Orchestration Masterclass, Part 4: Writing for Strings | Jason Allen | Skillshare

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Orchestration Masterclass, Part 4: Writing for Strings

teacher avatar Jason Allen, PhD, Ableton Certified Trainer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Format Of This Class


    • 3.

      Previously On Orchestration


    • 4.

      Tools I'm Using


    • 5.

      Picking A Tune


    • 6.

      What We Can Tell About This Tune


    • 7.

      Foreground, Middle Ground, Background


    • 8.

      Foreground Orchestrating Process


    • 9.

      Using Violin As Melody


    • 10.

      Using Second Violin


    • 11.

      Using Viola As Melody


    • 12.

      Using Cello As Melody


    • 13.

      Using The Bass As Melody


    • 14.

      Considering Background


    • 15.

      Background Above Foreground


    • 16.

      Color As Seperation


    • 17.

      Texture As Separation


    • 18.

      Beethoven Analysis, Part 1


    • 19.

      Beethoven Analysis, Part 2


    • 20.

      Considering Middleground


    • 21.

      Middleground Techniques


    • 22.

      Beethoven Example: Middleground


    • 23.

      Texture And Rhythm


    • 24.

      Rhythmic Variation


    • 25.

      More Subtle


    • 26.

      Homophonic Writing


    • 27.

      Note Spacing


    • 28.



    • 29.

      Polyphonic Writing


    • 30.

      Greensleeves Polyphonic


    • 31.

      Connecting The Dots


    • 32.

      A Little Nuts


    • 33.

      Blur The Lines


    • 34.



    • 35.

      The Full Monty


    • 36.

      Monophonic Writing


    • 37.

      "Monorhythmic" Writing


    • 38.

      Example of Monorhythmic Writing


    • 39.

      Strings Are Versatile


    • 40.

      You Dont Have To Use All Of The Strings All of the Time


    • 41.

      The Strings Can Groove


    • 42.

      String Groove Examples


    • 43.

      Example: Me: String Quartet No.3


    • 44.

      Example: Me: History of Ice


    • 45.

      What Comes Next?


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About This Class

This course is certified 5-stars by the International Association of Online Music Educators and Institutions.

100% Answer Rate! Every single question posted to this class is answered within 24 hours by the instructor.

Are you a music maker, performer, composer, or aspiring songwriter looking to up your game? This is the place to start.

It's time to learn orchestration to give your music the power and the passion that it deserves.

Orchestration is the study of each instrument in the orchestra, how they work, how to write for them, and how each instrument collides with the others to make new sounds. Think of it like painting: The orchestra is your palette of colors. But you don't want to just mix them all together. You need to understand some principles of mixing those colors together before you put your brush on canvas.

In this series of classes we are going to work on three things: 

  • Instrumentation: Knowing how all of the instruments in the orchestra work, and how to write for them in an idiomatic way.

  • Composition: Using the orchestra to write powerful music. Learning how to blend the different sounds of the orchestra to make a new, unique, sound.

  • Synthestration: Using common production software (Ableton Live, FL Studio, Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Cubase, etc.) to create a realistic orchestra sound using sample libraries.

In this class, "Part 4: Writing for Strings" we are going to focus on the strings as a foreground, middleground, and background section. We will explore using the strings for melody, harmony, and texture, while also exploring the techniques that Beethoven used in his string writing.

If you don't know me, I've published a lot of classes here. Those classes have been really successful (top sellers, in fact!), and this has been one of the most requested classes that my students (over 1,000,000 of them) have asked for. I'm really excited to finally be able to bring this to you.

Here is a list of some of the topics we will cover:

  • Foreground writing

  • Putting the melody in the violin, viola, cello, or bass

  • Staying clear of the melody in terms of range

  • Putting the background above the foreground

  • Color as separation of foreground and middleground

  • Texture as separation of foreground and middleground

  • Middleground writing and Techniques

  • Texture and Rhythm

  • Rhythmic Variation

  • Background writing

  • Homophonic writing

  • Polyphonic writing

  • Monophonic writing

  • Monorhythmic writing

  • Looking at the masters: Beethoven, Symphony No. 1

  • And Much, Much, More!

My Promise to You:

I am a full-time Music composer and Educator. If you have any questions please post them in the class or send me a direct message. I will respond within 24 hours. 

What makes me qualified to teach you?

In addition to being a composer and educator,  I also have a Ph.D. in music, I am a university music professor, and have a long list of awards for teaching.

But more importantly: I use this stuff every day. I write music professionally, am an active guitarist, and stay on top of all the latest production techniques, workflows, and styles. As you will see in this class, I just love this stuff. And I love teaching it.

Let's get started! 

See you in lesson 1.

All best,

Jason (but call me Jay...)

Meet Your Teacher

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Jason Allen

PhD, Ableton Certified Trainer


J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remix artist, multi-media artist, performer, inventor, and entrepreneur. Allen is a versatile creator whose diverse project experience ranges from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen performs on a set of “glove” controllers, which he has designed, built, and programmed by himself. When he’s not working as a solo artist, Allen is a serial collaborator. His primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which Allen is one of three producers.

In 2014, Allen was a semi-finalist for the Grammy Foundation’s Music Educator of the Year.

... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hey everyone, welcome to orchestration part. So in this class we're going to dive in deep and focus on the strings. This is probably the thing that people asked me about most. Because if you are one, a lot of people think about orchestra. They're thinking here about strings. When they're thinking about making those big, lush film scores, they're thinking about strings. So in this class we're really going to focus in on what makes that big, lush film score sound, or just that really nice orchestra sound. It's not just about having good samples. That's a big part of it. And we're going to cover that very soon. But in this class, we're going to talk about what it takes to write for the strings that will make it sound good. Okay? So we need to take full advantage of the things that the strings can do. That's basically the gist of it. So we're going to talk about traditional things like foreground, middle ground, background writing, voicings of chords and harmonies and melodies. Working with texture, we're going to dive into some Beethoven to see how he did it. At the very end, look at some of my music and pick that apart a little bit. And talk about some of the things that I like to do in the strings, which is a lot because I really liked writing for strings. Now one thing that I noticed and filming this class is that while we are focusing on the strings, and I'll say this again in just a few videos. But most of the things we talk about applied to all the instruments here, it's just them focusing in on the strings, but a lot of this stuff can be applied to all instruments. So even if you're not all that interested in the strings, there's class is really important. Okay, That being said, let's dive in. 2. The Format Of This Class: All right. Let's dive in. I got a new camera. What do you think? It's better? Fixes some of the light from my window, which I was able to resolve a little bit also. Anyway, you don't care about my camera. You want to talk about writing for strings. So format of this class is gonna be kinda similar to the last class. We're not going to use a Bach chorale, I thought just to jazz things up, so to speak, pun intended. We, we'd use just like a jazz standard. I don't know which one yet. We'll figure that out in the next segment. But we're going to take a tune and we're going to show a 100 different things we can do with it, to orchestrate it out. To just use strings to fill it out in a whole bunch of different ways. We can make it sound lush and romantic. We can make it sound grooving and driving. We can make it sound dissonant and harsh. Tons of different things we can do just by using the string techniques that we already know. We're just going to really focus in on those in this class. Another reason I wanted to focus in on just strings as that seems to be the thing that most people think about when they think about the orchestra. Thinking about strings and getting that big lush sound that we hear in films. You hear in some games you here and even in just pop songs with a big orchestration to them. That's great. We're definitely going to do that. I won't spend a ton of time on making the real dissonant, edgy stuff, but I do like that stuff. So I just want to focus this section of the class in on just the strings and really just getting that really good string sound. You might be thinking, well, getting that string sound is really easy, right? All I have to do is get a good string library. That's part of it. But also you need to know how to write for the strings. You need to be aware of the voicings of your chords, how all that works so that they sound like, they sound good, they sound like good strings. So you've gotta know how to write for them. You also need good samples if you really want them to sound big and rich, but you also need to know what's going to sound good. If you just pile a bunch of notes together, it's not going to sound good no matter how good your samples are. Okay, so let's do a super quick little review on what we've talked about in the other three sections. In case it's been awhile. Then I'm going to talk about the tools we're going to use and then we're going to dive right in to our first project. Hey everyone. Oh, one more thing, a little update. So I'm jumping back now I finished filming the whole class. Now I just wanted to jump back and add one thing to this. You might be thinking, I don't believe you, that you finished the class and jump back because you're wearing the exact same shirt. It just shows I have a very limited wardrobe. Moving on. I wanted to point out that as I finished this class, I realized that yes, we focus on strings and this whole class. But most of the large majority of what we're talking about in this class can be applied to all of the instruments were focusing on strings. Because again, I, I, I think that's what a lot of people want to study. But keep in mind that a lot of what we're gonna do with this class can be done with any of the instrument families or even across the instrument families. So most of it isn't unique to the strings. I just wanted to point that out before we move on. 3. Previously On Orchestration: Previously on orchestration. So our first two orchestration classes were just about instrumentation, how the instruments work, right? The first one is where we really dove into the strings. So just to remind you of a couple of things about the strings. We talked about Boeing and different things we need to think about with Boeing. Whether or not we write Boeing or don't write Boeing, I favor on the side of don't write in Boeing's. You can, if that's new information, you can review that. We also talked about just kinda non Boeing techniques like pizzicato, doing multiple stops, double stops, triple stops on a rare occasion, but double stops mostly. That just means violence or any of the string instruments playing two notes at once. We talked about the range and the sound of the different string instruments. And just to review our five string instruments, we have five of them. But really only for, in the standard traditional orchestra is violin one violin, viola, cello, and double base. Those are our five. Now I said it kinda only four because Viola, violin one and violin two are obviously both violence. But we write for them as though they are two different instruments. They're basically like a five voice choir in a way. But they are technically the same instruments, just different sections. More on that when we get into it. Harmonics, mutes, col legno, that means playing with the back, the wood of the bow. It's a good way to make enemies with violin players. Sandy vibrato score to Ciara. That means it's a fancy way of saying retuning the violin. Another good way to make enemies with violin players. Okay, so that was all kind of in the first-class. Second-class was instrumentation, brass and percussion, voice and things are third-class. We talked mostly about lines and doublings. That's the one you probably just took. Maybe this will all be great information going forward. We're going to build on that in this class, although we're only going to focus on the strings, that idea of following a line and creating a line and doubling that line for support for density. It's all going to play a big part in this class too. So that brings us up to speed. Let's really quick just talk about the tools I'm using. They're the same as what I was using in the last video. So if you want, you can skip this next one. But for anyone just joining us now I want to make sure you understand what I'm using here. So let's go into a new video about that. 4. Tools I'm Using: Okay, so the main tools we're using, actually I think the only tools we're going to be using in this is my notation program. I'm using Dory co. That's the newest in the market for notation software. You can really use whatever you want. Musescore can work. Okay, I decided for these two, for these classes to upgrade to a more professional tool, which is Dora CO. There's also Finale or Sibelius. Those are all three of those professional tools. So the professional notation programs on the market right now. Our Dory co Finale and Sibelius MuseScore doesn't quite get you there in terms of a professional tool, but it's pretty darn good. So I've seen some really quite great stuff done with MuseScore. So there's nothing wrong with using MuseScore. The main reason I've upgraded to Doric row for these classes is I want to be able to import the samples, which I'm going to talk about in just a second. And I don't know that you can import these kinds of samples into MuseScore. Maybe you can, but I just wanted to use a more solid program for that. So about that, the sample library I'm using here is going to be the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Believe this is called the core addition. Let me see. Pro. This is the pro edition BBC Symphony Orchestra Pro. They also have a core addition that's free. And they have this discover version. Maybe this cover version is the one that's free. One of them is free and is great. I'm using the pro one, which I don t think is free, but for just strings, you're, you're gonna be pretty close with any of the versions. So at the BBC Symphony Orchestra is pretty good. In a future class, we're gonna look at some other sample libraries that'll get us even closer to sounding professional. But in this one we're just gonna use the BBC Symphony Orchestra. If you need information on how to download that, how to find it, and how to install it into your software. Go back to the previous class. I did a whole video just on installing and setting that up. And that's it. So Doric row and BBC Symphony Orchestra, those are the tools we're gonna be using. And we're just going to write. Cool. Alright, so let's pick a tune that we can arrange and rearrange and rearrange some more. And hopefully one that doesn't drive his mad. And we'll go from there. 5. Picking A Tune: Okay, so let's start with picking a tune last time. In the last class we use bach chorales. Those are great. I mean, I guess we just used one and there are like hundreds more to choose from. But I thought let's do something a little with a little more defined melody. This time. I wanted to use a jazz standard and I pulled out my real book and dug through it and spent hours digging through it. But one thing I realized after I had picked a few tunes and then did a little research on them, is that virtually no jazz standards are in the public domain. And I really want to use a public domain Tune so that this doesn't get taken down and I don't have to deal with all of the copyright issues associated with it. So we're going to stay away from jazz. And instead, what I decided was to go with just a really old medieval tune that's fairly familiar to most of us. And that is Greensleeves. So if you don't know Greensleeves, it's a, it's a minor melody in N6 or in three. You could write it out both ways. Got it funded, a leading tone thing in it that'll give us a little bit of weird things to chew on. And it's had different lyrics throughout the ages. Sometimes we say get at Christmas and we use the letter x. What child is this? But it's just a good old medieval tune. It sounds like this. Okay, and then it basically repeats, repeats the first part again, and then that's the end. It looks like I found some sheet music here and we'll, I'll give you this sheet music because it just to a JPEG file. Somebody wrote this out in the key of E minor. Normally I'm used to seeing this in a minor, but that might just be because I'm a guitar player and that's just how we'd like to play it. It falls into our hands and A-Minor really easily. E-minor is cool too, so let's work out an E minor. That's just fine. So the lyrics here, it says, alas, my love you do me wrong to cast me off courteously for I have loved you well in long delighting in your company. Greensleeves was all my joy. Greensleeves was my delight. Greensleeves, my heart of gold. And who bought my lady Greensleeves? I have no idea what Greensleeves is in this context. Maybe someone in the comments here can lesson on like his Greensleeves, the woman's name, the guy's name. Is it literal like he was wearing sleeves that were green. And so I don't know, anyway, it doesn't matter. For our purposes. We're not really going to work with lyrics here anyway. We're just going to arrange this. So let's go to a new video. I don't want to talk about why I chose this one in what specifically I was looking for because it has some stuff that it's worth digging into. So let's go into that. 6. What We Can Tell About This Tune: Okay, so there's a couple of things I'm looking for when I'm deciding what tuned to do here. And this is gonna be different for you because most of the time, I'm assuming a lot of you are going to be primarily orchestrating your own music. Um, but this is worth pointing out so that you understand kind of what I'm, what I'm thinking here. First, I want a harmonically interesting piece. I want something with a chord progression that has regularly moving cord. So that's going to let me explore intersections of those chords and how I can tie notes together and make a nice texture out of it. So this has, this is a very diatonic piece. It's all very much in key. It's got this leading tone note right here. But if we say it's in harmonic or melodic minor, that's totally within the piece, so that's all just fun. But it's got a different chord. Every bar, pretty much. There's B7, which is what we would expect in a harmonic minor, to take us back to the E minor. It kind of switches to G here, we could argue that this is a shift to a relative major. Here we go, G, D, D minor, E minor, C, B7. We don't really get like a D7, so it's not really a modulation, but certainly feels like one for a minute. None of this really matters. What I am. The thing that matters is that we have a pretty rich harmonic piece. It doesn't always need to be a rich harmonic piece to orchestrate. It's just what I'm looking for it because I really want to focus on how we can build up that harmony. Another thing that I'm looking for is a piece that we can really play around a lot with. Because what I wanna do is work with this melody both as basically I want to put the melody and all the different strings. I want to put the accompaniment and all the different strings. I wanted to experiment with different kinds of accompaniment. I want to try to make it sound really aggressive, make it sound really serene, and everything in-between. So we're going to do some kind of weird versions of Greensleeves. But this notation, what we have in the sheet music kind of says it all. All we have is the melody and the chords. That's all I want, right? I don't want the accompaniment that the piano player played that we just saw because I wanted to do my own accompaniment. Maybe we'll do something similar to what they did with the strings. But we're going to do a bunch of different kinds of accompaniment, I think. So. That all being said, I want to introduce you to one of our big concepts in this part of the class. And that is foreground, middle ground, and background. So let's go to the new video and talk about that and how we're going to work with that in the context of Greensleeves. 