Creative computer-assisted orchestration

Orchidea is a framework for static and dynamic computer-assisted orchestration.

It is the new generation of the Orchid* softwares for assisted orchestration, created in the Ircam Music Representation team and is made of several tools, including a standalone application, a Max package and a set of command line tools.

What is computer-assisted orchestration?

Assisted orchestration can be thought of as the process of searching for the best combinations of orchestral sounds to match a target sound under specified metric and constraints. Although a solution to this problem has been a long-standing request from many composers, it remains relatively unexplored because of its high complexity, requiring knowledge and understanding of both mathematical formalization and musical writing.



Ircam HEM UC Berkeley


Max package

To install the Max package, just unzip the downloaded file and copy the orchidea folder inside the Max folder located in your Documents folder. Some tutorials included in the package require the latest version Bach and Dada libraries to function properly, that you can find in the Max package manager.

Orchidea Max package v.0.6 (OSX, 64 bit) [contains TinySOL]

Standalone version

The standalone version is still in pre-release; you need to download the datasets separately.

Orchidea v. 0.6.1 standalone (OSX)

Command line tools

Download the command line version if you plan to do batch processing for research purposes; you need to download datasets separately.

Orchidea v. 0.6 command line tools (OSX)


All the *SOL instrumental datasets are derived from Studio Online and have been developed at Ircam.

TinySOL 2020
A collection of orchestral instruments in ordinario playing style.
For more information please see Zenodo.

OrchideaSOL 2020
A large collection of orchestral instruments in several playing styles.
It requires a free subscription to Ircam Forum.
For more information please see Zenodo.

FullSOL 2020
A very large collection of orchestral instruments in several playing styles.
It requires a Premium subscription to Ircam Forum.

Orchidea tam tam
A collection of tam tam sounds, played in different ways.

Orchidea multiphonics
A collection of multiphonics for winds (fingering available on request).

Orchidea viola da gamba
Developed and kindly donated by Kristina Wolfe.
Released under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License.


Installation and setup

Static Orchestration (1 of 2)

For the full list of tutorials please subscribe to our YouTube channel Orchestration Idea

Dynamic examples

Target: A minor scale

With partials filter, on spectrum:

connection symbolic solution

Target: Brahms' symphony no. 4

With partials filter, on spectrum:

connection symbolic solution

Target: Drops

With partials filter, on spectrum:

connection symbolic solution

Target: Le coq

With partials filter, on spectrum:

connection symbolic solution

Target: A glissando

With partials filter, on spectrum:

connection (at 0.1 sec. sampling) symbolic solution (at 0.1 sec. sampling)

connection (at 0.01 sec. sampling) symbolic solution (at 0.01 sec. sampling)


Orchidea is a joint project between Ircam (Music Representation Team), HEM and UC Berkeley, based on Ircam's Orchid* line of softwares.

Research and development: Carmine-Emanuele Cella

From an original idea by Yan Maresz and the Ircam Orchestration Workgroup.

Max package design and development: Daniele Ghisi, Carmnine-Emanuele Cella
Interface design and development: Alessandro Petrolati, Daniele Ghisi, Carmine-Emanuele Cella
Command line tools: Carmnine-Emanuele Cella

YouTube channel: Louis Goldford, Kit Soden

Associated composers: Michael Jarrell, Kit Soden, Victor Cordero, Luis Naon, Núria Giménez-Comas, Daniel Fígols Cuevas, Marc Garcia Vitoria, Alec Hall, Javier Torres Maldonado, Christopher Trapani, Jonathan Harvey, Marco Suarez Cifuentes, Fernando Villanueva Carretero, Kenji Sakai, Gérard Buquet, Miguel Farías

Thanks to: Jean-Louis Giavitto, Gérard Assayag, Carlos Agon, Kristina Wolfe, Hans Tutschku

This project is dedicated to the memory of Eric Daubresse (1954-2018), who greatly contributed to the development of computer-assisted orchestration.

Please feel free to contact Carmine-Emanuele Cella for any inquiry or for bugs report.

(c) 2008-2020 Ircam, (c) 2018-2019 HEM, (c) 2019-2020 University of California, Berkeley