Orchestral Approaches for Voices

As we add the human voice to the orchestration, we need to know if the music will be written for one voice, multiple voices or a choral arrangement.  Now we need to make some new decisions about how to assign the various lines between the vocal and instrumental sections.

Let’s start with a solo vocal and assume that the vocal is intended to work with and not against the main direction of the orchestra.

Using an example from the Tommy Dorsey band, we can detect that the band is using essentially the same technique used in the orchestration for the “Song of India,” with a sotto voce echo from Frank Sinatra, as he sang “Say It (Over and Over Again).”

Let us now compare the relative simplicity of the Dorsey arrangement to the power and relative complexity of the choral music in the Messiah.  The voices singing “King of Kings” are met by the response of other voices singing “Hallelujah, Hallelujah.” This key statement and response starts around 1:50 minutes into the clip.