Orchestration Analysis and Research Database


What is this database?

  • The Orchestration Analysis and Research Database (Orchard) contains over 4000 annotations of orchestral effects within 65 full movements of orchestral pieces, spanning 1787-1943 (and one piece from 2004), and continues to grow!
  • Each annotation can be viewed on a detail page, which contains information about the composer, work, movement, measures, instrumentation, and a brief description. You can view the annotated score and listen to a short sound clip.
  • See our About page for more information about the background of the project and the types of orchestral effects related to perceptual grouping that have been studied to date.
  • Currently, the database is available only to our research partners, but we are aiming to make the site public as soon as possible.

What can I do?

  1. Browse the database (top-down approach) by selecting “Orchestral Effects” or “Models” in the navigation bar to the right.
  2. Simple searches using keywords in the search bar above (text completion will assist you). Your list of results can be refined through dynamically generated facets (similar to filters on Amazon.ca) and sorted in various ways.
  3. Advanced searches with the “QueryBuilder Search” which allows you to specify the search parameters in a hierarchical format using Boolean operators (AND, OR). Based on the results list, you can refine your search further by adjusting the details of the query and through hierarchical sorting.
  4. Explore the annotations to study orchestration practices at play! You will soon be able to export selected annotations for further analyses (e.g., data mining).

Where are we going next?

  • Develop computer-based tools for orchestral score annotation.
  • Integrate analyses of orchestration treatises, writings by and interviews with composers.
  • Integrate orchestral renderings of excerpts both extracted from and within their full orchestral context.
  • Integrate machine-readable scores to perform queries both on annotations and on the scores themselves.

Course Syllabus