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Orchestration An Anthology of Writings
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Orchestration An Anthology of Writings
New York London
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© 2006 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group, an Informa business Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-415-97683-9 (Softcover) 0-415-97682-0 (Hardcover) International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-415-97683-1 (Softcover) 978-0-415-97682-4 (Hardcover) No part of this book may be reprinted, reproduced, transmitted, or utilized in any form by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying, microfilming, and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without written permission from the publishers. Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. Visit the Taylor & Francis Web site at http://www.taylorandfrancis.com and the Routledge Web site at http://www.routledge-ny.com
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For my parents, Charles and Bernadette Mathews
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SECTION I • The early nineteenth century: BEETHOVEN’S ORCHESTRATION 1 On the Symphony Part II, Chapter III of School of Practical Composition
Instruments Added to the Scores of Old Masters Chapter XIII of à Travers Chants
On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony
Instruments Added by Modern Composers: Wagner and Beethoven
Pamphlet on Mahler’s Edition of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony 40 Gustav Mahler and Siegfried Lipiner
Beethoven’s Instrumentation From An Autobiography
SECTION II • THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY: FRENCH AND GERMAN ORCHESTRATION I 45 Statements on Orchestration
First Lesson: Preliminary Instruction From Cours méthodique d’orchestration
Foreword to Berlioz’ Treatise on Instrumentation
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SECTION III • INTERLUDE: ORCHESTRAL POSSIBILITES ON THE EVE OF THE NEW MUSIC 65 The Orchestra From Treatise on Instrumentation
Orchestra Tutti From Chapter X of A Course of Instruction in Instrumentation
Hector Berlioz, annotated by Richard Strauss
The General Divisions and Classification of the Principal Instruments of the Orchestra From Anatomie et phisiologie de l’orchestra
Delius and Papus
Composition of the Orchestra Chapter IV of Principals of Orchestration
SECTION IV • THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: FRENCH AND GERMAN ORCHESTRATION II
An Inadequate Means for Musical Expression
The Orchestra: Diatonic and Atonal Music From Vom Wesen des Musikalischen
Josef Matthias Hauer
Possibilities of the Concert Wind Band from the Standpoint of the Modern Composer
The Balance of Sonorities: Volume and Intensity From Volume I, Chapter II of Traité de l’orchestration
Instrumentation From Conversations with Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft
SECTION V • THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY: KLANGFARBENMELODIE AND TEXTURE
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Klangfarbenmelodie From Theory of Harmony [Harmonielehre]
Letter to Heinrich Jalowetz Regarding the Symphony, Op. 21 Letter to Herman Scherchen Regarding the Transcription of J.S. Bach’s Ricercata
Anton Webern: Klangfarbenmelodien
Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use
Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft Alfred Schnittke
SECTION VI • LATER TWENTIETH-CENTURY INNOVATIONS 179 Program Note for the Fourth Symphony
Instrumental Character and the Problem of the Tutti From Flawed Words and Stubborn Sounds
On the Size and Seating of an Orchestra
Spatial Music and Orchestration From “Spaced Out with Henry Brant”
Remarks on Orchestration
Timbre and Composition — Timbre and Language
Elliott Carter and Allen Edwards Steve Reich
Henry Brant and Frank J. Oteri Morton Feldman
Bibliography Sources Index
219 225 227
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Grateful acknowledgement is made to publishers for permission to reprint copyrighted material. Gustav Mahler v. 2. Vienna: the years of challenge (1897–1904), by Henry-Louis de la Grange.
By permission of Oxford University Press (www.oup.com).
“To Max Marschalk” 12 April 1896 and “To Gisela Tolney-Witt” from The Selected Letters of Gustav Mahler translated by Eithne Wilkins, Ernset Kaiser, and Bill Hopkins. Edited by Knut Martner. Translation copyright © 1979 by Faber and Faber, Ltd. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC. Style and Idea: Selected Writings of Arnold Schoenberg, edited by Leonard Stein.
Permission obtained through the Copyright Clearance Center.
“L’equilibre des sonoritiés: Volume et intensité” in Traité de l’orchestration, by Charles Koechlin.
© 1954 by Editions Durand (funds Max Eschig)
Theory of Harmony by Arnold Schoenberg, translated by Roy E. Carter.
Permission obtained through the Copyright Clearance Center.
Die Reihe No. 2: Anton Webern, edited by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen and translated by Eric Smith and Leo Black.
Used with kind permission of European American Music Distributors LLC, U.S. and Canadian agent for Universal Edition A.G., Vienna.
A Schnittke Reader, edited by Alexander Ivashkin and translated by John Goodliffe.
Reprinted with the permission of Indiana University Press.
Flawed Words And Stubborn Sounds: A Conversation with Elliott Carter by Allen Edwards. Copyright © 1971 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company. Writings on Music by Steve Reich.
Used by permission of the author and Oxford University Press.
“Spaced Out with Henry Brant,” by Frank J. Oteri.
Reprinted with the permission of Frank J. Oteri and The American Music Center; complete interview available at .
Morton Feldman, Give My Regards to Eighth Street, edited by B. H. Friedman.
Used with permission of Exact Change.
“Timbre and Composition — Timbre and Language,” by Pierre Boulez, translated by R. Robertson.
Reprinted with the permission of Contemporary Music Review: http://www.tandf.co.uk/ journals/titles/10799893.asp
The publishers have made every effort to trace and acknowledge copyright holders. We welcome additions or amendments.
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Preface The 1844 publication of Berlioz’s Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes was a watershed moment in the history of orchestration. While there had been a number of useful books about instrumental practice dating back to the sixteenth century, never before had a prominent composer written so extensively about instrumentation, and never had any writer attempted define orchestration as a craft beyond simple instrumentation.1 Since Berlioz, many composers have written about orchestration. I began collecting these writings as an aid to students in my orchestration classes. However, I realized that they also present a compelling history of the development of orchestral style over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Every anthology is selective. Early in the process, I made a decision to use only texts that were written by composers. As a result, I believe each text has a dual function: it presents a view of history and suggests how that view shaped the music of the author. In other words, each text may ultimately say as much about the music of the composer writing the text as it does about the music the composer is considering. Similarly, I decided to omit excerpts from twentieth century textbooks, such as those by composers Walter Piston and Samuel Adler. Modern textbooks have a sense of purpose that tends to minimize writings of a more speculative and less technical nature. The included items are arranged and framed by head notes to show the evolution of orchestration and orchestral thought in the nineteenth and twentieth century, which is summarized in the following paragraphs. In the eighteenth century composers learned instrumentation: an understanding of instrumental technique. To keep pace with the increase of dramatic rhetoric and textural richness in nineteenth century chamber music, composers made greater demands of the orchestra. The enhanced orchestral praxis was increasingly called orchestration.2 Orchestration subsumes the concept of instrumentation but is also concerned with the allocation of instrumental timbre and instrumental weight to parts of a musical texture. Berlioz alludes to this difference both in his title — Instrumentation and Orchestration — and in his preface to the revised edition (1855), which reads in part: The object of this work is, therefore, to indicate the range of the instruments and certain features of their mechanism; then to exam-
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ine the nature of their timbre, their particular character and range of expression — matters greatly neglected up to now; and finally to study the best known methods for combining them appropriately. To go beyond this would mean to enter the real of creative inspiration where only a genius can roam and make his own discoveries.3 For Berlioz, his discussion of the combination of instruments constituted the orchestration content of his book. He found the study of instrumental combinations sorely missing from instruction at the Conservatoire and from Georges Kastner’s Traité général d’instrumentation (1837).4 Berlioz approached the issue of instrumental combinations through the generous selection of excerpts, largely culled from the French opera composers of his generation. Central to Berlioz’s definition of orchestration is the notion of appropriate combinations, which immediately draws a distinction between style and technique. While technique is easily discussed — witness the number of instrumentation textbooks written after Berlioz — style is much harder to address. For the purpose of this anthology, the orchestral practice of nineteenth century composers can be broadly partitioned into three orchestral styles: the French orchestration style, the German orchestration style, and the New German orchestration style. In general, French orchestration is marked by predominately homophonic textures where lines are set in relief by tone color, while German orchestration is marked by predominately contrapuntal textures where lines are prioritized by doubling. New German orchestration mediates the difference between these two styles, combining the drama and color of French orchestration with the clarity and counterpoint of German orchestration. As the items in the anthology demonstrate, contemporary composers understood the dialectic of French and German orchestration.5 The variety of musical styles and techniques in the twentieth century have rendered the terms “French orchestration” and “German orchestration” less relevant. However, the techniques and textural elements that defined these styles continue to inform the practice of modern composers. Thus, when Elliott Carter remarks, “the real interest of music lies in its organization,” as opposed to “color,” we can understand this remark in the context of the aesthetics of German orchestration. Conversely, when Morton Feldman criticizes Webern for using orchestration to reveal his structures and to present his compositional ideas, “like a lecture, with the instruments,” we can understand Feldman’s demur as an evolved, if somewhat radicalized, aesthetic that stems from late nineteenth century French orchestration, by way of Varèse.
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The articles are reprinted here with little editing. Musical examples have been reset with reference to contemporary editions of the scores. Some musical examples have been moved closer to their corresponding references in the text; this is especially true for Rimsky-Korsakov’s chapter, where in the original, the musical examples are actually located in a separate volume. Some smaller or redundant examples have been omitted, and these omissions are cited in footnotes. Older translations, especially Ellis’ translation of Wagner, have been lightly edited with reference to the original sources. As a general rule, I edited the nomenclature of orchestral instruments and sections. For example, what we call the strings or string section in English may be called the quatour in French or the quintett in German. The literal translations quartet and quintet tend to suggest chamber music to the English reader. While contradictory nomenclature in French and German sources may also reflect the difference in orchestral style, it made for uneven reading. Similarly, I changed the names of instruments and performing expressions in musical examples to match the original sources. For example, Jadassohn’s examples from Beethoven list the instruments and tempi indications in German; I have restored the original Italian. However, where later composers have eschewed Italian, for example, the scores of Wagner and Debussy, I have preserved the original languages in the sources. I am grateful to many colleagues at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. John Spitzer and Tom Benjamin had important early insights that shaped the book. Paul Oorts and Sebastian Vogt assisted with translations. Sharon Levy, Stephen C. Stone and Eileen Soskin provided proofreading and moral support. The sharp and musical students in my orchestration classes have polished this book through their comments, and I have been fortunate to work with resourceful graduate assistants: Justin Lavacek, Sarah Kuzmak, Sook Pin Wong, and Rosemary Maeder. Special thanks are due to Betsy Nelson and the staff at the Arthur Friedheim Library at the Peabody Institute. For their help identifying rare sources, I am grateful to: Deborah Bellmore and Vivian Perlis at the Oral History of American Music project; Suzanne Eggleston Lovejoy and the staff at the Sibley Music Library at Yale University; and Monir Tayeb at www.hberlioz.com. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a supportive family and have been the beneficiary of their kindness. Robert and Sue Ann Tabler made the timely donation of a scanner and have kept me well-supplied with books. Charles Mathews Jr. donated a computer. Above all, I owe a great debt to Debbie, who loaned me many hours I am eager to repay. Parker and Emma helped too!
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1. A useful summary of instrumentation treatises before Berlioz can be found in Adam Carse’s “Text-books on Orchestration Before Berlioz,” Music and Letters 22 (1941): 26–31. 2. It is generally agreed that Heinrich Christoph Koch first used the German word instrumentirung in its modern connotation in his Kurzgefaßten Handwörterbuch der Musik (1807). The modern connotation of orchestration seems to be French in origin. Berlioz’s Traité is almost certainly the first book to use the word consistently, if not always systematically. See Walter Giesler and Ludwig K. Mayer, “Instrumentation,” in Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik. 3. Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss, Treatise on Instrumentation, trans. by Theodore Front (New York: Dover Publications, 1991), 2. 4. For an excellent summary of Berlioz’s immediate influences and his relationship to Kastner, see Hugh MacDonald, Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). 5. While composers wrote about these differences, they typically did not use the terms French orchestration or German orchestration. Rather, they identified the differences as the result of medium (opera versus symphony) or texture (homophonic versus contrapuntal). These differences are further explored in the histories provided by Gevaert and Strauss in Section II. It is only in the twentieth century that these concepts have been generalized as French and German orchestration. I have retained the nationalist labels because most musicians are already familiar with these concepts.
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THE EARLY NINETEENTH CENTURY: BEETHOVEN’S ORCHESTRATION
In a review of Beethoven’s Coriolan overture, E.T.A. Hoffmann noted, “the overture makes very heavy demands on the orchestra, like almost all the orchestral works of this extraordinarily thoughtful composer, although no individual part is especially taxing.”1 Hoffmann’s observation is an early expression of the prevailing nineteenth century opinion of Beethoven’s orchestration: Beethoven’s orchestral music requires a greater awareness of the differences in volume and intensity between orchestral sections and a greater coordination of the sections to make the melody distinct from often-elaborate accompaniments. Among Beethoven’s symphonies, the orchestration of the Ninth was particularly challenging for nineteenth century musicians. The sheer number of forces was prohibitive, and the correct preparation of those forces proved a formidable challenge to those few competent souls in the relatively new enterprise of orchestral conducting. By the middle of the century, orchestras and orchestral conducting had improved such that more performances were possible, but a complete performance remained something of a rare spectacle. With the increased performances, the work achieved a mythic status, which created a problem for conductors: the genius of Beethoven and his great symphony was at odds with the practical adjustments required for an intelligible performance. At the very least, dynamic adjustments were required. More intrusive changes included doubling and redistributing lines for balance. In short, the literal text of the work was at odds with Beethoven’s presumed intent. The following articles present a summary of the challenges and some of the proposed solutions. Taken together, they reveal more than just attitudes about Beethoven: they reveal a growing cleft in the approach to orchestration that was increasingly argued along nationalist lines. The Germanic composers argue for clarity at all cost: the central preoccupation of Wagner’s suggestions. The French and Russian composers argue
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• Section I
for a literal presentation of the score, which may result in a presentation of sound masses and textures that transcend linear thinking. Carl Czerny (1791–1857) wrote his Schule der praktischen Tonsetzkunst in 1849–50. Czerny studied piano with Beethoven at the turn of the nineteenth century and learned instrumentation in the periphery of that instruction. In addition to attending all the early Viennese performances of Beethoven’s works, Czerny made his own scores of Beethoven’s first two symphonies by copying the music from the parts: a practice he recommends to students.2 In 1805, Czerny made the piano-vocal score of Fidelio and later remarked that he learned much about arranging from Beethoven’s suggestions.3 In the excerpt that follows, Czerny is particularly concerned with the relationship between intricate musical details that inform keyboard works and the expanded forces of the orchestra. He notes that the difference in scale between piano music and orchestral music is analogous to the difference in scale between a miniature painting and large fresco, and he singles out Beethoven’s first symphony as a model of orchestral clarity.4 Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) wrote “Instruments Added by Moderns to the Scores of the Ancients,” for the 7 April 1861 edition of Journal des Débats. The following year, Berlioz included it in his book À Travers Chants. Berlioz’s ire is particularly directed at the use of trombones in works where he deems them inappropriate (or inappropriately applied). However, regarding his more general distain for the reorchestration of the works of earlier composers, it should be remembered that he himself orchestrated works of Weber and Schubert and adapted the castrato roles of Gluck’s Orphée and Alceste for the contralto Pauline Viardot. Richard Wagner (1813–1883) wrote “On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony” for the Musikalisches Wochenblatt of April 1873. The article was soon reprinted in journals all over the world. Wagner’s perspective is primarily that of a conductor appealing to other conductors and score readers. However, in his critique of Beethoven’s orchestration, he reveals much about how orchestration changed over the nineteenth century. The principle guiding all of Wagner’s revisions is the central tenet of German orchestration: clarity of line. However, unlike later composers, Wagner discusses clarity of line as a larger principle he calls melos, which might be described as the larger melody put forth by the totality of a composition. Wagner’s proposed revisions of Beethoven’s orchestration began a debate that raged well into the twentieth century. Wagner’s lead was followed most notably by Strauss, Mahler and Weingartner. Indeed in the early twentieth century, many conductors traveled with their own edition of the symphony, in a continuum between Weingartner’s light touches and Mahler’s doubling of the winds and brass.
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Beethoven’s Orchestration •
The section concludes with three shorter works. Charles Gounod (1818– 1893) wrote a letter to Oscar Comettant5 after reading Wagner’s essay in the English journal The Orchestra. Gounod’s letter was first published in the May 17, 1874 edition of the La Revue et Gazette Musicale de Paris, but like Wagner’s essay, it was soon reprinted in numerous journals. Gustav Mahler (1860–1911) co-wrote a pamphlet on his edition of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with his friend Sigfried Lipiner.6 They wrote the pamphlet to ease tensions created by the reviews after Mahler conducted his edition of the Ninth at a Philharmonia Concert in February 1900. Unfortunately, the pamphlet only exacerbated the situation. Of the controversy surrounding the performance and pamphlet, Henry-Louis de la Grange has written, “No other event in Mahler’s Viennese career had provoked such fierce controversy.”7 Finally a later perspective on Beethoven is found in the remarks of Igor Stravinsky (1882–1971), excerpted from his Autobiography, ghostwritten by Walter Nouvel.8 Here, Stravinsky proves a surprising ally, defending Beethoven’s orchestration against those who find it flawed and those who declare orchestration does not matter.
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On the Symphony Part II, Chapter III of School of Practical Composition Carl Czerny The full orchestra consists of the following instruments, which are divided into three distinct classes: namely, first, bow-instruments; second, windinstruments and third, instruments for enhancing the effect.9 1st Violin. 2nd Violin. Bow-instruments
Viola. Violoncello. Double Bass. 2 Flutes. 2 Oboes.
2 Clarinets. 2 Bassoons. 2 Horns (sometimes 3 or 4). 2 Trumpets.
Instruments for enhancing the effect:
A Pair of Tympani. 2 or 3 Trombones.
But here it is well to observe, that the five stringed instruments are considerably augmented, and therefore, the parts intended for them are performed by a great number of players. For against so many wind instruments and instruments of effect, a simple stringed quartet would be scarcely heard. In a full orchestra, therefore, the stringed instruments are augmented as follows:
From 6 to 12 From 6 to 12 From 4 to 8 From 4 to 6
—— —— —— ——
First Violins. Second Violins. Viole. Violoncelli.
From 3 to 4
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On the Symphony •
By this means, the equality of power of all three masses is duly preserved. All this is fully described in the treatise on instrumentation, forming Part IV of this work. Here, the foregoing preliminary notice was so far necessary, for the purpose of observing that the style of composition for the orchestral stringed quartet10 must not be exactly the same as in the solo quartet, because many forced, difficult or too-high passages can seldom be played correctly and firmly by so many performers together; and that this consideration must exercise a material influence on the invention of ideas, passages, and other effects. The symphony, like the sonata, consists of four movements, namely: an Allegro (with or without an Introduction); an Adagio or Andante; a Scherzo or Minuet; and a Finale. The form, construction, conduct of the ideas, chief modulations, and development, are all so similar to the sonata, that we can only refer to this, and therefore the symphony may properly be termed only a sonata for the full orchestra, — a further proof how important the study and practice of this principal form is. But if we compare the pianoforte arrangement of a symphony of Mozart, Beethoven, etc. with an actual, original sonata, we shall find, on the contrary, in many other respects, a great difference between them, which must be very carefully observed. In the symphony, the ideas are more simple and grand, the modulations clearer and less artificial. The little amplifications effected by embellishments, passages, etc., which are mostly of very good effect in the sonata, are inadmissible, and generally also impracticable in the symphony; — in a word, the difference is about the same as between a little picture, half a yard square, and a great, colossal painting which covers a whole wall. Hence, there is scarcely a sonata (howsoever great it may be) out of which a fine symphony could be formed; and, on the contrary, symphonies arranged for the pianoforte invariably make very defective sonata, although we may take pleasure in performing them, as a reminiscence of the effects which we have heard in the orchestra. Beethoven’s well-known symphony in C minor is justly regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of this class. But had the author merely written the same for the pianoforte, it would hardly have been reckoned (without considerable alteration) among his grand sonatas. The observance of this difference chiefly depends on the fancy of the composer. Only he who can form as lively a conception of orchestral effects in his own chamber, as if he were actually surrounded by an orchestra, will be able to invent those ideas which are suitable for this kind of composition; and this ability is created and improved: first, by the frequent hearing of
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• Carl Czerny
such works well performed by the orchestra; secondly by a very attentive study of the scores of good symphonies, besides which it is particularly beneficial even to score the same oneself; and thirdly by a well grounded knowledge of instrumentation.11 It is likewise advantageous, if we at first make a sketch for the pianoforte, of the ideas for the symphony that we intend to compose, before putting it into complete score. The composer must ever bear in mind, that he is writing for a great number of instruments and for ponderous masses of sound, and that consequently his ideas must not be trivial and unworthy of the same. If he desires to give a melody to a particular wind instrument, such must be suited to its character. But he must avoid becoming too concertante, and so calling forth, to too great an extent, the execution of any individual performer. It is important to observe due moderation in this respect, in order that the dignity of the combined effect may not be injured. An opposite fault is caused by too frequent employment of masses of sound, and of the deafening crash of the noisy instruments. Young composers in particular delight in this levee en masse of sound. But this demonstrates either a lack of truly grand ideas, or if such exist, they are drowned in the noise. […] The composer who makes his first essay in this style must naturally posses beforehand an extensive acquaintance with all good works of the same class. Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, progressively occupy the first place, as the greatest hitherto unsurpassed masters; near to whom, may be named as distinguished, Spohr, Lachner, Ries, and some others.12 If it be highly necessary, in other kinds of composition, that the beginner qualify himself by many attempts and imitations, previously to bringing a work before the public, it is certainly still more so in the case of the symphony: for an abortive, hastily produced work of this kind, will naturally be at once condemned by the great public, and may for the future destroy all fame and zeal. Here, then, the surest way of developing real talent is, at first, to imitate strictly, and afterward with less constraint, the simple symphonies of Haydn, or the lesser ones of Mozart, before attacking truly grand compositions of this difficult class. We give here, as an example of the regular form, the first part of the earliest of Beethoven’s symphonies, in which he has strictly adhered to the style of Haydn and Mozart; showing however, at the same time, how admirably he could unite with it his own original genius.13 The introduction to this symphony is short, (12 bars) and properly only a kind of cadence. The nature of the Allegro theme must determine
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On the Symphony •
whether an introduction should precede, and whether it should be short or long, simple or modulated, soft or loud, etc. The leading theme of this movement is one of those happily conceived, short and yet striking figures, which admit of the most varied development and application without the least constraint; for the first three notes are employed throughout, as the principal and as the accessory subject, and also as the accompanying figure to other ideas, in all the parts. After the presentation of the theme, (20 bars), appears the energetic and full continuation (20 bars), which without modulating, simply concludes on the chord of the dominant. Now enters the graceful middle subject, in which the oboe and flute alternate with each other (16 bars), and which terminates with a powerful cadence (8 bars). Here, the violoncello and basses take up the idea of this middle subject, ascending and descending, always remaining piano and modulating into various keys, whilst a new counter melody is performed by the oboe, to which the other wind instruments are afterwards added, at the perfect cadence (11 bars). In the busy tutti, which now succeeds, the principal theme is again employed (12 bars); and a new and very short figure of melody concludes the first part, with the descending chord of the seventh leading back to the original key, and to the principal theme (10 bars). The first part of the Allegro, then, consists of 97 bars only; and notwithstanding the full powers of the orchestra which are several times employed in tutti, it contains four distinct ideas and melodies, all of which are so naturally connected together, that the whole stands out with exemplary clearness, like a successful picture. Nowhere is this clearness in the conduct of the ideas more necessary and important than in the symphony, as owing to the number of different instruments, confusion so easily arises. If, on the pianoforte and in other small combinations, the composer must proceed as a miniature painter, so, on the contrary, in the design of orchestral pieces, he must more closely approximate fresco painting, which, as is well known, is only calculated to be viewed as at a distance. The symphony here considered is, as is known, the first essay of Beethoven in this style, and was moreover written at an age when we are so easily led into the fault of overlading and confusion. But Beethoven adopted the proper course, as he at first strictly took Haydn and Mozart as his models, and thereby acquired that command of form, by means of which he afterward created his great masterpieces. […]
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• Carl Czerny Beethoven. Symphony no. I, op. 26, mm. 1–109. Adagio molto.
Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in C. Fagotti. Corni in C. Trombe in C. Timpani. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello e Basso.
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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On the Symphony •
Allegro con brio.
Allegro con brio.
Allegro con brio.
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor.
Tr. Tp. Vl. I.
Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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10 • Carl Czerny
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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On the Symphony • 11
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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12 • Carl Czerny
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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On the Symphony • 13
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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14 • Carl Czerny
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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On the Symphony • 15
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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16 • Carl Czerny
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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Instruments Added to the Scores of Old Masters Chapter XIII of À Travers Chants Hector Berlioz In the duet of Gluck’s Armide (Esprits de haine et de rage) at the recent concerts of the Conservatoire, one noticed that the voices were very often covered by the great cries of trombones, and thus lost much of their effect. These trombones were added in Paris, by whom I do not know, and in a rather inelegant manner; even more was added to the same work in Berlin. It is worth noting that Gluck did not write a single note for the trombone in either Armide or Iphigénie in Aulide.14 It can hardly be argued that he abstained from using trombones in Armide for want of trombonists at the Opéra, since they play significant parts in the scores for Alceste and Orphée, which were both produced before Armide. Trombones are also found in Iphigénie in Tauride. It is curious that a composer, regardless of his stature, cannot write for the orchestra as he hears it, and especially that he is not free to abstain from the use of certain instruments when he considers it suitable. The great masters themselves often took liberties to correct the instrumentation of their predecessors, to whom they thus made alms of their science and taste. Mozart reinstrumentated the oratorios of Handel. Divine justice then decreed that the operas of Mozart should in turn be reinstrumentated in England and that Figaro and Don Giovanni should be stuffed with trombones, ophicleides and bass drums. Spontini once confessed to me that he added extra woodwinds — discreetly, to be sure — to Gluck’s Iphigénie in Tauride. Two years later, bitterly complaining of such excesses of abominable crudeness added to the orchestration of the hapless dead who could not defend themselves against such defamation, I heard Spontini exclaim, “It is indignant! Ghastly! Will I also be revised thus when I die?” Sadly I responded, “Alas, dear Master, you yourself revised Gluck!” Not even the greatest symphonist who ever lived has escaped these indescribable outrages. In addition to the Fidelio overture, which has been trombonized from end to end in England, where they have found that Beethoven used the trombones too sparingly in this overture, some elsewhere have already begun to correct the instrumentation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Some day I will reveal the names of these defilers of masterpieces in a special article. 17
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony Richard Wagner At a performance I lately conducted of this wondrous tone-work, certain reflections touching what I deem the lack of distinctness of its rendering forced themselves so strongly on me that I since have meditated a remedy for the ills I felt. The result I now lay before earnest musicians, if not as an invitation to follow my method, at least as a stimulus to independent study. In general, I draw attention to the peculiar position in which Beethoven was placed as regards the instrumentation of his orchestral works. He instrumented on exactly the same assumptions of the orchestra’s capacity as his predecessors Haydn and Mozart, notwithstanding that he vastly outstripped them in the character of his musical conceptions. What we may fitly describe as the plasticity in the grouping and distribution of the various instrumental sections in Mozart and Haydn had crystallized into a firm agreement between the character of their conceptions and the technique of the orchestra as formed and practiced until then. There can be nothing more adequate, than a symphony of Mozart’s and the Mozartian orchestra: one may presume that to neither Haydn nor Mozart there ever occurred a musical thought which could not have promptly found expression in their Orchestra. There was thorough correlation: the tutti with trumpets and drums (only truly effective in the tonic), the quartet texture for the strings, the harmony or solo of the woodwinds, with the inevitable duo for horns. These formed not only the solid groundwork of the orchestra but a draft for all orchestral compositions. Strange to relate, Beethoven also knew no other orchestra than this, and he never went beyond its employment on what then appeared quite natural lines. It is astonishing to consider the distinctness the master manages to give to conceptions of a wealth and variety far-removed from Haydn or Mozart, with a nearly identical orchestra. In this regard his Sinfonia Eroica remains not only a marvel of conception, but no less a wonder of orchestration. However, here he already exacted of the orchestra a mode of rendering which it has been unable to acquire to this day: for the rendering would have to be as much a stroke of genius on the orchestra’s part as the master’s own conception of the score. From this point then, from the first performance of the Eroica, began the difficulties of judging these symphonies and the obstacles to enjoyment they contain — an enjoyment never really arrived at by the musicians of an older epoch. These works fell short of full distinctness in performance for the simple reason that the clarity to be elicited from the orchestral organism was no longer guaranteed, as in the case of Haydn and Mozart, but could be brought out by nothing except 18
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 19
a positively virtuosic effort of the individual instrumentalists and their conductor. Now that the opulence of his conceptions required far more varied material and a much more minute distribution thereof, Beethoven saw himself compelled to exact the most rapid change in force and expression from one and the same instrumentalist, in the manner acquired by the great virtuoso as a special art. For example the characteristically Beethovenian crescendo, ending not in a forte, but in a sudden piano: this single nuance, so frequently recurring, is still so foreign to most of our orchestral players, that cautious conductors have made their instrumentalists reverse the latter part of the crescendo into a prudent diminuendo, to secure at least a timely entry of the piano. The secret of this difficult nuance surely lies in demanding from one body of instruments a nuance that can only be executed quite distinctly when distributed between two separate bodies, alternating with one another. Such an expedient is a common practice with later composers, at whose disposal stands the increased orchestra of today. To them it would have been possible through the present facilities of distribution to ensure great distinctness for certain effects devised by Beethoven without any extravagant claims on the orchestra’s virtuosity. Beethoven, on the contrary, was obliged to count on the same virtuosity in his orchestra as he himself had before acquired at the keyboard, where the greatest expertness of technique was simply meant to free the player from all mechanical fetters, and thus enable him to convey extreme distinctness from the rapidly changing nuances of expression, without which the expressions often would only make the melody appear an unintelligible chaos. The master’s last piano compositions, conceived on these lines, have first been made accessible to us by Liszt and until then were scarcely understood at all. Exactly the same remark applies to his last quartets. Here, in certain points of technique, the single player has often to do the work of many, so that a perfect performance of a quartet from this period may frequently mislead the hearer into believing he listens to more musicians than are really playing. Only quite recently in Germany, do our quartets appear to have turned their virtuosity to the correct rendering of these wondrous works, whereas I remember hearing these same quartets performed by eminent virtuosi of the Dresden Kapelle, Lipinski at their head, so indistinctly that my former colleague Reissiger might hold himself justified in calling them pure nonsense.15 The said distinctness rests, in my opinion, on nothing other than an extreme accentuation (heraustretten) of the melody. I have shown elsewhere16 how French musicians came to discover the mode-of-rendering here required before the Germans: the secret was that, as adherents of the Italian school, they looked on melody, on song, as the essence of all music.
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20 • Richard Wagner
It is only on this single correct path, discovering and emphasizing the melody, that true musicians will succeed in finding the proper rendering for Beethoven’s works which previously seemed past understanding; and if we may hope that they will further be able to establish it as a normal standard, as Bülow has already done with Beethoven’s piano sonatas: then in the great master’s struggle to make the most of the technical means at hand — the piano, the quartet, and finally the orchestra — we might perceive the creative impetus to a spiritual development of mechanical technique itself; and then might follow a spiritualizing of execution never yet displayed by virtuosi.17 However, as I here am dealing with the Beethovenian orchestra and the main principle of ensuring its melody, I must now consider an evil that at first seems virtually irremediable, since it contravenes that principle in a way no spirited virtuosity can possibly amend. Unmistakably, with the advent of Beethoven’s deafness the aural image of the orchestra became so faded that he lost that distinct consciousness of its dynamic values which at the same time became so indispensable because his conceptions themselves required a constant innovation in orchestral treatment. Whereas Mozart and Haydn, with their complete confidence in the formal treatment of the orchestra, never employed the soft woodwind instruments in a sense demanding of them an equal dynamic strength to that of the powerful full strings, Beethoven on the contrary was often moved to neglect this natural balance of power (Kraftverhältnis). He lets the winds and strings alternate with each other, or even combine, as two equally powerful engines of tone. With the manifold extension of the newer orchestra, it certainly is possible to do this most effectively today; in the Beethovenian orchestra it could only be accomplished on assumptions that have proved illusory. Beethoven does succeed at times in giving the woodwinds the necessary incisiveness through allying with it the brass: but he was so lamentably hampered by the structure of the natural horns and trumpets, the only ones then known, that their employment to reinforce the woodwinds has been the very cause of those perplexities which we feel as irremovable obstacles to the plain emergence of the melody. I have no need to warn the musician of today about the last-named drawbacks in Beethovenian orchestration, for, with our now universal use of the chromatic brass, he will easily avoid them; I have merely to state that Beethoven was compelled to suddenly arrest the brass in outlying keys, or to let it sound a harsh note here and there as the nature of the instrument permitted, utterly distracting one’s attention from the melody and harmony alike. As it surely is superfluous to further argue this assertion, I will proceed to present the remedies I myself have tried in individual cases where the unintelligibility of the master’s clear intention had at last become unbear-
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 21
able. One obvious improvement I have found is a standing order to the second horn, or second trumpet as the case may be, to generally double the higher note missing in the lower octave in passages such as:
taking it thus:
which is quite easy to execute on the chromatic instruments only employed in our orchestras of today. This simple expedient has in itself relieved great difficulties.18 Less easily improved, however, are passages where the trumpets have dominated everything up to a certain point, then suddenly break off only because the passage — though intended to be as loud as ever — moves into a key for which the natural instruments have no corresponding notes. As an example I cite the forte passage in the Andante of the Fifth Symphony.19
Here the trumpets and timpani, which for two bars have filled the whole with splendor, pause suddenly for almost two bars, then reenter for a bar only to stop again for another. Considering the character of these instruments the hearer’s attention is inevitably diverted to this color incident, inexplicable on purely musical grounds, and is thus distracted from the
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22 • Richard Wagner
main point, the melodic progress of the basses. The only remedy I have been able to devise thus far, is to rob those intermittent instruments of a portion of their glare by ordering them to play less loudly, which at any rate is advantageous to a greater clarity of the melody of the basses. As to the highly disturbing effect of the trumpets in the first forte of the second movement of the Seventh Symphony, however, I at last arrived at a more energetic resolve. Here Beethoven very rightly felt the necessity for the two trumpets, but unfortunately their mechanical simplicity prevented them from cooperating in the fashion needed. I made them play the whole theme in unison with the clarinets. The effect was so excellent that no one in the audience felt it other than a benefit, but not as any change or innovation. I have not yet decided upon an equally thorough cure of a different, though similar, defect in the instrumentation of the second movement of the Ninth Symphony, its great Scherzo, because I had always hoped to compass it by purely dynamic means. I refer to the passage, first in C, the second time in D, which we must take as that movement’s second theme. 20
Here the weak woodwinds — two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets and two bassoons — have to assert a bold and trenchant theme against the whole weight of the strings accompanying them in continual fortissimo with a four-octave figure.
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 23
The support they receive from the brass is of the kind described above, i.e. a natural note strewn here and there, which rather mars than aids the theme’s clarity. I challenge any musician to say with a clear conscience that he has ever plainly heard this melody in any orchestral performance, or that he would so much as know it if he had not read it in the score or played it from a keyboard transcription. Our usual conductors do not even seem to have hit upon the obvious expedient, that of considerably decreasing the fortissimo of the strings; for, whatever players I have assembled for this symphony invariably began this passage with the utmost fury. However, I myself had always adopted this expedient and believed it would prove successful enough if only I could get the woodwind doubled.21 But experience has never verified my theory, or only inadequately, since it demanded a greater penetration of tone from the woodwind instruments than consists with their character, at least in the present combination. If I had to conduct this Symphony again, I can think of no better remedy for the undeniable ambiguity, if not inaudibility in which this extraordinarily energetic dance motive is lost, than to double the theme with at least the four horns. This might perhaps be done as follows. Oboe and Clarinet Horns in D
Horns in B
We should then have to try whether the theme was now sufficiently strengthened to allow the strings to take the figure of accompaniment in the fortissimo prescribed by the master: a matter of no less importance, for Beethoven’s idea here is clearly the same exuberance of spirits that leads to the unparalleled excess at the return of the principal theme in the first movement, an idea which has found expression in only his most original creations. For this very reason I had already deemed it a sorry half-measure to emphasize the woodwinds by deadening the strings, as that must tame the passage’s wild character past recognition. Thus, my final advice would be to go on fortifying the theme of the woodwinds, even by bringing in the trumpets, until it plainly pierces through and dominates the strings’ most strenuous fortissimo. The trumpets in fact are introduced at the passage’s return in D, but again, in a manner that merely blurs the wood-
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24 • Richard Wagner
winds’ theme, such that I here have found myself compelled, as before, to implement a characterless moderation of both strings and trumpets. In deciding all such points, the question is whether one prefers to go for some time without hearing anything of the tone-poet’s intentions clearly, or to adopt the best expedient for doing justice to them. In this respect the audience of our concert halls and opera houses is certainly accustomed to a quite unconscious act of self-denial. At the last performance I conducted, I decided upon a radical cure for another drawback in the instrumentation of the Ninth Symphony, which occurs for the very same reason. It concerns the Schreckensfanfare of the winds and brass at the beginning of the last movement. Here a chaotic outburst of wild despair pours forth with an uproar which everyone will understand who reads the notes of the woodwind for this passage to be played as fast as possible; it will strike the reader as characteristic of a tumult of tones that it scarcely lends itself to any sort of rhythmic measure. If this passage is plainly beat in the 3/4 meter — and if in the conductor’s usual dread of a tempo change, this is taken in that cautious tempo held advisable for the succeeding recitative of the basses — it will surely make an almost laughable impression. But I have found that even the boldest tempo not only left the unison theme of the winds and brass still indistinct, but also did nothing to free the passage from the tyranny of a beat that is here a hindrance. Again the evil lay in the intermittence of the trumpets, but it was impossible to dispense with them and still observe the master’s intentions. These clamorous instruments, compared with which the woodwinds are little more than a hint, drop out of the melody in such a way that one hears nothing but the following rhythm:22
The prominence of this rhythm was in any case entirely removed from the master’s intention, as is plainly shown by the last reprise of the passage, where the strings cooperate. Thus the limitations of the natural trumpets had here again prevented Beethoven from thoroughly fulfilling his intention. In a fit of despair quite suited to the character of this terrible passage, I took upon myself this time to make the trumpets join with the woodwinds throughout,23 playing as follows: 24
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 25
etc. etc. At its later return the trumpets took the passage as the first time again. Light was won: the fearsome fanfare stormed across us in all its rhythmic chaos, and we knew at last why the “Word” must come. More difficult than this restitutio in integrum of the master’s intention, is finding a remedy for cases where no mere reinforcement or completion, but an actual tampering with the structure of the orchestration, or even of the voice leading (Stimmführung), seems the only way to rescue Beethoven’s melodic objective from indistinctness and misunderstanding. For it is unmistakable that the limits of his orchestra — which Beethoven enlarged in no material respect — and the master’s gradual inability to hear orchestral performances, led him at last to an almost naive disregard of the relation of the actual embodiment to the musical thought itself. If in obedience to the ancient theory he never wrote higher than
for the violins in his symphonies, whenever his melodic intention took him above that point he took recourse in the almost childish device of leaping down to the lower octave for the notes that would have overstepped it, heedless that he thereby broke the melodic train, or even made it positively misleading. I hope that every orchestra already takes the phrase for the first and second violins and violas in the great fortissimo of the second movement of the Ninth Symphony, not as it is written:
from mere dread of the high B for the first violins, but as the melody requires:
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26 • Richard Wagner
I also presume the first flute can now take: instead of without alarm. Though here and in many similar cases the remedy is easy enough, the really serious demands for more radical change occur in phrases for the wind where the master’s principle of avoiding any violation of the compass accepted for an instrument, and quite particularly the flute, led him either to utterly distort the established melodic curve, or to introduce this instrument with different notes that compete with the melody. The flute, as extreme upper voice, inevitably arrests the ear so soon as it enters, and if the melody is not sounded clearly by the flute, it necessarily leads the ear astray. Of this ill effect our master appears to have grown completely heedless in course of time. For instance he will give the melody to the oboe or clarinet in soprano, and, as if determined to introduce the upper register of the flute regardless of its incapacity to take the actual theme an octave higher, he assigns it other notes, thereby distracting our attention from the lower instrument playing the melody. It is quite another matter when an instrumental composer of today, with the modern facilities, desires to make a principal motive in the middle and lower registers stand out beneath a canopy of higher voices: he strengthens the sonority of the deeper instruments in due degree, choosing a group whose distinct sonority allow of no confusion with the upper instruments. Thus was I myself enabled in the Prelude to Lohengrin, for instance, to plainly sound the fully harmonized theme beneath instruments playing high above it all the while, and to make that theme assert itself against every movement of the upper voices. But it is no question of this practice — to whose discovery great Beethoven himself first led the way, as to every other genuine invention — when considering the indisputable obstacles whose removal we have now in view. Rather it is a disturbing ornament, appearing as if by chance, whose hurtful effect on the melody’s clearness we would fain tone down. Thus I have never heard the opening of the Eighth Symphony without my
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 27
attention to the theme being troubled in the sixth, seventh and eighth bars by the un-thematic entry of the oboe and flute above the melody of the clarinet; whereas the flute’s participation in the first four bars, although not strictly thematic, does not disguise the melody, because the latter is here given utmost prominence by the mass of violins in forte. But this mischief of the woodwinds is so serious in an important passage of the first movement of the Ninth Symphony, that I will choose that instance as my principal text. Consider the eight-bar Espressivo woodwinds, mm. 138–145, towards the end of the first section of the movement and returning in a similar fashion, mm. 407–414. Who can declare that he has ever heard this passage, with distinct perception of its melodic content, at any of our orchestral performances? With that insight so peculiar to him, Liszt was the first to set this melody in its proper light through his wonderful piano transcription of the Ninth Symphony. Disregarding the flute’s mostly disturbing notes until it takes over the theme from the oboe, he lowers that continuation a full octave, and thus preserves the master’s prime intention from all misunderstanding. According to Liszt, the melodic phrases read as follows.25
Now, it might seem presumptuous, and not in character with Beethoven’s instrumentation — which has its most legitimate idiosyncrasies — if we were to omit the flute altogether here, or employ it as mere unison reinforcement of the oboe. I should therefore leave the flute-part essentially as it stands, only making it faithfully conform to the melody where it takes the lead, and instructing the player to subordinate both force and expression to the oboe where the latter claims our full attention. Accordingly, as continuation of its phrase in the upper octave in the fifth bar,
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28 • Richard Wagner
the flute would have to play the sixth bar not but
and thus the line of melody would be even more correctly followed than was possible to Liszt with the technique of the keyboard. If we were to direct our attention to the second bar, we could give the oboe the phrase in full, as it does in the fourth bar, thus: instead of Then, all we should need to give the whole passage its due pronounced expression, entirely lost at present, would be to somewhat slacken speed and observe the following nuances — which really are nothing but corollaries of the master’s own notation.
In bars seven and eight, on the other hand, a strong crescendo would create the expression that would lead to the bright accents of the cadential gestures that follow. Where the passage returns in the movement’s second half, in a different key and register, it will be much harder to bring about an equal clarity of its melodic line. Here, in the higher register, the flute necessarily plays the principal part; but even its compass does not extend high enough, and changes have been made in the melody that completely obscure it and contradict that which is simultaneously played by the other instruments. Let us compare the flute-part in the score: 26
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 29
— where the melody must be deciphered from a combination of the notes for the oboe, the clarinet and the flute itself — to the earlier form at the close of the first section, namely:
After this comparison we can only regard the written flute part as a serious distortion of the musical thought, since it quite distracts us from the melody. A thorough restoration here seemed audacious, since it would have meant the changing of a whole interval twice over, namely in the third bar of the flute: instead of as also in its fifth bar. instead of Liszt himself abstained from the bold attempt, and left the passage a melodic monster, as it appears to everyone who attends our orchestral performances of this symphony, and here experiences a gap, i.e. complete lack of clarity of the melody, for eight bars. Having repeatedly suffered under the same distressing impression myself, I now should decide, upon occasion, to get these eight bars played by the flute and oboe in the following manner:
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30 • Richard Wagner
The second flute would have to be omitted from the fourth bar, but in the seventh and eighth, by way of partial compensation, the second oboe would play thus:
Beyond the nuances already recommended for the espressivo, in every second bar we should have to mark the more strenuous to do justice to the variation in the melos, while a special molto crescendo would have to emphasize the last of the eight bars, thereby also setting in its true decisive light the desperate spring of the flute from G to the high F sharp:
which I here consider to be in thorough keeping with the master’s real intention. If we reflect on how uniquely important it is to every musical idea that the melody holds us without fail, even though the art of the tone-poet often divides it into its tiniest fractions — and that the correctness of this melodic language can in no respect lag behind the logical coherence of a thought expressed in abstract verbal language, without bewildering us by lack of clarity as much as does an unintelligible sentence — then we must admit that nothing is so worth the utmost study as the attempt to clarify the meaning of a phrase, a bar, nay more, a single note in the text handed down to us by such a genius as Beethoven. Every transformation from a being so eternally sincere, however startling, arises solely from the godlike devotion to clarify the deepest mysteries of his world-view for we poor
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 31
mortals. As one should never quit a knotty passage of a great philosopher before one plainly understands it — and as, this rule neglected, the farther one reads the less one heeds the teacher — so one should never glide over a single bar of a tone-poem such as Beethoven’s without having distinctly understood it: unless one proposes to merely beat time in the usual way of our well-appointed academic orchestral conductors, by whom I am quite prepared to find myself treated as a vain blasphemer without regard for the sacredness of the letter of the text. Despite that fear, however, I cannot desist from the attempt to prove by a few more instances that a well-considered alteration of the handwriting, here and there, may promote a better understanding of the master’s intention. My next example concerns a nuance of dynamic expression that obscures the true intention in its execution. This stirring passage of the first movement:27
is immediately worked-out by two imitative statements of the melodic thought of the first two bars, thus spreading the crescendo over six whole bars. Of these the master gives the first couple to a detachment of woodwinds to play quite piano, and only lets the real crescendo enter with the third bar and the accession of fresh woodwind instruments. Finally, the third onset of the same melodic thought is given to the now predominant strings, with force emphatically increasing till it reaches a fortissimo at bar seven. Now, I have found that the crescendo prescribed for the ascending figure of the strings in contrary motion at the second onset of the woodwinds (bar 3 of this six-bar passage) was detrimental to an emphatic effect of the più crescendo of the violins at the third onset:
for it prematurely withdrew attention from the woodwinds and its forcible assertion of the main melodic thought, and at the same time made it difficult to give the thematic entry of the violins in the fifth bar its characteristic stamp, namely the arrival of the true crescendo. Here, where the
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32 • Richard Wagner
mischief is but slightly marked, it might be altogether conquered by a discreet poco crescendo which is virtually unknown as yet to our orchestral players, but which must necessarily precede a più crescendo. One of my reasons for discussing this passage at length is to commend that important dynamic nuance to special practice and adoption. Even the most careful observance of this precept, however, would not remedy the lamentable consequences of the master’s missed intention where the passage recurs in the last section of this movement, since the dynamic disproportion of the alternate groups of instruments here makes it quite impossible to treat with a gentle hand the nuances prescribed. This remark applies in particular to the first two bars of the kindred passage, mm. 363–368, where the first violins with all the other strings start a crescendo which the clarinet, taking it up with the answering phrase, is quite unable to carry forward with due force and climax. Here I have had to decide on a total abandonment of the crescendo in the first two bars, reserving it for the woodwinds to execute, and that most energetically, in the two bars following. And this time, as it already reaches an actual forte with the fifth bar, the strings may also fearlessly support it. For the same reason of dynamic disproportion, at the further return of the passage, mm. 457–462, the first two bars must be taken quite piano. The two succeeding, with a strong crescendo by the woodwinds, a weaker by the strings; and the strings will commence their real swell of sound with the last two bars before the forte. As I do not propose to persist any longer on the character of Beethoven’s nuances of expression, or on what appears to me their proper mode of execution, and as I believe that the care with which I have detailed my grounds for a rare amendment of the nuances prescribed by him will have justified my opinion of that mode, in this regard I have only further to say that the sense of these signs must be studied as thoroughly as the theme itself, since in them often lies the only guide to an understanding of the master’s intention when perceiving the musical motive. Yet I may add that when I advocated a suitable modification of Beethovenian tempi in my earlier essay on conducting, I certainly had no idea of recommending the amusing mode in which, as I have seriously been assured, a Berlin upper Kapellmeister conducts these symphonies. To make them piquant, so it is said, certain passages are first played forte, next piano, as if in echo, at one time slower, at another faster: pranks that a Kapellmeister’s flow of humor will dictate to him in the score of the Figlia del Regimento or Martha, for instance, but of which I should have been the last to dream when making my hardly explicable demands in favor of a proper rendering of Beethoven’s music. […]
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 33
Ninth Symphony, First Movement, mm. 138–145 Flauti. Oboi.
Clarinetti in B. Fagotti. Corni in D. Corni in B Basso. Trombe in D. Timpani in D. A. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello e Basso.
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34 • Richard Wagner 2.
Ninth Symphony, First Movement, mm. 407–414
Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in B. Fagotti. Corni in D. Corni in B Basso. Trombe in D. Timpani in D. A. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello e Basso.
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On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony • 35
Ninth Symphony, First Movement, mm. 92–102 Flauti. Oboi.
Clarinetti in B. Fagotti. Corni in D. Corni in B Basso. Trombe in D. Timpani in D. A. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello. Basso.
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36 • Richard Wagner Ninth Symphony, First Movement, mm. 92–102 (Continued). Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. D. Cor. B. Tr. Tp.
