I’m sure that reader Douglas Romayne spoke for many in our fraternity when he wrote me inquiring about orchestrational strategies (without sampler skullduggery) that will coax the thrills of a big orchestra out of a more modest one. In his letter, he agreed that “a good orchestrator can make 40 players sound like 60, while a bad orchestrator can make 60 sound like 40.” Very true, but not for the obvious reasons you might think. “Sound like” really means “to be perceived as” and that’s where your opening lies.
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