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Professional Orchestration Vol 2: Compleat PDF

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With Volume 1: Solo Instruments and Instrumentation Notes, the focus was on instrumentation, registration of instruments and how they sound in four specific registers, and learning how to do score reductions.

With Volume 2 Compleat: Orchestrating the Melody Within Each Orchestral Section, we move from instrumentation into the actual study of orchestration by learning specific combinations of instruments within the strings, woodwind, and brass sections previously known by only a privileged few. Volume 2 Compleat is supported by eClassical audio packages (available for separate purchase).

Volume 2 Compleat is 1300 pages perfect bound, 8.25 x 11, with full page/full score examples which like Volume 1, is organized by registers so you can see and hear where composers tend to write each device and combination.

Volume 2A, Orchestrating the Melody Within the String Section gives you the time tested writing techniques for strings. For fast referencing, the techniques are grouped into eight categories: Unisons, Two-Parts, Three-Parts, Four-Parts, Five-Parts, Divisi in Octaves, Divisi in Intervals, and Special Combinations.

Volume 2B, Orchestrating the Melody Within the Woodwinds and Brass gives you the tested techniques for woodwinds and brass. For fast referencing, the techniques are grouped into these categories: Woodwind Unisons, Woodwind Octaves, Woodwind Combinations in Two- to Five-Parts, Light Vertical Harmony in the Woodwinds, then combinations for the French horns, trumpets and Trombones. 714-pages.

SAMPLE PAGES (Click to open in a new window)
Professional Orchestration Vol 2A: Introduction & Chapter 1
Professional Orchestration Vol 2A: Review by BioShock Game Composer - Garry Schyman
Professional Orchestration Vol 2B: Introduction

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

Title 01: Professional Orchestration Vol 2A: Orchestrating the Melody Within the String Section
Author: Peter Lawrence Alexander / ISBN: 978-0-939067-06-0

Title 02: Professional Orchestration Vol 2B: Orchestrating the Melody Within the Woodwinds & Brass
Author: Peter Lawrence Alexander / ISBN: 978-0-939067-93-0

Table of Contents Volume 2A

Orchestrating the Melody Within the String Section

Chapter 1 - Violins 1 + Violins 2
Chapter 2 - Violins + Violas
Chapter 3 - Violins + Cellos
Chapter 4 - Violas + Cellos
Chapter 5 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 + Violas
Chapter 6 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 + Cellos
Chapter 7 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 + Violas + Cellos

Chapter 8 - Violins 1 - Violins 2
Chapter 9 - Violins 1 (or 2) - Violas
Chapter 10 - Violins – Cellos
Chapter 11 - Violas – Cellos
Chapter 12 - Cellos – Basses
Chapter 13 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 – Violas
Chapter 14 - Violins 1 + ½ Violins 2 – ½ Violins 2 + Violas
Chapter 15 - Violins 1 - Violins 2 + Violas
Chapter 16 - Violas + Cellos - Basses
Chapter 17 - Violas - Cellos + Basses
Chapter 18 - Violins - Violas + Cellos
Chapter 19 - Violins – Violins 2 + Cellos
Chapter 20 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 + Violas - Cellos
Chapter 21 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 + Violas - Cellos + Basses
Chapter 22 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 - Violas + Cellos
Chapter 23 - Violins 1 + ½ Violins 2 – ½ Violins 2 + Cellos
Chapter 24 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 + Violas + Cellos - Basses
Chapter 25 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 - Cellos

Chapter 26 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 - Violas - Cellos
Chapter 27 - Violins 1 + Violas - Cellos - Basses
Chapter 28 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 + Violas - Cellos - Basses
Chapter 29 - Violins 1 – Violins 2 - Violas
Chapter 30 - Violins – Violas - Cellos
Chapter 31 - Violins 1 – Violins 2 – Violas + Cellos
Chapter 32 - Violins 1 – Violins 2 + Violas - Cellos
Chapter 33 - Violas – Cellos - Basses
Chapter 34 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 – Violas + Cellos - Basses
Chapter 35 - Violins 1 + ½ Violins 2 – ½ Violins 2 + ½ Violas – ½ Violas + Cellos
Chapter 36 - Violins 1 – Violins 2 – Violas + ½ Cellos
Chapter 37 - Violins 1 + Violins 2 – Cellos - Basses