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Instruments Added by Modern Composers: Wagner and Beethoven Charles Gounod The edition of the English musical journal, The Orchestra, for the 1st of May, contains an article entitled “Re-scoring Beethoven”; and though I agree with the writer in most of his reflections, I beg your permission to offer a few observations on this subject, which may not be without interest. I do not know Beethoven’s Choral Symphony “according to Wagner”; I know it only “according to Beethoven,” and I confess that I find that enough. I have often heard and often read this gigantic work, and neither in hearing nor in reading it have I ever felt that it needed any correction. Moreover, to begin with, whatever Wagner may be — supposing even that he is a second Beethoven (and unquestionably we shall never see a second Beethoven any more than we shall see a second Dante, or a second Michael Angelo) — I do not admit the right of anybody to correct the masters. You would not think of altering the designs of Raphael or Leonardo da Vinci, or of painting them over again; it would not only be a piece of supreme presumption, but it would even be a calumny to substitute a strange touch for the handiwork of those grand and mighty geniuses who knew, I suppose, what they were doing and why they did it. But, to come back to the particular case of the Choral Symphony — I can see no foundation for the pretence that the text needs to be modified. And first, as regards the purely instrumental part of the work — that is to say, the first three movements and the well-developed opening of the fourth — Beethoven had such a profound knowledge and prodigious mastery of the resources of the orchestra and of the qualities and contrasts of the different instruments, that I cannot comprehend how any one should dream for an instant of offering him any advice on that head. It takes M. Wagner to do that; he gives lessons to all the world, to Beethoven as well as to Mozart and Rossini. I have heard the Ninth Symphony directed by Habeneck, the illustrious founder and conductor of the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire at Paris, and the only change — not of the text nor of the instrumentation, but of nuance — which this learned director allowed himself, was the substitution of a mezzo-forte for a forte in the grand unison for stringed instruments which accompanies the sixths and thirds in the melodic passage of the Scherzo.28 This slight change was made so that the flutes, clarinets, and bassoons, to which the melodic design is entrusted, might not be overpowered by the great number of stringed instruments whose muttering thunder marks the principal rhythm beneath. As for the vocal part (solo and chorus) which ends the incomparable sublime and uniquely majestic work, I deny absolutely that the executants and the public have pronounced against it a decisive and irrevocable non possumus. Non 37
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38 • Charles Gounod
possumus is the expression of every first discouragement; it has greeted the first appearance of every innovation. It was set up against the symphonies of Beethoven when they began to be known in France, and against the works of Meyerbeer, Robert le Diable, Les Huguenots, Le Prophéte. It has recently been set up in Germany against the latest dramatic works of Richard Wagner, which the artists and chorus declared to be impossible either to learn or to sing. It has been pronounced, and is still pronounced by many persons, against the last grand quartets of Beethoven. Time at last smoothes away the difficulties, and in this as in so many other things, what seemed impossible yesterday appears perfectly simple today. It is certain that the vocal part of the Ninth Symphony is difficult of execution, and that the manner in which the voices are treated demands a skill and knowledge of music much above the average of artists and chorus singers. Nevertheless, I do not hesitate to say, in opposition to the assertions advanced in the critique with which I take issue, that in Vienna, in 1842, I heard the Choral Symphony performed by 1,200 musicians (about 450 instrumental and 750 voices), under the direction of Otto Nicolai and that the execution was admirable in every respect — in the ensemble, in firmness, in precision of attack and of rhythm, in perfect accuracy of intonation, and in the exact observance of the nuances, even in the shrillest notes and the most rugged passages.29 It is true that in Germany the register and timbre of the soprano voice tend themselves with peculiar facility to attacking and holding the highest notes, and this accounts in part for the excellence of the performance in respect to precision and purity of intonation; but it must be added that the knowledge of music so generally diffused in Germany by the obligatory teaching of the art in all the schools contributes not a little to the accuracy of execution. I have realized in my own experience how universally the teaching and knowledge of music are familiar to children in Germany, and I once brought out at Vienna, after a single lesson, a Requiem of my own which consisted of no fewer than fourteen numbers the execution of which was irreproachable, and the children entrusted with the first and second treble parts in the choruses read their parts at first sight as easily as if they had been reading a book. I remember a lad of 12 or 13 years, a shop-boy at a bookseller’s where I had made a purchase; when he brought home my books I saw him look wistfully at my piano, “Do you play the piano?” said I. “Oh, Sir, a little,” replied he, timidly, “not much.” I made him sit down immediately at the piano, and he played for me from memory Beethoven’s grand sonata in F minor. It is rare to find in Germany a family whose members cannot execute a part-song at sight, not like singers, but like musicians. If we would prove then that the vocal part of the Choral Symphony is entirely practicable, although it may be, as Rossini said, “badly fingered for the voice,” we must deal with cho-
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Instuments Added by Modern Composers • 39
risters and singers who not only have good voices, but also know how to read music, and it must be admitted that this condition is very imperfectly fulfilled in England. But however this may be, let us not touch the works of the great masters; it is an example of rashness and irreverence on whose downward course there is nothing to arrest our steps. Let us not meddle with the work of these high-bred hands whose noble outlines, severe structure, and majestic elegance posterity ought to contemplate unveiled; and let us remember that it is better to leave a great master his imperfections, if he has any, than to impose on him our own.
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Pamphlet on Mahler’s Edition of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony Gustav Mahler and Siegfried Lipiner In as much as certain published utterances might have spread the belief among a portion of the public that the conductor of today’s performance might have undertaken arbitrary alterations of details in Beethoven’s works, and in particular in his Ninth Symphony, it seems imperative not to withhold a few explanatory observations on this subject. Owing to an ear complaint which ultimately left him totally deaf, Beethoven lost his indispensable and intimate contact with reality and the world of physical sound at the very stage of his creative activity in which the prodigious increase in his powers of imagination impelled him to discover new means of expression and to achieve a hitherto unprecedentedly vigorous mode of orchestration. Equally well known is the fact that the limitations of the brass instruments of his time quite simply rendered them incapable of producing certain sequences of notes required for the development of a melody. Since then the imperfections of these instruments have been corrected and it would therefore seem almost criminal not to use them so as to perform Beethoven’s works as perfectly as possible. Richard Wagner, who throughout his life fought passionately, both in word and in deed, to rescue the interpretation of Beethoven’s works from a neglect that was becoming intolerable, explained in his Concerning the Execution of the Ninth Symphony how this symphony should be performed in order to conform as nearly as possible to the intention of its creator. And all conductors since then have followed the same path. Because of his deep conviction, confirmed by his experience with this work, the conductor of today’s concert has followed precisely the same course without, as far as the essential is concerned, trespassing beyond the limits set by Wagner. There can, of course, be no question of any instrumental modifications, alterations, or even ‘improvement’ of Beethoven’s work. The long-observed custom of multiplying the strings has resulted — and, indeed, for many years past — in an increase in the number of wind instruments; but this was merely to amplify the sound of these instruments and not to give them a new instrumental role. On the contrary, their number was increased for the sole purpose of amplifying the sound. On this point, as on every other concerning the interpretation of the work, both in its entirety and in detail, the conductor can demonstrate, score in hand (and the more one goes into details, the more convincingly), that, far from following any arbitrary purpose, but also without allowing himself to be led astray by ‘tradition’, he was constantly and solely concerned with carrying out Beethoven’s wishes even in seemingly insignificant details, and with ensuring that nothing the master intended should be sacrificed or drowned in a general confusion of sound. 40
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Beethoven’s Instrumentation From An Autobiography Igor Stravinsky Just as in his pianistic work Beethoven lives on the piano, so, in his symphonies, overtures, and chamber music he draws his sustenance from his instrumental ensemble. With him the instrumentation is never apparel, and that is why it never strikes one. The profound wisdom with which he distributes parts to separate instruments or to whole groups, the carefulness of his instrumental writing, and the precision with which he indicates his wishes — all these testify to the fact that we are above all in the presence of a tremendous constructive force. I do not think that I am mistaken in asserting that it was just his manner of molding his musical material which logically led to the erection of those monumental structures which are his supreme glory. There are those who contend that Beethoven’s instrumentation was bad and his tone color poor. Others altogether ignore that side of his art, holding that instrumentation is a secondary matter and that only “ideas” are worthy of consideration. The former demonstrate their lack of taste, their complete incompetence in this respect, and their narrow and mischievous mentality. In contrast with the florid orchestration of Wagner, with its lavish coloring, Beethoven’s instrumentation will appear to lack luster. It might produce a similar impression if compared with the vivacious radiance of Mozart. But Beethoven’s music is intimately linked up with his instrumental language, and finds its most exact and perfect expression in the sobriety of that language. To regard it as poverty-stricken would merely show lack of perception. True sobriety is a great rarity, and most difficult of attainment. As for those who attach no importance to Beethoven’s instrumentation, but ascribe the whole of his greatness to his “ideas” — they obviously regard all instrumentation as a mere matter of apparel, coloring, flavoring, and so fall, though following a different path, into the same heresy as the others. Both make the same fundamental error of regarding instrumentation as something extrinsic from the music for which it exists. This dangerous point of view concerning instrumentation, coupled with the unhealthy greed for orchestral opulence of today, has corrupted the judgment of the public, and they, being impressed by the immediate effect of tone color, can no longer solve the problem of whether it is intrinsic in the music or simply “padding.” Orchestration has become a source of enjoyment independent of the music, and the time has surely come to put things in their proper places. We have had enough of this orchestral 41
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42 • Igor Stravinsky
dappling and these thick sonorities; one is tired of being saturated with timbres, and wants no more of all this overfeeding, which deforms the entity of the instrumental element by swelling it out of all proportion and giving it an existence of its own. There is a great deal of re-education to be accomplished in this field.
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Endnotes 1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8
11 12 13 14
15 16 17
E.T.A. Hoffmann, “Review of Beethoven’s Overture to Coriolan,” in E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Musical Writings: Kreisleriana, The Poet and the Composer, Music Criticism ed. David Charlton, trans. Martyn Clarke. (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 293. It was customary for publishers to engrave and publish parts without a score. The practice of publishing a score increased with the rise of orchestral conducting. Carl Czerny, “Recollections from My Life,” trans. Ernest Sanders, The Musical Quarterly, 42 No. 3. (July, 1956): 310. E.T.A. Hoffmann also made an analogy between orchestral music and fresco painting in a review of Spohr’s First Symphony. However, David Charlton has noted that Hoffmann may have come to the analogy through reading Friedrich Wilhelm Marpurg’s much earlier commentary on a work by Johann Joseph Fux (Hoffmann, 285). (Jean-Pierre) Oscar Comettant (1819–1898), French music critic. Siegfried Lipiner (1856–1911) was a lifelong friend of Mahler and a member of the “Pernerstorfer Circle” — the group of intellectuals in Vienna that also included Victor Adler and Hugo Wolf. Henry-Louis de la Grange. Gustav Mahler v. 2 Vienna: the years of challenge (1897–1904) (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 237. Walter Nouvel wrote most of Stravinsky’s Chroniques de la vie while Stravinsky was living with Nouvel between July and October 1934. See Robert Craft, ed. Dearest Bubushkin: the Correspondence of Vera and Igor Stravinsky, 1921–54, with excerpts from Vera Stravinsky’s diaries, 1922–71 trans. Lucia Davidova (London: Thames & Hudson, 1985). Translator’s note (John Bishop): Lärm-instrumente, literally noise-instruments. Czerny refers to the string section as a quartet. Later German writers will refer the string section as a quintet because the German word for strings, Saiten, implies all string instruments, including the harp and guitar. This is also why Czerny names the string section the bow-instruments in his diagram. As noted in the preface, all subsequent use of quartett, quintett, or quator has been changed to strings. I have left quartet in this sentence to preserve the flow of Czerny’s analogy. Czerny means that the would-be symphonist should copy a score by hand, particularly if the score can only be created from the parts, as Czerny did with the first two symphonies of Beethoven and other works by Mozart and Haydn. See the notes that begin this section. Louis Spohr (1784–1859) composed nine symphonies. Franz Paul Lachner (1803–1890) composed eight symphonies. Ferdinand Ries (1784–1838) composed eight symphonies. Czerny provides a piano reduction of the exposition of Beethoven’s first symphony, mm. 1–109, with the instruments annotated. The exposition is given in full score at the end of this article. Ironically, Berlioz mistakenly praised Gluck’s writing for the trombone in Iphigénie en Aulide in his series of articles on instrumentation for the Revue et gazette musicale. See Hugh Macdonald. Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 224. Karol Jozef Lipinski (1790–1861), a Polish violinist, composer and conductor, was the concertmaster of the Dresden königlichen Kapelle where Carl Gottlieb Reissiger (1798–1859), was Hofkapellmeister. Wagner regularly conducted in Dresden from 1842 to 1849. See Wagner’s “About Conducting,” (Über das Dirigiren) in Art and Politics. trans. William Ashton Ellis (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1895), 292–3. Hans von Bülow (1830–1894) studied piano with both Friedrich Wieck and Franz Liszt and made a celebrated edition of the Beethoven piano sonatas.
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44 • Endnotes 18 Quoting this passage, Wiengartner notes, “But this ‘generally’ goes too far, for it is just these intervals which are often so characteristic: and just as a great master can often turn to advantage the very imperfection of the means at his disposal, so here this striking use of natural notes often corresponds exactly to the peculiarities of Beethoven’s style, and any attempt to improve it would only have the opposite effect.” Felix Weingartner, On The Performance of Beethoven’s Symphonies. Translated by Jessie Crosland (New York: Kalmus, n.d.), viii. In his text, Wiengartner cites examples where Beethoven could have written an octave but instead has the second horn leap to a unison, noting that in such cases, Beethoven “seems to have preferred the sharper sound of the unison” (132.). 19 Fifth Symphony, Second Movement, m. 114. 20 The oboe parts, mm, 93–96. In this and the following two examples, Wagner omits the key signature (one flat). 21 It was common practice to double the woodwinds when larger works were performed at festivals. The Ninth Symphony would certainly qualify as such a “festival” work, as Wagner himself reported in his “Report on the Performance of the Ninth Symphony in the City of Dresden in 1846,” reprinted in Richard Wagner’s Prose Works, vol 7, In Paris and Dresden trans. William Ashton Ellis. ( London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trüber & Co. 1896). 22 The first four measures of the fourth movement. 23 Actually, in the fifth measure, Wagner follows Beethoven and unites the trumpets with the horns on a sounding D. Weingartner opines that “they completely drown the woodwind to which the melodically and harmonically important notes are entrusted, so that these, even if doubled, only give a little chirping sound as against the crashing brass notes” (177). See the next note. 24 These are the two “Schreckensfanfaren” from the fourth movement (mm. 1–7 and 16–24). In Wagner’s complete works, as well as the Ellis translation, there is a measure missing from each of these excerpts. I have attempted to restore these measures, here bracketed and marked with an “X”, based on Weingartner’s remarks. Weingartner writes, “In the first “Fanfare” Wagner leaves the original untouched from the fifth bar onwards. . . . In the second “Fanfare” . . . Wagner lets the trumpets play in unison melodically to the end” (177). 25 First Movement, mm. 138–145. Because of the extended discussion of this passage, it appears in an appendix with Liszt’s transcription. 26 First movement, mm. 408–411. This may also be found in the Appendix. 27 First Movement, mm. 92–94. The whole passage considered here, mm. 92–102, appears in the Appendix. 28 This is the passage for which Wagner advocates doubling the winds with four horns: second movement, mm. 93–109. 29 Otto Nicolai (1810–1849), composer of the popular comic opera Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor. Nicolai was appointed director of Vienna’s Hofoper in 1841. The following year, he began the legendary Philharmonia concerts — concerts with the Hofoper orchestra — which were notable for performing Beethoven and Mozart to the exclusion of modern works. The March 1842 performances of Beethoven’s Ninth to which Gounod alludes were said to be the first great performances of the work.
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THE LATE NINETEENTH CENTURY: FRENCH AND GERMAN ORCHESTRATION I
By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the dialectic of French and German orchestral styles was firmly established in the contemporary literature about orchestration. Moreover, the mediating New German style of orchestration was increasingly subsuming German orchestration in orchestral practice. Wagner’s prose works, especially Oper und Drama, suggested key distinctions between French and German orchestration while Wagner’s own orchestral style became the model of New German orchestration. In the articles that follow, the composers Gustav Mahler, F.-A. Gevaert, and Richard Strauss frame the division of orchestral styles along similar lines. Gustav Mahler lived on the threshold of modern times but died before his thoughts and his performing art could be documented in an enduring way. In an age when composers were increasingly writing prose, Mahler contented himself with correspondence and discussion. Much of what is known about Mahler’s orchestral thinking comes from the journal of Natalie Bauer-Lechner, a conservatory acquaintance of Mahler, and — she may have fancied — a romantic prospect. Frau Bauer-Lechner, a chamber musician of some renown (a violist), reacquainted herself with Mahler after her divorce, when Mahler was writing his Third Symphony. For over seven years, she took long walks with Mahler, carefully documenting their discussions in a journal. Contemporary musicology has proved her a reliable source. In the excerpts that follow, Mahler broaches a variety of topics including Beethoven’s orchestration, the balance of orchestral sections, and the mistaken emphasis young composers place on tone and color. Of 45
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46 • Section II
particular interest is the letter to Gisella Tolney-Witt, an amateur musicologist, about the increasing forces of the orchestra. François-Auguste Gevaert (1828–1908) was a noted scholar and opera composer and spent much of his career in his native Belgium as director of the Brussels Conservatory. He was chiefly known for his first book on orchestration, the Traité général d’instrumentation (1865), which was later revised and expanded as Nouveau traité d’instrumentation (1885).1 This text, largely forgotten now, was one of the most influential instrumentation treatises of the nineteenth century. Tchaikovsky translated the first edition into Russian, Hugo Riemann translated the second edition into German,2 and Rimsky-Korsakov advised students to study Gevaert thoroughly. With his Traité and his second book, Cours méthodique d’orchestration (1890),3 Gevaert influenced a whole generation of composers. His survey of orchestral practice in Cours méthodique is a veritable outline for later writers, especially Coerne, Bekker, and Carse.4 Richard Strauss (1864–1949) undertook the revision to Berlioz’s classic treatise on the commission of C.F. Peters.5 The Berlioz treatise had been the principal orchestration text in Germany since 1864,6 but rapid changes to instruments and instrumental technique had rendered sections of the Berlioz’ Traité obsolete.7 Strauss’ foreword is another primary source for delineating three schools of orchestration. Strauss adopts Gevaert’s distinction between dramatic orchestration (mostly French composers) and symphonic orchestration (mostly German composers). He expands Gevaert’s distinction by noting that symphonic orchestration is notably polyphonic and dramatic orchestration is predominantly homophonic. Strauss and Gevaert both recognize the New German style of orchestration as the synthesis of French and German orchestration. However, Gevaert stresses the role of French composers — and particularly Berlioz — in Wagner’s evolution. Strauss finds Berlioz’s music insufficiently contrapuntal to be viewed as an important precursor to Wagner, and rather — not unlike Wagner himself — stresses the importance of Carl Maria von Weber and Franz Liszt.8
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Statements on Orchestration Gustav Mahler Mahler to Frau Bauer-Lechner on Orchestration “It is true that all Beethoven’s works need a certain amount of editing. For look here,” he said — explaining with the aid of the score of the Pastoral that he had before him — “Beethoven counted on artists, not artisans, for the conducting as well as the playing. He didn’t write everything in such minute detail as Richard Wagner was later to do, nor was he so experienced in orchestral technique as never to make a mistake in notating the sound he wanted, particularly later on when he lost control over this because of his deafness. So in order that the music should be played as it was meant to sound, one has to add all sorts of dynamic indications to the parts, so that the principal voice stands out and the accompaniment retires into the background. One must take care, too, that the bowing and expression produce the effect that the composer wanted.” In this connection, he said of his own manner of notation: “You wouldn’t believe how anxiously and carefully I proceed in my compositions. In fact, I have worked out quite a new orchestral technique — the direct result of my long experience. For instance, when the musical meaning requires consecutive notes to be played disconnectedly, I don’t leave this up to the common sense of the players. Instead, I might divide the passage between the first and second violins, rather than leave it entirely to the firsts or seconds. If I want a part to retreat into the background, I have it played by only one, two, or three desks, as needed. Only when all the stops need to be pulled out is everybody included. Also, in heavily scored passages, I take care that the strings bear the right relation to the wind and percussion, so that all parts are well balanced with each other. I have observed that the more accurate the intonation of the strings, the louder they sound. In order that there should not be the slightest inaccuracy I have racked my brains to notate it as precisely as possible. Thus, I avoid indicating the shortness of notes, or the space between them, by dots or other staccato marks. Instead, everything is spelled out in detail by means of the note-values and rests. […] After a performance of Carmen, which I have now heard three times in Hamburg, I told Mahler that I felt one should not hear this work of genius too often — or one might become tired of it, as of a too highly spiced dish. “That will never happen,” he replied “because of the wonderful orchestration. This is one of the most meticulously worked-out scores that you can possibly imagine. It always gives me the greatest pleasure. When I am con47
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48 • Gustav Mahler
ducting, I observe and analyse all its little details; I am constantly learning something new from it, finding out how this or that effect is turned to the best advantage.” In this connection, he said: “The most important thing in composition is clarity of line [der reine Satz] — that is, every voice should be an independent melody, just as in the vocal quartet, which should set the standard here. In the string ensemble, the texture is transparent enough in its own right. This becomes less and less true as the orchestra grows bigger, but the need for a similar clarity must remain. Just as the plant’s most perfect forms, the flower and the thousand branches of the tree, are developed from the pattern of the simple leaf — just as the human head is nothing but a vertebra — so must the laws of pure vocal polyphony [der reinen Führung des Vokalsatzes] be observed even in the most complex orchestral texture. “In my work, the bassoon, the bass tuba, even the kettle-drum must be tuneful! And this has always been true for all genuine artists, especially Richard Wagner. Unfortunately, because of the imperfections of the natural instruments, earlier composers often had to resort to makeshift devices which led to sloppiness in the part-writing, even where it could have been avoided.”
A Letter of Advice to a Younger Composer Max Marschalk Undated. [Hamburg, 12 April 1896] My dear Herr Marschalk, Your package arrived just when ‘the rushing tide of life’ was roaring its loudest all about me. I had to postpone replying, though all that is so purely human in your letter called for an immediate reply. — So you too have trodden the path of suffering that I too know so well. — There was indeed something in your face that made me sense it even before I received this confirmation. Well, first and foremost: your opus,9 which I should best like to go through with you at the piano. Here I shall confine myself to a few general hints that you will perhaps briefly consider. What struck me most is the feature that you also emphasize in your letter: at present you are still going in very much for ‘tone and colour!’ This is the mistake made by all gifted beginners now composing. I could show you a similar phase in my own development. — Mood-music is dangerous ground. Believe me: we must for the time being keep to the good old principles. Themes — these must be clear and plastic, so that they can be clearly recognized at any stage of modification or development — and then varied presentation, holding the attention above all through the logical develop-
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Statements on Orchestration • 49
ment of the inner idea, but also by the genuine opposition of contrasting motives. That is all still blurred in your work. Next, you must shake off the pianist! None of this is a movement for an orchestra — it is conceived for the piano — and then rearranged for orchestra without getting free of the trammels of that instrument. — I suffered from that ailment once myself. — All of us nowadays start out from the piano, whereas the old masters’ origins lay in the violin and the voice. — Of course I am now speaking only in crude generalizations. Not everything in your opera could be assessed by these criteria. — I am firmly convinced that you are talented, and I very much look forward to hearing another of your works. — One other small point, by the way: you often write long passages with the same rhythmic pattern, sometimes even with the same orchestration. That has a monotonous effect. Variety and contrast! That is, as it always was, the secret of effectiveness! By this means even shallow minds contrive for a while to disguise the lack of substance in their work. — On the purely technical side there is a great deal I should like to discuss with you, but that can be done only by referring to the score, and personally! When I next pass through Berlin I shall call on you for that purpose. — Some nice bits of invention that I single out are:
Passages of string accompaniment such as:
which drag on monotonously through large parts of your score, are of typical piano-character. One of these days we shall go into this in detail. — And now, most important of all: would a performance at our opera-house mean much to you? If so, I shall do everything in my power to arrange one. Next season, of course, since we close at the end of May.
