The Art of Orchestration for Film & Television

Part 2: Orchestration for Brass & Woodwinds, Orchestral Recording Concepts, Additional Topics

This intensive look at the specific orchestration techniques of master film composers including Jerry Goldsmith, Danny Elfman, Basil Poledouris, Alan Silvestri, David Newman and others will show you how these master composers achieve the richest, strongest and most effective sound from live orchestras.



               About This Online Course

  • Course Information

    The course is divided into two parts - Part 1 (available here) explains important orchestration concepts including techniques of balancing and voicing the orchestra and the use of the Zed Clef, a special technique developed by Scott to guide the process of creating voicings and harmonizations. This is followed by detailed lessons about orchestrating for strings.


    Part 2 (this course) focuses on orchestrating for brass and orchestrating for woodwinds, and closes with a discussion of orchestral recording echniques and other additional topics.

  • Prerequisites

    Some familiarity with writing for orchestral instruments using samples or live players is helpful. This course extensively utilizes scores and sketches (downloadable in PDF format) so a basic knowledge of how to read music is required to achieve the best results from this course. Part 1 should be taken before Part 2 as the orchestration concepts explained in Part 1 are referred to throughout both parts of the course.

  • What You'll Learn in This Online Course

    How top film composers achieve the Hollywood Sound from film scoring orchestras

    How to orchestrate effectively for strings (part 1), brass and woodwinds (part 2)

    How to effectively balance the orchestra and work with instruments in their various ranges

    The concepts of transparency, strength and division and how to create and use them

    How to voice chords and harmonies for maximum effect

    How soften or strengthen instruments and sections using color, not volume

    The use of triadic harmonies, pyramids, polychords, chromatic clusters and more

    How to use the concept of mediant chord relationships

    How to create and effectively use special effects such as string sweeps, woodwind sweeps and more

    How to determine the priority of notes when voicing a chord and dividing its notes among instruments

    The importance of intervals to maintain harmonic clarity, use of hybrid scales

    The concept of the Zed Clef and its usage to determine voicings, blend, and harmonic effects


    Manipulation of the tessaturic ranges of instruments to achieve balance

    and sonic placement


    Effective recording technigues when working with live orchestras (part 2)

  • Course Materials Provided

    Scores, Sketches and Example Sheets studied in course provided in downloadable PDF format to print out for reference during course presentation (may also display online with a PDF viewer if preferred). Also, a glossary of special musical terms and course orientation guide is provided
    for download.

Online Course Details

  • Instructor:

    Steven Scott Smalley

    Veteran Hollywood Orchestrator

    Complete Credits

Registration Fee: $395 - includes access to complete online course for 12 months plus all downloadable materials

Technical Requirements: Course presentations and lessons can be viewed on computer, tablet or smartphone devices via major web browsers. Flash is not required or utilised. In order to hear the finer points of musical examples, good quality headphones are highly recommended.

Estimated Time to Complete: Including score and sketch study time, between 15 and 40 hours for each of the two course parts depending on the amount of existing experience  writing/orchestrating for orchestra and the amount of study time spent on each lesson.