Optional instrumentation for Forum

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December 30, 2010
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Getting ready to MD a community theater production of Forum. I've seen the orchestration list online. Can anyone comment on the following questions: * are any of the books optional? * are the woodwind doublings cued for optional instruments (I live in a small community, and it's difficult to find folks that double as indicated) Thanks. Any other words of wisdom from a conductor that has done the show would be appreciated! -- ken
3 Answers

October 17, 2011
Ken, Thanks for the offer of help with the keyboard. We're in rehearsal now, with student musicians, and we went a completely different route! It's working just fine. Our school happens to be very strong with string players and not so strong with winds, so I made the strings the core and it's coming together. From my end, though, strings were free so the more the merrier. I would have had to hire any brass player, with 4 or 6 of them being quite a bit too much money. Here's what we're using: 4 violins 2 violas 1 cello 1 bass 1 percussion 1 synth keyboard (who covers important brass things not covered elsewhere) 1 flute (who plays a hybrid reed book, playing the top flute part of any given movement) 1 clarinet (made like the flute book) I've almost heard all the movements so hopefully the last few sound good, too. Derek

August 28, 2011
Ken, Did anybody ever get back to you with any answers to these questions? I am serching for the same things. The doubling books seem rather intertwined and the brass don't seem necessary except for in a few places. If you found anything useful and wouldn't mind letting me know, I'd really appreciate it. Derek

August 28, 2011
Hi. Done the show already, so now I'm somewhat intimate with the books. Brass are very necessary, although things sounded fine with just two trumpets and two trombones. Strings are generally unnecessary, except for a few tiny places in Comedy Tonight. I used an extra keyboard to fill in the string parts, but it was really just overkill. Reed 5 would have been nice, but we did without that, as well. So I ended up with: Reed 1-4 Harp (on synthesizer, using MainStage to tune the glissandos correctly) Bass Percussion (I used two players, one on trap set, one on synth for all the tuned percussion) Trumpets 1-2 Trombones 1-2 Strings (on synthesizer, but generally unnecessary) I actually used a live cello, too, which was nice, but not necessary. If you use MainStage for your synth, I'll be happy to supply the MainStage concerts I used for harp and for percussion (two separate concerts). I used two Macs in the pit, each running a copy of MainStage: One for the harp, the other for the tuned percussion. Sounded pretty good, I think. -_ Ken