Chapter 38 - Violins 1 - Violins 2 – Violas - Cellos
Chapter 39 - Violins 1 - Violins 2 + Violas – Cellos - Basses

Chapter 40 - Violins 1 – Violins 2 – Violas – Cellos - Basses

Chapter 41 - About Divisi
Chapter 42 - Violins 1 – Violins 1
Chapter 43 - Violas – Violas
Chapter 44 - Cellos – Cellos
Chapter 45 - Basses - Basses

Chapter 46 - Violins 1 – Violins 2 playing 3rds
Chapter 47 - Violins Divisi in 3rds
Chapter 48 - Violas Divisi in 3rds
Chapter 49 - Violins Divisi in 6ths
Chapter 50 - Violas Divisi in 6ths

Chapter 51 - Special Combinations of Octaves, Thirds, Sixths & Tenths
Chapter 52 - Violas Divisi + Cellos Divisi in 6ths
Chapter 53 - Violins in 3rds – Violas/Cellos (3rds)
Chapter 54 - Violins 1 in 3rds – Violins 2 in 3rds
Chapter 55 - Violins 1 and Violas in Octaves with Violins 2 Playing Inner harmony part in 3rds
Chapter 56 - Violas and Cellos Doubling on 3rds
Chapter 57 - Multiple 3rds and Sixths
Chapter 58 - More Multiple 3rds and Sixths
Chapter 59 - Vlns 1 + Vlns 2 (3rds) – Violas A + Violas B (3rds)
Chapter 60 - Thirds in Three Octaves
Chapter 61 - Violins and Violas in Sixths
Chapter 62 - Vlns 1 div in 3rds – Violins 2 (top line) + Violas (bottom line)
Chapter 63 - Tenths
Chapter 64 - Violins 2 and Violas in 3rds – Cellos div
Chapter 65 - Violins 2 in 3rds – Cellos in 3rds

Table of Contents Volume 2B

Orchestrating the Melody Within the Woodwinds and Brass.

Chapter 1 - The Woodwind Family
Chapter 2 - Woodwind Section Sizes

Section 1 - Woodwind Unisons
Chapter 3 - Flute Unisons
Chapter 4 - Flute + Oboe
Chapter 5 - Flute + English Horn
Chapter 6 - Flute + Clarinet
Chapter 7 - Oboe Unisons
Chapter 8 - Oboe + Clarinet
Chapter 9 - English Horn + Clarinet
Chapter 10 - English Horn + Bassoon
Chapter 11 - Clarinet + Clarinet
Chapter 12 - Clarinet + Bassoon
Chapter 13 - Bassoon + Bassoon
Chapter 14 - Bassoon + Sarrusaphone
Chapter 15 - Bassoon + Contrabassoon
Chapter 16 - Flute + Oboe + Clarinet
Chapter 17 - Flute + English Horn + Oboe + Clarinet
Chapter 18 - Flute + Oboe + Clarinet + Eb Clarinet
Chapter 19 - Oboe + Clarinet + English Horn
Chapter 20 - English Horn + Clarinet + Bassoon

Section 2 - Woodwind Octaves
Chapter 21 - Piccolo - Flute
Chapter 22 - Piccolo - Oboe
Chapter 23 - Piccolo - Clarinet
Chapter 24 - Flute - Flute
Chapter 25 - Flute - Oboe
Chapter 26 - Flute - Clarinet
Chapter 27 - Flute - Bassoon
Chapter 28 - Oboe - Oboe
Chapter 29 - Oboe - Clarinet
Chapter 30 - Oboe - English Horn
Chapter 31 - Oboe - Bassoon
Chapter 32 - English Horn - Bassoon
Chapter 33 - Clarinet - Clarinet
Chapter 34 - Clarinet - Bass Clarinet
Chapter 35 - Clarinet - Bassoon
Chapter 36 - Bassoon - Bassoon
Chapter 37 - Bassoon - Contrabassoon

Section 3 - Woodwind Combinations in Two- to Five-Parts
Chapter 38 - Two Parts: Low to Medium Registers
Chapter 39 - Two Parts: Medium Register
Chapter 40 - Two Parts: Medium to High Register
Chapter 41 - Two Parts: High Register
Chapter 42 - Two Parts: Very High Register
Chapter 43 - Three Parts: High Register
Chapter 44 - Three Parts: Very High Register
Chapter 45 - Four to Five-Parts

