ORchard is the:


What is this database?

  • The Orchestration Analysis and Research Database (Orchard) contains over 4000 annotations of orchestral effects within 65 full movements of orchestral pieces, spanning 1787-1943 (and one piece from 2004), and continues to grow!

  • Each annotation can be viewed on a detail page, which contains information about the composer, work, movement, measures, instrumentation, and a brief description. You can view the annotated score and listen to a short sound clip.

  • See our About page for more information about the background of the project and the types of orchestral effects studied.

  • Currently, the database is available only to our research partners, but we are aiming to make the site public as soon as possible.

What can I do?

  1. Browse the database (top-down approach) by selecting “Orchestral Effects” or “Models” in the navigation bar to the right.

  2. Simple searches using keywords in the search bar above (text completion will assist you). Your list of results can be refined through dynamically generated facets (similar to filters on Amazon.ca) and sorted in various ways.

  3. Advanced searches with the “QueryBuilder Search” which allows you to specify the search parameters in a hierarchical format using Boolean operators (AND, OR). Based on the results list, you can refine your search further by adjusting the details of the query and through hierarchical sorting.

  4. Explore the annotations to study orchestration practices at play! You will soon be able to export selected annotations for further analyses (e.g., data mining).

Who are we?

Where are we going next?

  • Integrate analyses of orchestration treatises, writings by and interviews with composers.

  • Integrate orchestral renderings of excerpts both extracted from and within their full orchestral context.

  • Integrate machine-readable scores to perform queries both on annotations and on the scores themselves.


OrchPlay Music

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. With this system, orchestral players can rehearse their parts at home with a full orchestra in a "Music Minus One" fashion. Any user's instrumental setting related to any section of the score (with measure nr. and time-based units) can be saved as a bookmark with individual name, description and relevant score pages for use in the classroom or public presentations. Bookmarks and Bookmarks Lists (referring to any compilation of pieces) can also be exported and shared with all other users. Standard stereo files can be imported as OPL files as well as any other related document and linked to them. The OrchPlay Music Library currently offers a selection of 100 musical pieces (from short excerpts to full movements) from the symphonic repertoire from late 18th Century to Contemporary. 

 Page under construction

Alpha-OrchView screenshot

Alpha-OrchView screenshot

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.
— Aldous Huxley

 Page under construction

Screenshot of Orchidea

Screenshot of Orchidea

Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.
— Kahlil Gibran
Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 12.11.32 AM.png


Concept: Emily Dolan
Programming: Gregory Lee Newsome

How do you pronounce orcheil?
Roughly, oar-kay.

What is it?
It's a dye-producing lichen.

No, this site.
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.

How do I use it?
orcheil is driven by symbolic data representing music notation, specifically a MusicXML file. Just upload your file and orcheil will create a visualization of it. You may choose a color palette beforehand if you wish.

I don't have a MusicXML file. Where can I get one?
Try MuseScore.

Does orcheil keep my MusicXML file?
No, it doesn't keep anything.

I choose the instrument palette, but one instrument is gray. Why?
orcheil uses the instrument name to determine the instrument color, with support for common orchestral instrument names in English, French, German, and Italian. If an instrument is gray in the visualization, it's because the instrument name is unusual, or in an unsupported language, or there's a typo in it.

Where are the instrument names?
Each path in the visualization has a tooltip containing the instrument name.

There may be a problem with orcheil. Who do I contact?
Gregory Lee Newsome at greg.newsome@utoronto.ca.

What is orcheil built with?
PythonFlaskmusic21, and ❤️.