I've been getting into string arrangements recently and I'm coming from a pianist background but just looking for inspiration in terms of string arrangements, what do you guys listen to?
If you go on Paul Thomson's youtube channel, he has done a few tutorials on how to write for different orchestral instrument and there is one for strings.
For sheer inspiration, Mozart. Not as a model for contemporary media composition. But the elegance, harmony and agility of his string writing is hard to beat. My local classical radio station plays a lot of Mozart. (Also Baroque, which rocks the strings.)
For a more modern film sound, Enrico Morricone. His strings are so emotive; they can be big and lush or quiet and heart-rending.
I agree, the most important thing you can do is 'listen' and i think the most important thing to listen to is classical music. You will learn a lot just by listening.
I spent hours and hours with headphones on listening to all styles of classical music when i was younger. You will be suprised at what you can learn by just doing that.
I just start listening to quartets or solos on youtube. I try to find ones that have sheet music so I can follow along if I hear something interesting.
My favorites so far have been:
Maurice Ravel - String Quartet in F
Max Richter - On the Nature of Daylight
JS Bach - Chaconne Partita No. 2
Antonio Bazzini - La Ronde des Lutins
I studied a John Williams score for a composition class. Theme from Schindler's List. Give it a listen; it's inspiring string writing.
He does one thing that is so cool, and so outside-the-box. When the English Horn comes in with a counter melody, the violas play along (pianissimo) in a parallel 5th. That is considered a cardinal sin in harmony class. But you hear it as a haunting sort of echo. So effective.
Williams uses moving lines for harmony and lots of counter motifs in his string writing; especially slow stuff. Lots of divisi. For big hero themes, it's unison strings in octaves when they take the melody. Huge sound. He's a great composer.
Always listen to Vaughan Williams for emotional impact and Aaron Copeland for arrangement 😀😀😀
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