Section 4 - Light Vertical Harmony in the Woodwinds
Chapter 46 - Light Harmony in the Flutes
Chapter 47 - Light Harmony in the Oboes
Chapter 48 - Light Harmony in the Clarinets
Chapter 49 - Light Harmony in the Bassoons
Chapter 50 - Two-Part Light Harmony: Thirds in Unison
Chapter 51 - Two-Part Light Harmony: Thirds in Octave
Chapter 52 - Three-Part Light Harmony: Thirds in Multiple Octaves

Chapter 53 - French Horns in Unison
Chapter 54 - French Horns in Octaves (Two Parts)
Chapter 55 - French Horns in 3rds and 6ths
Chapter 56 - Trumpets in Unison
Chapter 57 - Trumpets in Octaves (Two Parts)
Chapter 58 - Trumpets in Thirds
Chapter 59 - Trombones in Unison
Chapter 60 - Trombones in Octaves (Two Parts)
Chapter 61 - Trombones in Thirds

More Info

The 35 Works Referenced in Volume 2A (in alphabetical order)
Nearly all the scores listed below are available in our Professional Orchestration Study Scores Section, many with score/CD Combinations.

Symphony #6

Symphony Fantastique

Bizet Carmen Suites
L'Arlesienne Suites

In the Steppes of Central Asia
Polovetsian Dances
Symphony #2

Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
La Mer

Three Cornered Hat

Sorcerer's Apprentice

Enigma Variations


Romanian Rhapsodies

The Planets

Symphony #1
Symphony #9
Songs of a Wayfarer

Night on Bald Mountain

Isle of the Dead

La Valse

Carninval of the Animals
- Danse Macabre


Chamber Symphony For 15 Instruments
Ein Heldenleben
Don Juan
Til Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks

Stravinsky Firebird

Tchaikovsky -
Nutcracker Suite
Overtures (Parsifal, Die Meistersinger, more)

Webern - Passacaglia

Works Quoted in Volume 2B

Symphony Fantastique

Carmen Suites
L'Arlesienne Suites

Symphony #2
Polovetsian Dances
On the Steppes of Central Asia

La Mer
Rondes de Printemps
Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun

Sorcerer's Apprentice


The Planets

Das Lied Von Der Erde
Symphony #1
Symphony #3
Symphony #4
Symphony #5
Symphony #8

Symphony Espagnole

Mozart Symphony #41

Night on Bald Mountain

Tombeau de Couperin
La Valse
Noble and Sentimental Waltzes
Rhapsodie Espagnole
Daphnis and Chloe
L'Heure Espagnole

Fountains of Rome

Rite of Spring

Danse Macabre

Richard Strauss
Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks
Ein Heldenleben

Nutcracker Suite

Flying Dutchman Overture

Reviews: Professional Orchestration Volume 2A

Garry Schyman, G.A.N.G. Award Winning Composer, BioShock
I would highly recommend this book to any student or working professional wishing to learn or expand their knowledge of orchestration. If you intend to work professionally the skills imparted by the studies presented here will be of enormous benefit and will give you a professional advantage for your entire career.

Daryl Griffith
Conductor, Composer
Orchestrator, Young Visiters (BAFTA winner), Prime Suspect (BAFTA winner), Harry Potter VI
With Professional Orchestration 2A, Peter Alexander has done a very good job of making the various doublings and unisons within the strings section clear, so that you can readily understand what’s going on, even in some of the more complex examples presented. I was particularly pleased to see a starting basic section on divisi with enough information to get the reader thinking and listening, without delving too much into the finer points.

I think that the choice of musical examples is excellent, and no composer who wishes to write orchestral music should neglect to know the scores for these pieces.

This book will be extremely useful, especially to sample based composers, either striving for improved realism with their orchestrations, or who wish to transfer their MIDI compositions to a live ensemble, so I have no hesitation in recommending it.

Peter Siedlaczek, Advanced Orchestra, Classical Choirs, String Essentials 2
A great publication! You perfectly met the needs of so many musicians - it’s an incredibly valuable source of knowledge! I like also very much its clear structure and the way you explain complex things. A “must” not only for students, but for every musician dealing with samples and “orchestral sound”.

Jeff Laity, Marketing Manager, TASCAM
The new book is amazing! It builds on the first book by adding more explanations, MIDI programming advice and film scoring concerns. I can’t imagine a more exhaustive study or more organized collection of string writing. You can pre-charge my card for books 2B through 8!

