The Guide

Writing for Orchestra

Did you always wanted to compose that great orchestral piece or did you write a piano piece and are playing with the idea of orchestrating it but don’t know where to start?

“Orchestrating  Piano Music in Sibelius 7.5”   sibelius 75

“with East West Quantum Leap Gold!”

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Piano vs Orchestral Colors

For me, Orchestrating Piano Music is a fascinating process. I start to see layers and become aware of voices that I hadn’t seen when I was writing the piano piece. Plus the orchestra offers  many different colors that a piano can’t give you. My composition teacher always reminded me that while an orchestra knows many colors, the piano is basically build out of 77 little pianos, with which he pointed to the 77 keys on the keyboard…

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How to start orchestrating?

Orchestrating a piano piece can be very confusing when you don’t know where to start. How do you start in Sibelius? Do I orchestrate directly in Sibelius or should I write it by hand on paper first? Should I orchestrate every orchestra section separately or should I keep an eye on the full orchestra at all time?

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Of course, you can choose to do it any way you want, there aren’t secret rules that should not be violated when composing for orchestra, but I believe that it’s good to have A Guide when you first start; after that, find a workflow that feels good for you.

A Step by Step Approach

The Guide is  broken up into smaller steps which are easy to follow in which you set up a template in Sibelius 7.5, create an orchestral score of your piano piece, assign the East West Quantum Leap Gold orchestral sound library to the score and create a final mix of your music in Apple’s DAW, Logic X.

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For those rare cases when I need an instrument that isn’t available in EWQLSO, I take it from the Sonivox Complete Symphonic Collection library, which I believe isn’t available any longer. But for those of you who bought it, I added information for this library to the Guide as well.

What you will learn

By the time  you’ve completed the Guide, you will know everything you need to know to transform a piano composition into a composition for orchestra AND you will have a recording that you can share with others.


There is one important disclaimer I need to make: 
This is not a Sibelius or Logic guide, nor is this an orchestration guide. What I offer you is a step by step workflow (with a load of screenshots) that I follow when orchestrating a piano piece.

To learn more about the software programs, please read their manuals and visit the forums on and Logic Pro X

Orchestration is a life long learning experience and cannot be thought in a single guide. However, two books that never leave my otherwise empty small table are:

The Study Of Orchestration by Samuel Adler

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Professional Orchestration 1 by Peter Alexander

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Overview of the Guide

Now let’s have a look at what the Guide has to offer. It’s divided into five chapters which are described in more detail on the other pages of this website:

  1. Preparing Sibelius; where I explain which plugins I like to use and how I adjust Sibelius’ dynamic values in the playback dictionary.
  2. Creating the Orchestration; where I take you step by step through the process of turning a piano piece into an orchestral score.
  3. Configuring the libraries; where I explain how to import the sound libraries’ house style  and how to set up the Ewqlso library.
  4. Assigning Articulations to the score; where I explain how to assign the library’s articulations to the score.
  5. Mixing and bouncing in Logic X; where I explain how to mix and bounce the orchestrated score.

Bonus Score Included!

Now, I don’t want to be the person who says how to do things but can’t show anything to proof it, so I included with this Guide Seven  Fully Orchestrated Pieces based on seven songs for piano and voice. I added the original voice and piano parts to the bottom of the score so you can compare the two versions at all times. To get you an idea of what’s possible when you follow along with the workflow in the Guide, have a listen to these orchestrated songs here: Seven Symphonic Poems 

eBook format Only

The Guide is only available as eBook, NOT in printed format, and can be read on your Kindle and with the Kindle software. But of course it can be  printed and put in a binder, so you can have it at your side at all time.

The Guide can be direct downloaded as PDF from my GumRoad online shop:
Orchestrating Piano Music using EWQLSO Gold in Sibelius 7.5