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50 • Gustav Mahler
I write this too in great haste, begging you to take the will for the deed — for the moment. Perhaps you will look me up in Hamburg one of these days? And play me something new! You are always welcome. With warm regards, Yours sincerely, Gustav Mahler
Letter about Advances in the Orchestra to Gisella Tolney-Witt (Budapest) Dear Fraülein Tolney-Witt, Although I am not easily persuaded to enter into correspondence, and my best friends bemoan my habits in this respect, there is a question in your letter that provokes an answer from me: “why such a large apparatus as an orchestra should be necessary in order to express a great thought.” But there are a number of things I must say first if I am to make it clear to you how I see this problem. You seem to have explored musical literature somewhat, and I assume that you are not unacquainted with very early and early music, up to the time of Bach. Have you not then been struck by two things? First: that the further back you go in time, the more elementary the terms relating to performance are, i.e. the more the composers leave the interpretation of their thought to the performers — for instance in Bach’s work it is very rare to find the tempo indicated, or indeed any other hint of how he intends the work to be performed — there are not even such crude distinctions as p or ff etc. (Wherever you do find them, they are usually put in by the editors, and mostly wrong, at that.) Secondly: the more music evolves, the more complex the apparatus becomes — the apparatus that the composer produces in order to express his ideas. Just try comparing the orchestra that Haydn uses in his symphonies (i.e. it was not the way we see it at Philharmonic Concerts at the Redoute for many more instruments have been added, perhaps half of them) with the orchestra that Beethoven requires for his Ninth. To say nothing at all of Wagner and modern composers. What is the reason for this? — Can you suppose such a thing to be accidental or even an unnecessary extravagance, the result of mere whim, on the composer’s part? Now I will give you my view of the matter: in its beginnings music was merely “chamber music,” i.e. intended to be played in a small space before a small audience (often consisting only of those involved in the work). The feelings intrinsic to it were, in keeping with the time, simple, naive,
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Statements on Orchestration • 51
reproducing emotional experience only in bare outline: joy, sadness, etc. The musicians were confident that they knew their business, they moved within a familiar field of ideas, and on the grounds of clearly delimited skill, well grounded within these limits! Therefore the composers made no prescriptions — it was taken for granted that everything would be rightly seen, felt and heard. There were scarcely any “amateurs” (Frederick the Great and others were, I am convinced, very rare cases). The noble and rich simply had paid performers, who had learnt their trade, to amuse them by playing to them in their chambers. That is why the compositions were not maltreated by lack of understanding! Usually, indeed, composers and musicians will have been one and the same person. Within the Church, which was of course the chief domain of this art and whence it had come, everything was precisely ordained in advance by ritual. In short, the composers did not need to fear being misunderstood, and contented themselves with sketchy writings for their own use — without giving special thought to the fact that others would have to interpret them or might even interpret them wrongly. In the course of time, however, they seem to have had such bad experiences that they began to concern themselves with making sure the performer had unambiguous directions as to their intentions. So a great system of sign-language gradually evolved, which — like the heads of notes indicating pitch — provided a definite reference for duration or volume. Together with this, moreover, came the appropriation of new elements of feeling as objects of imitation in sound—i.e. the composer began to relate ever deeper and more complex aspects of his emotional life to the area of his creativeness — until with Beethoven the new era of music began: from now on the fundamentals are no longer mood — that is to say, mere sadness, etc. — but also the transition from one to the other — conflicts — physical nature and its effect on us — humor and poetic ideas — all these become objects of musical imitation. Now not even quite complicated signs suffice — instead of requiring a single instrument to produce such a rich palette of colours (as Herr Aug. Beer10 would say), the composer took one instrument for each colour (the analogy is apparent in the word “tone-colour”). It was out of this need that the modern, the “Wagnerian” orchestra gradually came into being. Thirdly: I would now mention only one thing more, the physical necessity to enlarge the musical apparatus: music was becoming more and more common property — the listeners and the players becoming ever more numerous — in place of the chamber there came the concert hall, and from the church, with its new instrument, the organ, the opera-house evolved. So you see, if I may sum it up once more: We moderns need such a great apparatus in order to express our ideas, whether they be great or
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52 • Gustav Mahler
small.11 First — because we are compelled, in order to protect ourselves from false interpretation, to distribute the various colours of our rainbow over various palettes; secondly, because our eye is learning to distinguish more and more colors in the rainbow, and ever more delicate and subtle modulation; thirdly, because in order to be heard by many in our overlarge concert halls and opera-houses we also have to make a loud noise. Now perhaps you will object, as women will, being almost never convinced, at the most persuaded: “Well, does that mean that Bach was less than Beethoven or that Wagner is greater than he?” — in reply to which I will tell you, you little “tormenting spirit” (really a tormenting spirit, for I have been tormenting myself with this letter for almost an hour now )— in order to answer this question you must apply to One who can behold man’s entire history at a single glance. We are the way we are! We “moderns.” You too are that way! Supposing I now prove to you that you, little tormenting spirit, demand a greater apparatus for your life than the Queen of England did in the seventeenth century, she having breakfasted, as I read recently, on a pound of bacon and a tankard of beer, and having whiled away the tedium of her evenings in her boudoir by spinning, or the like, by the light of a tallow candle? What do you say now? — Away, then, with the piano! away with the violin! which are good for the “chamber” when you are alone, or with some good companion, wishing to call the great masters’ works to mind — as good, as a recollection, as, say, an engraving is as a reminder of the brilliantly colorful paintings of a Raphael or a Böcklin — I hope I make my meaning clear to you — in which case I shall not be vexed at having devoted an hour of my life to you, who have shown such lovable trust in a stranger. And now, since this letter has grown so long, I should be glad to know that I have not written it in vain, wherefore I ask you to let me know whether it reaches you safely. With best wishes, Gustav Mahler
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First Lesson: Preliminary Instruction From Cours méthodique d’orchestration F.-A. Gevaert § 6. — Four famous names dominate the history of instrumentation during the Classical period: i.e. from approximately 1760 until about 1830, a time when one acutely perceives the instrumental tendencies and transformations that prepare the ascension to the gigantic orchestra of the present time. The four names are Haydn and Gluck in the last half of the previous century and Beethoven and Weber at the beginning of the current century. In their predilections, each of the four Masters opened orchestral art in ways hitherto unexplored: Haydn and Beethoven in the symphony, Gluck and Weber in the opera. The other great composers of the Classical era did not craft such radical innovations in this branch of the musical technique, instead communicating the imprint of their strong individuality with elements derived of their precursors. § 7. — HAYDN deserves to be called the father of the symphony orchestra, not because he imagined the forces — the instruments which he uses were all known before him and he uses fewer instruments than Handel and Bach — but because he pioneered a new manner of treating the orchestral unit. Under the influence of melodic masters of the Neapolitan school, he substituted lighter, freer musical forms for the strict counterpoint of his German precursors who were still beholden to the imitation of the vocal polyphony. He was freed from the importunate accompaniment of basso continuo, an obstacle for any independence of the combinations of timbres. He started to use each instrument in a way better adapted to its technical aptitudes and expressive character. In short he transported the animation and exuberant life of the giocoso Italian opera into the German symphonic sonata. The orchestra of the early symphony does not admit of chiaroscuro or mixed colors; the various groups of instruments are juxtaposed without marked transitions. Since intense passages are almost exclusively filled by bright timbres (violins, oboe, trumpets), the sonority is all brightness, sometimes even a little crude. Wind instruments seldom appear in the foreground and are mostly restricted to harmonic filling. Thus, by studying the symphonies of Haydn the student will not initiate himself with refined, unforeseen combinations. But the student will learn there, better than anywhere, how to assemble the various parts of the ensemble and how to obtain a vigorous and honest sonority with thin resources: qualities which it is wise to acquire before being tested with more ambitious enterprises. 53
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54 • F.-A. Gevaert
§ 8. — GLUCK, the father of the dramatic orchestra, became a celebrity about the time the symphonies of Haydn started to become generally known. In his five masterpieces he employs almost all the timbres that Mozart and Beethoven would later adopt.12 Nevertheless his orchestration is in many regards more antiquated than that of Haydn. The wind instruments make only sparse appearances and are more often isolated or coupled than joined together as a choir. Long passages use only the strings for accompaniment, and the strings appear to be written with a certain heaviness and clumsiness; the lines and accompanimental figures show little variety. As a result, the orchestration of Gluck does not make a strong impression on the first reading. But on hearing it, no other exceeds it for the intensity of the impressions it produces: each note is felt; each instrumental accent finds its mark. The scores of Gluck, already more than a century old, continue to repay the study of the young dramatic composer. He will see there already the application of the fundamental principles of Wagner’s poetic instrumentation: to assemble forces not according to a uniform model dictated by general usage, but according to the contents of the drama. He will divine the secret of creating striking effects from conventional means. From this perspective, Gluck deserves special study if only for his use of the various forms of tremolo. § 9. — At the same time, Mozart, the brilliant symphonist and marvelous composer of operas, was on the whole an incomparable musician in large part for the rendering of his melodic inspirations. His instrumentation is akin to the manner of Haydn but transformed to achieve broader, more profound sentiment. The influence of Gluck is unmistakable in the terrifying scenes of Idomeneo and Don Giovanni. However Mozart was not satisfied to combine the instrumentation processes of his two great precursors; he was also an innovator in this aspect of his art. He first understood the cardinal importance of the clarinets in the woodwind section. This mezzo-soprano, sturdy and rich, is necessary to connect the clear soprano of the oboe with the husky-hued tenor of the bassoon. And undoubtedly it was not Gluck or Haydn, who suggested the fairy-like sonorities and priestly robes of Die Zauberflöte to him. This delicious masterpiece, which constitutes at once the musical testament of a Master and the birth certificate of German opera, contains the kernel of instrumental discoveries to be realized by the composer of Obéron. The study of Mozart’s works will teach with the pupil throughout the manner of forming a beautiful polyphonic whole while making all the voices of the orchestra sing. § 10. — The Italian and French composers at the turn of the last century dedicated their efforts almost exclusively to dramatic music, and assimilated the orchestral technique of the three great German musicians, while
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First Lesson: Preliminary Instructions • 55
adapting it to their individual temperaments and to the traditions and artistic tendencies of the nations of the Romantic race. Méhul, contemporary of the French Revolution and one of its inspired bards, projects the mark of a strong musical and entirely dramatic nature in his serious and austere art: he is Gluck on less grand scale. His opera Joseph, an exquisite and singular work of its kind, is a model of expressive orchestration: everything breathes the simplicity of biblical poetry. Méhul was one of the first to take advantage of the sonorities in the low registers of the strings. His undertaking to reduce the mass of the string instruments to violas, cellos, and basses for an entire opera remains justly celebrated.13 Cherubini, born in Florence and truly Italian in abundance of pure melody, was French by taste, German in depth of the feeling. His noble, poetic theatricality and his splendid instrumentation have remained largely unknown in Italy and have been regarded coldly in France. On the other hand, the author of Les deux Journées was recognized for his rightful value in Germany, and his mark is clearly visible there in opera. His more notable claim to fame is to have exerted a decisive influence on the formation of the dramatic style of the immortal composer of Fidelio. Spontini, the glorious Master of the musical scene under the First Empire, reflects the pomp and splendor of his theatrical era in his orchestration and in his entire art. One notes here the great ensembles of voices and instruments, thereafter frequently emulated. These are numbers in which the effect results from the abundance of satisfying chords and the multiplicity of the timbres rather than from the beauty of polyphony. But the scores of the La Vestale, of Fernand Cortez and of Olympie do not shine only from luxuriant sounds; one also finds pages overflowing with fire and passion, innovations of dramatic instrumentation worthy to be studied by young musicians and still able to fertilize their imagination and to stimulate their creative faculties. The procedures of Spontini, inordinately exaggerated by his successors, Rossini and Auber, and finally distorted into banal formulas by their imitators, constituted the root of orchestral technique in French opera until the middle of the current century. However, before 1830 French artists and the public had become acquainted with the works of two famous men who had inaugurated in Germany a new era for the art of instrumentation. § 11. — BEETHOVEN was the regenerator and the master of the masters of instrumental music. In his hands, the orchestra is a living organism whose every member, interdependent with the others, cooperates in an effective way in the realization of the work of art. Beethoven extended the limits of the expressive capacity of instruments and gave to each of these ideal voices the highest degree of individuality they could reach. By an
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56 • F.-A. Gevaert
almost superhuman effort of his genius, he made the symphony the philosopher’s stone of European music. Prodigiously widened in its porportions, the orchestral sonata became an ineffable poem, inacessible by intelligent reflection but spontaneously apprehended by feeling. The productions of this divine symphonist, and especially the Ninth — a work without peer in the whole of musical literature — must be the breviary of young artists who aspire to penetrate the secrets of symphonic orchestration. § 12. — WEBER, added no more new elements to the orchestral forces used by Mozart and Cherubini than did Beethoven; but in the old instruments he could discover new timbres, magic voices which tell the mysteries of the invisible world. He found sinister and dark notes, foreign to the ideally human art of Beethoven. In short, Weber did for German Romantic drama around 1820, what Gluck had done for the traditional French tragedy fifty years before: he gave it musical expression in the field of instrumentation as well as in melodic composition. For more than one half-century the orchestration of Der Freischütz, Oberon, and Euryanthe has been the model for dramatic musicians freed from the summary techniques of Spontini and Rossini, and it seems likely that several generations of artists will continue to find there a most invaluable lesson. § 13. — Mendelssohn, and after him composers who remained faithful to the forms of the traditional symphony (Schumann, Raff, etc.) endeavoured to blend the opulent orchestral polyphony of Beethoven with the picturesque manner of Weber. The German and French masters currently alive who cultivate with brilliance of instrumental music more or less directly belong to this school. § 14. — Meyerbeer, while born German, is attached to the traditions of the French opera by his poetic theatricality and his melodic style. This is particularly illustrated in the large range of innovations in his instrumentation. The famous author of Robert le Diable, Les Huguenots and the Le Prophéte equipped the orchestra with timbres unknown or previously neglected; he demonstrated an undeniable skill in making use of latelyacquired instrumental richness. In his careful study of timbre, and in always increasing the importance of the instrumental element in dramatic song, Meyerbeer prepared the way for the neo-romantic or anti-traditionalist school, which today marches under the Wagnerian banner. § 15. — Berlioz is the first representative of this new artistic evolution, where the fundamental principle is the complete fusion of dramatic and symphonic style: in other words, the abandonment of the forms and commonplace techniques in instrumental music and sung drama. The starting point of this artistic conception was Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique (1830) and its splendid result is Wagner’s Nibelungen tetralogy (1876).
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Regarding instrumentation, the innovative school caused a revolution no less daring, and the grand vision of its artistic agenda has directly resulted in a considerable increase in orchestral forces. Certain instruments, which were an exception in the usual orchestra, are here regularly employed. Consider the harps, often used en masse,14 and the English horn and bass clarinet: previously only possible substitutions for the oboe and clarinet, and now incorporated with two (or even three) instruments in each of these families.15 In addition, the brass, generally numerous and all completely chromatic, acquired a marked prevalence in the new orchestra; the sounding force of this group is at least equal to, if not greater than, that of strings combined with winds, and their role is equally important. It does not fall to us, as contemporaries, to formulate a dogmatic judgment on the absolute value and the future of this great musical movement. Its detractors consider the movement the decline of art, while passionate enthusiasts long for a kind of Messianic revelation obliterating all that came before. Only the infallible voice of posterity is qualified to make a definitive judgment. But one can undoubtedly affirm that from the special perspective which occupies us in this book, the scores of Berlioz, Liszt, and, above all, the last dramas of Wagner, demonstrate more dazzling efflorescence in one of the main branches of European music and commend themselves to the attentive study of whoever, having traversed the whole cycle readings indicated above and the practical exercises [that follow], will want to initiate himself into the implementation of all the resources available in the modern orchestra. It completes the technical education of the young composer.
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Foreword to Berlioz’ Treatise on Instrumentation Richard Strauss When I was asked by the publishers to enlarge and revise the Treatise on Instrumentation by Hector Berlioz, I thought at first that the masterwork of the great Frenchman did not need such help to be even today a source of enjoyment and stimulation for all musicians. It appeared to me complete in itself and full of ingenious visions, whose realization by Richard Wagner is obvious to every connoisseur. Upon closer study, however, I could not help noticing the gaps in this work, completed in the middle of the last century. I became aware of the danger that important parts of Berlioz’ work might be considered obsolete and that its lasting value might therefore be overlooked, especially since many other excellent books had developed the subject in the meantime with scientific accuracy (particularly the textbook on instrumentation by the outstanding Belgian authority, Gevaert).16 Berlioz was the first to arrange and organize this complicated subject with the supreme industry of a collector.17 Yet the everlasting value of his work lies in the fact that he not only treated questions of mechanics, but stressed above all the aesthetic aspects of orchestral technique. These permanent qualities in the work and its prophetic power, which in a few lines often gives the careful reader a vision of the whole Wagner, may justify this revision. To keep Berlioz’ work alive even for the casual reader, it was necessary to supplement technical details and to point out new achievements, especially in Wagner’s work. The respect for Berlioz’s completely unified masterwork demanded that nothing be changed in his text (with the sole exception of the chapter on the organ, which was partly revised and enlarged by Prof. Ph. Wolfrum18 in accordance with latest developments). My additions are indicated by an undulating line at the side of the text. There is always an abundance of material for musical examples; hence I have avoided important and interesting examples that were quoted by Gevaert. Gevaert’s book contains so much worth reading concerning the technique and acoustics of instruments that I should urgently recommend its study in addition to Berlioz’ work. In the art of instrumentation, as in other arts, the question of theoretical books is highly problematic. I claim that a musician with talent for composition, who plays the violin or some wind instrument in an orchestra will have more skill in instrumentation (without any knowledge of its theory) than the equally gifted pianist or music critic who has diligently studied textbooks but has never come closer to orchestral instruments than the first row of a concert hall. 58
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Foreword to Berlioz’ Treatise on Instrumentation • 59
Therefore, if the student wants to achieve more in the art of instrumentation than just writing a few pleasant-sounding pieces (“excellently scored,” as our critics would call them), and if he has no opportunity to conduct an orchestra and be in daily contact with its magic powers, then he should not only study the scores of the great masters, but above all ask instrumentalists of all kinds to familiarize him with the exact technique of their instruments and with the timbre in each of their registers. He should, so to speak, try to find out the secrets of the orchestra tuning-room. There are improvements which an inventive player may have discovered for his mouthpiece, for the arrangement of the valves, for other details in the construction or the material of his instrument, technical tricks, devised in an idle hour for the player’s own amusement. All this may open unexpected vistas to a creator in search of new forms of expression for new ideas. It may be more valuable for progress than any treatise that is primarily based on the achievements of the past. Thus, the practical instrumentalist, through his skill, stimulates the composer to new ideas. Great ideas, on the other hand, which at first do not seem feasible, gradually lift the ambitious instrumentalist to their level. They have had the greatest influence on progress in the construction of instruments, on improvements in their technique, and on the enrichment of their expressive possibilities. The development of the orchestra until the appearance of Berlioz is sufficiently known and need not detain us here too long. I should like to refer the reader to Richard Wagner’s magnificent interpretations in his writings, especially in Opera and Drama. It would not be appropriate to try to cover here in a few lines a great chapter in the history of music and to show in detail and with all its fine articulations an organic development that was influenced by thousands of seeds, stimuli, mistakes and successes. All I can venture to give here is a brief, compressed survey. I trust the sympathetic reader will understand my intention: not to offer an esthetic system, cleanly divided into separate categories like so many drawers, but simply to develop certain important points, leaving it to the educated reader to fill in the connecting details with the help of his own knowledge and of his feelings. With this reservation, I should like to follow the two main roads of orchestral development from Handel, Gluck and Haydn to Wagner. I might be permitted to call them in brief the symphonic (polyphonic) and the dramatic (homophonic) roads. The origin of the symphonic orchestra is to be found mainly in Haydn’s and Mozart’s string quartets (as well as in Bach’s organ fugues). The symphonic works of these two masters reveal in their style, in their themes, melodies and figurations the character of the string quartet with all its polyphonic possibilities. One might almost call them string quartets with
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60 • Richard Strauss
obbligato woodwind and noise instruments to reinforce the tutti (French horns, trumpets, kettledrums). In spite of the greater number of wind instruments used in his Fifth and Ninth Symphonies, even Beethoven cannot hide the mark of chamber music. In Beethoven, more than in Haydn and Mozart, the spirit of the piano injects its characteristic elements — the same spirit, which later completely dominates Schumann’s and Brahms’ orchestral works (unfortunately, not always to their advantage or to the listener’s enjoyment). Only Liszt with his instinct for tone colors succeeded in filling this spirit of the piano in the orchestra with new poetic life. The beautiful melodic contours of the four equally important parts in the classical string quartet attained their highest freedom, worthy of Bach’s choral polyphony, in Beethoven’s last ten quartets. There is none of this freedom in Beethoven’s nine symphonies. But Wagner found in it the style for his Tristan and Meistersinger orchestra; he owes to it the unheard of, miraculous sounds of his string writing. It should be added, of course, that the melodic development from Haydn to Beethoven automatically raised the technical demands upon the orchestra and stimulated coloristic effects alien to the style of chamber music. Thus the orchestra approached more and more the second road of development, which we have already named the dramatic one. Handel and Haydn, as well as Gluck in his operas, consciously stressed the coloristic elements in their predominantly homophonic style (which our dear, easygoing opera audiences even today prefer to polyphony). It was their aim to reinforce poetry and stage by the expressive forces of the orchestra. This gradually transformed the choir of instruments into sensitive groups and finally into “speaking” individuals. The subjects chosen by the composers of the Romantic School, especially Weber (in Freischütz, Oberon, and Euryanthe), led to further discoveries in this direction. The genius of Richard Wagner finally achieved a synthesis of the two directions. He combined the symphonic (polyphonic) technique of composition and orchestration with the rich expressive resources of the dramatic (homophonic) style. Hector Berlioz’s aim may have been the same. At the risk of being misunderstood, one might say in short that he was not dramatic enough for the stage, and not symphonic enough for the concert hall. Still, in his attempt to combine stage and concert hall he discovered new and splendid expressive resources for the orchestra. To be sure, he failed to justify his use of dramatic effects in symphonic works by coining his ideas in a dramatic form (which is impossible without rich polyphony): his works were always lyric or epic. But he was the first to derive his inspiration consistently from the character of the orchestral instruments. Endowed with a special gift for
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Foreword to Berlioz’ Treatise on Instrumentation • 61
conceiving new combinations of sound, he discovered many new coloristic possibilities and subtle shadings. No doubt this bold innovator, so ingenious in blending colors, this real creator of the modern orchestra had no feeling at all for polyphony. We do not know whether he was acquainted with the polyphonic mysteries of J. S. Bach’s miraculous scores. But it is certain that his, musically speaking, somewhat primitive sense of melody lacked the understanding for polyphony, the culmination of musical genius, which we admire in Bach’s cantatas, in Beethoven’s last quartets, in the poetic construction of the third act of Tristan, as the highest emanation of an unrestrained melodic wealth. And only truly meaningful polyphony can disclose the loftiest tone-miracles of the orchestra. A score with awkward or just indifferent inner parts and basses will rarely lack a certain harshness; it will never have the brilliant sonority of a piece in which the second wind instruments, the second violins, violas, violoncelli and basses also take part in the soulful enunciation of beautifully curved melodic lines. This is the secret of the wonderful tone-poetry in the scores of Tristan and Meistersinger as well as of the Siegfried Idyll, which was written for “small orchestra.” On the other hand, even Berlioz’ orchestral dramas, constructed with such mastery of sound, as well as Weber’s and Liszt’s scores show by the brittleness of their colors that the choir of accompanying and filling parts was not deemed worthy of melodic independence by the composer (and each of these masters was, in his way, a great instrumental poet and interpreter of orchestral colors). Hence the conductor cannot achieve that spiritual participation of all parts in the whole that is indispensable for producing a uniformly warm sound. The superiority of Wagner, who perfected the modern orchestra, over Berlioz, who created it, is usually said to consist exclusively in the more profound meaning of his poetic and musical ideas. Yet there are three technical points which should be stressed (of course with reasonable reservations), for they are the basis for the perfection of Wagner’s ideas in the modern orchestra: first, the employment of the richest polyphonic style; secondly, the accomplishment of this through the invention and introduction of the valve horn; thirdly, taking over the virtuoso technique of the solo-concerto for all instruments of the orchestra (Beethoven already required this in his last string quartets, but not in his symphonies). Thus, Richard Wagner’s scores are the alpha and omega of my additions to this work; they embody the only important progress in the art of instrumentation since Berlioz. But I must warn the student to approach this study with great caution. Generally the score of Lohengrin should be considered a basic textbook for the advanced student; only after studying it thoroughly may he proceed to the polyphony of Tristan and Meistersinger,
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62 • Richard Strauss
and to the fairy-tale world of the Ring. Esthetically, the treatment of the wind instruments in Lohengrin is the apex of true perfection, never before reached. The so-called third woodwinds (English horn and bass clarinet), added for the first time, are employed here in manifold combinations of sound. The second, third and fourth horns, the trumpets and trombones have already attained polyphonic independence. The doubling of melodic parts, so characteristic for Wagner, is used with a sure sense for tonal balance and for beauty of sound, which even today arouses deep admiration. I particularly recommend the study of the scene between Ortrud and Telramund at the beginning of the second act; the wonderful woodwind passage when Elsa appears on the terrace; the Procession to the Minster; and the end of the second act, where Wagner succeeds in drawing organ sounds from the orchestra, which even surpass the “king of the instruments.” But before the beginner in the technique of composition and instrumentation starts his first timid swimming exercises in the stormy sea of the orchestra, he must be warned against one danger: the phenomenal sound combinations which a Berlioz or Wagner drew from the orchestra must not be misused. These masters used them for giving expression to unheard-of, great, poetic ideas, feelings and pictures of nature; they must not be reduced to the common property of bunglers, like a child’s toy. I wish it were possible to force everybody desirous of attempting orchestral composition to start his career with a number of string quartets. These string quartets he should have to submit to the judgment of two violinists, a violist and a cellist. If the four instrumentalists declare, “yes, this is well set for the instruments,” then the disciple of the muses may follow his impulse to write for orchestra (at first preferably for a small one). Finally, when the “young master” can no longer contain his urge for the large orchestra, he should compare Wagner’s eleven scores with each other. Let him observe how each of these works has its own combination of instruments, its own orchestral style; how each says what it wants to say in the simplest possible way, and how this noble moderation in the use of means is to be found in all of them. On the other hand, let him be warned against the procedure of one modern composer who once showed me the score of a comedy overture, in which the four “Nibelung” tubas carried on a most lively dance with the rest of the brass simply as reinforcement of the tutti. Dismayed, I asked the author — otherwise an excellent, highly educated musician — what business the tubas had in this gay overture. Had not Wagner really “invented” them with such wisdom and sure imagination to depict the somber world of the Nibelungs? He answered quite innocently: “Why, nowadays every major orchestra has tubas; why should I not use them?” That silenced me; this man was beyond help. Berlin, Christmas 1904 Richard Strauss
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1. F.-A. Gevaert, Traité général d’instrumentation, exposé méthodique des principes de cet art dans leur application à l’orchestre, à la musique d’harmonie et de fanfares, etc. (Liége: V. et C. Gevaert et fils, 1863); F.-A.Gevaert, Nouveaux trait d’instrumentation (Paris: Lemoine & Fils, 1885). 2. F.-A. Gevaert: Traité général d’instrumentation (1863), sum. 1865 (1866), trans. P. I. Chaykovsky in Polnoye sobraniye sochineniy: literaturnïye proizvedeniya i perepiska [Complete works: literary works and correspondence] 17 vol., iiib, 11–360; F.-A.Gevaert, Neue instrumenten-Lehre, trans. H. Riemann, (Paris: H. Lemoine. 1887). 3. F.-A. Gevaert, Cours méthodique d’orchestration (Brussels: Lemoine & Fils, Éditeurs, ). 4. Louis Adolphe Coerne, The Evolution of Modern Orchestration (New York: Macmillian, 1908); Paul Bekker, The Orchestra (New York: Norton, 1936); Adam Carse, The History of Orchestration (London: Kegan Paul, 1925; Dover, 1964). 5. Richard Strauss and Hector Berlioz: Instrumentationslehre: Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes (Leipzig: C. F. Peters, 1905). 6. Hector Berlioz, Instrumentationslehre : ein vollständiges Lehrbuch zur Erlangung der Kenntniss aller Instrumente und deren Anwendung, nebst einer Anleitung zur Behandlung und Direction des Orchesters : mit 70 Notentafeln und vielen in den Text gedruckten Notenbeispielen trans. Alfred Dörfel, (Leipzig: G. Heinze, 1864). 7. Berlioz’s section on brass was nearly obsolete by the publication of the second edition. In accordance with Berlioz’s Traite, Rimsky-Korsakov orchestrated his early Serbian Fantasy with natural brass in 1866–7. He was subsequently embarrassed to learn that valved brass “had already been introduced everywhere.” See Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakoff, My Musical Life trans. Judah A. Joffe, ed. Carl Van Vechten, (New York: Knopf, 1923), 66. 8. In the chapter on organ in the Treatise, Berlioz writes dismissively of fugues: “ … these innumerable entries of different voices, these canonic imitations, these fragments of twisted and tangled phrases pursuing and fleeing each other, even falling over each other, this confusion that excludes all true melody, where the chords succeed one another so rapidly that their character can scarcely be discerned, this continuous commotion of the entire system, this appearance of disorder, these sudden interruptions of one voice by another, all these detestable harmonic absurdities appropriate in depicting an orgy of savages or a dance of demons — is it that they are all transformed in the pipes of an organ and assume the solemn, grandiose, calm, devout or meditative expression of a sacred prayer, of quiet contemplation or even of terror and religious awe?” Strauss’ comment is revealing: “Although I share Berlioz’ opinion regarding organ fugues, nevertheless, this whole paragraph seems inspired by his purely personal hatred of the polyphonic style in general — a hatred not generally shared even by the admirers of Berlioz’ genius. In the respect, the German and the Latin are antipodes.” (Berlioz and Strauss, 246–7). It is worth noting that Berlioz’s Harold in Italy begins with a double-fugato, extraordinary for its time in that one subject is presented in the winds, one subject is presented in the strings. 9. Knut Martner, editor of the letters, identifies the work as either the opera Phanor und Phanette or the opera In Flammen (Mahler 1979, 182). 10. Augustus Beer was a music critic for Pester Lloyd, a German-language newspaper in Budapest.
