The Guide to MIDI Orchestration 4e: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Guide to MIDI Orchestration 4e

1st Edition

By Paul Gilreath


598 pages | 300 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780240814131
pub: 2010-03-25
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Since its initial release in 1997, Paul Gilreath's The Guide to MIDI Orchestration has been the premiere text on creating realistic emulations of a symphony orchestra using samplers and computer recording techniques. Now in its fourth edition, The Guide to MIDI Orchestration explains how to merge this ever-expanding technology with the artistry of orchestration to produce the most lifelike recordings possible. The book is written for composers, arrangers, and MIDI musicians of all levels, and will be helpful to game composers, film and television composers, traditional orchestral composers, teachers, instructors, and the serious hobbyist. Highlights of the book include:

  • Introduction to and overview of the orchestra
  • In-depth discussions of each orchestral section
  • Detailed information on each instrument's timbre, range and uses
  • Discussions of orchestration techniques
  • Demonstrations on how to build an orchestration from the ground up
  • Presentations on techniques for achieving balance and musical interest
  • Setup and recommendations for software and equipment
  • Details on setting up a multi-computer network for use as slave computers
  • Overview of software sampler and Digital Audio Workstation software
  • Presentation of note entry methods
  • DAW and sampler template implementation
  • Detailed steps for achieving realistic reverberation and instrument placement
  • Start to finish steps to achieve a final mix
  • Insightful interviews with top mastering engineers


for updates and enhanced content including PDFs of orchestral library reviews and additional written content, audio files of musical examples from the book, video demonstrations, and much more.

Table of Contents

The String Section

The Woodwind Section

The Brass Section

The Percussion Section

The Harp and Piano

Orchestration Basics

How to Begin

Introduction to Sequencing

Sequencing Techniques for Strings

Sequencing Techniques for Woodwinds

Sequencing Techniques for Brass

Sequencing Techniques for Percussion

Sequencing Techniques for Harp and Piano

Creating Tempo Changes

In Search of a Hall

Effects Plug-Ins

Software Samplers

Types of synthesis

Using Sampled Voices

The Mix Process

Sync techniques

Commercial Instrumentation

Broken Pony Studios


Achieving Specific Moods

Introduction to Orchestral Libraries

Piano Libraries

Appendix A: Instrument Ranges

Appendix B: EQ Graphic

Appendix C: Resources


About the Author

Paul Gilreath is an award-winning composer who creates original music in a variety of styles for video games, film, television, trailers, and broadcast advertising. Gilreath has written theme, underscore and broadcast advertising music for a wide range of clients that include NBC, CBS, Cartoon Network, ESPN, American Airlines and many others. His music has been used multiple times for the Olympic Games broadcasts on NBC and several PGA tournaments on NBC. He scored the feature film No Retreat No Surrender starring Jean Claude Van Damme, Knights of the City starring Curtis Mayfield, and Making Contact directed by Roland Emmerich (Independence Day).

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