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(Original Musical) Is this a sensible pit orchestra? 
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Post (Original Musical) Is this a sensible pit orchestra?
I'm 17 and I'm currently writing my own musical, but I don't know too much about pit orchestras other than a few google searches. My biggest influence is Alan Menken's 90s Disney stuff, so I want a big sound but I need to get that out of a 20 seat orchestra. So this is the set up I've come up with:

Piano

Violins I
Violins II
Cellos
Double Basses
Strings Keyboard (To fill out the sound)

Reed I –Flute/Piccolo
Reed II –Flute/Oboe

Trumpet I
Trumpet II
Trombone I
Trombone II

There's one song I want to use a french horn on (for horn rips) but I don't know if you easily can get trumpeters or trombonists who can double on french horn.

Acoustic Guitar

Percussion I: Timpani
Percussion II: Suspended Cymbals, Snare
________________________________________
Percussion III: Castanets (On stage musician)
Percussion IV: Bongos (On stage musician
Percussion V: Maracas (On stage musician)
________________________________________

Any problems with this setup? And how many of each string instrument should I have?

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Previous Roles:
Mr Sowerberry - 'Oliver!'
Barman - 'Boogie Nights'
Hatter - Alice Panto
General Genghis Khan Schmitz - 'Seussical'
Priest - 'Our House'
Butler, Simeon u/s - 'Joseph'

Dream Roles: Cat in the Hat - 'Seussical', Thenardiér - 'Les Mis'


Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:27 am
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Post Re: (Original Musical) Is this a sensible pit orchestra?
I would suggest even trying a clarinet and/or saxophone. You're missing that single reed sound. French Horns are great for all sorts of things, even beyond rips. I wouldn't ask a trumpet or trombone to double horn just for rips, but you could. I've met people who play horn and double trumpet or tuba. The biggest challenge is the drastic change in embouchure for the musician. It can risk the quality of their sound, but it's possible.
Hope this is helpful!


Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:16 am
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Post Re: (Original Musical) Is this a sensible pit orchestra?
mpfindung wrote:
I would suggest even trying a clarinet and/or saxophone. You're missing that single reed sound. French Horns are great for all sorts of things, even beyond rips. I wouldn't ask a trumpet or trombone to double horn just for rips, but you could. I've met people who play horn and double trumpet or tuba. The biggest challenge is the drastic change in embouchure for the musician. It can risk the quality of their sound, but it's possible.
Hope this is helpful!


Thanks, though in the months since I've posted that, I've ditched the french horn anyway. A saxophone won't fit in, the music is Alan Menken esque Disney/Broadway and Spanish-ish songs for the scenes in the streets of Espalia (the fictional Medeterrainean-esque country it's set in)

As for the clarinet, I'm not the biggest fan of it's sound. For atmospherical stuff it can work, but nothing that the other instruments can't do in terms of what I think is needed in this musical. At this point I see no place where I specifically need a clarinet.
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For pit convenience and because I know this won't start out straight on the West End, I've cut the double bass and trombone II parts. I hadn't physically written too much for them anyway, and they won't be missed in the sound.

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Previous Roles:
Mr Sowerberry - 'Oliver!'
Barman - 'Boogie Nights'
Hatter - Alice Panto
General Genghis Khan Schmitz - 'Seussical'
Priest - 'Our House'
Butler, Simeon u/s - 'Joseph'

Dream Roles: Cat in the Hat - 'Seussical', Thenardiér - 'Les Mis'


Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:04 pm
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Post Re: (Original Musical) Is this a sensible pit orchestra?
Honestly... and this is coming from a producer who's had to start projects from the ground up before... let an orchestrator worry about these things. A composer's job is to get down the melody, and seeing as you haven't referred to other creatives, you've also got the book and the lyrics to worry about. Get down the basic vocal and piano melodies, and if you have ideas for the other instruments, great, but let someone flesh that out.

I only say this because you're 17, and I remember what I was like at 17, thinking I could do everything. I over-extended myself on a project, I flaked out, and I had to take a year off completely from the world of production to get my head together. It's very typical to take on way too much responsibility on your early projects, but it's also a very bad thing to do. Very bad.

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Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:17 am
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Post Re: (Original Musical) Is this a sensible pit orchestra?
Brother Marvin Hinten, S. wrote:
Honestly... and this is coming from a producer who's had to start projects from the ground up before... let an orchestrator worry about these things. A composer's job is to get down the melody, and seeing as you haven't referred to other creatives, you've also got the book and the lyrics to worry about. Get down the basic vocal and piano melodies, and if you have ideas for the other instruments, great, but let someone flesh that out.

I only say this because you're 17, and I remember what I was like at 17, thinking I could do everything. I over-extended myself on a project, I flaked out, and I had to take a year off completely from the world of production to get my head together. It's very typical to take on way too much responsibility on your early projects, but it's also a very bad thing to do. Very bad.


I have thought about an orchestrator but I have no idea how I'd get one.

Also I'm doing the book myself because its an original story of my own creation.

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Previous Roles:
Mr Sowerberry - 'Oliver!'
Barman - 'Boogie Nights'
Hatter - Alice Panto
General Genghis Khan Schmitz - 'Seussical'
Priest - 'Our House'
Butler, Simeon u/s - 'Joseph'

Dream Roles: Cat in the Hat - 'Seussical', Thenardiér - 'Les Mis'


Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:17 pm
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