Fantasy - Orchestration


The orchestration of magic and fantasy music is very specific, relying heavily on:

  • Pitched metallic percussion, including celesta, vibraphone, and glockenspiel
  • Non-pitched metallic percussion, including bell tree, triangle, wind chimes and cymbals
  • Harp, including both glissandi and plucked parts
  • Choir (singing neutral syllables)
  • Pizzicato strings, commonly paired with harp
  • Trilled parts, typically in woodwinds and/or strings
  • Tremolo strings
  • Nasal tone instruments such as oboe, fagot and low winds are commonly used  
  • Melodic material is typically moved around the orchestra, commonly placed in any of the above instruments, as well as woodwinds, horns, and upper strings

In his 'Teleplasty' cue, Danny Elfman uses the Celesta, the Contrabassoon, a Horn and a Theramin to color his melody. Actually there's no clear melody but a fragmented patchwork of lines that follow the harmonic structure, jumping from one to instrument to another, giving us a impression of a 'shimmering string' to follow.