Jonathon Cox
Composer: Death4told, Broken Oath
Lecturer of Music at Ohio Northern University and Muskingum College
As a music educator and practicing composer, nothing is more important to the quality of a composition than the art of orchestration. The subtle combination of instrumental timbres has the ability to make or break a score. A properly orchestrated piece can evoke emotion and take the listener to another place. It has the ability to transcend to a new plain; where beauty, love, agony and joy all co-exist in perfect harmony.

For me, orchestration has always been one of my strong points, cultivated over many years of score study and professional application. There is nothing quite like the feeling one gets when standing in front of an orchestra, listening to a hundred musicians bring your hard work and labor to life. It truly is a life changing experience.

Peter Alexander’s book, Professional Orchestration 2A: Orchestrating the Melody within the String Section is a unique approach to the subject of orchestration.

It focuses on groupings within the strings, instead of the traditional “This instrument sounds good with that one” approach. It gives the reader the ability to understand how to accomplish the big, lush sounds of master composers such as Strauss, Mahler and Moussorgsky, without the need to scour countless scores and recordings. The many full page orchestral excerpts and MP3 examples perfectly depict the technique that is being described by the text itself.

Another aspect of the book that I thought was unique and extremely useful was the incorporation of the “electronic orchestra”. The diminished availability of professional orchestras and the proliferation of affordable computers and software have lead to the rise of the MIDI orchestra. Software such as Garritan’s Personal Orchestra, Quantum Leap’s Symphonic Orchestra and Mark of the Unicorn’s Symphonic Instrument have opened up new and exciting possibilities for the professional and the hobbyist alike. The book’s included scores and MIDI mock-up techniques give the orchestrator a chance to obtain true orchestral sound and color through practical exercises and real world applications. This feature alone should make this book a must have for all musicians.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the text and attempting the MIDI mock-ups. This book mirrors my own approach to MIDI orchestration and I find it a very useful tool. I will recommend this book to anyone who is serious about their musical education and who wants to achieve the highest standards from their compositions and orchestrations as possible. I can’t wait to see the next volume.

Dr. Andrew Mark Sauerwein
Composer-in-residence and Assistant Professor of Theory/Composition, Belhaven College
From the outset, the art and practice of instrumentation and orchestration is best understood by hearing and studying the literature: It’s all there, in the music. Peter Alexander’s Professional Orchestration, Volume 2A, embodies this tradition beautifully, and serves as an indispensable reference tool for anyone wanting to better grasp the art of string-orchestra writing.

At first blush, a 600-page text focused exclusively on a catalog of techniques for string writing seems like overkill: one can imagine pages of descriptive prose, far more than students could work through in a typical college-level class on orchestration. But this text is primarily music, and (after a modest but effective sales-pitch to get students on board) every ounce of text is used to frame each example and lead students into its technical heart. The author’s observation about the use of MIDI mock-ups and the importance of live sound provide an excellent frame in which to develop technical facility with ears, sequencers, and sample libraries. Through the process of hearing the music, studying the score, making electronic mock-ups, and seeking out live performances, students are drawn into a well-organized and focused pursuit of the practical business of using orchestral strings effectively and expressively.

I can imagine some instructors wishing for more “lecture” in the text itself, but I will dare to say such an approach entirely misses the point: in Professional Orchestration, the student is invited directly and immediately into the process of exploring and absorbing the art of orchestration. The classroom “lecture,” or mentorship (as it ideally should be), can then build on students’ technical engagement with individually-tailored insights and reflections. And this is essential: the teacher, not the textbook, is the best mentor; and music, more than words, provides the best explanation. By putting musical experience front and center, Professional Orchestration provides an ideal platform for such teaching and learning.

Reviews: Professional Orchestration Volume 2B

Michael Barry
Project Manager for the Cinesamples library Hollywood Winds
Since it can be easily argued that the winds are the hardest section to synthistrate, knowing how to effectively write for woodwinds gives a composer's work a definite sense of professionalism, an advantage over a colleague who isn't writing for them. However, balancing the unique tones from the main instruments found in the woodwind choir can become problematic at times without a proper understanding of how to write for them.

