In this orchestral sketch I use a concept for a basic layer which sounds amazing! And it is super simple! Even if you have zero experience with a piano, you can learn to play it live within minutes. And you would steal the show.
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The steps: from piano chords to orchestrated version
- 00:00 – Introduction (massive thanks to my Patrons!)
- 01:35 – First Listening (piano line and orchestrated version)
- 03:00 – Cantus Firmus (only four notes to start with)
- 03:57 – The Trick (become a piano maestro and steal the show!)
- 07:39 – Melody 1 (I wrote this melody with a cello in mind)
- 09:17 – Melody 2 (another beautiful orchestral colour)
- 10:43 – Harmony (write down the chord progression for strings)
- 11:59 – Orchestration (the symphonic version I ended up with)
First listening to get an idea
So for this sketch I already had a basic idea. You can call it a trick or a concept. Anyways, it sounds amazing and it is very suitable to create a basic layer for your composition. Or just to get you in the mood and on your way.
The second thought I had with this sketch was using two new StaffPad libraries. Tina Guo Cello and the CinePiano. Both libraries from Cinesamples. I purchased these two with the current 50% sale.
And I really need to thank my Patrons for that! I have used your pledges to buy these two libraries. So a massive thanks to you all! And I can’t wait to use this cello and piano in a new work.
Alright, let’s listen first to the starting piano line and the orchestrated version I ended up with. The piano and the cello sound phenomenal! It’s very lovely!
The Cantus Firmus
The Cantus Firmus. Four simple notes. Scale is C Major. That means in piano language that we only gonna use the white keys.
I value to show you this simple step too. To make it comfortable for anyone that it is ok to start with just four notes.
And in my opinion, these four notes can be any four notes. Randomly picked! So if you’re watching at a blank sheet and you can’t get it going. Just fill in four notes and start!
Believe me, it’ll work.
Before we go to the next step, these four notes are C3, A2, F2, A2. No need to listen again, let’s continue with the basic layer.
The trick to steal the show
Now this step is going to be fun! And I will try to explain it as simply as I can. If you still have any question afterwards, feel free to ask in the comments on YouTube.
Hand positions on the piano
Your left hand needs to play with two fingers. The pinky and the thumb. You put your pinky on a C. To learn it, it doesn’t matter which C this is on the piano. But if you go for a great sound, I would advise you to use the C3 or lower to get some low end.
If you don’t know what the C is on a piano, well it is the white key that sits directly on the left of the two black keys.
Now put your left thumb on the G. That should go naturally if you still have five fingers, cause it is the fifth white key after the C.
You’re done with the left hand! Let it rest there.
The right hand plays with three fingers. The thumb, the middle finger and the pinky. Now put your thumb on the E. That’s the white key that sits directly on the right of the two black keys. Let your middle finger and pinky follow the white keys up. They will naturally fall onto the G and B.
And that’s it. What to do now?
You start to play with your left hand. First the C and then the G. Then the right hand takes over and just do something with the three keys I mentioned before that you think sounds good. You can play them in random order or make combinations. It doesn’t matter!
Now press the sustain pedal on the piano and you’re a maestro. Time to steal the show 🙂
When doing this for some minutes, you will get the hang of it. And finally it will sound something like this.
I used this concept, trick if you will, for the basic layer of this composition. And you can use it in many ways! With all kinds of chords and chord progressions and variations.
Endless fun and possibilities!
Alright, let’s do a listening and continue with the next step which is about melody number one!
Melody one is for a solo cello
I wrote this melody with the cello in mind.
Of course, I paid attention to the possible chords or harmony if you will. The C, A, F, and the A already give me some direction.
I’ve looked for a use of intervals of thirds, sixths and tenths. Now if you follow me along for a while and you have watched the other orchestral sketches, you know why.
And I had an eye for let’s call it motion and patterns. I guess you’ll notice some similarities between some of the bars.
And last but not least, my intuition and feeling guided me too. A lot to be honest. And that’s perfectly fine! Music isn’t a theoretical exercise. No no. Music is emotion. So let’s stick to theory only to analyse music afterwards and to understand why it sounds great and why it sometimes doesn’t.
So this is what I ended up with in this step. Let’s do a quick listening and continue with the second melody line.
Melody two is for the flute
I wrote this melody line with a flute in mind. So again I already had an idea what I was going for.
Now I didn’t want it to be too present. The cello has the main lead in this orchestral sketch. The flute only adds some extra emotion and another beautiful orchestral sound to it. That’s all.
What can I say more about this step?
Not much I guess. But maybe something about the first notes in the bars. The flute plays an E, another E, then the F and in the final bar the C. That makes clear what the chords or harmony is.
This orchestral sketch uses C, Am, F and Am.
Alright, let’s do a listening and continue with the step that completes it all.
Harmony to complete the sketch
So I already mentioned it in the step before this one. The chord progression is C, Am, F and Am. Now that makes it easy to complete the harmony.
I wrote these four staffs with strings in mind. Violins I, violins II, violas and double basses. No cellos, cause I’m going to use that one as a solo instrument. Remember?
So this is what I ended up with eventually. The sketch is ready for some orchestration. But I guess I already gave it away how that is going to work out.
Let’s do a listening and continue with the orchestrated version.
The orchestration part. I love it!
The flute, the piano – in this case the CinePiano – and the solo cello should not be a surprise by now. The strings I already mentioned too. They cover the harmony in the background.
One little thing though that I didn’t mention before. The harp! It is really subtle, but it is there. It addresses the chords at the beginning of the bars and adds just that little extra to this sketch that makes it more beautiful and special. Just to hopefully steal the show with this one 😉
So that’s it. Let’s do a final listening!
[…] week I showed you in the orchestral sketch that you can kick off with a simple basic piano layer. One that you can play live within seconds! […]