Sounds of the Earth

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Michael Giacchino is the accomplished Oscar and Grammy-winning film and television composer who wrote the music for the widely popular ABC television programs “Alias”, “Lost”, and film scores for “The Incredibles”, “Star Trek”, “Up”, “Mission Impossible III”, “Cloverfield”, and many others. Before he met up and coming director J.J. Abrams, Giacchino used to write scores for video games using primarily live musicians.

The thing that can’t be underestimated is the amount of work it takes to write music consistently week after week, season after season with consistency. Giacchino developed and evolved the music for “Alias” starring Jennifer Garner as the show progressed, but there was always a clear sound world. You have to respect that body of work.

The fascinating thing about this short clip about the “Alias” soundtrack is that the composer talks about using a fixed orchestration for the full five-year run of the show: alto flute, bassoon, four horns, percussion, and fourteen strings (1[altoflute]-0-0-1, 4-0-0-0, perc [bongos/cymbal], strings [8-6-6-4-2]. This self-imposed “restriction” created a puzzle for the composer to continue exploring his fixed palette of sounds with character themes, color and timbral experimentats, and so much more. It also seems from the footage that some or all of the musicians were consistent for all the “Alias” sessions recorded over five seasons.

Look for Giacchino’s music in the Star Trek sequel in 2013!

pizzicato-cello-section-study-orchestration-onlineHello and welcome to If you’re new to this site, I encourage you to look around — it’s still pretty sparse — but I try to keep adding new things when I can.


On STUDYORCHESTRATIONONLINE.COM, you’ll notice that I have foundation articles, posts, or content on each of the four principal sections of the orchestra – woodwinds, brass, percussion, and strings (the tabs are NOT in score order on purpose!). There are also additional blog posts on the main page — accessible by selecting the site header. I have a tab for film scoring (which needs more work), and a resources page with affiliate links to a number of great tools for composers, orchestrators, musicians, and others. (Because these are my referral links, please note that I will receive a commission if you decide to purchase through these links — if you do, thank you!)

For ease of navigation I have also added a SITEMAP page, which will be updated as new content is added. This is under the privacy policy that is posted for your information, and for my use of Google adsense on the site. I also have an ABOUT US page which tells you a bit who I am, and over time will feature other REGULAR contributors… (I really don’t refer to myself in the PLURAL!)


But here’s what’s new! I started a Videos page as a place to post presentations and other content. My first video post “5 Tips for Effective Orchestration” is here, and also on a new YouTube channel. I hope it’s useful… Please feel free to share the video with your social networks, follow this site on twitter (@orchestrationHQ), and sign-up for email updates to this site! Thanks!

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