Friday, July 21, 2017

Reel Change: The Orchestra (Part II)

It's part 2 of Reel Change: The Orchestra and we've invited a special guest to join the podcast - our brother and percussionist extraordinaire Karl Brueggemann. Previously we walked through the String and Wind choirs and today we explore orchestral Brass and Percussion. Get to know the unique timbres of some of the leading lights of film music. From ancient drums to cutting edge synthesizers, the band of instruments behind the Hollywood Sound is dazzling and diverse. Enjoy!

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the discussion continues at:


  1. Hey guys, I really enjoy and appreciate what you all are doing. As a horn player, I wanted to respond to what was said about the instrument as there are a few things a little bit wrong. I'd love to chat about it if you'd like, but either way, here's my response video, and I by no means intend it as an attack. Keep doing what you are doing!

    1. Hi Andrew! We're finally dusting off our show and website and found your comment. Thanks for sharing and for your thorough video :) You are of course, correct and there are likely a host of exceptional cases for each of the instrument families not covered in this episode.

      One reason we're so interested in encouraging composers to reign in some of their horn writing (at least initially) is that there has been a fairly widespread phenomenon of VST-based composers writing consistently high and loud for the horn, perhaps without awareness of the instrument's tessitura. Orchestrators and players we speak to often mention this as do producers for sessions around the globe. Virtuosic upper-range material is, as you rightly point out, fantastic! But the wonderful examples we see in the repertoire all employ the range quite intentionally. Those that you hear advocate for more reserved horn writing, I believe, are attempting to implore general best practices (and save embouchures :) At the moment in media music there seems to be no shortage of high-range material for the horn. Who knows, maybe in ten years we'll be experiencing a different trend, where the majority of horn writing is restrained and in the middle of the register - we'll then all need to advocate for that glorious upper-range :)
      Thanks again Andrew - all the best!

    2. I think it was Dylan Hart I was speaking to that mentioned this issue you speak of, but the composers seem open to the musician's suggestions. It's a fine line to ride since there are great uses of the horn in that range if done right, but that is of course a matter of personal opinion.
      It does seem odd that the mid and low range of the horn is not used that much. I know John Williams has written some low horn notes (I think it's in JFK there's a low concert G2 and what sounds like horns on a concert Gb2 in Star Wars ep 6), and then the wonderful themes by Jerry Goldsmith in that range, although they are probably on Tuben (Air Force One, Star Trek Voyager and The Mummy for examples that I know are Tuben).
      Here's hoping we see less of the VST-based composers and more of those that really understand the instruments better.