instrumentation | orchestration


L on 9 July 2012 at 4.56 am said:

From the world of music, I would like to offer the terms ‘orchestration’ versus ‘instrumentation’. Orchestration is the craft of turning a musical idea (usually a melody, or gesture, or harmonic sequence itself, which exists apart from any materialisation of it) into a score to be played by various instruments, be it from an orchestra or otherwise. ‘Arranging’ is another term close to this — we arrange other people’s musical idea, and orchestrate our own, might be a simple way of putting it. Alternatively, instrumentation is not a craft, unless selecting the instruments one is going to work with in the first place is a craft (which it is no doubt). So we have some instruments, and then from this musical ideas follow, emerge. This is kind of like the modernist injunction for ‘truth-to-materials’ except there is not truth there to be found, just materials to work with… Flicking between different literary forms could be the work of orchestration: I am a writer, I have ideas, I express them in different forms/genres etc. Or it could be the work of instrumentation: I am here writing now listening to something other than is coming out in this particular way (oh how strange, it happens to turn out looking a bit like x or y).

Are you trying to get at something like this distinction.


L on 9 July 2012 at 10.00 am said:

You also said “I don’t think they [different writing forms] are expressions of this general thing out there in the inner cosmos called ‘writing’.” Yeah agreed. What I called ‘orchestration’ is the view that there is a cosmos/idea that can be differently express. As in: orchestrate ‘Happy Birthday’ for orchestra, ska band, jazz trio, church choir or whatever. Whereas ‘instrumentation’ might just mean that different instruments and forms exist out of which come different types of expression and creative play. Not sure if you got this point, or if I was being clear enough here.