Online Orchestration Resource

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Photo credit: Tam Lan Truong

Photo credit: Tam Lan Truong

Pedagogical Innovation

(more info coming soon)

Photo credit: Tam Lan Truong

Photo credit: Tam Lan Truong

Innovation in Music studies

(more info coming soon)

Photo credit: Tam Lan Truong

Photo credit: Tam Lan Truong

Compositional innovation

(more info coming soon)


Database Tools

Following big data analysis trends in the humanities and social sciences, we have begun development of a ground-breaking database that will increase artistic, research, theoretical, and pedagogical innovation by providing an environment for knowledge discovery about orchestration. .



A major achievement of previous McGill-led grants, Orchard is a queryable database derived from work in music information research.4,39,118 It currently integrates score annotations and music clips according to our perception-based taxonomy. Orchard will be expanded over the course of the grant and beyond and made open-access to the full Partnership and other interested users on our Partner Calcul Québec/Compute Canada's platform, which provides the necessary storage space and high-powered computing for database searches, data mining and machine learning.5,119 Large-scale data from the Analysis Axis will be entered into Orchard, including machine-readable scores and texts, annotations of scores and texts, modes of playing, and perceptual effects, recorded or rendered audio clips, acoustic analyses, and perceptual experimentation on audio excerpts. Metadata on the time-varying acoustic properties of sounds produced by musical instruments playing at different musical dynamics and pitches with various play techniques will also be integrated into Orchard to provide acoustic information for the data mining algorithms, seeking, for example, to determine the degree of spectral overlap between sounds that conditions how strongly they will blend together.

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Thesaurus of Orchestration

(More info coming soon...)


Generative Tools

Generative technological tools to enhance creative, analytical, and pedagogical activities.

Orchestration practice requires a vast knowledge of the properties and operation of musical instruments to solve complex problems. We will build upon computer-aided orchestral rendering of musical scores for perceptual studies and educational purposes to expand and develop new tools based on this knowledge. OrchPlay allows users to extract subsets of instruments to be listened to and tested in isolation and in their full orchestral context. Researchers can thus explore the perceptual effects of re-orchestrations and music students and music lovers can gain a full understanding of how the many instruments interact in complex musical textures.

In contemporary classical music, where timbre has become a primary structuring force, computer-aided orchestration tools help composers to fulfill desired musical goals by solving problems with instrumental combinations. Orchidea will help composers discover new timbres and textures. Systematic music analyses based on perceptual principles and experiments will be integrated into Orchidea. These developments will transform creative and pedagogical practice in composition, post-production, live performance, and improvisation.

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The OrchPlay software provides access to all individual instrumental tracks of the full orchestra and enable subsets of instruments involved in a particular orchestral effect to be heard in isolation or within the full musical context. This tool provides unprecedented opportunities for scientific research on orchestration perception, for computational modeling of orchestration techniques, and for orchestration pedagogy and performance practice.



[intelligent assisted orchestration]

Assisted orchestration can be thought as the process of searching for the best combinations of orchestral sounds to match a target sound under specified metric and constraints. Although a solution to this problem has been a long-standing request from many composers, it remains relatively unexplored because of its high complexity, requiring knowledge and understanding of both mathematical formalization and musical writing.

Orchidea is an evolution of the Orch* tools and performs static and dynamic assisted orchestration. Orchidea performs mono-objective optimization on various features and requires a little number of parameters for orchestration..

(more info coming soon)


Analysis Tools

The purpose of the Analysis Axis is to characterize, and derive theory from, orchestration practice through human and computer analyses of: 1) notated and unnotated music and sketches, 2) written texts and interviews with practitioners, 3) recorded audio, 4) listener perceptions and reactions to the analyzed music, and 5) how conductors and performers understand and achieve various orchestration goals. It addresses orchestration from the viewpoints of composer, performer, audience, and analyst, and its results will have an impact on the fields of music theory and composition, musicology, linguistics, signal processing, computer science, music psychology, acoustics, and performance science.

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(more info coming soon)


Orcheil is a web app for the visualization of orchestration. The goal is to provide a clear and immediate representation of when an instrument is or is not performing in a piece of music. This can reveal, for instance, the instrumentation of a composite timbre, or the role of orchestration in articulating form. It is a timbre-first visualization of music.

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