Orchestration Secrets from Star Wars

Orchestration Secrets from Star Wars

In my work with the Academy of Scoring Arts, I’ve been leading lots of orchestration discussions on both film music scores and on classical music works, and as a professional exercise, one day I decided to sit down and sequence the first two pages of the¬†Star Wars Suite by John Williams. What this means is: I loaded up my orchestral template, and literally played in every single note in the score, so I could see how it was put together.

The video below is a narrated version of the exercise, which takes just under an hour. I strongly encourage composers of all stripes and fans of film music to take the time to watch it to see the puzzle come together one note and one instrument at a time. There are a lot of orchestration techniques used in the piece that are revealed as you hear them in an isolated context.

For the technically inclined, I am using MOTU’s Digital Performer 9 in this video along with Native Instruments Kontakt as my sampler, and a whole host of orchestral sample libraries including offerings from EastWest, 8Dio, CineSamples, and ProjectSAM.

2 weeks ago
Seriously not far off from going rogue and getting an illegal haircut.
3 weeks ago
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4 weeks ago
Next influential album. "The Mississippi Delta was shining like a National guitar..." (pic on right is the latter). @PaulSimonMusic broke all the rules with #Graceland, and came out the other side having created a wholly original and inspiring fusion of musical cultures. https://t.co/pXIw0q7Drm daviddas photo
4 weeks ago
Next most influential album: @billyjoel is, in my eyes, one of the greatest songwriting craftsmen ever. He assimilates numerous and diverse influences fluidly, then brings it back with freshness, color, and a sense of place and belonging. His music is the soundtrack of my life. https://t.co/FGFcI9hJJW daviddas photo
4 weeks ago
Next album. Complete genre shift. Discovering Gershwin as a teenager led me to Ravel, and when I heard how this small-handed Spanish virtuoso conquered the demands of the left hand concerto...then brought her dazzling virtuosity and grace to the G major one...it's perfection. https://t.co/R8eExkViu9 daviddas photo