails. In this lecture you'll learn how to use them. We'll also take a look at using High Pass Filters to help cut out unnecessary low frequencies and create a cleaner mix. You'll learn how to set the starting frequencies for your virtual orchestral instruments using the Spectrotone Chart (available for separate purchase).

    Lecture 9 - Spatial Placement (approx. 51 mins)
    Building on Lecture 5, we’ll look at some tools you can work with to help get libraries recorded in different rooms to match in their seating arrangements stage left to right and stage front to rear. Includes Parallax Audio’s Virtual Sound Stage and Ircam Tools/Flux SPAT. This lecture also includes a folder of graphics demonstrating the approximate stereo width of orchestral instruments based on the standard orchestral seating arrangement. You’re recommended to have Parallax Audio’s Virtual Sound Stage (or similar spatial placement software) to get the most out of applying the concepts from this lecture. (Note: Virtual Sound Stage 1.0 and SPAT v3 are demonstrated in the video lectures, but PDFs are included for you with updated instruction matching the new interfaces for Virtual Sound Stage 2.0 and SPAT Revolution.)

    Lecture 10 - The Transformative Power of Reverb (approx. 24 mins)
    This final lecture includes an Audio Files Folder of four mixes in different size spaces with reverb tails of dry, .85s, .95s, and 1.3s. You will practice with several dozen mini-mixes based on the instructional steps in the Video Lecture. You then apply this with your own reverbs. Demonstrated reverbs include the Bricasti M7, C2 Audio’s B2 and others. We’ll briefly consider hardware vs software reverbs and what to look for when choosing a reverb unit or plug-in. We’ll also look at possible sources of grayness/darkness that can affect your mix.

    Bonus Materials
    Visual Orchestration 3: Doing The Basic Virtual Orchestral Mix goes one more step with these bonus materials:

    For those owning the original LA Scoring Strings (v1.0 – 1.5) which came with custom IRs designed by Numerical Sound, you’ll be shown how to apply and use what you’ve got.

    For those owning the Vienna Suite with FORTI/SERTI, which was also designed by Numerical Sound, you’re receiving spread sheet listings for all the Early Reflections and Reverb Tails showing you how to mix and match them.

    For those owning Ircam Tools Verb Session you’re receiving a PDF of settings for the custom presets we created matching various recording studios and scoring stages (you can adapt the settings for use with other reverbs).

    End Results
    By the end of Visual Orchestration 3, you’ll be on your way to creating a professional sounding mix of your music.

    What You Need
    This course is designed so that you only need to provide:
  • Your sequencing/digital audio program;
  • a convolution reverb to use the Impulse Responses provided by Numerical Sound for this course. You can use whatever convolution reverb comes with your sequencing program (check your sequencer’s User Manual for instructions on how to import Impulse Responses). If your software does not include a convolution reverb please contact your program’s tech support for a recommendation;
  • Whatever virtual orchestral sample libraries you already own;
  • a notebook for taking notes and making observations.

  • Download Info for Visual Orchestration 3:
  • Your download file(s) will be available for 30 days after purchase.
  • x10 .zip files containing your Video Mini-Lectures (.mov format for Mac and PC). Zip files for Lectures 6 through 10 also contain sub-folders of additional reference files.
  • x1 .zip file containing supplemental PDF documents.
  • x1 PDF "Read Me First" document.
  • approx. 1.88GB compressed (2.35GB decompressed).

  • As stated previously, your 17 Impulse Responses from Numerical Sound will be emailed to you separately (approx. 6MB). Please allow 1-3 business days for delivery of your watermarked files.

    About the Spectrotone Chart - the Rosetta Stone of orchestration

    For all three Visual Orchestration courses you'll be working with The 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart (included in your course materials). The Spectrotone Chart™ was created by four-time Academy Award® nominee for Best Film Score, Arthur Lange, the former head of the MGM Music Department. In 2010, by kind permission of Cambria Music, Alexander Publishing took over its publication and future development. The 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart has been redesigned to include Hz frequencies, MIDI Note Numbers, and Span of Orchestration so that the Spectrotone Chart now has direct applications for composers learning how to EQ their mixes.

    Spectrotone Chart

    In Arthur Lange’s own words, the Spectrotone Chart is, “a colorgraphic exposition of tone-color combinations and balance as practiced in modern orchestration.”

    Using the Spectrotone Chart you'll learn how to create effective orchestral combinations by understanding which instruments will blend well together in which registers, or which instruments will provide a more contrasting tone-color when placed together. You'll also learn starting insights on orchestral balance within each section of strings, brass and winds.