7. Foreground, Middle Ground, Background: Okay, so when we think about orchestration, and this isn't just a string thing, this is true of the whole orchestra, but I really want to dive into it here on the strings because it's easiest to deal with in this smaller category of just the strings. One of the big things we focus on are these three layers, foreground, middle, ground, and background. The idea here is that foreground is basically your melody, your melody or melodic stuff. Your main, your main thing, the thing that you want, people walking away, whistling, the thing that you really want them to focus on, right? It's the focus of the piece. The middle ground is any kind of like counter melody or any material that just really supports the melody. So it could be accompany mental material, but it's mostly things that are supporting the main melody, like a counter melody, harmony. Anything that is like a counterpoint to the melody, that's going to be middle ground. Basically, things that are important to help bring the melody forward, but not the things that you want people to really latch onto. If there's a counter melody, you don't want people walking away singing the counter melody, right? You want them singing the melody. And then the background material is the accompaniment. So anything that's like arpeggios or rhythmic things, or just cords, just harmonies. Baselines are often in the background thing, although they can be in the other two, depending on what kind of baseline you're doing and we'll look at that later. But anything that can be considered just accompaniment. Now, all three layers are important. It's not that one is more important than the other. And they also common misconception, do not align with register. It is not true that your melody is always in the violins and your violins or the foreground. And your cello is, and bases are always the background. And your violas and violin twos are the middle ground. That's not true. One thing I want to get in your head, probably the most important thing about this entire section is that any of those five parts of the string section can be the foreground, middle ground, or background. It is not true that the violence always get the melody. Given the melody to the cello. Sometimes it's amazing. Give the melody to the base sometimes, and let the violins be the accompaniment. You can do that. And we'll look at ways of doing that. So to see this idea foreground, middle ground, background, we always want to be thinking about that when we're working with orchestration in terms of these layers. So keep that in mind. So first, our first big topic, because I want to focus on the foreground. How can we get something really to shine in the foreground? So that's our next big chunk stuffs. So let's dive in. 8. Foreground Orchestrating Process: We're going to start with the foreground, which is the obvious place to start. It's not the place where you always have to start. In fact, my process, when I'm writing music, just original music, is actually to focus on the background. First, I'd like to really hone in on the texture and get that really dialed in. And then let the melody you find itself. I've talked about this a whole bunch in my composition classes. But here we're doing more of an arrangement. We have Tune already. So what we need to do and we're starting in on the, on, working with the foreground is actually pretty simple. It's obviously the most simple of all three layers. We have a melody already written. That's our foreground, right? We do need to consider a few things. We need to consider. The range and that kinda tessitura of the instrument that we want to put it in. So for example, if we're going to put it in the cello, we need to think about, do we want it in the lower end of the cello where it's got this real room. And how does that sit into the melody? Or do we want it in the upper range of the cello where it's really got that sing, singable, single mobility singing ability. I think that's the word I'm looking for in that upper range. If I put it in the violins, that upper range doesn't have a lot of power, but it's very, can be very sweet. So we have to think about that. And for that reason, I wanna kinda go through this melody for Greensleeves and see if we can put it in all the different instruments and examine the different places that it falls. And the way I would think about this if I was going to fully orchestrated out. So we're going to focus the next five or so videos just on putting the foreground material together in five different ways. Once in the first violin, second violin, viola, cello, and bass. I will also just say, Well, we're here. If I was arranging this and I wanted it to be in my own style and was my own kind of work. My first gut reaction would not be to put the melody in the violins. I would not want to do that. The reason I would not want to do that is just because that's the most expected thing. It might sound great and the violence. But I'm always looking for a way to put a really great melody in the violas or the shallows. I would probably try to do that first. If I found I just couldn't make it work, I might go to the violence, but my gut reaction is usually not to put the melody in the violence, just because most melodies are usually in the violence. Nothing wrong with putting the melody and violence. Do it. It's great. But Alex Stuart's things up. Okay, So let's dive in and let's talk about using the melody in the first violence. 9. Using Violin As Melody: Okay, so I've put our melody into Doric o here. Let's just hear it one time through so that we all know what we're what we're listening to you here. Here we go. Okay? So what do we need to consider while we're thinking about the foreground here? So the foreground really is just the melody. We don't have any kind of counterpoint, any kind of accompaniment, anything else? So we have the sky is the limit on what we can do. We can do anything. But I do want to point out a couple things. There are things to think about. Here are a couple of considerations that we have. And this is why I wanted to go through this with each instrument so that you really understand kinda the way I would think about this. It may seem obvious, but don't worry, we're going to build on this as we build an arrangement for this tune. So the first thing I'm going to think about, we're looking at violins here, violin one. And the first thing I'm really going to look at is the range of this melody. And this is kind of a weird melody and that its range is bigger than an octave. Most singable traditional melodies are within an octave. That doesn't mean that ones that are bigger than an octave or bad or anything like that. If you're working on a melody of your own and it's bigger than an octave. Don't worry about it, That's great, That's cool. I'm just saying like most of the time, it's within an octave. Meaning that the lowest note of the melody and the highest note of the melody, or an octave or less. This one, it's actually a tenth. If we look at our lowest note, which is natural, happens a few times, see there's a C-sharp, There's a B again. And C-sharp we got okay, so yeah, that's our lowest note. Okay, so we've confirmed that. Now let's look for our highest note. Goes through here. There's that be an octave higher, but here's a C in higher than that. Then if we go to the B section here, we get this. D is our highest point, our highest note. And it actually happens again. B to D, right? So that's a tip that's more than an octave. What that tells me is that I might be a little bit limited in the range because it's a big range. So I can't move this whole thing up or down an octave. Maybe. Okay, let's explore that a little bit more. Can I move it down an octave? I can't. I'm gonna go out of the range of the violin. If I move it down an octave, that doesn't have anything to do with that range of the, the 10th of the melody that just has to do with the violin. We're gonna get below our lowest note, which is a G on the violet. If we go down. Now, if we go up an octave with everything, Let's try it. Now. We've done something a little strange, because what's happening now is we're straddling two different tessitura, write two different ranges. This range kind of on the staff, just above the staff, is a good range for the violin. It's got some, it's got some emotion to it. It's got some power to it, I guess. But as we get up to that, D, We're gonna be quite high, right way up there. Now if I arrange was only an octave will be down on this as B right here. So a little bit more palatable. But because we have such a wide range, I don't love this octave. I don't love being way up here because we've got some notes that are way down in the comfortable staff and some that are, that are significantly higher. That's going to make a weird dynamic range. It's gonna be a little strange. So I'd rather keep it down an octave where we were. So let's go back down there. There we are. So I think this is the best spot for it. Now, what I would really love to do is change the key of this whole thing and get this B down to a G, right? Because that would make that, that low note hit on our open string. And I think it would resonate really nicely for this kind of give it a nice dark tone, which is what I want in this kind of minor medieval sounding melody. But I'm not gonna do that because I don't want to change the key right now, but if I had the option to change the key, I would. What Q would that put us in if this was a G, Basically we're going down a major third when the key of E minor now, so if we take an E and we go down a major third, a, b, and c, we move to the key of C minor. So it'd be a little trickier, but that's okay. So, okay, so let's move on and look at putting the melody in the second violin. And if there's any differences that come up, there. 10. Using Second Violin: Let's talk about violin too. So if you're asking yourself, hey, did you get a cold? And between the last two videos? Yes, I did. The joys of living with a toddler. Oh, hey, violin, two years thinking like it should be the same, because it's the same instrument. It's just got its own staff. And you're right. There's nothing monstrously different here, but I do want to take the opportunity to talk about leaving space for the middle ground and background. So with this melody being so big in terms of range, if it's here and the violin two. We don't, we want to think a little bit about what we're gonna do with our middle ground and background, right? Because let's assume violin one is going to be material that's higher than violent too. It doesn't have to be. But for the purposes of just kind of thinking through this, let's assume it is. So in that case, we need to think about what we want violent one to do that's gonna be higher. And stay out of the way of violin two. But still let violin to shine as the melody. This is actually a really tricky thing. If we want violin two to be heard as the main thing, the foreground thing. And we want something to be above it. In terms of notes. That's tricky, especially since this goes all the way from B down, all the way up to that d, right? So if we want to stay away from this, we need to be probably at least a third higher. So F are the staff for our first file is going to be our lowest note if we want to be above it. So we're going to have to probably do something rhythmically very different if we want that to work and still have violent to be heard as the foreground. The easiest way to make something sound like the foreground is to put it in the highest voice, right? Like just go to any choir. If you want something to sound like the melody, give it to the Sopranos, whatever's on the top. Usually we hear it. Now. It doesn't mean that it has to be that way. That's just kinda the easiest way to do it. But we're not going to go with the easiest way. We're gonna go with the most musically interesting way. Now let's same time as all of that. We want to leave root, leave room underneath it for our middle ground and background material, right? So we have plenty of room under it. But these will be things that we think about as we move down, which we're gonna do in the next couple of videos. All the way down to the bases. And thinking about how do we do accompaniment when the melody is in the bass. So an F on that. Let's move on and talk about the viola. 11. Using Viola As Melody: Okay, let's move on to the viola. So if we just paste it right into the viola, we end up here. So this is gonna be the same octave. And this could be fairly nice. It's the viola, so it's overall gonna be a little bit darker. It's, it's gonna be this range and the viola is, it's pretty high up on the viola. It's not my favorite range, especially for like a minor melody that we wanted to have a look at darker sound, which this is. So I'm going to look at taking this down an octave and seeing if we can do it. So let's just try it. So let's take the whole thing. There we are. So now let's look at our range. Okay, That's almost our lowest notes. What? This B is out of range. This is one note to our lowest note is a C. There's a half-step too low. So unless we're willing to ask our violin or viola to retune or something. This isn't going to work. It's just that one lowest note. We had the same note again here. For a half-step. This melody, I think, would be beautiful in this range. Really low, the viola, it's going to make a really dark, creepy sound. I don't know if these samples are gonna do it justice, but let's try it. Let's keep it going all the way up to the high note here. Yeah, This I think is my favorite option so far. I think it's gorgeous right in that melody. Now keep in mind to think I'm going for here is this kind of darker melody. So if you don't want this dark tone, this isn't gonna be perfect for you. But for this melody, I really like it here. So what can I do about this? A? Tricky, sorry that this a is B, mixing it by clefs. I could do something like this. I could put that in the cello or something where we can do this. Because that up, There's a couple of different terms for that. We'll talk about more about doing this later, about kind of switching around. We could call this kind of pointillism thing, although it's not one. We could call it this thing, this weird term called Clang Farben collodion, which is a really fun word to say. But this isn't really that either. This is really more just kind of covering that note that's too low. I'm cheating. Let's call it cheating. We could do something like this. Like let's, let's hear it from here. How do I? There we go. So it kind of works, but it also makes it a little bit hard for your ear to follow that note, especially if it was played live, you'd hear it. Can't switch instruments. And depending on what our accompaniments doing, we might really lose the the melody there. We'd have to be really careful about our middle ground and background if we wanted to try to pull this off. But we can do that. We can be really careful with those things and pull this up. So it might be my favorite option so far because I really liked it down here. And it's cash man, it's just that half-step. Again, if we could change the key, lift the key up a half-step, in this case, to B-flat minor. It would be ten times better than doing this, but we can make it work. I really like it in this range though. So we might come back to that, play around with this idea if we really wanted to. But the meantime, let's move on and talk about what happens when we put it in the cello. 