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64 • Endnotes 11. In a quiet moment with Frau Bauer-Lechner, Mahler shows concern about the ever increasing size of his own orchestral requirements for the Third Symphony: “It’s frightening that, along with the content, the means of expression have also had to expand again. I need five trumpets, ten horns and six clarinets; I have never come across such things, and nowhere will I be permitted them willingly. The choice is before me: I can adapt my scoring for an orchestra which is inadequate and obsolete for my music (as Beethoven naïvely did with his Ninth; for the orchestra of his day was totally insufficient for it — it was cramped and restricted until someone suitably competent came to loosen its bonds, as I did, much to its advantage, in my performance a year ago). On the other hand, I can simply use what I need — and run the double risk of being attacked everywhere because of my immoderate requirements, and of not being performed at all.” Recollections of Gustav Mahler, trans. Dika Newlin, ed. Peter Franklin (London: Faber Music, 1980), 63-64. The final version of the Third calls for only four trumpets, eight horns and five clarinets. 12. Presumably, Gluck’s five masterpieces are Orfeo e Euridice (1762), Iphigénie en Aulide (1774), Alceste (1776), Armida (1777), and Iphigénie en Tauride (1779). 13. Gevaert’s footnote references his Nouveau Traité d’instrumentation (Paris and Bruxelles: Lemoine et Fils, 1885), § 51, pp. 48–49 (hereafter NT). Méhul’s Uthal was scored for low strings to evoke the setting of third-century Ireland. It acquired the nickname, “the opera without violins.” In NT, Gevaert notes that the Méhul’s choice “was too monotonous for a dramatic work, despite the infatuation at that time (1803) for Ossianic poetry” (49). Uthal premiered in 1806. 14. Gevaert’s footnote references NT, pp. 99–100. He summarizes the history of the harp in three periods: 1) up to the nineteenth century; 2) the perfection of the harp under the first Empire; and 3) after 1830 when Berlioz began writing for the harp regularly. He notes, “The more numerous the harps, the better the effect produced by the blending of their timbre with the other tone-colors of the orchestra” (100). 15. Gevaert’s footnote references NT, page 151 and page 179, ex. 165. Page 151 is a description of the oboe d’amore. Page 179 is a description of the alto clarinet in E-flat. Thus, neither reference corresponds to the English horn and bass clarinet in the text. Moreover, “ex. 165” is surely a misprint for “265” — an excerpt for clarinets, English horn, bassoons, bass clarinet, and horn from the first act of Die Walküre — which may be found on p. 179. 16. Strauss’ footnote refers to Gevaert’s Nouveau traite d’instrumentation. 17. Berlioz was in fact inspired and influenced by Jean-Georges Kastner’s Traité général d’Instrumentation. (Paris: n.p., 1837), which had been accepted by the Academy and was used as a textbook at the Conservatoire. Berlioz had reviewed this book favorably for Journal des débats. See MacDonald, xvii. 18. Philipp Wolfrum (1854–1919) was a professor of music history at University of Heidelberg. Interestingly, Wolfrum’s brother Karl (1856–1937) was more widely known for his organ compositions.
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INTERLUDE: ORCHESTRAL POSSIBILITES ON THE EVE OF THE NEW MUSIC
While all writing on orchestral style tends to be subjective, the selections in this section have been grouped because of their technical subject matter. The practical nature of the topics presented in this section tends to be stylistically neutral with regard to the dialectic of French and German orchestration. Taken together they demonstrate an increasingly complex orchestral praxis. Berlioz’s article on the orchestra, from the end of his Traité, is a broad discussion of orchestral possibilities. However, in his discussion of some rather fanciful prospects — such as an orchestra of 825 musicians — Berlioz reveals much about his very practical approach to orchestration and orchestral effects. Pierre Boulez has cited the importance of this essay, noting, “It is typical of Berlioz’s character, mixing realism and imagination without opposing one to the other, producing the double aspect of an undeniable inventive ‘madness’ — a fairly unreal dream minutely accounted for.”1 Salomon Jadassohn (1831–1902) is primarily remembered as theorist, but he was a prolific composer who published over 140 works. Instrumentationslehre was the fifth and final volume of his Musikalische Kompositionslehre (1883–9). In the excerpt that follows, Jadassohn explains the construction of an effective orchestral tutti, demonstrated with excerpts from Beethoven’s music. Unlike Berlioz’s essay, which suggests numerous possibilities to be explored, Jadassohn’s chapter is principally concerned with winnowing the possibilities to the few that will provide the greatest clarity. The excerpt provides a revealing glimpse into the pedagogy of orchestration at the Leipzig Conservatory, where Jadassohn’s students 65
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66 • Section III
included Ferrucio Busoni, George Chadwick, Frederick Delius, Edvard Grieg, Ethel Smythe and Felix Weingartner. Anatomie et phisiologie de l’orchestre is a short volume written by Delius and Papus.2 Delius (1862–1934) had not yet changed his name from Fritz to Frederick and is identified only by his surname. Papus, the pseudonym of Dr. Gerard Encuasse (1865–1916), was at that time already a celebrated author and prominent figure of the occult. Papus did not have any practical musical training and music does not play a role in most of his literary output.3 Anatomie posits a Kabbalistic and an anatomical basis of the orchestra, and as such, is a novel example of the intermingling of music and mysticism on the eve of the twentieth century.4 In demonstration of their theses, Delius and Papus present a framework of the orchestra and orchestration that is independent of the other materials of composition. Their divisions of the orchestra are primarily based on timbre and are sufficiently fine as to relate all the instruments of each section into a gradated scale of timbre, with transition instruments separating the more common orchestral instruments. Nicolay Rimsky-Korsakov (1804–1908) worked intermittently on various drafts of Principles of Orchestration for over twenty years. It was complete, but not entirely edited at his death. Principles was among the first books to treat orchestration primarily as a process of creating textures for large ensembles. Thus, the book was a significant departure from the previous books, especially the well-known works by Berlioz and Gevaert,5 which treat orchestration as the developing consequence of instrumentation. In the fourth chapter of Principles, Rimsky-Korsakov describes techniques that had been part of the nineteenth century composer’s repertoire but had not yet been so thoroughly enumerated in print. Many of these techniques, such as dovetailing exits with entrances, timbral modulation, and filling a texture with a neutral “harmonic basis” have remained a vital part of orchestration and are still described in current textbooks in language that can be traced back by Rimsky-Korsakov. However, Rimsky-Korsakov’s decision to use his own music as examples has proved problematic, as many of his opera scores have been hard to obtain and harder to experience in performance or on recordings, especially in the West. And some have noted a certain immodesty implicit in this choice, prompting Ravel to quip that he wished to write an orchestration textbook illustrated with all the mistakes he had made in his own scores.6
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The Orchestra From Treatise on Instrumentation Hector Berlioz, Annotated by Richard Strauss The Orchestra may be considered a large instrument capable of playing a great number of different tones simultaneously or in succession; its power is moderate or gigantic according to the proportionate use of all or only part of the resources available to the modern orchestra, and according to the more or less propitious application of these resources in relation to acoustic conditions of various type.7 The performers of all sorts, constituting together the orchestra, are, so to speak, its strings, tubes, pipes, sounding boards — machines endowed with intelligence, but subject to the action of an immense keyboard played by the conductor under the direction of the composer. I believe I have already stated my conviction that the invention of beautiful orchestral effects cannot be taught. Although this faculty can be developed by practice and rational observation, it belongs to those precious gifts which the composer, at once a poet and an inspired calculator, must have received from nature, similarly to talent for melody, expression, and even for harmony. But it is certainly easy to indicate quite precisely how to form an orchestra capable of faithfully rendering compositions in all forms and dimensions. A distinction should be made between theater and concert orchestras. In certain respects theater orchestras are inferior to concert orchestras. The placing of the musicians is of great importance; whether they are arranged on a horizontal or an inclined platform, in a space enclosed on three sides, or in the middle of the hall; whether there are reflectors and whether these have hard surfaces (throwing back the sound) or soft ones (absorbing and breaking it); how close the reflectors are to the performers — all this is of extraordinary consequence. Reflectors are indispensable. They are found, in various forms, in every enclosed place. The closer they are to the source of sound the greater is their effect. This is why there is no such thing as music in the open air. The largest orchestra, playing in a garden open on all sides — such as the Jardin des Tuileries — must remain completely ineffective. Even if it were placed close to the walls of the palace, the reflection would be insufficient; the; sound would be immediately lost in all directions. An orchestra of a thousand wind instruments and a chorus of two thousand voices, placed in an open plain, would be far less effective than an ordinary orchestra of eighty players and a chorus of a hundred voices arranged in the concert hall of the Conservatoire. The brilliant effect produced by military bands in some streets of big cities confirms this state67
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68 • Hector Berlioz
ment, in spite of the seeming contradiction. Here the music is by no means in the open air: the walls of high buildings lining the street on both sides, the avenues of trees, the facades of big palaces, near-by monuments — all these serve as reflectors. The sound is thrown back and remains for some time within the circumscribed space before finally escaping through the few gaps in the enclosure. But as soon as the band reaches an open plain without buildings and trees on its march from the large street, the tones diffuse, the orchestra disappears, and there is no more music. The best way of placing an orchestra in a hall sufficiently large for the number of players used, is to arrange them in rows one above the other on a series of steps in such a fashion that each row can send its tones to the listeners without any intervening obstacles. Every well-directed orchestra should thus be arranged in echelons. If it plays on the stage of a theater the scene should be enclosed by wooden walls in the rear, at the sides and above.8 On the other hand, if the orchestra is placed at one end of a hall or in a church and if, as frequently happens, the massive rear wall reflects with too much force and hardness the sound of the instruments closest to it, the excessive reverberation can easily be diminished by hanging a number of draperies or by placing other suitable objects there which serve to break the sound waves. The architecture of our theaters and the requirements of dramatic representation make this ampitheatrical arrangement impossible for opera orchestras. Their members are condemned to play at the lowest point of the hall, on a horizontal plane, immediately in front of the footlights; thus, they are deprived of most of the advantages resulting from the arrangement of the concert orchestra suggested by me. This is why so many effects are lost, so many fine shadings remain unnoticed in opera orchestras, in spite of the best execution. The difference is so great that composers must take it into account; they should not score their dramatic works in the same fashion as their symphonies, masses or oratorios. In the past the number of string instruments in opera orchestras was always in correct proportion to that of the other instruments; but for some years this has no longer been the case. A comic-opera orchestra, which had only two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two French horns, two bassoons, rarely two trumpets and hardly ever any kettledrums, was well balanced with nine first violins, eight second violins, six violas, seven violoncellos and six double-basses. Nowadays, however, with four horns, three trombones, two trumpets, a bass drum and kettledrums, but still with the same number of string instruments, the balance is completely destroyed. The violins are scarcely audible, and the total effect is extremely unsatisfactory.9 The orchestra for grand opera which has — besides the wind instruments already named-two cornets and an ophicleide, various percussion instruments and sometimes six or eight harps, is equally unbalanced with
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The Orchestra • 69
12 first violins, 11 second violins, 8 violas, 10 violoncellos, and 8 doublebasses, There should be at least 15 first violins, 14 second violins, 10 violas and 12 violoncellos, although not all of them need be used in works with very soft accompaniments. The make-up of the comic-opera orchestra would be sufficient for a concert orchestra intended for the performance of Haydn’s and Mozart’s symphonies. A greater number of stringed instruments might even be too strong in some instances for the tender effects which these masters frequently assign to flutes, oboes and bassoons. On the other hand, Beethoven’s symphonies, Weber’s overtures and more modern compositions in the monumental or passionate style require the number of stringed instruments just indicated for grand opera. Yet the finest concert orchestra — for a hall scarcely larger than that of the Conservatoire, the most complete, the richest in shadings and tone colors, the most majestic, the most powerful and at the same time the most mellow, would be composed as follows:10 21
basset-horn or 1 bass clarinet
cornets with pistons (or cylinders)
1 alto 2 tenor or 3 tenor trombones
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70 • Hector Berlioz 1
ophicleide in B♭ (or 1 bass tuba)
pairs of kettledrums with 4 drummers
pair of cymbals
For a choral work such an orchestra would require: 46
sopranos (first and second)
tenors (first and second)
basses (first and second)
By doubling or tripling this mass of performers in the same proportion one could doubtless obtain a magnificent orchestra for a music festival. But it would be an error to assume that all orchestras must be composed according to this system, which is based on the preponderance of the strings; the opposite plan may bring very beautiful results, too. In this case the string instruments, too weak to dominate the mass of clarinets and brass instruments, serve as a harmonious link between the brilliant tones of the brass, sometimes softening their sharp sound, sometimes stimulating their movement with a tremolo which even transforms drum rolls into music by blending with them. Commonsense tells us that the composer — unless he is forced to employ a particular kind of orchestra — must adapt the number of performers to the character and type of his work and to the effects demanded by its ideas. In the Requiem, for instance, I have employed four small bands (trumpets, trombones, cornets and ophicleides) placed separately at the four corners of the main orchestra, in order to render musically the monumental images of the hymn of the dead. The main orchestra consists of an imposing body of stringed instruments, of the rest of the wind instruments doubled and tripled, and of eight pairs of differently tuned kettledrums played by ten drummers. It is certain that the peculiar effects achieved by this new kind of orchestra would be impossible with any other combination. In this connection I want to mention the importance of the different points of origin of the tonal masses. Certain groups of an orchestra are selected by the composer to question and answer each other; but this design becomes clear and effective only if the groups which are to carry on the dialogue are placed at a sufficient distance from each other. The composer must therefore indicate in the score their exact disposition. For instance,
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The Orchestra • 71
the drums, bass drums, cymbals and kettledrums may remain together if they are employed, as usual, to strike certain rhythms simultaneously. But if they execute an interlocutory rhythm, one fragment of which is given to bass drums and cymbals, the other to kettledrums and drums, the effect would be greatly improved and intensified by placing the two groups of percussion instruments at the opposite ends of the orchestra, i.e. at considerable distance from each other. Hence, the constant uniformity of orchestral groups is one of the greatest obstacles to the creation of monumental and truly original works. This uniformity is preserved by composers more out of habit, laziness and thoughtlessness than for reasons of economy,11 although the latter motive is, unfortunately, also a rather important one. This is especially the case in France where music is so far from forming a part of national life, where the government does everything possible for the theater but nothing for music itself, where capitalists readily pay fifty thousand francs and more for a painting by some great master (because it represents a value), but will not spare fifty francs to organize an annual music festival worthy of our nation, which would display the numerous musical resources which we own but do not use! Yet it would be interesting to try once to combine all musical forces available in Paris for the performance of a work especially composed for such an occasion. If this combination were put at the disposal of a master, in a hall built for this purpose by an architect with a good knowledge of acoustics and music, the composer would have to determine the exact plan and arrangement of this gigantic orchestra first and then design his work accordingly. Where such an immense body is to be used it is obviously of the greatest importance to consider the greater or smaller distance of the various groups from each other. This is indispensable if one wants to derive full advantage from this orchestra and to calculate with certainty the scope of the different effects. At past music festivals only ordinary orchestras and choruses were heard, quadrupled or quintupled according to the number of performers available. But the orchestra proposed here would be entirely different. The composer trying to employ the extraordinary and enormous resources of such an instrument would have to solve an entirely new problem. Here, then, is how this could be achieved in Paris — with the necessary outlay of time, money and effort. The arrangement of the groups would be determined by the wishes and intentions of the composer. The percussion instruments, which exercise an irresistible influence on the rhythm and always lag when they are far from the conductor, should be placed as close to him as possible to be able to follow the slightest change of measure or tempo instantaneously and strictly.
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72 • Hector Berlioz 120 40
violas, divided into firsts and seconds, if necessary; at least 10 of the players able to play the viola d’amore
violoncellos, divided into firsts and seconds, if necessary
double-basses with three strings, tuned in fifths (G, D, A)
other double-basses with four strings, tuned in fourths (E, A, D, G)
flutes in E♭13
octave piccolo flutes
piccolo flutes In D♭14
small clarinets (in E♭)
clarinets (in C or B♭ or A)
bass clarinets in B♭
violins, divided into two, three or four groups
French horns (6 with valves)
ophicleide in C
ophicleides in B♭
very low positive organ with at least a 16’ stop
pairs of kettledrums (10 drummers)
pairs of cymbals
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The Orchestra • 73
sets of small bells16
pairs of ancient cymbals (in different keys)
large, very low bells
instrumentalists children sopranos (first and second)
women sopranos (first and second
tenors (first and second)
basses (first and second)
As one sees, the chorus does not predominate in this ensemble of 825 performers; even so, it would be difficult to assemble 360 suitable voices in Paris — so little is the study of singing cultivated in this city. Every time this entire mass is put in action, a broad and monumental style must be adopted; tender effects, light and fast movements are assigned to smaller orchestras, which the composer can easily form out of this multitude and employ in musical dialogues. Besides the radiant colors, which this myriad of different sounds could conjure at any moment, unheard-of harmonic effects could be produced — as follows: by dividing the 120 violins into eight or ten parts supported by the high tones of the forty violas — seraphic, ethereal expression in pianissimo; by dividing the violoncellos and double-basses in the low range and in slow movements — melancholy, religious expression in mezzoforte; by combining the lowest tones of the clarinet family into a small band — gloomy expression in forte and mezzoforte; by combining the low tones of oboes, English horns, tenoroons and large flutes into a small band — expression of pious mourning in piano; by combining the low tones of ophicleides, bass tubas and French horns into a small band, joined with the pedal tones of the tenor trombones, the lowest of the bass trombones and the 16’ stop of the organ — profoundly grave, religious and calm expression in piano;
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74 • Hector Berlioz
by combining the highest tones of the small clarinets, flutes and piccolos into a small band — shrill expression in forte; by combining the French horns, trumpets, cornets, trombones and ophicleides into a small band — pompous and brilliant expression in forte; by combining the 30 harps with the entire mass of stringed instruments playing pizzicato in a large orchestra, thus forming a new gigantic harp with 934 strings — graceful, brilliant and voluptuous expression in all shadings; by combining the 30 pianofortes with the 6 sets of small bells, the 12 pairs of ancient cymbals, the 6 triangles (which might be tuned in different keys like cymbals) and the 4 crescents into a metallic percussion orchestra — gay and brilliant expression in mezzoforte; by combining the 8 pairs of kettledrums with the 6 drums and the 3 bass drums into a small, almost exclusively rhythmic percussion orchestra — menacing expression in all shadings; by combining the 2 gongs, the 2 bells and the 8 large cymbals with certain chords of the trombones — sad and sinister expression in mezzoforte. Who could envisage all the instrumental combinations which would result if each of these groups were joined with another similar or contrasting group? There could be formed: grand duets between the wind instruments and the stringed instruments; between one of these two and the chorus; between the chorus and the harps and pianofortes alone; a grand trio between the chorus in unison and at the octave, the wind instruments in unison and at the octave, and the violins, violas and violoncellos likewise in unison and at the octave; the same trio, accompanied by a rhythmic motif executed by all the percussion instruments, the double-basses, harps and pianofortes; a single, double or triple chorus without accompaniment; a melody for the combined violins, violas and violoncellos, or for the combined woodwind, or for the combined brass, accompanied by a vocal orchestra; a melody for the sopranos or tenors or basses, or for all voices at the octave, accompanied by an instrumental orchestra; a small chorus, accompanied by the large chorus and some instruments; a small orchestra, accompanied by the large orchestra and some voices; a solemn melody executed by all bowed basses and accompanied above by the divided violins, the harps and pianofortes; a solemn melody executed by the wind basses and the organ and accompanied above by flutes, oboes, clarinets and divided violins; and so on, and so forth.
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The Orchestra • 75
The method of rehearsal for such a gigantic orchestra would, of course, be the same as that employed for complex and monumental works offering difficulties in performance — i.e. the method of sectional rehearsals. In this analytical task the conductor would have to proceed as follows: I take for granted that he would know the work to be performed thoroughly and in its minutest details. First he would appoint two assistant conductors who are to beat the time during the general rehearsals, keeping their eyes continually upon him, in order to transmit the tempo to the groups too far removed from the center.12 Then he would designate coaches for each of the different instrumental and vocal groups. He would study with these coaches and instruct them how to rehearse the parts assigned to them. The first coach would rehearse the first and second sopranos — first separately, then together. The second coach would proceed with the first and second tenors in the same fashion; likewise the third with the basses. After this, three choruses would be formed, each composed of one-third of the entire chorus. Finally the entire chorus would rehearse together. In these choral rehearsals an organ or a pianoforte supported by a few string instruments (violins and basses) could be used for the accompaniment. The assistant conductors and coaches of the orchestra would rehearse separately in the same fashion:
1. the first and second violins — separately, then together; 2. the violas, violoncellos and double-basses — separately and together; 3. all the stringed instruments; 4. the harps alone; 5. the pianofortes alone; 6. the harps and pianofortes together; 7. the woodwind instruments alone; 8. the brass instruments alone; 9. all the wind instruments together; 10. the percussion instruments alone, with special attention to the tuning of the kettledrums; 11. the percussion and wind instruments together; 12. finally the entire vocal and instrumental body together under the direction of the main conductor. This procedure would, first, result in an excellent performance such as could never be obtained by the old method of rehearsing with all performers at once;13 and, secondly, it would require each performer for not more
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76 • Hector Berlioz
than four rehearsals. As many tuning forks as possible should be distributed among the members of the orchestra; this is the only way in which the accurate tuning of such a multitude of instruments, so different in character and temperament, could be insured. General prejudice charges large orchestras with being noisy. However, if they are well balanced, well rehearsed and well conducted, and if they perform truly good music, they should rather be called powerful. In fact, nothing is as different in meaning as these two expressions. A shabby, little vaudeville band may appear noisy, whereas a large orchestra, skillfully employed, will be extremely soft and of the greatest beauty of sound even in passionate outbursts. Three trombones, if clumsily employed, may appear noisy and unbearable; and the very next moment, in the same hall, twelve trombones will delight the listeners with their powerful and yet noble tone.14 In fact, unisons are effective only if executed by many instruments. Thus, four first-rate violinists playing the same part will produce a rather unpleasant effect, whereas fifteen average violinists in unison would sound excellent.15 This is why small orchestras are of so little effect and hence of so little value, however accomplished the performance of the individual players. On the other hand, the thousand combinations possible with the giant orchestra above described could produce a wealth of harmonies, a variety of sounds, an abundance of contrasts surpassing anything heretofore achieved in art. It could create, above all, an incalculable melodic, rhythmic and expressive power, a penetrating force of unparalleled strength, and a miraculous sensitivity of gradations, in the whole or in any individual part. Its calm would be as majestic as an ocean in repose, its outbursts would recall tropical tempests, its explosive power the eruptions of volcanoes. In it could be heard the plaints, the murmurings, the mysterious sounds of primeval forests, the outcries, the prayers, the triumphant or mourning chants of a people with an expansive soul, an ardent heart and fiery passions. Its silence would inspire awe by its solemnity. But its crescendo would make even the most unyielding listeners shudder; it would grow like a tremendous conflagration gradually setting the sky on fire.
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Orchestra Tutti From Chapter X of A Course of Instruction in Instrumentation Salomon Jadassohn § 39. The simultaneous employment of all the instruments, we call an
Orchestra Tutti. In such an employment of the orchestra, the following general valid principles are of special importance: Melody, harmony and rhythmical accompanying figuration should be completely contained in the strings. Each group, as far as it is possible, should contain the melody and harmony. The most natural employment is that the highest pitched instruments of each group be given the melody; the next in pitch the middle parts; and the lowest the bass. Occasionally, we may employ many instruments for doubling a certain voice, either by the instruments of one special group or of several groups to improve the effect of the sound. By considering the following movement — the introduction to the finale of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony — we will find the above principles verified. Example 122 Piccolo.
Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in C. Fagotti. Contrafagotto. Corni in C. Trombe in C. Alto Tonore. Tromboni Basso. Timpani in G. C. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello Basso.
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78 • Salomon Jadassohn
Picc. Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. C. Fag. Cor.
Tr. Trb. B.Trb. Tp. Vl. I.
Vl. II. Vla. Vc. Cb.
