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How much is an Orchestrator?

I'm a student and looking for professional advise -
Does anyone know the rough cost of someone to orchestrate a 2min work for full orchestra in London - sorry if it's too general - but I would just like to know.
thanks
 

mark.warman

Member
A rough quote for professional rates would be easier with some idea of bar count and ensemble size. Also whether working from MIDI file or notated original.
 

douggibson

Active Member
Sure. Professional orchestrator here:

You can do some research via the American Federation of Musicians which is the union.
They put out rates guidelines that are to serve as the minimum fee.

They have different categories depending on a few things. For example is this for a concert, or for a film. Also for film the overall budget is considered.

(Basically, find the closest match. So if this is just for you own personal portfolio go with non-broadcast rates.)

Then the rates adjust according to how many staves on the score. 1-13 staves is one rate.13-24 another, and a rate for each additional.

Typically it is based on "per page" which is 4 measures. So if the rate is $30/per page that = 4 measures. Then if you piece is say 48 measures......... that's 12 pages. 30 x12 =

(no funny shit like a single measure in 9000/4)

There you go.
 

LHall

Active Member
That's a way to figure how much time the work will take. 16 bars - not too long. 460 bars - a lot longer. Staves: orchestrating for string quartet not too long. Orchestrating for full orchestra - a lot longer.
 

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
There is no guide. It's going to depend on the type of work, the complexity, the talent level of the orchestrator, the fame level of the orchestrator, how busy he/she is at the moment, and how interested he/she is in orchestrating your project. Also, will that orchestrator have any ongoing financial interest in what happens with the project? Union? Non-union? All-in price needed? Mock-up needed?

It would be like asking: "How much to have a singer sing on my 2 minute song?" Somebody you ran into singing at the bar down the street might charge one rate. Taylor Swift might charge you a bit more. ;)

Also consider that the lines between composer/arranger/orchestrator/copyist are blurred. The exact nature of the work is going to make a big difference. Taking fully realized MIDI info from a sequence and getting it on paper (without needing to make any changes) is one job (which is actually more of a copyist job, than an orchestrator job). Taking a basic theme someone plunks out on a piano, and turning into a big symphonic piece with textures, counterpoint, etc., etc. is a different kind of orchestrator job.

Essentially, what would be charged is all over the map...
 

Sears Poncho

Active Member
There is no guide. It's going to depend on the type of work, the complexity, the talent level of the orchestrator, the fame level of the orchestrator, how busy he/she is at the moment, and how interested he/she is in orchestrating your project. Also, will that orchestrator have any ongoing financial interest in what happens with the project? Union? Non-union? All-in price needed? Mock-up needed?
This x 10,230, 539.3. Words of wisdom.
 

FriFlo

Senior Member
sorry I just don't get it ....
I was kidding. But you probably are not a musician, otherwise you would have understood my reply, right? So, here is the problem with your question.
You ask for a quote, but really, nobody serious would give you any with the information you provide. 70 bars of music by Bach? Keyboardmusic? What is the purpose you need it for? What kind of Ensemble? ... Unless you have some incredible idea you are afraid of being ripped off (which is improbable for a Bach Orchestration), I don't get why you don't tell us everything about it?! I am sure,
You would get much clearer answers.
Like this, everyone is a bit puzzled ... so, he is a student and probably cannot afford much beyond his living expenses ... but he needs an orchestrator? Why????
 

bryla

Senior Member
sorry I just don't get it ....
If you check the link in my previous post you could calculate it to be $769 for that job.
This is not my union, so I might be missing some information but here goes:
70 bars is 18 pages. Let's assume we would need 12 staves (what I believe are called lines in this document) and we're looking at the column "General Price List, Non-theatrical productions".
10 lines is 34.37 plus an extra two for 2.08 each is 38.53 per page x 18 pages is 693.54 + 10,9% AFM-EPF (somebody could clarify what this is but maybe pension/health/welfare combined?) = 769.14USD
This excludes the copying which could be hourly rates (26-30USD pr hour) or page rates.
 

Daryl

Senior Member
alright lets say its 70 bars of music by Bach that needs arranging for orchestra
You've just opened a can of worms. You said "orchestrating" and now you're saying "arranging". Which is it? They have always been different jobs, and these days they are even more different.
 

bryla

Senior Member
Sorry, missed that one! Arranging is another thing.

There are already couple orchestrators in this thread and mentions to others as well. My advice: Have a specific project ready and contact someone and ask for a price. They will also tell you what they need (MIDI, audio or whatever) to do what you want.
 
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