12. Using Cello As Melody: Okay, Let's talk about the cello. Now. If we just move it right in from the original pitch that I put it in the violins. We get it way up high, right? And the jello. And you know that I love the upper range of the cello. I've talked about this a few times. This is not technically out of range, but it's pretty screaming like that. Nero is gonna be tough to get an even tougher to get in tune. So let's take it down an octave. And then we're going to see if we can take it down yet another octave. Okay? So let's take a look at this. This puts us really kinda right in the middle of the cello, at least on this page. If we go over here, here, we're getting up into that nice kind of lyric ringing of the cello that I, that I really like. We're leaving it pretty quick. This is going to make it sound a lot heavier. Okay, So this is gonna be like a heavier sound, not over the top, heavy. It's still can be relatively lyrical. This is nice. I think this works well. It's not quite as dark of a timber is I like in the viola, even though the viola, the viola in this range just has a little bit darker Tambora that I like a little bit more than this one. But it's not bad. Let's try it. Let's see if we can go down another octave. Okay, so are we still in range? Nope. Same problem with the viola. We lose that one. Note that b is just a half-step under our low. See this melody is really quite annoying for the strings actually. So we're going to have that same problem here. And frankly, this is okay. I know I'm not going to like the melody down here because it's gonna be kinda fat surrounding the cello down in this range. It's gonna be big and bulky. As bulky is, we're going to find the base to be, but it's gonna be too bulky for what I want in this particular melody. Yeah, even that is like going up to that. That D is really just kinda uneventful. And this register, it's just like, but it's not like powerful or singable or lyric really. It's just kind of there. This is not a real emotional register for the cello. I hope you realize that everything I'm saying here is super opinionated. You're welcome to disagree with me on it. What I'm doing now is just kinda toying around with this melody and seeing where I can get it to fit in a way that I like it. Also keeping in mind that because of the register or the range of this melody, being bigger than an octave, causes some unique problems. Okay, So you might be thinking, could I do that same trick here? And put that note in base? I could however, oops, I don't want to keep that. I could do this. However, Timperley, the base is a bit different than the cello. The base is so big and fat that I think this is really going to stick out. It's like the base just has so much presence, whereas the cello has much less. So it just feels like that one node is suddenly bro, and it's not just feels weird to do that. So the other case where we use the cello to cover for the viola worked much better. This case. I just don't think you're going to make that sound really smooth. It's just not going to work very well. So what I would do here is probably either, I would not use this melody in this range for the cello. My favorite option so far still that lower register or the viola, with covering that OneNote in the cello. Take it back up. In octave. We go. Okay, let's take a look at the base. 13. Using The Bass As Melody: So the base gives us a few unique problems. If we're going to put the melody in the bass. Now, keep in mind, I totally think you should do this. Put the melody in the bass from time-to-time, give the bass players something fun to chew on. So they're not just going to give them a nice, beautiful melody. I'll make a friend forever. However, there's a good reason why we don't have tons of melodies and the base. There are a few of them actually. So let's start with just our register stuff that we've already been talking about. So here we are. Cello register. We're already just screaming high. We're really kinda out of range here. You know, we can't really get these notes. So let's take it down an octave. Okay? So now we have a reasonable Octave for the base. I'm, nothing is out of range. It's pretty good. Cool. Let's listen to part of it. Okay? So it's kinda bland here. Double bass, not real lyrical here. If you want this to really sing, It's a great place for double bass. Think of the double bass as like a giant. Write the giant from like Jack and the Beanstalk or something like that. When the giant moves, it's, it's not graceful, it's not doing ballet. It takes energy to move. So when the, the most effective use of the giant is to have him walk in these big footsteps. Problem. Boom, right? Not do ballet. Kind of like that. I was kinda weird analogy, but maybe you get it. So a melody that will work well for the double basses is one that's maybe not so lyrical, but one that has those kind of big motions in it. Maybe we'll come across one and I can point it out, but this just doesn't really work all that well. It's too fat, it's too big and it's not really dark. It's dark, but it's almost like it's so dark of a timber that it's not dark anymore. I don't know. It's hard to explain. Can I take it down another octave? Kind of doubt it. Our lowest note on the basis of the E. There's no, we do not have the room to go down another octave. Also, another problem that we would have here is, what are we going to do for accompaniment? There is actually a lot we can do for accompaniment. If the melody is in the bass, we could do rhythmic stuff like imagine pizzicato corns happening in the other strings. That would work great. It would keep the base separate because it will be the only thing that's arco. While everything else is pizzicato, do quite well actually. But would it sound great? I don't really know my, my taste, but you're welcome to try it. So there are a lot of interesting things we can do with the accompaniment when the melody is in the bass. And we'll look at some of those once we talk about middle ground and background. But there are some special things you'll, you'll have to think about to keep out of the way of the base. Okay. I think that's all I have to say. Basically what I want you to get into your head is, can you give the melody to the base? Yes. Should you? Yes, you should try. Does it always work? No. It doesn't always work. But it's really cool what it does. 14. Considering Background: Okay, so a couple of things about foreground writing. We really need our melody or whatever is our foreground. I'm going to say melody for now, but just do keep in mind that the melody is not the only thing that can be in the foreground. It might be a texture that you want to come forward. It might be just some kind of gesture. But most of the time we're talking about a melody here. So how can we make that melody be the most forward thing? Now in order to explain some techniques for making it the most forward thing, we have to talk about the background. Because the, the biggest thing that's going to make the foreground be in the foreground is keeping the background away from it, right? So let's talk a little bit about the background as it relates to making the foreground the most present that it can be. So I've written here, world's most boring background, okay, I've just put the chords in K, So very simple triad harmony against the melody. So let's just hear what I did and I only did these first five bars. We're gonna go into a lot more detail about background textures shortly. For now, this is just kind of to prove a point. Let's just hear it. Just that much right? Now. There are a few different ways that I can make this melody stick out more than it already is. Right now, it actually doesn't stick out very much, right? It's really kind of buried in there. Now the obvious thing would be dynamics, right? Like I can make the melody louder, louder than everything else. Yeah, that's one way. But there are better ways. The first problem that we have here is that the melody, the range, the range of the melody is right in there with the harmony. Now this, I shouldn't call this a problem because this isn't always bad. There are times when you want this to happen and it can be a cool sound. But if you're really trying to separate foreground from background and we'll talk about the middle ground. I haven't forgotten about our friend, the middle ground later, but that's kind of a different animal. If you really want those to be separate. The range is a great way to do it. Okay? And this is an example of not doing it very well. So you look the first note, while the second note, our second violin and the harmony has the same note. And then we're right, we're right up in there. A third away, a third away. Same note again. So if we could do something to separate our, the range of our melody from our background. It's going to sound a lot better. So let's do it. Let's go. Let's take the violin one up in octave. Simple enough. Here we go. Let's hear it now. It definitely sticks out a lot more, right? Similarly, though, we could take, we could say, we really liked the melody in that range. So how can we stay away from it? We could rearrange our harmony here to stay out of its way. Let me do that really quick. Let's just get rid of violin. Two, are still really close. Let's see if I can just get the viola onto a different note in the harmonies. So here we have an E minor. So let's go down to, take you down to here we're on a G chord, G major chord. So let's go down to B. Now I know I'm creating some octaves and not the best voice leading, but just bear with me for a second. We're going to D major here. So let's go down to an a and D minor here. So let's go down to B, I guess, and an E minor. So let's go down to, okay, so now what we've done, and I see that we've doubled the cello line. So a whole bunch of parallel octaves, but we don't really care about parallel octaves right now. Let's just hear it in terms of, have we kept out of the way of the melody in terms of the range? Let's listen. Yeah, a little bit better. It's not perfect. And the harmony is boring because these are the same. But we have brought out that melody a little bit more, a little bit more from just by creating some space in between the first violin or whatever the foreground thing is and everything else. It's not about getting the melody nice and high. That's not the point. It's about creating space in-between the melody and the accompaniment, or the foreground and the background. Now, you could do the inverse of this two, right? In fact, let's do that. Let's go to a new video and let's put the melody down in the base again and put the or even the cello. Let's put it in the cello and put the accompaniment above it. 15. Background Above Foreground: Through the opposite. So here's the melody in cello, and I've written the harmony up above it. Now, remember the name of the game here is not high and low. The name of the game is distance. Create some space for our ear to latch onto four, that melody. So I wrote the cello, I wrote the melody and the cello and I wrote it nice and low. Really at the bottom of the cello. If we keep going with the melody, you're going to see we get out of range because it's just too low. But for this first line, it's okay. So let's leave it there for the sake of experimentation. So a rewrite at the bottom of the cello. And I have the, the harmony, nice and high, right? It's not screaming high in the violins, um, but it's, it's high. And let's hear it. Rather nice. And then Melody really sticks out. There's no question about what the melody is here, right? You're not hearing this top note as the melody, right? It's because we have space. We have space between what's happening. That's the most important thing. Our ear will naturally want to latch onto, the highest thing. So if you want the melody to be lower, you really need to make it distinctive. And one of the good ways to do that, to create some space between the melody and the harmony. Now you'll notice I didn't use the double bass. Using the double bass would be really hard here. I can't get the double bass high enough to be, to feel like it's part of this harmony. And I can't get it low enough to create enough space for it to stay out of the way of the cello. So I decided the best thing to do here is to not use the base right here. I could possibly do a foreground, a middle ground thing, maybe a pizzicato to emphasize some of the notes. That might be an option here. Or even a pizzicato, something or harmonic could probably do. A harmonic can get it to be part of the harmony. But now that I think about it, it's not going to come through very much. We'll talk more about that later. But the obvious thing to do here was just leave the double bass out because it's, it's gonna get in the way of that cello melody. Unless I haven't doubled the melody, which I didn't really feel the need to do here. Great. Okay, Let's move on to a couple more things on this same topic. 16. Color As Seperation: Okay, So we've talked about the range being something that really can make the background and foreground stay away from each other to more things I want to mention other than range that can achieve the same effect. The first is just a few minutes ago when we were looking at putting the melody and the different instruments, we talked about the different character of the tessitura. Each instrument, which is a mouthful. Let me say that again in a less weird way. We know that the upper range of the violin has a certain sound. In the middle of the violin has a certain sound, and the bottom of the violin has a certain sound, right? You can use those to create separation that will bring forward that melody or bring back that background. For example, let's say the, let's say the upper range of the cello is when I always talk about it. And I have already probably talked about too much as this lyrical awesome sound that I super love, right? So that range and the lower range of the violins, okay? Those are roughly the same. Those are the same notes. The upper, like let's imagine an E. Let's go like this note. Right? Well, overshot it. Okay. This note and this note are the same note, right? But very different in terms of color, in terms of tessitura, right? This is gonna be a very lyric note, and this is actually it's low in the violin, It's a little quiet, it's a little dark. So using that can actually be something that can help us separate these two parts. If I wrote the melody in the cello to be way up here, and I had the accompaniment to be down here and the violin. They're not separated by range, but they are separated in color, right? And if that's confusing to you, think about that as literal for a minute. Let's say you are painting a picture and you had something that was painted all in blue, and then you made a little orange line in it, right? Even if that orange line was mixed right in with all the blue stuff, it's going to stick out because it's a different color. So you can use these kind of color ideas to create a separation between the foreground and the background. 17. Texture As Separation: Then the last thing that comes to mind right away in this regard anyway, is texture as a way to separate. And that's kind of happening here a little bit. If I have this melody and the cello, and it's playing in the rhythm that it's playing in. And then I've got these violins just doing dotted half notes. I'm just holding the harmony. It's different texture. It's not a radically different texture, but it would be better as something like the violins are playing. Arpeggios are gonna do to the data, to digital, digital identity. Digital identity. While the cello is going, bom, bom, bom, bom, bom, bom. That's going to create very different texture. That is going to help separate the two. The foreground and background. If they're doing wildly different things, That's texture. And that's a way to keep them separated. And it's something that is probably one of the most common. It sounds kind of abstract, but we'll see in a few pieces how the texture is used to separate the foreground from the background all over the place. So let's actually do that now let's look at some music. 