A few weeks ago I mentioned that I joined an amateur orchestra. I’ve actually been having a lot of fun with it. I wasn’t completely sure I’d like it when I joined but it’s been giving me that musical challenge I want.

The first week I was given two pieces to learn. The first was written for organ but since the music had been used to write an orchestral score, a lot of the soprano notes had been whited out and replaced with notes written for a Bb instrument (see note at the bottom if this doesn’t make sense to you). Instead of transposing everything in my head as I played, I decided to rewrite the piece so that everything was in concert pitch. I also wanted to make it more piano friendly. To do this I got to take out my computer and open up Musescore. It’s the free music notation program that got me through all the music writing I did in college. It’s not as great as the expensive programs like Finale or Sibelius but it works for the poor music student.

The first piece didn’t take near as much work as the second piece. The second piece didn’t even have a piano part. All I was given was the orchestral score. Before doing all the work of arranging my own piano score I checked out IMSLP, a huge data base of music scores. I couldn’t really find what I was looking for which didn’t really bother me. I was pretty excited to put my musical mind to work. Since our orchestra is so small we are missing a lot of different instruments. I decided to allot the music from our non-existent instruments to a good chunk of my own score. This way the piano will fill in the blanks and back up the less represented musical phrases. It turned out pretty well and I’m really enjoying playing it with the orchestra.

Now it’s just practice, practice, practice until our first performance. Speaking of which, you are probably wondering when that might be. There is going to be one performance with a church choir in Fergus on April 11th I believe. Another one is to be the following week in Brampton. I’ll share details on locations and times when I know more.

Have a happy week and go outside! I have a feeling that this spring-like weather isn’t the end of winter just yet.


*Note for the confused*

When music for a concert pitch instrument such as a piano is written in the key of C, the same music for a Bb instrument would have to be written in Bb in order to sound the same. So when a trumpet plays a Bb, it sounds the same as a C would on the piano.  In the music I was reading, all the soprano notes were lowered while everything else stayed the same. Talk about confusing!