The Wooden Toy (classical)

Hi all,

I wrote a short classical/orchestral piece for the holidays:

I’ve had the themes in mind for a couple of christmases already, but this is the first time I forced myself to sit down and actually orchestrate it. The inspirations are mainly Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker”, Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf”, Korngold’s “Die Schneemann” and the several easy listening works by Ketelbey. It’s nothing spectacular, and obviously very derivative (hopefully not to the point of plagiarism), but the idea was to write something short and playful that could feel like a Christmas tune.

Hope you’ll enjoy it, and I’ll take advantage of this to wish you all some Happy Holidays!


Thanks for sharing. Yes, it somehow feels like a Christmas tune.
Also curious how you did it. (besides composing it).
Seasons greetings …

and which of the cited composers would be in a position to sue you? :slight_smile:

It’s very festive, and it sounds like you had fun, too! Thanks for sharing!

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Thanks for listening Peter, and glad you enjoyed it!

The process I’ve followed here is the same I’ve used in other classical/orchestral pieces I’ve shared in the past. I compose everything in MuseScore, as writing music sheets comes easier to me than working with piano rolls or playing the parts directly (which I wouldn’t be able to do anyway!). Then I import everything in Ardour 6, using a modified version of this excellent template, which uses Virtual Playing Orchestra and sfizz for the SFZ files: it’s a really cool template also because it is already panned how a real orchestra would be, and thanks to Dragonfly Reverb all instruments have the right reverbs too depending on where they sit. It’s a modified version and not that one specifically since I use a customized set of the VPO SFZ files I prepared myself, to use some custom CC messages to dynamically change articulations instead of keyswitches. Most of the work (after the score is done) is in balancing the instruments and taking care of all automations (e.g., swells, articulation changes, etc.) since what MuseScore does is not compatible with VPO.

Happy holidays!


Fair point :joy:

Thanks for the kind words, Robin, I’m glad you liked it!

Very cool, very Christmas-like. It’s again and again a surprising experience to hear such good music and then having to realize, that no-one had to touch an instrument to play all that :slight_smile:
Merry Christmas!

That’s correct, no instrument was harmed to make this! :smile:
Thanks for listening and glad you liked it!

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Now, that’s interesting. I’m in the middle of an orchestration online class and was wondering how all those playing styles would translate to sound fonts

I’ll have to check one of those classes myself as well, as all I’ve done so far was mostly self thought after going through Adler’s popular book. If you’re interested in knowing more about my process from a practical perspective, you can check the posts I wrote on LinuxMusician about The Wind and the Lake and Lost Horizon, two symphonic poems where I spent a lot of time to try and make them “realistic”. The latter came out better in terms of balance and consistency, but the first post is the one where I share more details. Hopefully you’ll find some useful tips in there, and I’ll be looking forward to your orchestral efforts in the future!

Thanks a lot. Defintely will read them.
For the classes I found lots if interesting stuff on, practical counterpoint, music theory, composition, etc. No recommendations cause everyone will have different requirements.

Great piece, and very well done. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for the nice words, Roger, I’m happy you enjoyed it!