18. Beethoven Analysis, Part 1: Okay, Beethoven's Symphony Number one right at the beginning, or just maybe a couple of minutes in to this piece. And there's this great moment that does pretty much the thing we were just talking about. Now, I'm using a YouTube clip here for copyright reasons. So let's take a look at what's going on right here. Let's hear it first, but this is the segment that I want you to latch onto and everyone just a hair to get us into it. A nice big cadence right before it. So we have the melody in the bass. I can't even tell if that's a base or the shallow. Let's see. Oh, it's doubled. So it's base and cello in that bottom part. So to 30. Okay, so we have the base and the cello with the melody. And then we have this very relatively simple harmony above it. What's the thing that's separating them so that our ear has the space to latch on to that melody. Is it range? A little bit? Range is a factor here because remember that the base is going to sound an octave lower than it's written here. So there, there's a lot of bass happening here. If it's base and shallow, we're hearing boom, boom. The rest of the strings are pretty low. Actually. I mean, there are nowhere near that low though there is space. There is quite a bit of range in between the two. But I'm also going to say texture. Because look at the rhythm that all the rest of the strings are doing. Just that very short quarter notes, which is in of itself quite a bit different than the relatively quick melody that the bass is playing, but it's also short. Versus the Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo Doo too, right? So it's texture really very different. Let's hear it again. I'll let it play a little bit longer. We also have some of the wins and things coming in to help. But the real main focus here, at least right at the beginning, these first couple of bars are the strings with the melody in the basis. I think there's also a dynamic contrast and it's something we mentioned briefly that's helping to separate these, the foreground from the background. Even though it's all marked pianissimo, all the strings are marked pianissimo. The low stuff, the chillers and bases are clearly coming forward a lot more just in terms of volume. But I think the biggest thing here is the texture actually. 19. Beethoven Analysis, Part 2: Here's another good example that is both texture and register. Still in Beethoven's Symphony Number one, or about 13 minutes. And at this point, I don't know if we're on, we're probably on the second movement by now. It's hard to tell on these YouTube videos. But if you look here, we've got this. This is a good example of foreground not being necessarily a melody. This is something that I would call a texture. It's not necessarily a melody, but it's melody like, and it's definitely the foreground at this particular moment. Then we've got accompaniment, right? There's definitely a textural difference here. We've got very short fast notes in triplet. And here we've got also shorts, but a lot of space between them, not as short. They're all marked pianissimo piano. But the range is probably the biggest thing. Well, the texture's probably the biggest thing, but the range is a big issue as well. A lot of distance between this, even when it goes down low, it is crossing down underneath, but only momentarily the majority of it is quite a bit separated in terms of range. Let's hear this. Let me go back just a little bit to get into it. Okay, here we go. Right? So definitely a lot of range, texture. Not necessarily a melody right there, right? It's very much a glittery thing. Maybe you might call that a melody, maybe you might not. I probably wouldn't. But that's cool. It doesn't always have to be a melody. But there is usually a foreground something. There does not always have to be a foreground something. But usually there is. 20. Considering Middleground: Okay, Let's talk about the middle ground stuff a little bit. A lot of what we're talking about when we're looking at the middle ground is what we typically call counterpoint or counter melody, or accompanying melody or something like that. So in order to demonstrate this, I've kind of more fully arranged our little melody here. So here's our melody, right? So Greensleeves is in there. But I've added a more full texture here just to give us the idea of it. Let's hear it and then we're going to talk through it for a little bit. Here we go. Okay, so I've just done this first part again. So the first thing we wanna do is let's investigate this from some of the topics that we were just talking about before. Does the melody sufficiently stand out? I think it does. First of all, it would be worth pointing out here that I wouldn't probably launch into a piece with this kind of arrangement. What I would do at the beginning of the piece is probably give this melody in much more simple terms so that we really give them, we give the audience directly the melody with not a whole lot going around it. We want to get it into their head in a nice clean way so that we really are sure that they get the melody then when they hear it later in the piece, or even just as for the second time. And it's got all this other stuff going around at it, like it does here. The melody will still stand out to them because it's familiar, whereas the accompaniments not familiar. So I guess you could even say that, that familiar, familiarity, familiarity. Yeah, that's the word I'm looking for, is another one of those elements that can separate the background from the foreground. Middle ground. I'm actually not to middle ground. We're going to talk about milligram in just a second. First, we're talking about if we have separated the melody sufficiently so the melody will already be familiar. Now let's look at range. So we've got a lot going on here. Range is pretty good. We're pretty close here. But moving away. Contrary motion, similar motion. And we're thinking about motion that we normally think about. Counterpoint a little bit. So we're staying good. Fill me up to a third here. So the range is okay. But more importantly, we have a totally different rhythm happening here. This is a consistent quarter note. So that's really going to make it stand out from the melody, which is not a consistent quarter note. Then the other stuff I'm going to call background is this bit, some gaps in it. So that's definitely going to stand out. It's also much lower. 21. Middleground Techniques: Okay, so let's talk about the actual middle ground here. What we're looking at is this counter melody here in the violin two. So first, let's just play that. I'm gonna mute everything except violin 12, okay, so we're just going to hear the interplay between the foreground and middle ground. Okay. Here we go. Okay, great. So there's a couple of things that I think work about this to make it a good middle ground. First, it's simple and it's simple in a lot of different ways. It's got a simple rhythm. It's got a simple register. And that's important because you'll notice the register isn't the kind of upper register or the violin that's very lyric, or the low register or the violin that's kinda thicker and warm. But it's right in that middle register. That's not, doesn't stick out for any particular reason. It is relatively close to the first violin, the main melody, the main foreground material in terms of pitch, right? We're nowhere a third away, farther away, but between a 6 third away. So we're kind of close. And this is really normal for string writing, okay, to have this kind of tangling of the two lines that the melody and the counter melody. It's something I really like. I really latched onto this sound, so I'm always happy to do it. In order for it to work. We had to stay kind of close. We have to have a little bit of dissonance in there. So some non-chord tones. But we don't wanna be too close and, or two dissonant, right? Or else it's going to sound like MC. So what I'm doing here with the counter melody is really just kind of outlining the chords. This is an E minor chord, E, D, C. So this E is obviously in the chord. We could argue D is maybe in the cord if we wanted to treat it like a minor seventh chord. The C is a non-chord tone. Down here. Thicker chord is G, G major. So we have b, d, Those are both in the cord. And then again, the C is the non-chord tone. It makes a nice kind of crunchy sound against that. Be a nice seventh there. So you can see I'm really just kind of outlining chords with a couple of connecting nodes in there just to fill it out and make that smooth, rhythmic, rhythmic, smooth. And make that smooth rhythmic feeling. So this is very idiomatic for the strings, this kind of counterpoint. Let's listen out of curiosity. Let's, let's listen to the background and middle ground together. I think this might be interesting. So I'm going to mute the foreground. Okay, so we're not going to hear the first violin here. So listen to the way that the violent two and the viola and cello works together. Okay, here we go. It's a nice unison of keeping out of the way like they're, they're not stepping on each other's toes too much. But there are also working together. It's almost like walking with a third leg. Like somehow they figured out the way to walk together with the third leg as a weird analogy. Let's hear one more time. And again, what I'm doing with the viola and cello here is just outlining the chords with really no non-chord tones in these parts. And if you haven't noticed the viola and cello, or just an octaves of each other. That Octave is going to make them really kind of push forward. That's going to make a fairly strong sound. But because it's significantly lower, its stays separate from the second violin and especially the first violin. And it also is a different articulation. It's a different rhythm. So it stays quite a bit out of the way. What I did in the base here is really just use it as a way to emphasize what the viola and cello are doing. It's, It's still part of the accompaniment for sure. Okay. So let's take a look at what some, what some of this looks like in a bigger piece. And we'll probably go right back to Beethoven because there's just so much in the Beethoven symphonies to pick from. 22. Beethoven Example: Middleground: Okay, back to Beethoven's Symphony Number one. We're about 5.5 minutes in. And there's this perfect moment that does this cool thing and it's just fun thing that I actually thought about doing in the Greensleeves arrangement that I just did is those couple of bars. But I decided not to do it. But here we have Beethoven doing it. So it's a great way to show another technique for this middle ground idea. So what I'm looking at is this right here. Okay, let's just hear it first. I'm going to scroll back just a little bit. Here we go. And then I'll point out when we get there. Okay. So let me take us back there, okay, So check it out. So we've got just the, the strings going here. Violin one, violin, viola, and cello and bass combined down here. Okay, so violin one clearly the foreground, right? That's like the melody idea here is violin one, file into the middle ground. It's got an accompaniment thing to violin one, and we'll come back to that in just a second. Viola and cello, bass. Accompaniment, right? Background, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. Just a punctuation. So let's go back up here. So what we have here is data, data, data, data that, right, That's the first one. This symbol, by the way, if you've never seen this, this basically means eighth notes. It's like a shorthand thing. So like this means 16th notes. So this is debt, debt, debt, debt, and then more eighth notes, dot, dot, dot, dot data data data data, data, data, data, data, data, data data. So this is all eighth notes. So there's a fairly active little melody that we're hearing. We haven't very active melody that we're hearing underneath it, right? Boom papa, papa data. Right? It's very similar. In fact, it's the same, but an octave down and a late. So it's kind of a little cannon, right? It's like a cannon is like row, row, row your boat, row, row, row your boat. And then they overlap. It's kinda like that. C, B-flat, E-flat, G, F, E flat, B flat. We leap an octave, B-flat, E-flat, G, F, E flat. It's the same notes but delayed by a measure and down an octave. That's cool. That makes it a really cool little counterpoint thing. I love it. So this isn't really going to jump out as taking over the melody. We're not gonna hear it. It's taking over the melody. It's an octave down. And while it's the same material but an octave down, It's a bar late. So by the time we're hearing it, the melody is playing something new, right? It's playing this now. So our ear is going to latch on to this top part. It's much higher and it's the focal thing. It started off as the focal thing and it's going to stay that way. So we don't really risk getting in the way of it. I would say the primary thing here is the range because we are so much lower than it. But it's a really cool trick. It's just like a cannon idea. Just take it, delay it by a bar, and drop it down an octave. You can even sometimes get away without dropping it down an octave in the right circumstances. So you can always try that to make a really quick counterpoint. Just do a little cannon. And now I'm thinking about it. Let me see if it would have worked. Let's go back here. So here's what I mean. If I take our melody and go here, there. So I just put our melody in, but an octave later, or sorry, a bar later. Okay, so it starts here and comes in there. This creates a nice little counter melody. Let's hear it. I have my first violin solo, it's still, there we go. Let's try it one more time. Okay, doesn't work as good, kinda throws off our harmony. We could take it down an octave. That might help. Let's try it down an octave. It's still going to screw up our harmony, but let's try it. It's not bad. We could adjust a couple of notes to make it work. It's a great technique to create a really solid middle ground, really fast. 23. Texture And Rhythm: Okay, let's move on to talk a little bit more about background writing. Now the thing about background is it's really about focusing on a texture, what I would call a texture. So let's define that a little bit. Think of a texture as like a blanket of sound. But there's a million different ways you could do this. You want something that is the accompaniment, right? It's something that's going to cover like a blanket. The open space, not all of the open space, but some of the open space. To create the scene, if you will. Going with that idea, Let's think about it. Play. The texture or the accompaniment, in this case, is like the set pieces on the stage, right? It's not the actors. It's the set. That's the texture. That was a reasonably good analogy. You know, some of my analogies are, are pretty weird. Know what I think was pretty solid anyway. So you could do any of a million different things to create a texture that sounds good, especially with the strings. The strings are very adept at having making these kinds of textures or background or accompaniment ideas. All three of those words right now are kind of meaning the same thing. So I think I was going to write some out for our accompaniment to our melody are Greensleeves melody. But then I thought there's just so many millions of different things I could write. Let's not do that. And instead, let's stick with Beethoven and look at a couple of spots where he writes an accompaniment. That works really well. So it's kinda randomly jumped in here, and I'm at nine minutes and 42. We have this beautiful little moment. We've got this melody and the first violins and an ollie, other strings. We have this data, data that a little just rhythmic thing. It's not huge, it's not thick. But it's just a nice little rhythmic motion that fills up the texture. Let's hear it. Let me jump back just a little bit to get us into it. That's right. Very, very subtle. Things don't need to be thick, they don't need to be big. They can be very subtle like this. But in this case, you might be thinking to yourself, well, what's the, what's the middle ground here we have a melody and then as it all background. In this particular case right here. Yes, I would say that is what's happening. We have foreground melody and we have background. There's no middle ground here. That's okay. There doesn't need to be always need to have all three. And if there is a case where you don't have one, the most common thing is the middle ground. So when you're thinking about this background idea, I want you to always have in your head rhythm. Think about rhythm. A lot of people when they're just getting started out with this idea, especially if you're focusing on composition. A lot of what you might do is just put whole notes on the chords, right? And focus on the harmony. And that's an option. That certainly is an option. But don't let your thinking stop there. Try to think about adding a rhythm to it, right? That's where we start to really get that string like sound, that accompaniment sound by doing something rhythmically while also contributing to the harmony. That's going to tell you what notes to use, whatever harmony you've got going on there. But keep in mind, rhythm is an important thing to create this kind of a lively background. Let's look at a couple of other Beethoven examples. 