Writing For Strings Course: Lite Edition

SKU W4Strings-Lite


  • Product Delivery:Digital Download (download links expire 30 days after purchase).
  • Download Size:About 1.54 GB compressed / 2.24 GB decompressed (10x zip files containing PDF lessons/scores/documents, course videos, PDF String Positions Booklet, MP3 audio / 1x PDF file).
  • Author/Instructor:Peter Lawrence Alexander
  • Required Products:You will need to have the course textbook Professional Orchestration Vol. 1 and the Spectrotone Instrumental Tone-Color Chart (available separately) to use with this course.
List Price $79.95
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The Writing For Strings Course - Lite Edition is for those who already own the required course textbook Professional Orchestration Volume 1: Solo Instruments and Instrumentation Notes and the Spectrotone Instrumental Tone-Color Chart. If you don't own either of these, please look at the Writing For Strings Course: Complete Edition, which includes everything you need.

About The Writing For Strings 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. You'll learn about the violin, viola, cello and double bass, bowings and stops, divisi, string seating plans and orchestra sizes, MIDI mock-up tools, templates and considerations, and more!

It's an entry-level, one semester length course. If you were studying this in a college/university environment, it would be designed as the second semester following the standard one semester orchestration course, which is usually given in the senior year of college. It's ideally suited as the next step after studying through the book Professional Orchestration Vol. 1: Instruments & Instrumentation Notes (which is the required textbook for this course)

Do you read music or play by ear?
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. 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

Watch a Sample Lesson Video from Writing For Strings

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What You Get In The Writing For Strings Course: Lite Edition

The Course: Writing For Strings

To start, you get 28 PDF Lessons (about 140 pages) plus 19 supporting Video Lectures split into 33 multi-part videos (about 6.98 hours). You also get links to selected YouTube videos of the pieces we'll be studying so you can see the string bowings in action. 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, approximately 470 pages.

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.

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.

The 28 Lessons in the Writing For Strings Course

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 Mock-ups (w/video)

Learn At Your Own Pace

Because this is a self-study course you can work through the lessons at your own pace. If you have the time, ideally try to budget 6-8 hours for study per week. Be prepared to do a lot of practical work! 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. You can use any string sample library you have, or whatever strings are included in your sequencing or notation software.

What You Need To Provide

You will need the course textbook Professional Orchestration Vol. 1 and the Spectrotone Instrumental Tone-Color Chart for this course.

If you don't have either of these products, they're included in the Writing For Strings Course: Complete Edition.

Writing For Strings Course: Lite Edition Contents

  • 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 19 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);
  • 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);
  • Live MP3 student recordings of string ranges for violin, viola, cello, and bass.

What You Need To Provide

You will need the course textbook Professional Orchestration Vol. 1 and the Spectrotone Instrumental Tone-Color Chart for this course.

If you don't have either of these products, they're included in the Writing For Strings Course: Complete Edition.

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.

Endorsements: Writing For Strings Course

Patrick de Caumette, five-time Emmy Award Winning Composer
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!

Paul Thomson, Spitfire Audio
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.

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