Picc. Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. C. Fag. Cor.
Tr. Trb. B.Trb. Tp. Vl. I.
Vl. II. Vla. Vc. Cb.
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Orchestra Tutti • 79
The example requires no further explanation; however, we will mention the following: in viola part of the fourth measure the notes C and E cannot be played simultaneously as notated. Both notes must be played on the C string and thus a double-stop is impossible. Similarly, in measures 8, 10, and 12, the double basses must transpose their part an octave higher to stay above the lowest note.16 Harmony lasting for more than a measure in a tutti should be allocated to the resounding wind instruments against accompanying figuration in the strings, as in Example 2. Note that the second violins double the harmony in eighth notes, and as a result sound more forcefully than they would with long, sustained notes. Example 224 Flauto. Oboi. Clarineti in B . Fagotti. Corni in B . Trombe in B . Timpani B - F. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello e Basso.
In the following example we have two different motives — the sustained notes of the woodwind instruments and the first violins, and the moving passages of the strings. The horns strengthen and replenish the sustained harmony of the stringed instruments, while the trumpets and timpani render the rhythmical accent more acute. In this rapid tempo, Beethoven prefers the violoncellos and the double basses in quarter notes, while the violas and second violins move in eighth notes. The passage is thereby given more vigor and stability, than if the violoncellos were lead with the more rapidly moving violas and second violins. In a slower tempo the vio-
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loncellos may move with the violas and second violins, but the double bass part is frequently written with longer note values. Example 325 Allegro vivace
Flauto. Oboi. Clarineti in B . Fagotti. Corni in B .
Trombe in B . Timpani F. B . Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello e Basso.
1 Fl. 2 Ob. 2 Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
If the violoncellos and double basses are required to support rapid figuration of the higher stringed instruments and a similar motive is necessary; then we must alter it so as to be of slower tempo, for the low strings of these instruments are not well adapted to passages which require excessive skips and difficult intonation.
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Orchestra Tutti • 81
Example 426 Allegro moderato. Animato. Violini I e II. Violas. Violoncello e Basso.
Occasionally the rapid figures of the violoncellos are strengthened by the double basses in the same motive but of much slower motion, as the following passage illustrates. Example 527 Allegro moderato. Violoncello. Basso.
Rapid tremolo in the violins and violas are efficiently strengthened by notes of longer duration in the violoncellos and double basses, as shown by the following excerpt. Example 628 Allegro vivace
Violino I. Violino II. Violas. Violoncello e Basso. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. e Cb.
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The Various Arrangements of the Instruments in the Tutti Orchestra § 40. As was previously remarked, the doubling of the individual voices with different instruments is very advantageous for the total tone effect. Following are some remarks on the correct distribution of instruments for melody, harmonic filler and bass, so that they are properly balanced, receive their full value, and are employed to the best advantage. We must consider if two or four horns are to be at our disposal and if the trombones are to be added to these instruments for the orchestra tutti. In a rapid moving melody at allegro, the resounding brass instruments including the trumpets should only be employed for strengthening the melody and rhythm. The third (bass) trombone should reinforce the bass, providing the bass part is not too fast. When the brass is employed in this manner, particular attention must be given to the combined employment of the violins, flutes, first oboe and clarinet, for strengthening the melody. The bassoon (and sometimes the viola) may strengthen the bass. In such an arrangement the voices are doubled through two, three and in some cases more octaves. Following (Ex. 4.7), we quote a tutti passage from Beethoven’s Overture No. 3, to “Leonore,” in which all instruments with the exception of trombones, trumpets and horns, double the melody through four octaves: the tympani reinforce the bass. Example 729 Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in C. Fagotti. Corni in C. Corni in E. Trombe in C. Alto Tromboni Tonore. Basso. Timpani in C. G. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello. Basso.
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Orchestra Tutti • 83
In the example above we see that by only one group, the brass instruments, provide the harmony of this principle melody. All the other sounding instruments take the melody (with the exception of the horns in C, which take the melody only in the first measure). By the second measure, the brass instruments provide the harmony and strengthen the rhythmical accent: the bass is strengthened by the tympani. In this exceptional case Beethoven requires all the other instruments for melody, in order to counterbalance the harmony of the powerful brass instruments in the proper proportion. All the melodic instruments are placed as high as possible; the second violins move in unison with the first, as high as A6 the violas to A5 and the flutes, oboes, first clarinet and first bassoon are employed in their highest registers. Also, the accompanying harmony of the brass instruments is placed as high as possible. Example 8
All is calculated to give a powerful, triumphant fortissimo. The melody is written for the stringed instruments as measured-tremolo eighth notes, which provides the greatest possible power and fullness of tone.17 After the development section, this passage is repeated with slightly altered instrumentation (Ex. 4.8). We find the harmony in the strings given by the second violins, and in order to balance this, four horns and two trumpets double the melody in first measure. The double-bowed eighth notes of the second violins together with the double notes of the harmony are of great value, as the tympani do not take the eighth notes but single short strokes for marking a more acute rhythm. The violas are greatly strengthened by unison doubling of the clarinets.
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Example 931 Allegro. Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in C. Fagotti. Corni in C. Corni in E. Trombe in C. Alto Tromboni Tonore. Basso. Timpani in C. G. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello Basso.
The Separation of the Different Groups of Instruments in the Orchestra Tutti § 41. Different groups of instruments can be rhythmically distinguished from one another in tutti orchestration. They can also be employed simultaneously in various ways, as will be seen from the following excerpt from the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. Despite the combination of wind and string instruments, the same motive can readily be distinguished alternating between sections.
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Orchestra Tutti • 85
Example 1032 A very interesting and varied employment of the wind and stringed Allegro con brio.
Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in B . Fagotti. Corni in E . Trombe in C. Timpani in C. G. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello Basso.
instruments is likewise found in the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, shown in the following example. Example 1133 Allegro con brio.
Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in B . Fagotti. Corni in E . Trombe in C. Timpani in C. G. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello Basso.
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86 • Salomon Jadassohn
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. Cb.
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Tr. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. Cb.
We call your attention to the high pianissimo tones of the bassoon in Ex. 10 as they give to this passage a characteristic tone color.
Tone Color and Movement of the Tutti Orchestra § 42. It is quite evident that definite rules for the instrumentation of tutti orchestration cannot be formulated for use in every situation. For in writ-
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Orchestra Tutti • 87
ing for a small or large orchestra, each instrument can be employed in many different ways. We can employ the bassoon, viola and sometimes also the violoncello, both for representing a tenor voice and strengthening the bass. When the tone color of a unison tutti in the minor mode is to be very gloomy, it is necessary to place the voices low; on the other hand, when the tutti is to be bright and brilliant, we must treat it in another manner. The student may compare for this purpose, the allegro movement in the overture to Der Freischütz and Euryanthe. We should always pay particular attention to the mode and key we employ for the instrumentation of our composition, as each is of different character and not equally applicable to the same composition. In C major, G major, D major, A major and E major, the stringed instruments, which form the core of every orchestra, have more open strings at their disposal. The employment of these keys promote a more vigorous and brilliant tonecolor, especially to multi-stopped chords in the strings, than the flat keys in which less and frequently not even, a single string can be employed open. This is illustrated by the opening chords of Beethoven’s Name Day Overture (op. 115), Consecration of the House Overture (Op. 124), Cherubini’s Anacreon Overture, and many other masterworks. Another important consideration is the selection of instruments for figuration and their tessitura. New strength, sunlit clarity and elation are depicted by the tremolo movement of eighth notes for the woodwind instruments and horns in the first movement of the fourth symphony of Mendelssohn. Example 1234 Allegro vivace. Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in A. Fagotti. Corni in A. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello e Basso.
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In a like manner, the triplet movement in the introduction to the third act of Lohengrin is employed to portray festive triumph. Example 1335
1. u. 2. Flöten. 3. 1. Hoboen. 2. u. 3. 1. Klarinetten in A. 2. u. 3. 3 Fagotte 1. 2. Horner in D. 3. 4. 1. u. 2. Trompetten in D. 3. 3 Posaunen. Baϐtuba. 1. Violinen. 2. Violinen. Bratschen. Violoncello Kontrabasse
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Orchestra Tutti • 89
Kl. Fag. Hrn.
Tb. Vl. I. Vl. II. Br. Vlc. Kb.
We see an entirely different movement in the first great tutti of Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, in which he places the violas, violoncellos and timpani very low for the purpose of imparting a gloomy, passionate and stormy character to the movement. The violoncellos cannot strengthen the bass in this passage; therefore the two bassoons and tympani strengthen the double bass.
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Exaple 1436 Flauti. Oboi. Clarinetti in B . Fagotti. Corni in F. Corni in E . Trumpetten in F. Timpani in F - C. Violino I. Violino II. Viola. Violoncello Basso.
Fl. Ob. Cl. Fag. Cor. Cor. Trp. Tp. Vl. I. Vl. II. Vla. Vc. Cb.
From the foregoing (Ex. 14), the student will see to what degree a strong employment of the strings is necessary. The melodic movement of the violins in the first eight measures of this example would be completely covered by the powerful mass of other instruments (although no trombones take part), if the strings were not greatly augmented. It is impossible in the limited space of an instruction book to discuss the different effects produced by the various ways of instrumentating an
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Orchestra Tutti • 91
orchestral tutti. We must refer the student to the works of the masters for this knowledge. By the proper effort on the part of the pupil, both in the study of these scores and reflection thereon, he will conclude that the nature of every composition is as a four-voiced one, and that such a treatment thereof, is the most natural and simple. In the string orchestra give the first violins the first part; the second violins the second. The violas should be employed for representing the tenor part in a suitable manner; the violoncellos and double basses for giving the bass. It is never advisable to entrust the bass part entirely to the double basses, for even when these instruments are employed in great number they are always weak. If, as in the above (Ex. 14) we do not wish to strengthen the bass by the violoncellos, then we should always sufficiently reinforce this part through the other bass instruments. In the chorus of the woodwind instruments, we find that these instruments are employed in the same natural manner: some instruments to represent the melody; some instruments for the middle part; and some for the bass part. The woodwind instruments are always employed in the score, in their proper order of pitch (i.e. high above, low below). Of course it is hardly necessary to remark that the flute should represent the first part, the oboe the second, the clarinet the third, and the bassoon the bass. The lastnamed instrument is quite frequently employed for representing the tenor or middle voice, especially when the trombone and tuba are employed as bass instruments. The second flute, second oboe and second clarinet are frequently employed as a middle voice, with the flute doubling these two last-named instruments, in the higher octave. Regarding brass instruments, we prefer to write the three trombones as three voices, the horns (most frequently employed as four) as four voices, and the first trumpet and first horn as melodic instruments. But of course it is self-evident that these instruments should not be required to execute passages that are played with facility by the more nimble instruments, such as violin, flute, etc. The doubling of individual parts is therefore absolutely necessary, in order to prevent the gaps which would occur by a too distant placing of the voices. The student will find to be the best method of acquiring a knowledge, which can never be expressed by words and the general demonstration as we find in text books, through proper consideration of Classical models and the experience of his own work. The beginner must keep experimenting and first gain experience by imitating others before he ventures to treat his own independent ideas. The teacher often hears the expression, “I have written this purposely so for the orchestra,” but this is absurd, for the pupil can never make apol-
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ogy for ignorance and lack of ability. We will also advise the student not to employ all the instruments in his early practice, but to learn first to write a well sounding tutti using only the stringed instruments, woodwinds, two horns, trumpets and tympani as we find employed in the symphonies of the greatest Classical masters (without trombones, tuba, harp, etc). This is much better for the pupil, than employing all the instruments at his disposal in the present day. Without exception we find tutti orchestration the first, most necessary and most important exercise in the art of instrumentation. Regarding the greatest orchestral forms such as the overture and symphony, more ability is required in the representation of a musical work of art.37 A single movement can be represented in so many different ways. The overture and symphony are no more than a sonata form in greater extension. Naturally such a work displays more of an intellectual tenor and can be expressed in so many more various ways, as the works of the great masters illustrate. In a lengthy movement for orchestra, we should by no means in the tutti orchestra employ each instrument always in the same manner. By the gradual changing of single groups of instruments; the mixing of the different timbres of the same; the many possible tone-colorings of a single passage; the representation of a theme through many varying instruments; and the possible gradations of dynamics, from pp to ff either by one, some or of all instruments in a tutti orchestra, cause the rendering of a composition, to be of more radiant color, than when the same is rendered by a one or several instruments of chamber music.
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The General Divisions and Classification of the Principal Instruments of the Orchestra From Anatomie et phisiologie de l’orchestra Delius and Papus
Nervous System Head Chest
Abdomen Lymphatic System
[…] At the beginning of this study, we particularly emphasized the relationship between the orchestra and the human organism. We now return to this idea and say that the strings form the nervous system of the orchestra, the brass and woodwind form the blood system under its double classification of arteries and veins, and finally the percussion instruments form the lymphatic system. The head (center of the nervous system), the chest (center of the blood system), and the abdomen (center of the lymphatic system) are
the composite of each of these organic divisions. Such are the simple analogical bases of our first study.
Second Study: Classification of the Principal Instruments of the Orchestra The divisions we have obtained are general in nature and correspond to the total organic system. The practical application of these divisions would produce a weak result. However, the study of instruments classified (réunis en série) by means of the law that guided us thus far will enable us to posit novel and intriguing deductions. Consider the strings, which form the nervous system of the orchestra. The constitution of the quartet is sufficient to form a veritable orchestra.19 In examining the typical string instruments, we easily determine a progression characterized by the dominant violin supported by the cello and the viola with the double bass as the foundation. Without reiterating the preceding analogies (which we will continue later), we can establish the following quaternary.
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94 • Delius and Papus
Here we introduce that marvelous string instrument, the Harp. The Harp sounds the highest note that one can request from the strings. Moreover, the totality of the other string instruments can be suggested with the harp’s essence. It unifies by fusing the mental image formed by the strings. The harp is a composite [synthétique] instrument that we place in the center of our quaternary, which gives us the following definitive figure:
Bass We shall not repeat the deductions that we have just made in connection with the strings for each section. Let us simply say that the same law always applies and that for each section we will find four diametrically opposed instruments and a composite instrument, which gives us the following diagram: 39
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The General Divisions and Classification of the Principal Instruments • 95
GENERAL LAW Woman Man Nature
PIANO [Snare] Drum
Timpani PERCUSSION ANATOMY OF THE ORCHESTRA Classification of the Principal Instruments
The Transition Instruments The diagram includes only the principal instruments of the orchestra. One can revise the figure to include all the instruments according to their timbral relationship to those that we included. However, this task would be beyond the scope of this study. It will suffice to point out that for woodwinds there is a direct liaison between the flute and the clarinet, while there is a gap between the oboe and the flute. The gap requires a flute that would be a quasi Flûte à piston.40 The bass clarinet effects the transition between the clarinet and the bassoon, and the English horn between the bassoon and the oboe. For the brass, the passage from the horn to the tuba is made by way of the bugle (clairon);41 there is a direct passage from trombone to tuba, while
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the passage between the trombone and the trumpet is effected by the cornet à piston. However, the brass lacks a transition instrument between the trumpet and the horn. For the percussion, the passage from triangle to [Snare] drum42 is made by the glockenspiel,43 from [Snare] drum to timpani by the bass drum, from timpani to tambourine by the cymbals and from tambourine to triangle by the sleigh bells and the jingling johnnie.44 As for the composite instruments, they produce a collection of transition instruments. We note especially: The mandolin and guitar between the harp and the harmonium, the accordion between the harmonium and the piano, the Barbary organ45 between the piano and the organ, the bagpipes between the organ and the harmonium, the zither between the harp and the piano, etc., etc. The study of transition instruments is almost exclusively the domain of the musicians, and we do not want to elaborate too much here on this subject.
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Composition of the Orchestra Chapter IV from Principals of Orchestration Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov Different ways of orchestrating the same music There are times when the general tone, character and atmosphere of a passage, or a given moment in an orchestral work point to one, and only one particular manner of scoring. The following simple example will serve for explanation. Take a short phrase where a flourish or fanfare call is given out above a tremolando accompaniment, with or without change in harmony. There is no doubt that any orchestrator would assign the tremolo to the strings and the fanfare to a trumpet, never vice versa. But taking this for granted, the composer or orchestrator may still be left in doubt. Is the fanfare flourish suitable to the range of a trumpet? Should it be written for two or three trumpets in unison, or doubled by other instruments? Can any of these methods be employed without damaging the musical meaning? These are questions which I shall endeavor to answer. If the phrase is too low in register for the trumpets it should be given to the horns (instruments allied to the trumpet); if the phrase is too high it may be entrusted to the oboes and clarinets in unison, this combination possessing the closest resemblance to the trumpet tone both in character and power. The question whether one trumpet or two should be employed must be decided by the degree of power to be vested in the given passage. If a big sonorous effect is required the instruments may be doubled, tripled, or even multiplied by four; in the opposite case one solo brass instrument, or two of the woodwinds will suffice (one oboe + one clarinet). The question whether the tremolo in the strings should be supported by sustained harmony in the woodwind depends upon the purpose in view. A composer realizes his intentions beforehand; others who orchestrate his music can only proceed by conjecture. Should the composer desire to establish a strongly-marked difference between the harmonic basis and the melodic outline it is better not to employ woodwind harmony, but to obtain proper balance of tone by carefully distributing his dynamic marks of expression, pp, p, f and ff. If, on the contrary, the composer desires a full round tone as harmonic basis and less show of brilliance in the harmonic parts, the use of harmony in the woodwind is to be recommended. The following may serve as a guide to the scoring of woodwind chords: the harmonic basis should differ from the melody not only in fullness and intensity of tone, but also in color. If the fanfare figure is allotted to the brass (trumpets or horns) the harmony should be given to the woodwind; if the phrase is given to the 97
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woodwind (oboes and clarinets) the harmony should be entrusted to the horns. To solve all these questions successfully a composer must have full knowledge of the purpose he has in view, and those who orchestrate his work should be permeated with his intentions. Here the question arises, what should those intentions be? This is a more difficult subject. The aim of a composer is closely allied to the form of his work, to the aesthetic meaning of its every moment and phrase considered apart, and in relation to the composition as a whole. The choice of an orchestral scheme depends on the musical matter, the coloring of preceding and subsequent passages. It is important to determine whether a given passage is a complement to or a contrast with what goes before and comes after, whether it forms a climax or merely a step in the general march of musical thought. It would be impossible to examine all such possible types of relationship, or to consider the role played by each passage quoted in the present work. The reader is therefore advised not to pay too much attention to the examples given, but to study them and their bearing on the context in their proper place in the full scores. Nevertheless I shall touch upon a few of these points in the course of the following outline. To begin with, young and inexperienced composers do not always possess a clear idea of what they wish to do. They can improve in this direction by reading good scores and by repeatedly listening to an orchestra, provided they concentrate the mind to the fullest possible extent. The search after extravagant and daring effects in orchestration is quite a different thing from mere caprice; the will to achieve is not sufficient; there are certain things which should not be achieved. The simplest musical ideas — melodic phrases in unison and octaves or repeated throughout several octaves, chords of which no single part has any melodic meaning — are scored in various ways according to register, dynamic effect and the quality of expression or tone color that may be desired. In many cases, one idea will be orchestrated in a different way every time it recurs. Later on I shall frequently touch upon this more complicated question. There are fewer possible ways of scoring more complex musical ideas — harmonic-melodic phrases, polyphonic designs etc. — sometimes there are but two methods to be followed, for each of the primary elements in music, melody, harmony, and counterpoint has its own special requirements, regulating the choice of instruments and tone color. The most complicated musical ideas sometimes admit of only one manner of scoring, with a few hardly noticeable variations in detail. To the following example, very simple in structure I add an alternative method of scoring:
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Composition of the Orchestra • 99
Example A. Vera Schleoga, Original Scoring
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Example B. Vera Schleoga with an Alternate Scoring
It is obvious that the method in Example B will produce a satisfactory tone. But a third and fourth way of scoring would be less successful and a continuation of this process would soon lead to the ridiculous. For instance if the chords were given to the brass the whole passage would sound heavy, and the soprano recitative in the low and middle register
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Composition of the Orchestra • 101
would be overpowered. If the F♯ in the double basses were played arco by cellos and basses together it would sound clumsy, if it were given to the bassoons a comic effect would be produced, and if played by the brass it would sound rough and coarse, etc. The object of scoring the same musical phrase in different ways is to obtain variety either in tone color or resonance. In each case the composer may resort to the inversion of the normal order of instruments, duplication of parts, or the two processes in combination. The first of these is not always feasible. In the preceding sections of the book I have tried to explain the characteristics of each instrument and the part which each group of instruments plays in the orchestra. Moreover many methods of doubling are to be avoided; these I have mentioned, while there are also some instruments which cannot be combined owing to the great difference in their peculiarities. Therefore, as regards the general composition of the orchestra, the student should be guided by the general principles laid down in the earlier stages of the present work.46 The best means of orchestrating the same musical idea in various ways is by the adaptation of the musical matter. This can be done by the following operations; a) complete or partial transference into other octaves; b) repetition in a different key; c) extension of the whole range by the addition of octaves to the upper and lower parts; d) alteration of details (the most frequent method); e) variation of the general dynamic scheme, e. g. repeating a phrase piano, which has already been played forte. These operations are always successful in producing variety of orchestral color. The process of scoring the same or similar ideas in different ways is the source of numerous musical operations, crescendo, diminuendo, interchange of tone qualities, variation of tone color, etc., and incidentally throws new light upon the fundamental composition of the orchestra.
Full Tutti The word tutti generally means the simultaneous use of all instruments, but the word all is used relatively, and it must not be inferred that every single instrument must necessarily be employed to form a tutti. In order to simplify the following illustrations I will divide the word into two classes, full tutti and partial tutti, — independently of whether the orchestra is constructed in pairs, in threes or a larger number of instruments. I call full tutti the combination of all melodic groups, strings, wind, and brass. By partial tutti I mean passages in which the brass group only takes part, whether two horns or two trumpets participate alone, or whether two horns are combined with one or three trombones, without tuba, trumpets, or the two remaining horns, etc.:
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102 • Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov Horns:
2 Horns or
2 Trumpets —
2 Horns or
In both species of tutti full woodwind may be employed or not, according to the register and musical context of the passage. For instance, in the extreme high register it may be essential to include the piccolo; in the low register flutes will be unnecessary, and yet the passage can still be called tutti. The inclusion of kettle-drums, harp, and other instruments of little sustaining power, as of the percussion in general, does not come under discussion. The variety of orchestral operations increases with the number of instruments forming a tutti, in fact, so great does it become that it is impossible to consider all combinations. I can only give a few examples of full and partial tutti, and leave the reader to draw his own conclusions. The student is reminded that the tutti is used essentially in forte and fortissimo, rarely in pianissimo and piano passages.
Tutti in the Wind In many cases the woodwind and brass groups can form a tutti by themselves for periods of varying length. Sometimes this is effected by the woodwind alone, but more frequently with the support of horns. At other times the horns are found alone without the woodwind, and, lastly, a tutti may be comprised of instruments of each group in varying numbers. The addition of timpani and the rest of the percussion is quite common and constitutes what the Germans call Janitscharenmusik, or Turkish infantry music. Violoncellos and double basses playing more or less important pizzicato notes are often added to woodwind instruments (tutti), likewise the remainder of the strings and the harps; this process renders the sustained notes in the woodwind more distinct. Tutti passages in woodwind and horns do not produce any great amount of power in forte passages, but on the other hand tutti in the brass groups alone may attain an extraordinary volume of tone. In such examples the formation of pedal notes by strings or woodwind in no way alters the general character of the tutti.
Tutti Pizzicato The strings (pizzicato), reinforced occasionally by the harp, and piano, may, in certain cases constitute a particular kind of tutti, which can only attain any great degree of strength by support from the woodwind. Without this support it is of medium power, though still fairly brilliant in quality.
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Composition of the Orchestra • 103
Tutti in One, Two and Three Parts It often happens that a moderately full orchestral ensemble executes a passage composed of one or two harmonic parts, in unison or in octaves. Such melodic phrases call for more or less simple orchestration with the usual doubling of parts, or, in ornamental writing, admit of contrast in tone coloring, occasionally with the addition of sustained notes.
Soli in the Strings Although, in any orchestral piece, numerous instances are to be found of melodies and phrases entrusted to a solo wind instrument (generally the first of each group, woodwind or brass), solos for stringed instruments, on the other hand, are extremely rare. Whilst the 1st violin and 1st cello are fairly frequently used in this manner, the solo viola is seldom found, and a solo on the double bass is practically unknown. Phrases demanding particular individuality of expression are entrusted to solo instruments; likewise passages that require extraordinary technique, beyond the scope of the orchestral rank and file. The comparatively weak tone of the solo instrument necessitates light, transparent accompaniment. Difficult virtuoso solos should not be written, as they attract too much attention to a particular instrument. Solo stringed instruments are also used when vigorous expression and technical facility are not required, but simply in order to obtain that singular difference in color which exists between a solo stringed instrument and strings in unison. Two solo instruments can be coupled together, e.g. 2 violins soli, etc. and in very rare cases a quartet of solo strings may be employed.
Limits of Orchestral Range It is seldom that the entire orchestral conception is centered in the upper register of the orchestra, still more rarely is it focused wholly in the lowest range where the proximity of harmonic intervals creates a bad effect. In the first case the flutes and piccolo should be used along with the upper notes of the violins, soli or divisi; in the second case the double-bassoon and the low notes of the bassoons, bass clarinet, horns, trombones and tuba are brought into play. The first method gives brilliant color, the second combination is dark and gloomy. The contrary would be fundamentally impossible. The upper and lower parts of a passage can seldom be widely separated without the intermediate octaves being filled in, for this is contrary to the first principles of proper distribution of chords. Nevertheless the unusual resonance thus produced serves for strange and grotesque effects. In the
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104 • Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
first of the following examples the piccolo figure doubled by the harp and the sparkling notes of the glockenspiel is set about four octaves apart from the bass, which is assigned to a single double bass and tuba. But in the third octave, the augmented fourths and diminished fifths in the two flutes help to fill up the intermediate space and lessen the distance between the two extreme parts, thus forming some sort of link between them. The general effect is fanciful. Snegourotchka.