24. Rhythmic Variation: Okay, So here's, I find a good example of that thing we were just talking about. You want, basically you're going to use whole notes, but you want to just add rhythm to that. So here we are at what is in this recording about 21 minutes in. And look at what's going on right here. We've got this melody happening in the first violins again. Just this quarter note play and down. Now, keep in mind, this is a really Holland tempo. So this is dot, dot, dot, dot, dot. We're going quite fast on these quarter notes. Now here we have just the chords, right? But remember this to flag thing on the nodes, that means 16th notes. I'm thinking they can because they're going fast. But all they're doing is adding a rhythm to the nodes that are holding the court. Now, the rhythm that you use can be literally anything. It doesn't need to be a straight rhythm like this. Straight meaning consistent all the way through. Just straight 16th notes are straight eighth notes or whatever. That's what this happens to be. But you can vary it up at rests at different rhythmic values. This is just a really straight up one that shows the harmony being played with by having a more complicated rhythm. So let's jump back just a little bit. And let's hear it, right. Pretty cool. Let's hear it one more time just because it kinda cruises by fast. So just those cords effectively just holding chords for the whole bar, two bars in this case. But thinking, thinking, thinking to get on those notes, to give it some extra life, create a better and better but a different kind of texture for the background. 25. More Subtle: Okay, just for an example of a little more complicated one. Here we have, we're back around nine minutes, 9.5 minutes. I jump back to the previous one. If I didn't say it was all the way near the end around 23 minutes. Background 9.5 minutes. Let's look at right here what's going on. So we have what I'm going to call them melody, the first violins. So foreground, background, sorry, middle ground and the second violins. So a harmony. So same rhythm all the way through Pfeffer at the very end. So slight variation on the rhythm, but significantly lower in the register on the violin, and also adding a harmony. So I'm going to call that middle ground and background. We've really got this very subtle thing happening here. We could call the viola part of the background are part of the middle ground. Because it's really just complementing couple of notes in the middle ground. And then the cello in the background. And cello is noted here, that VCL that says cello, that implies, I believe in this case, that the base is sitting out. We have base coming back in over here. So this is just the cello. So we're hearing a lot of middle ground. And then the background is very subtle cello moment. Okay, So let's hear it. Go back just a little bit. Here we go. Okay, So we stopped right here. That cello is quite quiet, so it makes it hard to hear, but you can see how it's just a simple little. It's almost like the first one I wrote for the Greensleeves. It's just for notes outlining the cord is all. It really is very simple. So there's a lot we can do now I wanna go into more of this more with texture by focusing on three principles that we work with a lot. That would be Homophonic, Polyphonic, and monophonic textures. So we've been dancing around that with all of these examples, but I kinda wanted to just to introduce them that way. And now let's go in deep and talk about these different types of textures and how we can work with them. With the strings. Off we go. 26. Homophonic Writing: Okay, next we're going to talk about three textural things. So first is homophonic writing and then polyphonic writing and monophonic writing. So homophonic writing, this is a term we use for, I always think about it when we're really focusing on the vertical, right? So I'm not worried about these rhythms and making really cool accompanying rhythms. We can do that. But what I really want to focus on with, with homophonic writing is the way the chord is voiced. That's what I want to think about more than anything else here. So the term homophonic writing really means that there's, there's one voice and everything is supporting that voice. So usually this is the case where we have a melody and then just cords sustaining to support that melody, right? So what we have here on the screen is really a homophonic texture. There's one melody and then everything is just supporting that with harmony. So what we wanna do here is think about these chords that we have laid out here and how we can make them the most interesting, okay? The way we have them here is fine ish, but we can make them better. Okay? So let's talk a little bit more about note spacing and voicing. And to do that, we're going to cycle back and talk about really briefly, the overtone series. 27. Note Spacing: Okay, remember that when you're spacing notes, you can do whatever you want. What I'm about to tell you is something that just characteristically sounds really good, especially in strings. This is a technique that people have been using for a 100 years, hundreds of years, maybe two hundred, three hundred years. 400? Yeah. At this point, yeah, 400 maybe in five. To really make a big, rich full sound. That might not be what you want. But if that is what you want, Here's how you do it. There's, there's actually a pretty easy little trick. Let's look at the overtone series. If you remember the overtone series, if you took my theory classes, you might know this. If you took some sound design stuff, you might know this. Basically what the overtone series tells us is all of the sounds within the sound that we hear. So when we play something like when we play a note, that notice is made up of a whole bunch of other notes that come together to make the note we're trying to make. And the way the overtones are structured, that actually gives us timber. But we're not worried about that right now. What we're worried about, well, we're not worried about anything, but what we're talking about is that there's a defined pattern to the overtone series. It always works the same. You take your first note that you're starting on. In this case, it's C. Okay? And it, you just put this down to wherever, whatever note you play. So let's say you play this really, really low. See, the notes that are within that node that make it up, is first it's gonna be an octave higher C, and then it's gonna be a fifth above that, and then another octave, and then a third, and then another third. And then a flat seven, oddly, and then another octave. And then it starts to go by the scale. So C, D, E, F, That means it's F, that's a little bit sharp. G, a flat. We start to get some, some chromatic notes and then we're essentially going chromatic. Okay? You don't need to memorize this right now. Here's what's important about this. Notice the space between the nodes. It starts off with big spaces, octaves, octaves. As it goes up, those spaces get smaller and smaller until we're just growing chromatically. So this is just kind of, this is just physics. This is how that sound works. Any sound were any pitched sound works, is just the bottom of it, is going to have big spaces in-between. And as you go higher, it's going to have smaller spaces. Okay? It's like this. Big spaces, you go up and they get smaller and smaller and smaller. We can mirror that with the way that we write a cord. Okay? That is going to sound good. Maybe because of the overtone series, maybe because it's just tradition. I don't know, but it's what we do and it sounds good. So let me rewrite these first couple of chords using that, and then I'll come back and show you how it sounds. 28. Example: Okay, Let's take a listen and then I'll tell you what I did. So I left the first part as is, you can just hear the normal voicing that we had. And then there's a couple of bars of emptiness. And then when the melody comes back the second time, you have my more proper voicing of those courts. So let's hear it from the top. Okay, so let me take out the first violin. So we just hear our chords. I also want to slow it down so we can really kinda sit on these and just kinda feel the the way the notes are stacked. Let's go like really short. Okay? Alright, let's try this. So no violin and lower. Okay, so I've done a few things here that are worth pointing out. The first thing that I want to point out, because it seems to contradict something that we already talked about. That is, I let the harmony go up pretty high and actually significantly above the melody up here. The reason I did that is I think it creates a line that kind of arches over the melody in a way that doesn't distract from it too much. We have just those, we have, we don't have a complicated rhythm. We have just those held notes going to my ear. It's not too distracting from the melody. You can still keep her ear on the melody. In fact, let me put the melody back in. And let's hear it one more time at this slower tempo. And you can see if you agree with me. And it's really hard to latch onto that melody at that slow tempo. But I think it does. I think, especially when you get right here, where it's really happening, you can feel these notes happening, so I feel pretty good about that. Okay. I want to point out a few other things. You may have noticed that the div here, so I think I mentioned this earlier, but it means DVC. It means I'm going to split this section in this case into two. So violent two. They're going to split in half. And violas they're going to split in half. So that means you can write two nodes for them. This is not a double stop. This means half the section plays the top note and half this section plays the bottom note. You use the letters DIV just to tell them that this is a DVC. I just wanted to thicker I wanted more notes, so that's how you do it. Okay, so now let's look at how the notes are stacked. You'll see that for all of these chords, they follow a very similar pattern. They're not all exactly the same. Because I changed some of it to make for good voice leading, but they're pretty close. So in the double bass we have just the root, really. Nothing fancy. Big low note. That in the cello we have that same thing and octave up. So remember that overtone series, right, where we have the note and then the next node is an octave. There's a big gap there. So that's what I'm trying to hold through, that's going to make this really thick warm sound. Then the notes start to get a little bit closer. Right here you can see I've got fourths and fifths. And my viola, really just fourths and fifths all the way through, or both chord tones. So here we have, this is an E minor chord, so let's just think through it. We have an E, we have an e, we have a B, and another E. So just like the overtone series, I've got an octave and a fifth and then another octave. That's how the overtone series goes. Then from there, I've got a G and a B. So just the top two notes of the chord. And those here, I've got thirds, thirds, thirds, 66, sixth, fifth, third again, so a little bit tighter with that, with that third and invert the sixth, but basically a third. So as we get higher, I'm letting those harmonies get a little bit tighter together. And you'll see that pattern all the way through some of these, the pattern changes just because I wanted it to kinda arch up higher. So here I let, i kinda inverted the two notes to get the higher note and same thing and the viola, but it's basically the same pattern. Okay? And all of this, I don't need those there. And all of this makes us really nice, rich, warm sound. Let's hear it one more time. Make sense. So when you're thinking about just writing vertical chords like that. And this is true whether you're working at a homophonic structure or texture like we are now. Or if you're just writing chords in general, you can always think this way. If you want this kind of big warm sound, this is how you do it. 29. Polyphonic Writing: Okay, next, let's dive into Polyphonic string writing. And this is where things get really fun, especially in the strings. Just like a lot of the other stuff that's can be done and some of the other instruments, but the strings are just really built for this. You can just really go nuts with this in the strings and it's going to sound really good. Well, let me rephrase that. It's fairly easy to make this sound good in the strings. In some of the other instruments, the winds in Nebraska, it takes quite a lot of thinking to get it to really work well. But in the string, this is just a really great time. So what is polyphonic writing? If you, even, if you took my theory classes, you know, polyphonic writing, its counterpoint basically. So let's define these three words. We've got Homophonic, Polyphonic, and eventually after this we're gonna do monophonic. So here's what those three words we mean. Homophonic means that there's a single melody and then the other material is in support of that melody. So there's one thing and we're supporting it with everything else. Polyphonic means there's multiple things. It really means that there's multiple melodic ideas. Now one might be the foreground, right? And one might be the middle ground. And we'll maybe the background. There might be even more than that in there. There might be five or six different lines moving around in there. If you look at Bach, he was really well-known for that. Or there might just be two lines going back-and-forth. But usually there's a foreground and then a middle ground one. And then they might be part of the background. Awesome. So that's polyphonic writing. Then monophonic writing really means that there's a single melodic line. I sometimes think of monophonic writing as a single rhythm. It's not exactly true, but it works out really well. So it means that there's a melody. And then everything else we're doing is moving in that same rhythm of the melody. We might have different notes. 