    Eight colors are used to convey the tone-color and its quality, with the lowest pitches colored Purple (mellow) and the highest, White (brilliant). Two additional colors of gray and black indicate notes that will have a "dull" or "indefinite" tone-color to them. The simplistic view is that the chart follows the keys of the piano scale wise. But the real view is that the colors reflect not only the individual instrument’s range but also the tonal quality of the instrument’s sound as it’s played up the overtone series.

    The tone-color choices make a lot of sense enabling not only precision orchestral combinations, live and electronic, but also providing a gracious way to communicate with producers and directors in a language they’ll understand since each color has a single adjective to describe it.

    One of the key concepts you’ll learn in Visual Orchestration 1 is Span of Orchestration. Span of Orchestration divides the range of the orchestra by Cs into five breaks: Sub Bass, Low, Medium, High, and Very High. When the Spectrotone Chart tone-colors are viewed this way, a scoring story emerges:

    Instrumental Tone Colors fall into specific registers. Once the tone-colors are understood, you can now hear how and where instruments are placed, types of voicings by registers, how to create combinations, even how to compose and create coloristic ensembles using the Spectrotone Chart.

    This approach also offers starting insights for orchestral EQing for which there is very little training.

    For more effective communication and study, the 70th Anniversary Edition of the Spectrotone Chart now has a keyboard, a mini-music staff with all the orchestra’s pitches, Hz frequencies for each pitch, and now for the first time, MIDI Note Numbers for each pitch. Benefit: every single tone-color range for every single instrument can now be worked with by pitch names, Hz frequencies, and MIDI Note Numbers. From this you learn how each tone-color can have its own tonality and sound including with major, minor, modal, and even Twelve Tone composition techniques. We added Hz frequencies so that its full potential can also be realized in recording and mixing.

    Span of Orchestration register breaks, besides being identified by Cs, are also identified by pitches, Hz frequencies, and MIDI Note Numbers.

    Spectrotone Chart: Tone Colors By Span

    The Spectrotone Chart is an amazing tool for learning how to create combinations. That’s why you’re first taught the general principle for creating combinations, then how to create the four types of combinations in the Spectrotone System of Orchestration: perfect, close, complementary and remote.

    Dimitri Tiomkin and Arthur Lange

    Arthur Lange was a songwriter, composer, orchestrator and conductor who came out of Tin Pan Alley. He learned his craft through private studies and on the job.

    He composed music for over 120 films, and orchestrated 105 more. He was nominated four times for an Oscar. In 1929, he became head of the music department at MGM. Throughout his career, he was music director at several studios and in 1947 organized the Santa Monica Civic Symphony which he conducted. He also helped create ASMAC, the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers.

    Arthur was an educator and he wrote numerous books, including, for 1926, the definitive guide to dance band arranging called Arranging For the Modern Dance Orchestra. He taught at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music which later became Cal Arts.

    But Arthur also created this unique colorized chart called the Spectrotone Chart. Don’t be put off by the quaint name, because what Arthur created, which has daily practical use for both live and electronic scoring, and mixing, is nothing less than the Rosetta Stone of orchestration.

    The Spectrotone Chart is a must have for all arrangers, composers and recording engineers!


    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, Street Smart Guide to Logic 8 and many more. He 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.

    He 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.

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

    Consulting Engineer for Visual Orchestration 3

    Ernest Cholakis
    Bruce Botnick, engineer for The Doors, Jerry Goldsmith and the Beach Boys Pet Album project had this to say about the Impulse Response work of Ernest Cholakis:
    ”The best impulse responses I ever heard are from Pure Space [Classical and Mystical Reverberation Impulses]....Ernest Cholakis out of Canada is the genius/mad scientist who listens to music. He's mathematically figured a way to eliminate all of the electronics from the sample. They sound extraordinary. An acoustic room-it blooms. You make the sound and then it [snaps] responds and the room does it's thing. The majority of the digital reverbs are very linear and they die off, but Ernest's samples are extraordinary. I've got one that I think sounds super close to chamber four at Capitol, which is *the* chamber."

    Ernest’s work with IRs includes his own Pure Space Classical, Pure Space Film, FORTI/SERTI for the Vienna Suite, eight (8) software products for Reason (including Bass Tilt Filters, Midrange Tilt Filters, Treble Tilt Filters, Tone Mutation, ReStereo, and RiVerb), and now this special package for Visual Orchestration 3.

    As an instrument developer, he co-produced with Dan Dean the Bluthner Piano.

    Many of Cholakis' unique drone tones have been used in feature films, film trailers and TV by many well known film composer and several movie studios such as Paramont Pictures, Warner Brothers and Lions Gate Entertainment, who have licensed material directly from Numerical Sound.

    Cholakis has co-produced the world's most recorded drummer Bernard Purdie, the world's most sampled drummer Clyde Stubblefield, and top Reggae drummer Sly Dunbar.