Orchestration trends in a sample of successful musical theatre works

Muller, Kelsey Kylie (2019-04)

Thesis (MMus)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Orchestration is a vital yet under-appreciated part of musical theatre. Literature on this topic is scarce, with no comprehensive study having been written, nor any guide to orchestration in musical theatre. The purpose of this study is to make a preliminary study of orchestration trends in musical theatre. Thirty musicals were selected, and three divisions became apparent: full musical theatre instrumentation (Type 1), small musical theatre instrumentation (Type 2), and rock band orchestration (Type 3). These musicals were studied, and common orchestration techniques were compiled. 121 examples were selected as typical of musical theatre orchestration practices. These trends can be broadly summarised as follows: (i) the solo voice is not typically accompanied by a full orchestra; (ii) when the vocalist sings softer, fewer instruments are used; (iii) when the orchestrator uses the full orchestra, fewer instruments are used on voice entry; (iv) when different vocalists are used in different parts of a song, each vocalist’s accompaniment is orchestrated so that each voice is clearly heard; (v) when simple rhythms and simple melodies are used, then simple orchestration is also found; (vi) when vocal clarity is required, orchestrators decrease the activity in multiple instruments; (vii) when the full chorus is used, only then is the full orchestra used as accompaniment; (viii) when the orchestrator uses polyphonic vocal lines, he or she first presents each vocal line separately; and (ix) when the orchestrator does use the full orchestra with a solo voice, then the orchestration is bare. These trends in orchestration can be identified in this sample, and provide a survey of techniques that have traditionally been found to be successful in musical theatre.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Orkestrasie is ’n belangrike, maar minder waardeerde faset van ’n musiekblyspel. Die literatuur op hierdie onderwerp is skaars met geen omvattende studie tot dusver geskryf, of geen riglyne vir orkestrasie in musiekblyspel. Die doel van hierdie studie is om ’n voorlopige studie van orkestrasie tendense in musiekblyspele te doen. Dertig musiekblyspele is gekies en drie divisies het uitgestaan: volle musiekblyspelinstrumentasie (Tipe 1), klein musiekblyspelinstrumentasie (Tipe 2), en ‘rock orkesinstrumentrasie’ (Tipe 3). Hierdie musiekblyspele is bestudeer en algemene orkestrasie beginsels is saamgestel. 121 voorbeelde was gekies as tipiese musiekblyspel orkestrasie gebruike. Hierdie tendense kan breedweg as volg opgesom word: (i) die solostem word nie tipies begelei deur volle orkes nie; (ii) as die sanger sagter sing, word minder instrumente gebruik; (iii) as die orkestreerder die volle orkes gebruik, word minder instrumente gebruik sodra die sanger begin sing; (iv) as verskillende sangers in verskillende gedeeltes van ’n lied gebruik word, is elke stem se begeleiding georkestreer volgens die spesifieke stem sodat dit helder gehoor kan word; (v) as eenvoudige ritmes en melodieë gebruik word, word eenvoudige orkestrasie gevind; (vi) indien die stem helder hoorbaar moet wees, word die aktiwiteite deur orkestreeders in verskeie instrumente verminder; (vii) slegs as die volle koor gebruik word, is die volle orkes gebruik as begeleiding; (viii) wanneer die orkestreeder polifoniese stemlyne gebruik, stel hy of sy eers die vokale lyne apart; en (ix) indien die orkestreerder die volle orkes met ’n solostem gebruik, word die orkestrasie spaarsamig gebruik. Hierdie tendense in orkestrasie kan in hierdie steekproef geïdentifiseer word en voorsien ’n oorsig van tegnieke wat tradisioneel bevind is as suksesvol in musiekblyspel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/106232
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