Erlkönig, arranged for orchestra

• May 23, 2019 - 20:21

Here's my arrangement of Schubert's Erlkönig. Feel free to comment on any of your opinions or suggestions.
Also, there's a passage near the end in the violins marked "Sul A," "Sul D," and "Sul G;" I'd like to hear from string players if that is possible to play.
PS Sorry in advance for the bad mixing.


This is super-competent orchestration; the fact that this interpretation of two compounded terrifying works of art became too painful for me to listen to toward the end proves it. Bravo!! Magnificent.

In reply to by drowssap

By now you must know I admire what you have accomplished. I see that no string players have come to answer your Sul X request. Perhaps if you were to tell me what you were aiming for, or where you saw such notation on double stops, I could be of assistance. I am not a string player, but I have had my head in a few scores over the years.
If you prefer a PM I'm okay with that.
I like the arrangement.

In reply to by drowssap

I played the violin for a year a long time ago, so I don't consider myself a violinist, but I'm familiar enough with fingerings to know that it is all playable. My only comment would be that the Sul A in measure 123 clearly says to play the top notes on the A string since the bottom notes are impossible on the A string. Like Sul A & D. It's also redundant but clarifies your intenet since the choices for a single musician is to play it on the D & A or G & D strings. A small person might have some difficulty reaching the notes on the fingerboard, but most adults shouldn't have a problem. I suspect many concert masters would have the musicians play divisi even though this isn't how you notated it.

In reply to by mike320

Yeah, I put Sul A there to make it clear that the part shouldn't be played divisi. Something similar happens in Mozart's 25th symphony where the first violins play octaves otherwise impossible to play on both the E and A strings, but he puts a "divisi" instead. (…) I didn't want the part to be divisi because (I think) that would weaken the sound, especially since measure 123 is the climax. Correct me if I'm wrong though.
I was also thinking about how he writes for the violas, since he divides them into two parts quite often. When he does, he doesn't really write anything and it's just assumed that they're divided.

In reply to by Brian Berino

As a general rule, the effect of reducing the number of instruments is to affect the texture rather than the volume of the notes. A single violin can play louder than all but the loudest violin I sections (which has more than violin II), maybe not a lot but it can stand out.

The effect of playing a double stop is also a change in texture as well as tone. I believe this would more likely reduce the max volume of an instrument. The way to play louder is to press harder on a string with the bow. It is more difficult with more pressure to apply equal pressure to two strings than one. The reason for this is that the strings vibrate at different speeds and the musician is trying to keep the bow steady on two strings vibrating rather than one. As a result, double stops in the hands of a neophyte often sound like an amorous tom cat. Since I was always a neophyte violinist I became an expert on making tom cat sounds.

I also just noticed that the Sul A section is unison between the Violins I & II so a double stop is not called for at all.

In reply to by mike320

As pointed out there is often misunderstanding about divisi as there is in the thinking "a2" means twice as loud.
This article is helpful to you in this regard. You are probably familiar with Thomas Goss:…
ex. Ravel and Brahms
He might be someone to familiarize yourself with (if already not).
He is featured on you-tube and discusses many aspects of orchestration, from the general to specific, to the various periods and orchestral palettes.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.