In Professional Orchestration Volume 2B, Orchestrating the Melody Within the Woodwind and Brass Sections, you'll find a unique departure from the generic descriptions provided in the classical orchestration textbooks. Peter has edited and streamlined this information so you can take it straight to your sequencer. You can learn the breakthroughs achieved by Ravel, Stravinsky, among others, which you can then apply to your own music.

For students coming out of a rock/jazz background, you'll find Peter's detailed descriptions of instrument combinations akin to "lead" signal chains: "Take a Les Paul Marshall stack, add a dark Strat up an octave and you get this, you can hear it on this track from this album" ...becomes... "Take a Flute, add Oboe, add Bb Clarinet, add Eb clarinet and you get this tone, you can hear it in Mahler Symphony #8 - here is the score, and oh yes, the additional MP3s from eClassical and videos from YouTube where available.

All in all, Professional Orchestration 2B and the entire Professional Orchestration Series is a fantastic tool for those wishing to improve their own musicality.

Stephen Melillo
Winner, Telly and Ava Gold Awards

Nominated five times for a Grammy

Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize

Leaving a major of Physics and beginning studies at the Boston Conservatory of Music, I had multiple reasons for going to a pawn shop and buying one of each instrument, then setting up private lessons with Boston Symphony Musicians. In addition to preparing myself as a teacher, I needed to know what books couldn’t tell me.

Orchestration, a one-semester course was often discussed in the factual terms of instrumental ranges, sometimes tessitura, and with minimal, often stylistically-confined examples. But was that really Orchestration?

My own sensibilities told me that becoming a beginner several times, then advancing while studying and playing each of the instruments myself, while discussing them with professional master-Musicians would provide a better window into the possible.

Enter Hugo Norden, a professor I was very fortunate to have, and interestingly enough, a teacher Peter and I have in common. “There are 6 ways to voice a triad,” said the 90-year-old genius.

You have to love it. Three factorial. Simple math, but wow, how liberating that is for someone who never studied theory. Suddenly the massiveness of Music was graspable. A great beginning!

Now enter Peter Alexander. Let’s recreate his logic in organizing this very powerful document. If you want to play a game, you want to understand not only the rules, but the possibilities. Yes, there are the parameters, the confinements... but what can you DO?

Although the permutations of Orchestration are greater than voicing a triad, the same logic nevertheless applies in utilizing an instrument or a group of instruments as they interact with another instrument or group of instruments. This is why I have come to deeply respect Peter Alexander. He has taken the time to provide an impressive compilation of possibilities. Why?

Peter is an autodidact. He is self-taught. In his impassioned quest to uncover the “mysteries” of Orchestration, and enhanced by a high order of personal expectation, Peter has forged ahead for his own acquisition of knowledge and in so doing provided for other self-starters a compendium of devices, combinations, interactions and a means of experimentation that to my mind represent one of the best ways possible to share the history, science, and art of Orchestration. He has provided the rules and the possibilities of the game.

From the vantage point of someone who has taught instrumental Music for 35 years, and a fellow self-learner who has started young people on the very instruments I was also writing for in everything from young band to professional orchestras across many, many hours of Music, I have learned that the most important aspect of Orchestration... regardless of style, or age, or ensemble... is working experience with the possible. In a word, Orchestration is the study of possibilities. With continued experience, the world of the possible grows and reflects other considerations like rehearsal time and personal knowledge of the Musicians... and much more.

Peter deserves our respect and gratitude. He has provided a well organized consolidation of possibilities. He has cast these possibilities/devices/combinations/interactions into a carefully laid out, well-articulated self-starter lesson plan. In lieu of having access to Musicians, he has made experimentation possible via the use of carefully plotted exercises with current technologies and virtual libraries. Therefore the book is simultaneously historic and state-of-the-art.

Many times across the many years I have been asked, “Where is your book on Orchestration?” Now, I am fully confident in responding, “Look up Peter Alexander. That’s the way to go.

If you, the self-learner will approach this process with the rigor you have imagined in the great Composers of the Past and observe in the working Composers and Orchestrators of the present... if you put yourself through the experimentations and imagine you yourself having compiled such a wonderful, useful resource, then you will gain much from this well-crafted self-teaching tool.

Peter and I are now friends. Before that friendship, I had read his other book on Orchestration. Through his work, I have found someone with much to offer those who really want to learn and are willing to work hard. For that reason, I am delighted to offer this forward. I wish you and Peter... Godspeed!