30. Greensleeves Polyphonic: Okay, so what I've done here is I added chords to the next section of the tune, the same style as the ones that we did previously for the homophonic section, right? So it's observing the spacing of the chords with the big intervals at the bottom and the smaller intervals on the top right. So let me just play that for you first. And then we're going to start creating some polyphony here. Here's what we've got, and it's still at that slow tempo, but I think it'll be useful once we add polyphony in. So here we go. Okay, and that's why I stopped. Now that we have that, what we're gonna do is start playing connect the dots. Now, what I mean by that is we're going to find places where there's a big interval, like here. This D. And we're going to fill in some notes in between, connect the dots. Now, that's how I'm going to create polyphony here. You could just not write in the chords, but just start writing polyphony and just start reading all kinds of extra lines. And maybe you'll end up with something interesting. But I would encourage you to not do that. It's way easier to write in the harmony first. And then start connecting things and trying to find little gaps that you can fill. That's how you make something sound really good and really natural. String, like write, write out the harmony first and then play connect the dots. So let's dive in and play connect the dots. 31. Connecting The Dots: Okay, Let's start with this cello lines. We've got a G up to D. I could do this with quarter notes, but I need more quarter notes and I've got, if I'm going to walk up the scale anymore that I've got. So I'm going to use eighth notes. I'm going to have to do a little cheat here. Oops. Start here. And again, the reason I'm choosing this interval or this spot, because I see a big interval that I can fill in the gaps in-between. Okay, So I've got a G. So I'm just going to walk up the scale. So now what I really want to do is connect this G to this D. I'm already on the D and I need one more note. So I'm just gonna kinda cheat and go up to this e and then back down to the d. There's a couple of different ways I could do that. I could also start OneNote low, or start on the note and then go low and then go back high. But this will work. Now what I'm doing here is I'm just coming up to scale and it should work. It should sound pretty good. In most cases, this will sound perfectly great. You just stick to the scale and you're going to create some non-chord tones. You're going to create some dissonance, but more or less it'll be good. Now, this particular case that I just wrote has one problem in it, that you need to watch out for it. Because I can't actually just write in the scale in this case because I'm in a minor key, right? If you're in a major key, you don't really have to worry about this, but in a minor key, I have to worry about that leading tone, especially if the melody is using it. And it just so happens that what I just wrote Conflicts at the exact moment. Take it out in the melody. That C is raised to the C-sharp right there, right on the end of two. And the notes that I just added right there on the end of two, I written as c. So I need to do one of two things. Either I need to rewrite my little connecting line to not hit a C right there. Or I need to make that a C-Sharp. I think making this a C-sharp will sound good. I think that'll work. Let's try it. I'm going to really crank up the cello here so that it stands out and we hear this pretty well. So here we go. Okay, pretty good. Let's find another spot. Here to here would be a good spot. But I think that'll be a little too heavy handed to have this big line moving in octaves. I don't think that's what we really want. Let's see if there's another obvious one. Would be one. There will be one here. Not so much because it's only a step. Definitely not here because it's the same. Although you could kind of go up and down and then end up on the same spot. Here. Let's see if we can do something in the violence. How about let's go with this one. So let's change this. And let's see if I can go F, G. I'm just guessing here because these are on the same two nodes, right? But there is motion in them because it's a harmony, right? It could have one go up to the other. I could have them both move around a little bit. But what I think I want to do, I don't love this fifth, just moving around, so I'm going to open that interval to a sixth. I'm going to go there. Okay, so you see this one is going up by thirds. The top line is going up by third is the bottom line is going up by seconds. Okay, so what I've added here is a D, F, a, so kind of spelling a D minor triad. But then it lands, kinda goes up and then down and then lands on this G, which is the tonic of the next chord. And then our lower voice just walked right up to scale G a, B, and then a little bit of a leap to a D. Okay, so I think these will sound good. Now I'm going to crank up that Viola. Pulled down our cello a little bit. And let's see if we can hear that. It's a little weird. That note. I hear it again. It's a little different, but I like it. Actually. Everything works in it. It's just creating motion. It's all we're really doing here. So, I mean, technically we're creating a whole bunch of new chords and these are different chords or the harmony has changed, but everything is passing. So it can work just fine. Alright, let's keep going and see if we can find some more. 32. A Little Nuts: Okay. So I took where what we were doing and I just did it two kind of extreme level got a little nuts with it. So I think we had these two and now I added this one and then just eighth notes all the way to the end, just going down, going down and going up and then kind of going nowhere and then going down. A couple of things to point out that I did here. You'll notice that both when you have DVC, they can be really independent. They don't have to move together. You can basically write two different voices. In all of these cases. I wrote these as, as, as doing the same thing rhythmically, but they don't have to be that way. I could have had this a instead of having this be instead of having it hold or reattach this note every time, I could have had it, just hold that note and do a different rhythm. That would be okay. But I just kinda wanted it to reattach, to emphasize the motion here a little bit. Once this one, it's just going back-and-forth. This one. I switched very quickly to octaves here because I just really wanted to emphasize this stepping down. And then I moved this G down an octave, hit that low note of the violin. That's their lowest note. Because it worked out rather well at the bottom of that line. So this is a little bit gaudy. It's a lot of extraneous motion, but, um, I don't know, it's kind of nice. So here's I'm going to do, let's just listen to it as is. And then I'll mute the melody and we can hear it again. Here we go. Now here's what's kinda cool about this. If I mute the melody. We've kind of with all these extra emotion, all this extra motion that we added. We've really taken this fairly far away from the actual Greensleeves melody. So imagine that you don't know anything about that Greensleeves melody. And I take that melody away. You're going to naturally find a melody. You're going to hear something that sounds like a melody to you probably. And just imagine this as your latest film soundtrack. Here we go. Right? It's quite lyrical actually. So this is a technique that works. I've used this before where you harmonize and orchestrate melody. I think get rid of the melody. And what you're left with is something unique. Still has the essence of that melody, but it's not copyright infringement. You're not using that melody. So even though in this case we could use it because it's a public domain melody. But you can do this with any melody, even like a Beatles song orchestrated out. Then delete the melody and you've got your own thing. Okay, I want to show you one more technique for this kind of idea. 33. Blur The Lines: I want to do one more thing and that's what I call like blurring the lines. If you've taken other like composition classes with me before, you've seen this. But it's something that especially in the strings can just sound beautiful. So I've added our chords in that same kind of rich voicing style to the rest of the melody. Now, let's just hear that first and then we'll finish it out. Okay, so blurring the lines basically means finding all possible common tones and letting some hang on a little bit longer than they need to. So let's start with common tones. Okay, So this be the same as that be. And this G is way up high because we moved it. So let's take that G and just move it. And now we're going to tie those together. So when ever it's possible to tie a note, we're going to do it. Here. There's nothing we can tie. Okay, Here we can tie everything. Because we want maximum sustaining. Here we can tie this top node, right? But not the bottom one. Can tie that. Note that now. Okay. Now what I'm gonna do is see if, well, let me just finish this off first. I can tie this. F there. Nothing there. Nothing there. But they can type that. We have nothing there. Nothing there. Nothing there and that, nothing there. That, and nothing in our base until those last two chords. Okay? So now what I'm gonna do, especially in this part where nothing is really tying is I'm going to tie things anyway. So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna change some notes around here like this d, Let's let this d not get there. Well, that's, uh, that's not a great example and I'll explain why in a second. This works better than the upper voices. This would be right here. Okay, Check it out. This bee is going down to this a, right? But what we're gonna do is we're going to let that be hanging out a little bit longer. This is gonna be kinda tricky to do with multiple voices, but let's go f, a, and let's do that as half notes. F. Okay, now I'm going to take this G, or there's a, move it up to a B. So if you remember a counterpoint, this is basically our this is a suspension. Suspension. The opposite would be anticipation is where we change the note early. But a suspension in this way, It's essentially means a few different things. But suspension in this way means that we're going to suspend the note a little bit longer and then let it fall into the new chord. Now with this other note, I could let him land right there. Or I could have that one stick around. I think I'm going to let that one Just do what it's doing. Okay? So that F is going to hit right where it's supposed to hit, but then it's going to resolve outward. Let's just see if we can hear this. Really emphasize the second violin. Try to hear this suspension here. You feel that just use lean into it. Okay. So I'm going to try it. Fill up the rest of these five or six measures with a whole bunch of those. And I'll be right back. 34. Suspensions: Okay. So I didn't find a whole lot more good spots to use a suspension. Really just one. Suspensions work great when you have motion by a whole step, that's my favorite time to use them. Half-step can work too, but a bigger interval doesn't work as well. That suspension sound that we like so much really is the result of a half-step or a whole step dissonance. That's the money, that's the perfect thing to do. So I found one right here was a good one. So we have this F. We're resolving down to an E, F sharp that we're resolving down to an E. So that was a good spot. I could also do it here, going back, but doing it forwards and backwards back-to-back doesn't work as well. These other ones, not so great. Like if I did it here, I've got an e and then a b. So if I just held this E for too long, that E is going to feel like more of a chord tone to the next chord, then it's going to feel like a suspension. It's kinda weird in that way. So let's hear this one and see if we can draw our attention to it. I'm going to boost the viola a little bit so that we can really hear that. Okay, here we go. So yeah, it's a nice sound. All of these little subtle things, however, you can blur the lines. So it's not just chord, chord, chord, but you've got notes changing at different times. That's how you really get this polyphonic sound. Okay? It's adding non-chord tones. It's creating these suspensions. Let's hear this whole last bit. With these two suspensions in it. Let's hear this last bit by muting the melody. Let's try the same thing we tried last time. Could this work as its own thing? Let's find out. Yeah, I actually think it could if you're looking for like a bed of strings, this kinda sounds great. 35. The Full Monty: One last thing that's worth pointing out is that we've, throughout the duration of this little melody. We've orchestrated it now, three different ways. We have the simple triads way. We have the more full. Try, earn more full chordal accompaniment way. Here. We've got polyphonic motion here, and we've got suspensions here. So four different ways. What that does actually is show us a development of this melody that's quite nice. Whenever you have a melody, you don't have to orchestrate it the same all the way through. Sometimes developing the voicings as they carry through the melody can give it a nice arc, right? A nice sense of build. So I want to listen to this formality as a piece. I wasn't intending on this to be a fully orchestrated melody. I was just kinda looking at it in chunks, but I was just looking at it and thinking, Hey, we actually did this in a way that works really well. It starts off really thin. It gets really thick. It's a nice arc to the whole melody. So let's just take us into it. Keeping in mind there's a monster tempo change right here. Should we get rid of that, or should we, how about this? I'm going to get rid of that temperature change. I'm gonna put a less dramatic tempo change at the beginning. So let's go, was that 50 something? Let's go like 8584. Okay, so now the whole thing will be the same tempo if it obeys my tempo markings, which doesn't always do. But it'll be a little bit slower at the beginning, a little bit faster for the rest of it. Here we go. Groups and I still have the melody muted. Okay, here are we for real good. I forgot about these two, these few bars. Ben. 36. Monophonic Writing: Okay, Let's talk next about monophonic writing. And there's not allowed to talk about here, but in the interest of being a completion, as we should talk about monophonic writing. We can certainly do it in our orchestration and the strings are as good at it as anything else. Monophonic here means one thing. One music, literally mono, one phonic music, or sound, one sound. So a way to use a texture that is monophonic would be to have the melody so low by itself. So I added the melody here again at the end of the arrangement where we left off. So it's just starting over again here. So this by itself, sure, that's monophonic. And it sounds silly to point that out, but it's worth thinking. If you're working on something and you're trying to build an ark with it, like we talked about just a second ago. Consider taking it down to just the melody. It's a really powerful thing you can do. There's a little bit more we can do with monophonic. We could add octaves. So let's see. Let's add, can't really go down an octave here. So let's leave that there and then take our first violins and go up an octave. So now we're still monophonic. We've got two instruments, but they're playing the same music, one sound, right? So we could do this all the way down. We could have octaves going all over the place. Let's go. There is an octave. There's an octave, and there's an octet. Remember this one is already an octave down. So now we've got five octaves of the melody. That might be kinda cool, Let's hear it. So in this case we're all foreground really there's no middle ground or background because we just have one thing happening. But doubling in this way, just like we've talked about this before. Like way at the beginning of this orchestration series of classes, we talked about doubling it octaves. And there's a good reason to do it, right? Can this, this is a really powerful way to really put out the statement of this melody. If you want to say, I want you to hear this melody at all costs, then this is a good way to do it. Make sure you just really get it through. So monophonic writing is cool. Don't forget about that. It's really just focusing on a single line. If we add a harmony, if we take one of these and change them to be a harmony, we're not actually writing homophonic music anymore technically. But we are writing the thing that I want to talk about next. So let's say I just moved. I take my second violins and I move them up a third. Okay, So now the second violins are moving, are a harmony. Let's just hear that. Okay, I see it's subtle because you here for families of instruments doing the same thing. One little second violin family, squeaking out of harmony, but this is different. This is not monophonic. This we might call mono rhythmic. And if you remember, if you took my film scoring classes here, you might remember talking about this mono rhythmic idea, but it can be a really cool texture to do. Works great in the strings, works pretty well and everything else. But I like doing it in the strings. It can be a nice sound. So let's go to a new video and talk about that specifically. 