Transference of Passages and Phrases A phrase or a figure is often transferred from one instrument to another. In order to connect the phrases on each instrument in the best possible way, the last note of each part is made to coincide with the first note of the following one. This method is used for passages the range of which is
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Composition of the Orchestra • 105
too wide to be performed on any one instrument, or when it is desired to divide a phrase into two different timbres. A similar operation is used in scoring passages covering the entire orchestral scale, or a great portion of it. When one instrument is on the point of completing its allotted part, another instrument takes up the passage, starting on one or two notes common to both parts, and so on. This division must be carried out to ensure the balance of the whole passage.
Chords of Different Tone Quality Used Alternately The most usual practice is to employ chords on different groups of instruments alternately. In dealing with chords in different registers care should be taken that the progression of parts, though broken in passing from one group to another, remains as regular as if there were no leap from octave to octave; this applies specially to chromatic passages in order to avoid false relation. Note. The rules regulating progression of parts may sometimes be ignored, when extreme contrast of timbre between two adjacent chords is intended. For example, in Scheherazade, m. 8, (the chromatic progression at the 12th bar is undertaken by the same instruments, the 2nd clarinet, is therefore placed above the first in the opening). Scheherazade, mm. 8–12.
Another excellent method consists in transferring the same chord or its inversion from one orchestral group to another. This operation demands perfect balance in progression of parts as well as register. The first group
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106 • Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
strikes a chord of short value, the other group takes possession of it simultaneously in the same position and distribution, either in the same octave or in another. The dynamic gradations of tone need not necessarily be the same in both groups.
Amplification and Elimination of Tone Qualities The operation which consists in contrasting the resonance of two different groups (or the different timbres of one and the same group), either in sustained notes or chords, transforms a simple into a complex timbre, suddenly or by degrees. It is used in establishing a crescendo. While the first group effects the crescendo gradually, the second group enters piano or pianissimo, and attains its crescendo more rapidly. The whole process is thereby rendered more tense as the timbre changes. The converse operation — the transition from a complex to a simple timbre, by the suppression of one of the groups, belongs essentially to the diminuendo.
Repetition of Phrases, Imitation, Echo As regards choice of timbre, phrases in imitation are subject to the law of register. When a phrase is imitated in the upper register it should be given to an instrument of higher range and vice versa. If this rule is ignored an unnatural effect will be produced, as when the clarinet in its upper range replies to the oboe in the lower compass etc. The same rule must be followed in dealing with phrases, actually different, but similar in character; repeated phrases of different character should be scored in a manner most suitable to each. In echo phrases, that is to say imitation entailing not only decrease in volume of tone but also an effect of distance, the second instrument should be weaker than the first, but the two should possess some sort of affinity. An echo given to muted brass following the same phrase not muted produces this distant effect. Muted trumpets are eminently suited to echo a theme in the oboes; flutes also may imitate clarinets and oboes successfully. A woodwind instrument cannot be used to echo the strings, or vice versa, on account of the dissimilarity in timbre. Imitation in octaves (with a decrease in resonance) creates an effect resembling an echo.
Sforzando-Piano and Piano-Sforzando Chords Besides the natural dynamic process of obtaining these marks of expression, a process which depends upon the player, they may also be produced by artificial means of orchestration.
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Composition of the Orchestra • 107
At the moment when the woodwind begins a piano chord, the strings attack it sforzando, a compound chord for preference, either arco or pizzicato. In the opposite case the sforzando in the strings must occur at the end of the woodwind chord. The first method is also employed for a sforzandodiminuendo, and the second for a crescendo-sforzando effect. It is not so effective, and therefore less frequent to give the notes of sustained value to the strings, and the short chords to the woodwind. In such cases the tenuto chord is played tremolando on the strings.
Method of Emphasizing Certain Notes and Chords In order to stress or emphasize a certain note or chord, besides the marks of expression and sf, chords of two, three, and four notes can be inserted into the melodic progression by the string instruments each playing a single note; short notes in the woodwind may also be used as well as a chain of three or four grace notes, in the form of a scale, either in strings or woodwind. These unstressed notes (anacrusis), generally written very small, form a kind of upward glide, the downward direction being less common. As a rule they are connected to the main note by a slur. In the strings they should not lead up to chords of three or four notes, as this would be awkward for the bow.
Crescendo and Diminuendo Short crescendi and diminuendi are generally produced by natural dynamic means; when prolonged, they are obtained by this method combined with other orchestral devices. After the strings, the brass is the group most facile in producing dynamic shades of expression, glorifying crescendo chords into the most brilliant sforzando climaxes. Clarinets specialize in diminuendo effects and are capable of decreasing their tone to a breath (morendo). Prolonged orchestral crescendi are obtained by the gradual addition of other instruments in the following order: strings, woodwind, brass. Diminuendo effects are accomplished by the elimination of the instruments in the reverse order (brass, woodwind, strings). The scope of this work does not lend itself to the quotation of prolonged crescendo and diminuendo passages. The reader is referred, therefore, to the full scores.
Diverging and Converging Progressions In the majority of cases, diverging and converging progressions simply consist in the gradual ascent of the three upper parts, with the bass descend-
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108 • Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
ing. The distance separating the bass from the other parts is trifling at first, and grows by degrees. On the other hand, in converging progressions, the three upper parts, at first so far distant from the bass, gradually approach it. Sometimes these progressions involve an increase or a decrease in tone. The intermediate intervals are filled up by the introduction of fresh parts as the distance widens, so that the upper parts become doubled or trebled. In converging progressions the tripled and doubled parts are simplified, as the duplicating instruments cease to play. Moreover, if the harmony allows it, the group in the middle region which remains stationary is the group to be retained, or else the sustained note which guarantees unity in the operation. The handling of such progressions requires the greatest care.
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Composition of the Orchestra • 109
The Tsar’s Bride, R. 102.
Note: A sustained note between the diverging parts does not always allow the empty space to be completely filled up.
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110 • Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
Tone Quality as a Harmonic Force; Harmonic basis Melodic design comprising notes foreign to the harmony, passing or grace notes, embellishments etc., does not permit a florid outline to proceed at the same time with one reduced to essential and fundamental notes.
If, in the above example, the upper part is transposed an octave lower, the discordant effect produced by the contact of appoggiaturas and fundamental notes will be diminished; the quicker the passage is played the less harsh the effect will be, and vice versa. But it would be ill-advised to lay down any hard and fast rule as to the permissible length of these notes. There is no doubt that the harmonic notes, the thirds of the fundamental one (E) are more prominent from their proximity with the notes extraneous to the harmony. If the number of parts is increased (for instance, if the melodic figure is in thirds, sixths etc.), the question becomes still more complicated, since, to the original harmonic scheme, chords with different root bases are added, producing false relation. Nevertheless, for the solution of such problems, orchestration provides an element of the greatest importance: difference of timbres. The greater the dissimilarity in timbre between the harmonic basis on the one hand and the melodic design on the other, the less discordant the notes extraneous to the harmony will sound. The best example of this is to be found between the human voice and the orchestra, next comes the difference of timbres between the groups of strings, woodwind, plucked strings and percussion instruments. Less important differences occur between woodwind and brass; in these two groups, therefore, the harmonic basis generally remains an octave removed from the melodic design, and should be of inferior dynamic power. The harmonic basis may be ornamental in character, in which case it should move independently of the concurrent melodic design. Chords which are widely opposed in character may be used on a simple, stationary harmonic basis, a basis, founded, for example, on the chord of the tonic or diminished seventh.
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Composition of the Orchestra • 111
The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitesh mm. 326–327.
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112 • Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov
The effect of alternating harmony produced between two melodic figures, e.g. one transmitting a note, held in abeyance, to the other, or the simultaneous progression of a figure in augmentation and diminution etc. becomes comprehensible and pleasant to the ear when the fundamental sustained harmony is different. The whole question as to what is allowed and what forbidden in the employment of notes extraneous to the harmony is one of the most difficult in the whole range of composition; the permissible length of such notes is in no way established. In absence of artistic feeling, the composer who relies entirely on the difference between two timbres will often find himself using the most painful discords. Innovations in this direction in the latest post-Wagnerian music are often very questionable; they depress the ear and deaden the musical senses, leading to the unnatural conclusion that what is good, taken separately, must necessarily be good in combination.
Artificial Effects I apply this name to some orchestral operations which are based on certain defects of hearing and faculty of perception. Having no wish to specify those that already exist or to foretell those which may yet be invented, I will mention, in passing, a few which have been used by me in my own works. To this class belong glissando scales or arpeggios in the harp, the notes of which do not correspond with those played simultaneously by other instruments, but which are used from the fact that long glissandi are more resonant and brilliant than short ones.
Use of Percussion Instruments for Rhythm and Color Whenever some portion of the orchestra executes a rhythmic figure, percussion instruments should always be employed concurrently. An insignificant and playful rhythm is suitable to the triangle, tambourine, castanets and side drum, a vigorous and straightforward rhythm may be given to the bass drum, cymbals and gong. The strokes on these instruments should almost invariably correspond to the strong beats of the bar, highly-accented syncopated notes or disconnected sforzandi. The triangle, side drum and tambourine are capable of various rhythmic figures. Sometimes the percussion is used separately, independently of any other group of instruments. The brass and woodwinds are the two groups which combine the most satisfactorily with percussion from the standpoint of color. The triangle, side drum, and tambourine go best with harmony in the upper register; cymbals, bass drum and gong with harmony in the lower. The following are the combinations most generally employed: tremolo on the triangle and tambourine with trills in woodwinds and violins; trem-
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Composition of the Orchestra • 113
olo on the side drum, or cymbals struck with drum sticks, and sustained chords on trumpets and horns; tremolo on the bass drum or the gong with chords on trombones or low sustained notes on cellos and double basses. It must not be forgotten that the bass drum, cymbals, gong and a tremolo on the side drum, played fortissimo, is sufficient to overpower any orchestral tutti. The reader will find instances of the use of percussion instruments in any full score, and in several examples of the present work.
Economy in Orchestral Color Neither musical feeling nor the ear itself can stand, for long, the full resources of the orchestra combined together. The favorite group of instruments is the strings, then follow in order the woodwind, brass, timpani, harps, pizzicato effects, and lastly the percussion, also, in point of order, triangle, cymbals, big drum, side drum, tambourine, gong. Further removed stand the celesta, glockenspiel and xylophone, which instruments, though melodic, are too characteristic in timbre to be employed over frequently. The same may be said of the piano and castanets. A quantity of national instruments not included in the present work may be incorporated into the orchestra; such are the guitar, the domra, zither, mandolin, the Oriental tambourine, small tambourine etc. These instruments are employed from time to time for descriptiveaesthetic purposes. These instruments are most frequently used in the above-named order. A group of instruments that has been silent for some time gains fresh interest upon its reappearance. The trombones, trumpets and tuba are occasionally tacet for long periods, the percussion is seldom employed, and practically never all together, but in single instruments or in twos and threes. In national dances or music in ballad style, percussion instruments may be used more freely. After a long rest the re-entry of the horns, trombones and tuba should coincide with some characteristic intensity of tone, either pianissimo or fortissimo; piano and forte re-entries are less successful, while reintroducing these instruments mezzo-forte or mezzo-piano produces a colorless and commonplace effect. This remark is capable of wider application. For the same reasons it is not good to commence or finish any piece of music either mezzo-forte or mezzo-piano. The scope of the musical examples in this work does not permit of illustrating by quotation the use of economy in orchestral color, nor the re-entry of instruments thrown into prominence by prolonged rests. The reader must examine these questions in full scores.
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1. Pierre Boulez, “Berlioz and the Realm of the Imaginary,” in Orientations: Collected Writings by Pierre Boulez ed. Jean-Jaques Nattiez, trans. Martin Cooper (Boston: Faber and Faber, 1986), 214. 2. Delius et Papus, Anatomie et phisiologie de l’orchestre (Paris: Chamuel Éditeurs, 1894). 3. One of Papus’ mentors, the Marquis Joseph Alexandre Saint-Yves d’Alveydre (1842–1910) was an accomplished pianist and organist and published a number of compositions in his lifetime. See Joscelyn Goodwin, Music and the Occult: French Musical Philosphies 17501950 (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1995). 4. Here Kabbalah should be understood as a Western Esoteric or Hermetic tradition, somewhat distinct from the Jewish tradition. As to anatomy, Encausse (Papus) did complete his medical degree at the University of Paris in 1894 after submitting a dissertation on “philosophical anatomy.” 5. In his autobiography, Rimsky-Korsakov talks of studying Berlioz’s Traité d’ Instrumentation. Gevaert’s book was well known in Russia through Tchaikovsy’s 1866 translation. In the preface to Principles, Rimsky-Korsakov notes that his book is for readers who, “have already studied instrumentation from Gevaert’s excellent treatise, or any other well-known manual…” Nikolay Rimsky Korsakov, “Extract from the Preface to the Last Edition,” in Principles of Orchestration ed. Maximilian Steinberg, trans. Edward Agate. ([New York]: Édition Russe de Musique, 1922; Dover, 1964), 5. 6. Poulenc, Francis, “Moi et mes amis” quoted in Ravel Remembered ed. Roger Nichols (New York: Norton, 1987), 118. Aaron Copland, Darius Milhaud, and others have also related this anecdote. 7. Strauss’ Note: It is also regulated by the degree to which the inner power of the themes involved not only justifies, but actually demands the full application of physical resources. 8. Strauss’ Note: Shells are bad if they seat only half the orchestra, while the other half is placed in front of the shell. Pear-shaped concert halls are the best. 9. Strauss’ Note: The Bayreuth orchestra has 16 first violins, 16 second violins, 12 violas, 12 violoncellos and 8 double-basses. 10. Strauss’ Note: This has to be modified by including two English horns instead of one,
eight valve horns instead of four, and perhaps two additional clarinets in D or E♭, a double-bass clarinet, a double-bassoon and four tubas. It is generally indispensable to double the woodwind in forte or where it has important themes. 11. Strauss’ Note: This situation is still the same even today. 12. The octobass, an invention of M. Villaume, had three strings: C1, G1, and C2; the strings were so thick, moveable keys were required to stop the strings (Berlioz and Strauss, 405). 13. Sounding up a minor third; in the Treatise, Berlioz calls it the “flute in the third (the socalled flute in F)” (Berlioz and Strauss, 242). 14. Sounding up a minor ninth; in the Treatise, Berlioz calls this the “piccolo flute in the
minor ninth (the so-called small flute in E♭)” (Berlioz and Strauss, 242). 15. A smaller bassoon sounding up a fifth (thus “basson quinte” in French), (Berlioz and Strauss 198). 16. These “sets of small bells” are called “Les Jeux de Timbres” in the Treatise. However, they should not be confused with the Glockenspiel (which is later called Jeux de Timbres in French scores). Rather, this is a set of pitched bells resembling a bell tree (Berlioz and Strauss, 388). 17. A jingling johnnie (also called the chapeau chinois or Turkish crescent) is an instrument with a wooden stick supporting a broad cone from which hang small bells. Jingling johnnies were found in nineteenth century military bands (Berlioz and Strauss, 399). 18. Strauss’ Note: The optical telegraph is still the best. 19. Strauss’ Note: Now almost generally and rightly abandoned.
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Endnotes • 115
20. Strauss’ Note: Very true and important! Heavy brass sounds rather soft. Furthermore, a great mass of brass diminishes rather than increases the power. Two trumpets, stabbing sharply into a woodwind and string orchestra, may occasionally produce more strident effects than a whole army of brass instruments which balance each other. 21. Strauss’ Note: Particularly the pp of a large orchestra is incomparable. 22. Beethoven: Symphony No. 5, IV, mm. 1–22: 23. Three single-bar examples — the viola in m. 4, the bass in m. 8, and the lowest note of the bass — are omitted. 24. Beethoven: Symphony No. 4, I, mm. 257–260. 25. Beethoven, Symphony No. 4, I, mm 351–361. 26. Mendelssohn: Hebridies, mm. 244–245. 27. Mendelssohn: Hebridies, mm. 37–38. 28. Beethoven, Symphony no. 2, I, mm. 224–339. 29. Beethoven, Leonore Overture No. 3, mm. 69–74. 30. Jadassohn’s note: “We must consider that in this case, the harmony is indicated by the notes of the melody.” 31. Beethoven: Leonore 3, mm. 378–383. 32. Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, I, mm. 158–170. 33. Beethoven, Symphony No. 5, I, mm. 195–249. 34. Mendelssohn: Symphony no. 4 (“Italian”), I, mm. 1–10. 35. Wagner, Prelude to the Third Act of Lohengrin, mm. 35–44. 36. Beethoven: Egmont Overture, mm. 59–71. 37. Jadassohn’s footnote refers the reader to the discussions he in his prior volume on musical form (Vol. IV). 38. While German authors tend to call the orchestral strings a quintet, which reflects the independence of the double bass after Beethoven, French authors refer to the orchestral string section as a quatour, which is typically understood to refer to first violins, second violins, violas and cellos. The double basses are implied and understood to primarily double the cellos. A notable exception among German writers is Solomon Jadassohn, who taught Delius at the Leipzig Conservatory. However, the usual connotation of quartet — two violin parts, viola part and cello/bass part — has little to do with the quaternary Delius and Papus present for strings. Rather, their string quaternary, like the quaternaries that follow, are divided by timbre and instrumental identity. 39. The diagram is reproduced as faithfully as possible; only the words have been changed from the original French. Moreover, it seems obvious they omitted “Tenor” from the left of the central square. 40. The “Flûte à piston” is a piston flute or slide whistle. The lowest flute described by Berlioz in his treaty is the “Flûte d’amour” pitched in A, which was quite rare. While Theobald Boehm designed the modern alto flute pitched in G in 1855, the instrument remained sufficiently rare that in Strauss’ 1901 revision of Berlioz, he commends the “recent initiative” of Felix Weingartner for reintroducing the instrument in his Gefilde der Seligen. (Berlioz and Strauss 243). 41. Clairon literally means bugle. They may have meant clairon chromatique basse which is another variant of the ophicleide. 42. The French work tambour is nearly as imprecise as the English word drum. It’s likely Delius and Papus use tambour to refer to the snare drum, which is usually specified tambour militare or caisse claire. 43. The work choice here is curious. “Glocken speel” [sic] is familiar to English and German readers as the instrument now called orchestral bells. The French equivalent is jeu de timbres. Berlioz describes the glockenspiel as the keyed instrument on which Mozart played the bell parts of Die Zauberflöte and gives the range as D3 to D6. See Berlioz and Strauss, 388 and note 16 above. 44. See note 17 above. 45. Barbary organs were hand-cranked barrel organs that originally took their name from Giovanni Barberi, but more colloquially were thought to be “barbaric organs.”
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116 • Endnotes 46. The principles of doubling are established in Chapter 2, Melody, and Chapter 3, Harmony. In these chapters Rimsky-Korsakov establishes the four familiar voicings now known as juxtaposition, interlocking, enclosure, and overlapping. He also gives advice on suitable combinations for doubling.
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THE TURN OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: FRENCH AND GERMAN ORCHESTRATION II
At the start of the twentieth century, composers were grappling with the legacy of Richard Wagner’s New German orchestration and searching to find their own idiomatic merging of French and German orchestral styles. Consider Rimsky-Korsakov’s 1891 draft of the preface to his Principles of Orchestration: Our epoch, the post-Wagnerian age, is the age of brilliance and imaginative quality in orchestral tone coloring. Berlioz, Glinka, Liszt, Wagner, modern French composers — Delibes, Bizet and others; those of the new Russian school — Borodin, Balakirev, Glazounov and Tschaikovsky — have brought this side of musical art to its zenith; they have eclipsed, as colorists, their predecessors, Weber, Meyerbeer and Mendelssohn, to whose genius, nevertheless, they are indebted for their own progress.1 In this paragraph, Rimsky-Korsakov allies himself and his colleagues with the orchestral style of French and Russian opera composers. However, in another preface, Maximilian Steinberg, Rimsky-Korsakov’s student, son-in-law, and editor, notes that in his teaching, Rimsky-Korsakov “repeated the axiom that good orchestration means proper handling of parts.”2 Indeed, the second chapter of Principles begins with a summary of practical voice leading. The dual emphasis on color and counterpoint, as found in RimskyKorsakov’s Principles, is the emblematic feature of New German orchestration and its dominating influence on fin-de-siécle composers. German 117
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118 • Section IV
and French orchestration were merging in new and unpredictable ways that challenged notions of nationalism, genre, and compositional medium. However, the accelerated synthesis of orchestral styles took place in an era of both expectation and uncertainty about the orchestra. As the writings of Busoni, Schoenberg and Hauer demonstrate, there were widely varying opinions about the future of the orchestra and its instruments. Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924) wrote “Insufficiency Of The Means For Musical Expression” in 1893 as a letter to the editor of the Musikalisches Wochenblatt. In some respects, Busoni’s observations and suggestions anticipate Schoenberg’s writing about instrumentation: both are dismayed over what Busoni calls the incompleteness of single orchestral instruments. However, Busoni seeks completion through proliferation, standardizing the substitution winds and adding exotic instruments to fill the gaps between instruments. Busoni’s perceived gaps in instrumental sections are not unlike the missing transition instruments described by Delius and Papus in their Anatomie (Section III). Josef Matthias Hauer (1883–1959) included the essay, “The Orchestra: Diatonic and Atonal,” in his book Vom Wesen des Musikalischen. In the context of the book, Hauer’s attack on the nineteenth century orchestra is offered as further proof that a scale based on the harmonic series – and thus, by extension, the instruments that are modeled on the harmonic series — are a hindrance to the development of atonal music.3 His argument offers a unique critique of the use of orchestration to further narrative designs in programmatic music. Hauer is one of the few progressive German composers at the turn of the century to express concern about the influence of Wagner and New German orchestration. Australian composer Percy Grainger (1882–1961) was an internationally established pianist and composer before the onset of World War I. In 1917, Grainger enlisted in the U.S. Army Band, playing oboe and soprano saxophone. Thus began a life long fascination with the wind ensemble. “Possibilities of the Concert Wind Band,” was written just after his stint as an instructor at the U.S. Army School of Music. Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951) wrote the article Instrumentation in 1931, a time when he was enjoying more performances of his orchestral music. In great contrast to Busoni and Grainger, Schoenberg suggests the orchestra could be handily reduced to two kinds of woodwind instruments and two kinds of brass instruments (high and low) with a string complement if instruments could be developed with the facility and range of string instruments. Schoenberg values technical capability — especially in expression and dynamics — and would gladly trade color for increased facility. Moreover, like Mahler before him, Schoenberg notes that orchestration is a means to a greater clarity of texture: an idea that can be found in all of Schoenberg’s writing about orchestration.
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The Turn of the Twentieth Century • 119
The four-volume Traité de l’orchestration by Charles Koechlin (1867– 1950) is one of the most comprehensive textbooks on the subject ever published. It contains a complete book on instrumentation, a complete history of orchestral practices, and a comprehensive inquiry into the nature and balance of orchestral forces. The following excerpt from Volume II appears immediately after the book of instrumentation. After making a distinction between volume and intensity, including the perceptive assertion that the low flute is quite loud but devoid of intensity, Koechlin proposes some standard balances between orchestral sections. Finally, the excerpted dialogue on instrumentation between Stravinsky with Robert Craft is a particularly revealing discussion. Here, as in the earlier excerpt on Beethoven, Stravinsky remonstrates the objectification of orchestration as “something extrinsic from the music for which it exists.” Whereas Mahler, Strauss, and Schoenberg are quick to note that the purpose of orchestration is to set lines of counterpoint in relief, Stravinsky observes that the orchestra is essentially a harmonic-triadic creation and that it is “extremely difficult to write polyphonically for this harmonic body.” Thus, Stravinsky’s view of orchestration stands in high relief against the German tradition, and recalls the dramatic/homophonic course of orchestral development as set forth by Strauss in his Foreword to Berlioz’s Treatise (in Section II). Indeed Stravinsky even challenges the orchestral textures of Schoenberg’s op. 33 Variations for Orchestra by suggesting that the counterpoint in that work requires excessive doubling to keep the expanded resources of the orchestra at work. And while Schoenberg indicates that he would gladly trade novel colors for instruments with more range and dynamic control, Stravinsky laments the passing of Bach’s more colorful instruments and notes that he would write for the oboe d’amore and the oboe da caccia if they were commonly available.
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An Inadequate Means for Musical Expression Ferruccio Busoni Over the last two days, a discussion with two musician friends especially opened my eyes in many ways to the inadequate means for musical expression, in particular concerning the condition of the orchestra today. In fact, even if the ideas of most living composers do not exceed the limits of the possible, and even if our masters scarcely know how to handle the existing materials, it is nevertheless undeniable that:
1. the imperfections of the individual orchestral instruments as well as the arrangement of the orchestra as a whole hinder imagination and creativity; 2. the musical intelligence can, and presumably will, demand sounds [Klangwirkung], which are far beyond borders currently stretched to their limits (as such, it is already more than mere speculation that in the future the frontiers of form, harmony, and perhaps even the entire tonal system may be transcended).
However, there is concern that such a genius may not even attempt to fulfill his conceptions as long as the desired enrichment of means is not created or not regularly used. In what follows, I have tried to classify the necessary, the possible, and the still unimagined improvements, as far as short reflection and what measure of imagination nature has allowed.
