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Model #: Writing4Strings-Lite
Manufacturer: Alexander Publishing

Writing For Strings Course: Lite Edition

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List Price $84.95
Your Price $39.97
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Introduction to Writing for Strings by Peter Alexander.

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

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Writing For Strings Lite Edition Course Infographic

If you are a registered owner of the Professional Orchestration Everything-So-Far Bundle, write us for a coupon code to get the Writing For Strings Course: Lite Edition for just $29.95!

Included In the Writing For Strings - Lite Edition Course:

  • 28 Lessons in PDF format with 4-color graphics (approx. 140 pages);
  • Approx. 6.98 hours of supporting video lectures (.mov format for Mac and PC) matching key lessons;
  • String Positions PDF Booklet in 4-color graphics for Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass;
  • 19 PDF study scores of public domain classical works (approx. 470 pages);
  • Live student recordings of string ranges for violin, viola, cello, and bass;
  • Links to YouTube video performances of most of the examples you'll be studying to hear and visualize string bowings (updated roughly once a year to keep links current).

  • You'll need:
  • The required textbook Professional Orchestration Vol. 1: Solo Instruments and Instrumentation Notes (almost 800 pages);
  • The Spectrotone Instrumental Tone Color Chart - PDF;
  • To ideally budget 6-8 hours for study per week, but you can set your own pace;
  • To preferably have sequencing or notation software with string samples to record your work;
  • To be able to read music notation (if you're not strong in reading music you can still pick up a lot from reading/listening to the lessons and studying the YouTube performances).

  • About Writing For Strings
    Writing For Strings is an entry-level, one semester length course. It's designed as the second semester following the standard one semester orchestration course, which is usually given in the senior year of college. As Writing For Strings is designed to be a second semester collegiate course, the more you can read music the more you’ll get out of it.

    Because this is a self study course you can work through the lessons at your own pace. Be prepared to do a lot of practical work! You can use any string sample library you have, or whatever strings are included in your sequencing or notation software.

    The 28 Lessons With Final Self Assessment Examples For You to Mock-up and Record on Your Home or School System.

    Lesson 0 - Introduction - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 1 - Knowing What Size Orchestra to Write For - w/ VIDEO
    Lesson 2 - The Source of Coloristic Orchestration - w/ 2 VIDEOS
    Lesson 3 - How to Do Score Analysis and Use It In Your Writing - w/6 VIDEOS
    Lesson 4 - String Seating Plans - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 5 - Panning With String Sample Libraries w/VIDEO
    Lesson 6 - The Violin: A Coloristic Overview (Low to Very High Range) - w/5 VIDEOS
    Lesson 7 - The Viola: A Coloristic Overview (Low to Very High Range) - w/3 VIDEOS
    Lesson 8 - The Cello: A Coloristic Overview (Low to Very High Range) - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 9 - The Bass: A Coloristic Overview (Low to Very High Range) - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 10 - Bowing Considerations and Definitions - w/2 VIDEOS
    Lesson 11 - On The String Bowings
    Lesson 12 - Off The String Bowings
    Lesson 13 - Special Effects Bowings
    Lesson 14 - Tremolo Bowings
    Lesson 15 - Pizzicato Bowings - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 16 - Double Stops and Their Use - w/VIDEO Master Class on Stops
    Lesson 17 - Triple Stops and Their Use
    Lesson 18 - Quadruple Stops and Their Use
    Lesson 19 - Creating Arpeggios From Stops
    Lesson 20 - Trills and Fingered Tremolo
    Lesson 21 - Muted Strings
    Lesson 22 - Divisi Writing and Its Implementation - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 23 - Creating Your Strings Template For MIDI Mock-ups - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 24 - Recording Tools For Spatial Placement In Your MIDI Mock-ups - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 25 - Setting Sectional Levels In Your MIDI Mock-ups - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 26 - Advanced: Starting String Combinations - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 27 - Strings and Voices - w/VIDEO
    Lesson 28 - Final Self Assessment: The Dogs of Riga - Five Test Pieces For MIDI Mockups - w/VIDEO


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

    Professional Orchestration’s Writing For Strings Lite Edition is for those already owning any of the Professional Orchestration™ bundles containing Professional Orchestration Volume 1 and the Spectrotone Chart™ (or have purchased both items separately), which are required for the course.

    Writing For Strings is a far reaching string writing course for 21st Century writers teaching you both coloristic string writing techniques for live concert performances, studio recording sessions, and of equal importance today, the application of this valuable professional information to your MIDI Mock-ups.

