In an homogeneous instrumentation (e.g. in a string ensemble) the top note is perceived as the melody. There are a lot of exceptions to that, let’s say melody in Cello/Bass and accompaniment in the upper strings. But then these two elements have to be separated, of course primarily by their range. There are several means [...]
For balancing reasons it is very common in filmmusic to let a whole section (string, brass or woodwinds) play only the root of a given chord.
In a three-layer arrangement you usually have foreground, middleground and background material. Foreground usually for the melody, background for the harmonies, middleground for filling stuff (e.g. filling up harmonies). But how do we orchestrate these layers so that everybody immediately identifies the three layers (e.g. it’s not desirable that the background material stands out, if [...]
To get inspiration it is OK to listen to existing material in the style you want to write in. Even if you refrain doing so, you for sure have something in mind how your music could sound like. And if this is the case you could just listen to that kind of music/composer. Adopting orchestration [...]
As an aspiring composer never wait for potential clients to come to you. Never feel comfortable about a successful time and don’t be lazy (well sometimes one has to be lazy ). Use your uncreative moments to work on other sides of your business – which is at least as important as composing itself: update [...]
Doubling an instrument with another instrument-type is a common technique in orchestral music for coloring and strengthening a sound. But be aware of the fact that overdoing of doubling reduces your palette colorwise.
To achieve a lush deep, warm hollywood-type string-bed as accompany, try to use the third of the chord around middle C. But keep an eye on the balance of the chord, especially if the third is already present in the melody.