How To Turn a Piano Sketch Into a Full String Arrangement

Hi composers! Today’s video is actually the first one where I work live instead of talking about what I’ve already done, and what better way to kick things off than with string arranging?

In this video, let’s walk through a typical approach of turning a piano sketch into a full string arrangement (violins 1/2, violas, celli, basses). Please enjoy!


Hi, got the notification earlier. Will watch tonight. Your videos are always great

Brilliant video Christopher! :slight_smile:
Do you prefer to go from piano to string arrangement as opposed to working with an ensemble strings patch (let’s say the polyphonic legato patch in Afflatus Strings)?

And if you prefer to sketch with solo piano, why is that? :slight_smile:

Let me share what I usually do. I have a track stack with a Piano + Ensemble Strings patch, to record the full harmonic progression on, which I then voice out to separate instrument sections. I like the layering of piano and strings because I get the focused note and chord changes in the piano together with the lush movement of the strings.

Thanks Sebastien! Hope you enjoy it :slight_smile: String arrangements are always fun to make.

1 Like

Thank you Mike! For me it’s a personal choice, as piano has always been my first instrument, so I can hear all the parts the most transparently using the piano, then flesh it out to different instruments. Plus the piano sketch lets me think about what other instruments could be playing the melody/harmony, not just strings, so it adds some flexibility for me.

The piano+strings method sounds great! Gives you that nice lush sound that must be super inspiring. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Ah makes sense! :slight_smile:
Yes the combination of the two is what I favor because I actually like to record some dynamic curve to the sketch track too. Nothing fancy or perfect, but still have some movement in it. And I a dial down the strings and let the piano take over if I sketch something that is shorter notes with clear separation. I might do a video showing this sketch method later actually.