    To start, you get 28 PDF Lessons (approx. 140 pages) plus 19 supporting Video Lectures split into 33 multi-part videos (approx. 6.98 hours).

    You’ll learn the professional’s top secret for writing success - score analysis and how to apply what you’ve learned to your own writing.

    Because good string writing doesn’t just happen, you get the 4-color String Positions PDF Booklet so you can work out just how playable your parts are. You also get 19 PDF scores of public domain classical works to study, approx. 470 pages.

    And to learn what strings sound like unedited, we’ve included live student recordings of the low, medium, high and very high ranges for violin, viola, cello, and bass.

    All these tools pull together to help you learn how to write for “live” string players and begin learning how to make sampled strings sound live.

    And finally, so you can put your new scoring skills to the test, you get a series of original 12-14 bar test scores for you to select the bowings, mark the legato bowings, and then do a MIDI mock-up that you record on your system based on the libraries you have.

    Check out the Lesson List above to see all that you'll learn.

    Download Info:

  • Your download file(s) will be available for 30 days after purchase.
  • x1 .zip file containing your PDF Lessons.
  • x6 .zip files containing your supporting Video Lectures (.mov format for Mac and PC).
  • x1 .zip file containing your String Positions PDF Booklet.
  • x1 .zip file containing your PDF Study Scores.
  • x1 .zip file containing student recordings of the range breaks for violin, viola, cello, bass.
  • x1 PDF "Read Me First" document.
  • approx. 1.54GB compressed (2.24GB decompressed).

  • Teacher

    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.


    Writing for Strings, offers a comprehensive resource to the orchestration student, rich with detailed string techniques, some of the best scores from the classical repertoire and the opportunity to hear a recording of the examples played in context by a real orchestra [via the included links to YouTube performances]. A must have!
    Patrick de Caumette

    The huge amount of study scores and [links to YouTube] recordings that are included at this price and the very clear and detailed explanations make this a no brainer in my opinion for anyone looking to acquire this knowledge.
    Paul Thomson


    Q. Do I need either a sequencing program or notation program to do this course?
    A. No, you can do all the work in a notebook and by working at the piano. But you'll get more out of it when using either a sequencing or notation program.

    Q. Where can I get a low cost string library if I don't own one?
    A. If you have the full version of Kontakt, a starting VSL string library is included. If you have Logic, there's also a starting VSL library in the EXS24 listing. Strings are also included in Finale, Notion, and Sibelius. We highly recommend EW QLSO Gold to get started.

    Q. Do I need LA Scoring Strings or Hollywood Strings Diamond since you're covering divisi writing?
    A. Divisi writing is covered because this is written as a second semester college orchestration course and must be covered as part of the training. But no, you don't need a library with divisi to take advantage of the course.

    Q. I'm using a notation program not a sequencing program. Is the library I have good enough for the homework? Do you recommend any library?
    A. Use what you have. Our teaching experience with the private online mentoring courses we ran for a number of years has been that QLSO Gold is a great starting point since it enables you to put your focus on scoring and only setting volume levels. QLSO Gold has free Sibelius soundsets.

    Q. How much MIDI mock-up information is covered?
    A. A great deal, especially in the videos. At minimum, there are more than a dozen score excerpts for you to create MIDI mock-ups. Then there are the scores I've created for the final lesson, which if used in the classroom could be your final project.

    Q. Am I required to write and turn in original scoring assignments?
    A. No. You're encouraged to take the compositional insights you learn in each lesson and create an original 1-2 minute work applying what you've learned. But as this is a home self-study course you don't turn your assignments in to anyone.

    Q. If this was an actual college class, what would its value be?
    A. Great question. In the USA, when a second semester orchestration class is offered, it's usually a string writing class valued at 2 credit hours. Whether at a state school or private college, the minimum cost per credit hour I've seen for a four year school with a music degree program is $250 up to $1,250 per credit hour. So depending on the school, the course value would be approximately $500 to $2,500.

    Q. Is that true for a U.S. community college?
    A. On general principle, a two-year community college is not permitted to compete by offering courses equal to the junior-senior year in a four-year school. The typical credit hour cost I've seen is $125. So if Writing For Strings was offered at a local community college, from what I've seen, its value would be $250 plus the cost of the class materials.

    Q. I'm producing mostly hip-hop, dance, Gospel, etc. Will this course help me?
    A. Yes. The technique of string writing works with all styles. Part of your creative process is taking what you've learned and applying it to your music.