37. "Monorhythmic" Writing: Okay, mono rhythmic. The idea here is that we have one rhythm. We might have a bunch of different nodes, but only one rhythm. This is essentially a fancy way to say, I'm going to take this melody and I'm going to harmonize every note, but I'm going to keep it moving at the same exact rhythm. So you're going to have basically block chords for every note. So it's gonna be dense and you're going to need to do something to help the main melody come through. But it can be a cool texture. So the way I would do it here is it can be quite tedious because we've got to think of a lot of harmonies. So I'm just gonna jump in right here and do it. Let's add a double bar line is to separate what we're doing. And we'll go to this G. So normally our chord here is, see where are we in this thing? This'll make more sense. There we go. Okay, so we are, okay, so normally we would want an E minor chord here. That's how we've been harmonizing it. When we get to this a, you might want something different. So let's just do it really quick. The quickest way I could do it. Actually. We did grab this. So I'll use that same voicing because we know we like that. Okay, so now here's our E minor chord. But now I got to think, what am I gonna do with this? A, a is not in the chord E minor. And I need to change this rhythm. If I really want this to be mano rhythmic, I need to add quarter note. Here we go. Okay, so I'm going to take that tie off there that wanted it to do. Oh, I see what it's doing. There we go. Okay, now, let's think what chord could go there? I could do an E minor chord again, just reattach the same E minor chord, but it's, it'll have an a on the top as a non-chord tone. That might work. But the way I really like doing this is actually fully harmonized everything. So my options here in the key of E minor. I could do a minor, could do F sharp diminished, which will only really work if I go to a G chord next, which I'm actually going to do, we've been harmonizing this bar with a G. Let's do that. That'll sound kinda Arad. Okay, so we're gonna go to F sharp. A, C is what I need. So let's just take these two, two a and C. And then let's go down to the bottom. A little bit easier to spell this from the bottom up to me. Here we're gonna go F sharp, F sharp, and then stick to this pattern. We'll do another F sharp here. F sharp. And then we have an ANC up there. So we have all our notes covered. Let's just see what's going to be easiest here. We have a, B, and E. Let's take this. I need another F sharp. We could do it. Let's take, yeah, let's do that. Let's take this e. Try that. Okay. Now we're gonna go to our G chord. So I'm gonna go back and steal it from over here. Here's our G chord. Nice sounding G chord. Okay, now I need to change the rhythm of this and harmonize these two nodes. But before we do that, let's hear what we've got. And let's make sure this line is alpha k. So this F sharp, remember, that's our leading tone. It really needs to push to G, So that's gonna go to G and that works. Okay, we've got a big jump here. Easy fix though. Let's just take that up there. And those work quite nice. Okay. So look at that voice-leading. That's actually really quite nice. Let's hear it. Let me give you a little bit and let's go back a little bit. And then right, You can hear it. Let me do a little bit more so we can get a better sense of it. I'll do the next two or three bars. Then I'll come back and we'll listen to a bigger section of it. So the next video, we'll listen to a little bit more. 38. Example of Monorhythmic Writing: Okay, so I added a little more here. Let's look at what I've done here. Zoom in a little bit here. Okay? So we saw these, so we've got two G here. The melody went up. So I added a C chord and then back to a G. So just really treating that like a passing tone GCG down here. Oh, and I labeled my chords to, this was an interesting one. So it goes, the melody goes a F-sharp. We've been harmonizing this whole measure as a d. And I can continue to do that here. So I put a D on this, on the downbeat, but then on beat three, I just restated the D because D is in both these chords, so it still fits with the texture. To do it that way. You just kinda restate it and play it again. That's fine. I could have done it a third time here because this is in that core two. But I didn't, because we've been so far harmonizing this bar as B minor. So you won't be, sorry, d, e, f. So I decided to use B minor on the downbeat, E minor here, and then F sharp here, I go back to the B minor on this F sharp, since it's in the b minor chord also. All of these I could have harmonize a whole bunch of different ways. This F sharp, I could've harmonized as an F-sharp diminished again, although that would be tricky because I really want, if you're going to use a diminished chord, you really want that to be a leading tone chord. So I'd have to harmonize this as a G chord, which I could have done because this d is in a G chord, it would have worked. However, it would be a little jarring because we've been so far harmonizing this as a B minor. And it would change it a little bit, but it might sound cool. So harmonize things however you want. That's not the point here. The point here is this mono rhythmic thing. Okay, let's take a listen to what we've got here. Right? So it's, it's big, it's a big, bulky almost, almost kind of Game of Thrones sound. I don't know why I'm thinking of Game of Thrones for some reason. But it's a big bulky sound. But it can be great in the right context. 39. Strings Are Versatile: We're about to wrap up. This unit is section of the big class, this little class within the big illustration. But there's a couple of just kind of big ideas that I want to lead with. Things that you can kind of grapple with as you write for the strings. The first one is to keep in mind that the string section is extremely versatile. I know that if you're new to orchestration, you might think, okay, I'm gonna give a melody to the strings when I want it to be lush and romantic. But you can do so much with the strings. They can do dark and creepy, lush and romantic, and everything in between. So remember that the strings are just wildly versatile. I don't want to say the most versatile of all the instruments. Because while I believe that is true, I'm going to get yelled at by someone who's watching this and says, Well, I play the trombone and drumlins, the most instrument, instrument is the most awesome. But I think as a section, I think the string or the most versatile. So think about what they can do with Dynamics. They can do everything from extremely quick quiet to really quite loud. If you've got everybody honking away as hard as they can. Double forte, triple forte. They can be a real force. Diverse in terms of style. You can have the strings, do you just a simple melody all the way to look at more jazz inspired sound. You can find strings in classical music, pop music, hip hop, jazz, bebop. Everything has a string set, can have a string second in it. Think about versatility in terms of texture, what they can do with texture. You can have a very thin sound, very thick sound, and everything in-between. They can be dense. They can be gentle. They can be that kind of textural bed. The bed, because R is an interesting idea. This is something that we'll look at even a little bit more in the next class in the series. But what I mean by the bed is that a lot of times when people write for orchestra, what they think about is writing strings primarily and then using all the other instruments to complement what the strings are doing. That's not horrible technique. You're missing out on a lot of things that the other instruments can do, but it can be an okay place to start, I suppose. But we think about the strings as being the kind of thing that holds everything together. The most important thing in the orchestra. I wouldn't go so far as to say that that's accurate, but certainly does feel that way a lot of the time. That's why writing for an ensemble, like a wind ensemble. So hard, at least for people like me. It's so hard because I don't have any strings and strings are what I rely on. I need the drinks to be the glue. So when I have to write for a concert band or a wind ensemble, it's terrifying. So there were no swings. Strings. I've saxophones, which helps, and I'm strings. So think about just the extreme versatility of your string section. They can do anything. Strings are just really fantastic. That's really why we have so many of them in the orchestra. The orchestra evolved for centuries to be this really perfect ensemble. And the reason the strength of it is because strings are just so darn good at doing what they do. Okay? I've gone to another kind of big point I want to make. 40. You Dont Have To Use All Of The Strings All of the Time: A tip about the strings to keep in mind. We sort of talked about this throughout the class, but I want to make it really explicit. You don't have to use all the strings all the time. Okay? Write that down somewhere and keep it as something that you're always thinking about while you're using. So here's what I mean by that. First, you don't have to use any strings. You can have a section of your piece in which the strings are a resting. That's okay. Even though I just said doing that, have no strings can be kind of terrifying and can, but terrifying can be good. So if you have a section where like, I don't know what to do with strings here. Don't be afraid to let the strings just rest. That's okay. It can be quite welcome texturally. You can also split the strings, as we've seen in a couple of different projects here. Because here, you can take your first violin and split it into two parts. So you've got your first violin is now split, which means they can play two notes, but you have half the forces on each note, right? It's just gonna be a little quieter. Probably. I can do that with all the sections. We don't really often split the double basses, but you can, if you want. That's splitting them into two. You can split them into three is not, is not recommended as we talked about in the class, but you can split them into fours. I wouldn't do it anymore than that, but that can thin out the section. If you want a quieter, thinner sound, then split your section into two and half, half the sections brass, right? That's going to thin out your strings by half. It can be a good texture. You can also have a soloist pop out at any moment in the strings. It can be a beautiful sounding thing. You might have a melody coming up in the piece where you don't want it to be that thick strings and you want it to be just this beautiful little soaring thing that come out. Give that to a syllabus, just write solo on it, and then everyone else will rest. And just the first player will play. That line. Can be a beautiful thing now it's getting a bit quieter. So you have to orchestrate around that. You have to make room for it. But having a solo come out can be gorgeous. On that same note, you can have a solo quartet come out. You can have a section where just the, you go down to a single violin, a single second myelin, a single viola and a single cello. So basically a string quartet just kind of comes out as four soloists. This is fairly common. We see this a lot where a string quartet kinda pops out as a solo cortex. You can do any other variation you can think of, right? So you can split, slice and dice the strings however you want. You don't have to use all of them all the time. 41. The Strings Can Groove: The third and final piece of just kind of big advice. I don't know, big picture things to think about what the strings, something that you will never hear anyone else talk about. This has been my thing that I love about working with strings. The thing I've found with them that I do and everything I write. And avoided really talking about any of my own music in this class so far except for maybe I did right at the very beginning, but I want to play you. Some of my music has examples of this next thing, but here is the piece of advice. Do not forget that the strings can groove. Okay? Strings can groove. You don't think about it. You think, you think there's like 50 people? There's like 50 people on the string section. How could they possibly have done a groove? They can. It's easier when scaling back to that kind of quartet or a thinner texture. But the whole of the string quartet or a string section can do that. So what I mean by a groove is you can write fairly complex with a string section. These are really good players. So if you write like interlocking rhythms, rhythms where things have to fall together really tightly. And to make this pattern almost like a drum pattern where you've got the first violins doing the, the snare drum and heteroatoms and the other violence doing this similar symbols and half the times. And that's the percussion groove, right? Just as an example, this is kind of, uh, before you could write that. And with a little, with a good conductor, it will lock together, right? Because these are really good players, they'll figure it out. So I want to show you a couple of examples of where I've done this, where I really relied on the strings to groove, to come together and make a groove. I love doing this with the strings. Every time I'm sitting down to write for strings, I'm like, How can I make them groove? Because it's just such a cool sound and they're good at it and people don't think about it. People don't think about strings, like grooving. So let me show you two projects are mine and where I where I did this. Let's go. 42. String Groove Examples: Okay, this is an older piece of mine, my third string quartet. And I specifically want to look at the second movement, which is here. Okay? So this movement starts off with this really dark murky thing. So this is just a string quartet, okay, So this would work, this thing I'm about to show you in particular would work in a full orchestra. But this is a range for Justice Rehnquist type. So we've got this, this is a solo player doing, doing this riff. So it's not DVC or anything. But it kinda starts in the dark and murky thing. And then this little viola solo, just nice. And then here we start to get these, these rhythms is type rhythms. And it starts to form into a groove around here. And then it's kind of establishes its groove in this section from m to o is where it's really kind of getting into groove. So I think what I'm gonna do is let's go to a new video. I'll just play the whole thing, but pay a special attention to this groove stuff that establishes around o letter markings. Alright, here we go. 43. Example: Me: String Quartet No.3: Okay. Okay, here we go. 44. Example: Me: History of Ice: Yeah, so that was String Quartet Number three. I get one more example of this, my own much more recent one. This is another string quartet called The History of ice. And the first movement, there's a lot of this, there's a lot of different back-and-forth kind of setting up groups. In fact, it looked quite a, quite a few moments to think about it. But let me play for you the first movement and you'll see what you think. 45. What Comes Next?: Alright, that brings us to the end of Part four. Coming up next. In part. We're gonna do a little bit more on ensembles. We're going to talk about the non orchestra ensembles, like bands, the concert band, jazz, jazz ensembles, possibly brass ensembles. When bands. The string orchestra, which is a little bit different. So an orchestra that's only strings, no extra stuff. We're gonna kinda look at some of these big ensembles and how we approach writing for them or arranging or orchestrating for them. Then after that, we are going to fully dive into synthase duration. I know the thing you've all been waiting for that to remind you is the more technical computer stuff of how to get orchestra, winds and brass thing samples to sound realistic. So we will dive into that when we get there. In the meantime, stick around couple of more things.