I. Instruments only found in the large, foremost orchestras, as for example the English horn, bass clarinet, contrabassoon, harps, tuba, and the third and forth timpani. Although indispensable in our time, they are insufficiently found among the generally assimilated instruments of the orchestra. II. Instruments used in isolated passages with decided success — still only used as exceptional resources and regularly found in chamber orchestras. For example: the saxophone family, the tenor tuba, the viola-alta, and the zither (the gypsy dulcimer) (this last has not been used at all, to my knowledge). III. Instruments which would be desirable with improvement or integration with those already at hand, for example: a complete family of flutes, bass oboes, soprano bassoon, sub-contrabassoon, chromatic harps, and pedal timpani (which can realize passages and other effects). IV. (New, future) instruments filling the gaps in sound and technique between all the individual instruments: for example a bell instrument with a keyboard spanning a range of six octaves. 120
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The Orchestra: Diatonic and Atonal Music From Vom Wesen des Musikalischen
Josef Matthias Hauer Melody, the play of intervallic colors, is contour and rhythm narrowly intertwined, and the combination creates form. From a musician’s perspective, a chord is a melody whose tones sound simultaneously, and thus we break [zerlegen] a chord to perceive its musical sense. The diatonic scale with its triads resembles the harmonic series (a broken chord!) and the orchestral instruments with their tones depend on the harmonic series. Thus, it is understandable that the apex of diatonic music coincides with the apex of orchestral music. Haydn, Mozart! Compare the “natural” instrumentation plane of a Mozart score with the harmonic series: Violins, Flutes, Oboes, Clarinets
Cellos, Bassoons, Basses
The downfall of melody occurred hand in hand with the downfall (many say expansion) of the orchestra, which was accelerated by mechanical advances. (It happened in music as in other aspects of intellectual life.) Instruments, which began with melody — i.e., music itself was closely intertwined with instruments — were increasingly robbed of their individual characters. Thereby, their colors became unnatural, false, imitative. They were then employed more for their physical aspects, for their technical possibilities. They became noise effects for sensuality or titillation. For Beethoven, Wagner and many imitators, music became a means in the service of the poetical whole, the idea. The goal was the union of all the arts, or rather the mixture of all the techniques of the arts (naturally disguised with metaphysical garb). However, there was also a rebirth of pure musicianship, which sought to be free from all extra-musical influence and the intention to fashion or depict, and sprung forth completely from the inner musicial life of people. The more music became estranged from its essence, thus removed from melody which was replaced by the Leitmotiv, the more the sound and subject matter were set on equal footing: sounds adhering to the topic; timbres merely representational. Thus the intervals and interval comprehension [Intervallhören] — the instant of motion in an interval’s inwardness — 121
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stepped even further into the background. It became increasingly difficult to understand individual notes presented by varying instruments as an organic whole of melody that was already more questionable before ultimately vanishing completely. However, the longing for melody is the secret and increasingly distinct tendency of the musical works of the present. It certainly would not occur to a musician to imagine a melody musically realized whereby a different instrument plays each note.4 The characteristic phenomena of present musical life are not isolated features but rather stand in relation to the intellectual and spiritual shift across all of Europe. It can no longer be denied: the end of idealism is at hand, even if the philosophy professors and Wagnerians do not want to believe it. All — form, expression, sound material — must be reborn anew from atonal melody, as the guiding principle on which today’s musical works is based. This is already visible (audible) in some works, and to musically comprehend these works is to musically understand the new music simultaneously. Of course, for pitch relationships [Tonverbindungen] (thus, the outward appearance), one can devise a developing melodic row of modulations, if one prefers (e.g. Reger et al.). However, only from the outside. Just as one is so little able to meaningfully define the nature of melody (because it plays to the core of humanity, certainly some part of it is purely spiritual), one is even less likely to formulate a definition for atonal melody. The laws of diatonic are melody easily derived from the structure of the harmonic series with its fundamental (tonic), dominant, tonic triad, and major scale — albeit better still in a pure, un-tempered series. All diatonic melodies are cadentially grounded in the tonic, dominant and subdominant triads (and their near neighbors), and they always proceed in leading tone (or passing tone) manner to these triads. Modulation is effected by the removal of the fundamental tone of this network (harmonic series) and establishing a new tonic. (A procedure that was very mechanically handled in the previous epoch and led to the accumulation of deceptive cadences.) Atonal melody completely ignores the old progressions and resolutions of these triads. The whole tone scale is a simple example, which immediately dispenses with the tonic (major or minor), dominant, subdominant, and leading tone triads. Thus, one may not represent the whole tone scale with this resolution:
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The Orchestra: Diatonic and Atonal Music • 123
Unlike diatonic melody, which finds expression in the resolution of triads, the rules of consonance and dissonance do not apply to atonal melody: it creates points of tension and relaxation on its own, independent of the physical-psychological (natural) relationship to the harmonic series; its triads, consonance and dissonance, and the physical (but not inner) ear, which in a certain sense is dependant on the harmonic series to which nature clings and by which material that ear comprehends objective existence — the élan vital as it were. Atonal melody is certainly quite removed from nature; however when it is genuinely and even internally pure, spiritually and musically — the melody is preeminent [kat’ exochen]. Whereas all natural relationships are disparagingly mentioned and because the orchestral instruments are dependent on the harmonic series and the governing oscillations, one should not go on with the flutes, oboes, horns or even violins. The incorporation of these instruments would make hearing the melody of music difficult or wholly impossible. In the orchestra, the natural colors, which are dependant on the intervals of the natural tone series, clearly dominate. All stopped notes, harmonics, un-tempered tones [Naturtöne], over-blown notes, etc. of the various orchestral instruments depend on the oscillations of the nodes of unstopped [leeren] strings and the air columns of tubes. The further removed the notes of orchestral instruments from the simple oscillationrelationships of the harmonic series of unstopped strings and air columns, the less appealing these notes sound, and the greater (dissonant) noise that occurs through the dampening [Stoppen] of oscillations. An impure, tempered fifth, as played on a flute, for example causes beating (Trommeln), trembling and quaking throughout the instrument, until the developing noise nearly makes the tone-quality completely disappear. Compared to the violin’s open G-string, (the free oscillation), the stopped C-sharp is in and of itself a more dissonant and noisy tone, which has the tendency from nature to resolve to the D (the simple oscillation ratio 1:3). (See the figure below.) 1:1 1:2 1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7 etc.
c d g
d e d
f g e
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With clarinets and other wind instruments the chromatic and enharmonic tones are inserted between the nodes and natural tones (unequally tempered) as in the manner of the stops on the violin. Each note on an orchestral instrument lies either closer or further away in quality and quantity to a free oscillation of a string or air column, which the players do not always have the ability to evenly control. The best instruction and the greatest virtuosi make little difference. Therefore in many respects one can make no justification at all for equal-tempered orchestral instruments. Not only the C-sharp on the violin, but also minor seconds, augmented unisons, major sevenths, augmented octaves, augmented fourths and diminished fifths in general when played on violins: orchestral instruments are in and of themselves dissonant on intervals that tend toward resolution, and therefore the orchestra is only rightly suited to diatonic music. An atonal melody (which can never be a violin, flute, or horn melody!) would be disturbed by these one-track intervals with their natural and their resolution-dependent material. On an orchestral instrument, it consequently sounds like a diatonic melody played poorly, and in a certain sense it is a natural melody: i.e. a melody cultivated from the natural harmonic series. However, atonal melody does not begin with natural, sensual relationships to the harmonic series, as do for example the horns, the violin, etc, but rather from the interval in and of itself in its pure, spiritual — i.e. even musical — meaning. Every one of the intervals (apart from their associated natural relationships, as they emerged from nature as objects from the harmonic series) is based only on the actual interval, its suitable color and rhythmic movement to precisely convey the spiritual, ur-musical meaning of the interval itself. One who hears a major seventh, for example, only as a dissonance that resolves to the octave hears only the natural, sensual and diatonic, but not the inward, musical and atonal. One who wants to hear inwardly and intuitively must be able to consider every interval independently of the others as one hears timbre and meter: to completely intellectualize and disassociate so that the ear is liberated from the obligation of representation as compelled by the unmusical and extramusical development of orchestral music in the course of the nineteenth century. However, the orchestral instruments with their one-track natural tones entice the ear to hear diatonic objects again, while equal-tempered instruments, in which the twelve halfsteps are permanently graded and balanced (such that each can oscillate freely and is independent of the others), present the intervals in the most idealized form of expression conceivable. Certainly some people hear nothing different from the piano, for example, than from the orchestra. They have not achieved the sense of equal temperament and the superior presentation of the piano over the orchestra. That which can
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The Orchestra: Diatonic and Atonal Music • 125
be played and heard at the piano cannot be heard when this instrument is only used as a disappointing and insufficient substitute for the orchestra. The well-worn tracks of the natural series are probably also in our physical, or materially-derived, ears and ultimately, it seems clear, in our brain. This results in listening habits, which are rooted in the natural relationships to the harmonic series — in the inertia of the material. It can only be mastered with intellect [Geist], which is to say musical intuition (not the habitual but the spiritual and ultimately creative hearing of the intervals, which bring forth atonal melody from their untainted purity as their most characteristic creation). In a certain sense, the spirit forms the material, the physical ear. Only one who really hears the intervals in and of themselves, detached from their natural function has the capacity to understand them as melodic seedlings. Ears that hear only the sensual, natural and mechanical are dead. The nineteenth century inherited Beethoven’s dead ears. Since there were no ears alive to music, the music of Wagner fulfilled their aesthetic longing. The spiritual ear of Beethoven — which in the final quartets and sonatas wins the upper hand, if only sporadically — certainly finds its continuation, its goal, only in the atonal music of our time. The struggle within Beethoven raged between the purely spiritual, musical act of listening and the merely sensual, natural action of listening: the ever recurrent desire to return to nature, to sensuality, the deviation from pure musicality under the banner of the idea, in service to the program. Ultimately this raging,5 this devastating battle, produced on one hand the uproar — with complete impairment (overstimulation) of physical, sensual, hearing (such as the passage in the Ninth Symphony before “O Freunde, nicht diese Töne,” among others) — and on the other hand the richly chromatic (one can almost say atonal) passages in his late works that point to our own time. Perhaps we only now understand in the true sense that the objections raised by contemporary violinists — not without cause — about the impracticality of such passages were certainly not entirely the consequence of their deficient technical abilities. An atonal melody, or one that approaches this state, cannot be played evenly on a violin or any other orchestral instrument. Just as characteristic was Beethoven’s riposte: “Does he suppose I think of his wretched fiddle when the spirit speaks to me?” A diatonic melody played on the violin, horn, etc. must consider the natural relationships to a certain degree, which, however, constrain the musical fantasies of the artist. However, the closer diatonic melody comes to atonal melody, that is, the more “the spirit (that musical ur-intuition) speaks,” then the more it contradicts natural relationships. It is almost aesthetically reprehensible to allow an atonal melody to be sounded on an orchestral instrument.
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Beethoven sensed that music could not be completely mastered and accordingly lost control over the material towards the end of his life. The rape of the instruments begins with him. Only pure atonal melody remains to rid the orchestra of the raw sensuality and representational effects of naturalistic and program music.
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Possibilities of the Concert Wind Band from the Standpoint of a Modern Composer Percy Grainger When we consider the latent possibilities of a modern concert wind band it seems almost incomprehensible that the leading composers of our era do not write as extensively for it as they do for the symphony orchestra. No doubt there are many phases of musical emotion that the wind band is not so fitted to portray as is the symphony orchestra, but on the other hand it is quite evident that in certain realms of musical expressiveness the wind band (not of course the usual band of small dimensions as we most often encounter it, but an ideal band of some fifty or more pieces) has no rival. It is not so much the wind band as it already is, in the various countries, that should engage the creative attentions of contemporaneous composers of genius, as the band as it should be and will be; for it is still in a pliable state as regards its make-up as compared with the more settled form of the sound-ingredients of the symphony orchestra. Those who are interested in exploring the full latent possibilities of the modern concert wind band should consult Arthur A. Clappé’s The Wind Band and its Instruments,6 an epoch-making work which is to the band of today what Berlioz’s Treatise on Instrumentation was to the orchestra of his time — a standard work that no composer, musician, bandmaster or bandsman should fail to know and absorb. On page 46 of Mr. Clappé’s work the reader will find outlined an ideal concert wind band of sixty-four performers, which as a medium of expression peculiarly adapted to certain phases of the modern and ultra-modern composer outrivals any symphony orchestra in existence.
Modern Wind Band a Product of Recent Musical Thought The wind band, as we know it today, is a later growth than the symphony orchestra, and is, therefore, the product of recent musical thought, just as the music of Delius, Richard Strauss, Debussy, Cyril Scott, John Alden Carpenter is the product of recent musical thought. It is, therefore, not so surprising that the wind band should prove a more satisfying means of expression to the kind of music written by the geniuses of our own day than it does to the works of the older classics, which are naturally more at home in the symphony orchestra which grew out of their activities and was influenced (in its make-up) by their musical viewpoints. The wind band is peculiarly effective in music of a predominantly harmonic nature and, as we all know, harmony (rather than melody or even rhythm) is the principal means of expression with the most modern composers. The rich emotional harmonic languages of Delius and Cyril Scott, for instance, would 127
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128 • Percy Grainger
sound magnificent for the wind band, and so would a large proportion of the music of the other moderns, particularly if composed directly for the wind band by the composers themselves, and not merely adapted and arranged for it from their orchestral scores.
Reed and Brass Sections as They Should Exist It is, of course, the reed sections of the ideal wind band (such as given in Mr. Clappé’s above-mentioned book) that prove so very inspiring to the modern composer. The brass section, lovely, noble and heroic as its sound colors are, has not the great variety and expressibility of a fully-equipped reed section, comprising complete families of each of the following groups: clarinets, saxophones, oboe-bassoon group and sarrusophones.7 It is only when family grouping of reed instruments (a complete oboe-bassoon family consisting of oboes, English horn, bass oboe,8 bassoons and contrabassoon; a complete clarinet family consisting of E flat and B flat clarinets, alto clarinet, bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet; a complete quintet of saxophones; a complete sextet of sarrusophones) is insisted upon by composers and carried out by performers that the present, often monotonous tone color of wind bands will give place to a kaleidoscopic variety of tone colors comparable to those in the orchestration of Wagner, Stravinsky, or Delius. Mr. Clappé lays great stress upon these facts in his above-mentioned book, The Wind Band and its Instruments, and he has furthermore demonstrated in practice the truth and practicability of his theories in the beautifully balanced ‘Institute of Musical Art’ Band that he has built up at the Army Music Training School at Governor’s Island of which he is principal. When I first heard this band, at a concert at Washington Irving High School, with its quintet of saxophones, its quartet of alto and bass clarinets, its quartet of oboes, bass oboe and bassoon, with the tone of its well-rounded brass section so proportioned and controlled so as never to (except for quite special intentional effects) obscure or over-blare the more subtly expressive sound colors of its unusually complete wood-wind sections, I realized, more than ever before, the truly immense potentialities of the concert wind band as an emotional musical medium.
Finer Possibilities of Arranging for the Modern Wind Band There is plenty of variety of tone color in ordinary wind bands even as at presently constituted, but this variety is not utilized in the average arrangements for band because the arranger has to adapt his instrumentation to the haphazard make-up of most of the bands that will perform his adaptations. Thus there is great tonal contrast between the same note played upon the bassoon, bass clarinet or baritone saxophone. But the arranger cannot
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Possibilities of the Concert Wind Band • 129
often utilize these contrasts to the full as he cannot be sure that all three instruments will be present in the bands that will play his arrangements. Consequently a great deal of doubling occurs in most publications, and we find parts published for ‘Alto Clarinet or Alto Saxophone’, although the tone quality of the former is strikingly different from that of the latter. And the same thing holds good all along the line. Such delicious contrasts as those between the French horns and E flat altos, between the brass basses and the deep reed basses (contrabassoon, double sarrusophone, contrabass clarinet, bass saxophone) are seldom, if ever heard at present, but we can be sure that they will form part of the normal stock-in-trade of contrast in the scores for wind bands of the near future — when once the band has assumed a definite form through the uncompromising demands of composers (think what has accrued to the richness of symphony orchestras through the insistent demands of such men as Wagner, Richard Strauss and Delius!) and the gradual realization of the utter necessity of providing complete families of each type of reed instrument, as before alluded to.
Adaptability of Classic and Modern Music to the Needs of a Complete Wind Band In much of the older music, such as that by Mozart, Beethoven, Rossini, Weber, etc., the chief expressibility will frequently be found to lie above middle C (c’) owing to the strong melodic interest of such music and the comparatively weaker interest of its harmonic or polyphonic sides. It is undoubtedly the influence (direct and indirect) of such music that has developed the higher-voiced reed instruments at the expense of those of lower compass in wind bands, as it is equally obviously the result of the greater harmonic richness (with consequently greater concentration upon the lower-toned members of reed groups) of such more modern composers as Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Dvorák, Puccini, etc., that we have to thank for the gradual (though still irregular and incomplete) appearance of a few of the lower reeds such as the bassoon, baritone saxophone and bass clarinet, in the average band of today. A large part of the expressiveness of the most modern music (say, that of Delius and Cyril Scott) lies below, rather than above, middle C (c’) owing to the fact (before mentioned) that modern music is more harmonic than melodic or rhythmic. This makes the presence of a variety of deep and moderately deep reed instruments an absolute necessity to the modern composer. An oboe is of but little use to him unless he can be sure of being able to continue the oboe color downwards by means of the English horn and the bass oboe (the latter peculiarly well-fitted for use in wind bands), just as alto and tenor saxophones do not provide him with a sufficiency of
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saxophone color unless supplemented by baritone and bass saxophones. If the necessity of such demands are insisted upon by composers with sufficient tenacity we will soon meet wind bands able to carry out such contrasts of reed family groupings as the four following examples show, and when this happens the wind band will constitute a medium for emotional musical expression second to nothing that has ever existed in musical history. See the music examples.
E and B Clarinets Alto Clarinet English Horn and Bass Oboe Bassoons
Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxophone
etc., as before
B Clarinets and Alto Clarinet Bass and Contrabass Clarinet
English Horn, Bass Oboe, Bassoons, Alto and Tenor Sarrusphone B Clarinets and Alto Saxophone Alto Clarinet and Tenor Saxophone
etc., as before
Bass Clarinet, Baritone Saxophone Contrabass Clarinet and Bass Saxophone
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Possibilities of the Concert Wind Band • 131
E and B Clarinets Alto and Bass Clarinet Alto and Tenor Saxophone English Horn, Alto Sarrusphone Bass Oboe, Tenor Sarrusphone Bassoon
etc., as before
Baritone Sarrusphone Bassoon and Double Sarrusphone
Suggestions for Strengthening the Double-Reed Sections A word should be said as to the particular need (from the viewpoint of the ultramodern composer) for strengthening the double-reed sections of the wind band, by providing a complete family of sarrusophones (forming a sextet), as well as adding a bass oboe and English horn to the oboe-bassoon family. This is particularly desirable as the double reeds are able to add a quality of ‘fierceness’ and intensity to the band that no other instruments, reed or brass, can boast. It is this fierce, primitive, ‘wild-man’ note that stirs us in the shrill strident tones of the Scotch or Italian bagpipes and in Egyptian or East Indian double-reed pipes, and which most modern composers (with their tendency to ‘throw-back’ to primitive emotions and impressions — so noticeable in Stravinsky and Delius, for instance) keenly desire to incorporate in their instrumentations. The brass can be heroic and magnificent, the piccolos shrilly whistling, the clarinets brilliant and ‘reedy’, but none of the instruments of the band except the double reeds can reproduce the snarling, skirting, nasal wildness of the bagpipe and similar primitive pipes — yet combining this quality with the accuracy of intonation needful to modern music.
The Percussion as it Should be Perfected The percussion section must be completed in its family groupings if it is to be of real musical value to contemporary composers; that is to say, the xylophone should be extended several octaves downwards by the wooden marimba and the Deagan nabimba9 (a glorious instrument) and the bells (Glockenspiel) should likewise be completed downwards by steel marimbas, reveille tubes, etc., reaching as far as possible in the bass clef. All that has been said of the modern composer’s need of low and medium low reed instruments applies with equal force to all the lower members of the various metal and wooden bell, bar and tube percussion instruments. When
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these instruments are employed in complete families they will form an adjunct as desirable to the full concert wind band as is (in a different way) the reed section or brass section today, and particularly if equipped with a piano keyboard (with octave couplers and an electric tremolo action like Deagan’s ‘Unafon’10) their usefulness will be incalculable. But at present, a single glockenspiel and single xylophone is hardly more useful to the modern composer than a single trombone or single trumpet would have been to Wagner. When we recall the effects produced by Wagner in the ‘Ring’ (in the Valhalla motive music) by using tubas plenteously in groups, and by his whole system of group orchestration, we can imagine the equally magnificent (though wholly different) gamut of group contrasts that the military band will offer to composers who will possess the insight, enthusiasm and tenacity to bring about the completion in the instrumentation of concert wind bands of those manifold (but as yet mostly fragmentary) elements that even now prove so strangely fascinating and attractive to onward-looking creative musicians.
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Instrumentation Arnold Schoenberg In the instruments of our orchestra there is too much individuality (of colour, sound, technique, etc.) for groups of equivalent instruments (with the possible exception of the trumpets and trombones) to be strong enough to hold their own against accompaniment by the rest of the orchestra. Let me say at once that even the trumpets and trombones can only do so in favourable conditions. For example, when they have rapid notes to play, they are much less able to. Moreover, the reason why the ear is particularly liable to react to these instruments and immediately pays attention to them is that on the whole they are, even today, used less in the quieter passages than are the others — since they are not always qualified to join in. Their entry is still always striking, I believe, because of their colour, which still seems unusual, rather than their loudness. If our orchestra consisted of a smaller number of colours, then it would straightaway be possible, with this handful of ‘individualities’, to maintain at least something approximating the dynamic balance of the string quartet. There, each of the four players (three colours!) is in a position to make his part come through, so long as he is using a register of his instrument which is relatively favourable (favourable in relation to the other players); the others need only have the obvious consideration for the principal part that may reasonably be expected anyway. So if our orchestra consisted, for example, of two kinds of woodwinds, brass, strings, and perhaps piano, harp, celesta (which all have octaves) — the higher-pitched ones in each case corresponding in compass to the violins, and the lower to the cellos; and there were then one extra group for each of the extreme registers (piccolo and double-bass registers), it would be possible to score an octet of that kind so that the relationships are as in the string quartet. For example: (6) 12 high woodwinds
(6) 12 high brass
(10) 20 violins
(6) 12 low woodwinds
(6) 12 low brass
(10) 20 cellos
(4) 8 instruments in piccolo register
(6–10) 12–20 instruments in double-bass register (according to their loudness; e.g., if they are helicons or bombardons far fewer will be needed than if they were double-basses or contra-bassoons). As you can see, the smaller orchestra could manage with 60 players. But the fatal flaw in this idea is that no woodwind yet exists with anything like the violin’s compass (g-c'''', even without harmonics or the very highest 133
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134 • Arnold Schoenberg
notes); nor are there any such brass instruments. (With the latter, things are rather astonishing; whereas the horns have an extreme compass of:11
and, even so, move by no means easily in certain parts of it, the trumpets have one which is still smaller, by almost an octave and a half:12
Two and a half octaves. If the trumpets had the same compass
they could go up nearly as high as the violins, while at the bottom they would approach the cellos. This would be superfluous, for if one did without the possible (weak) low notes, one could certainly produce instruments with a better command high-up. It is the same with the clarinets: the lowest note on the E-flat clarinet
is indeed the same as on the violin, but while the A-clarinet commands
what should be possible on the E-flat clarinet,
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Instrumentation • 135
one can scarcely demand more of the E-flat clarinet high up than of the Aclarinet! An incomprehensible and impossible state of affairs!) Here I must mention a possible flaw in this idea of producing an orchestra through 6-10-fold doubling of perhaps eight types of instruments — a doubt I have always harboured as a criticism of the organ: that the organ uses so many different colours (a hundred or more) because (this is what I suppose, and physicists should test it) no individual tone-colour can be intensified beyond a certain degree (what degree?), and in any given register one can produce still louder sounds only by mixing in a different tone-quality. If this supposition were found to be correct, one would have to fear — and this too should be investigated by the physicists — that the same will apply to the instruments of the orchestra, so that heavy doubling would help very little in the matter of loudness. I have another supposition, as follows, about the aim and effect of doubling: the effect is not so much of loudness (as one can observe with massed choirs and monster concerts) as of evenness, which makes for the disappearance, the self-effacement, of the individualities, with their defects — intonation, particular weak registers, etc. — and also their virtues. The music thus sounds very ‘homogeneous’. (Indeed, that is also why a solo violin stands out so strongly from the orchestra. Individuality, a personal kind of variation between different notes, of intonation, of coloration, in contrast to the mixed sound where everything averages out.) However, in the orchestra even 6-10-fold doubling would produce a mixed sound, where weaknesses of a particular instrument would be relatively unimportant, while loudness would in any case be cumulative. And an instrumentation of this kind would offer the advantages mentioned at the outset: each individual group could easily hold its own against the rest, without the help of ‘ foreign bodies’. But our orchestra, as made up at present, is based on the principle of the organ: loudness is achieved through mixture. Naturally this instrumentation offers many attractive possibilities through the use of manifold soloistic groups, and it seems almost inexhaustible in point of colourfulness, if one recalls that one has two types of flute, 2–4 types of oboe (oboe, cor anglais, oboe da caccia, oboe d’amore), E-flat, A- and bass-clarinets, and basset-horns, bassoon, contra-bassoon, horns, tenor tubas, tenor horns, trumpets, cornets, flugelhorn, trombones, bass tuba, four strings and piano — that is to say, some 30 different types (add to
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that all the kinds of mutes!). In a texture of from three to five parts all this has produced countless possibilities of solo scoring; and then one has to add scoring with two or more instruments on one or all parts (even ignoring the possibilities of combining several instruments of the same kind). As against all this, the orchestra consisting of a mere eight types of instruments seems very meagre. All the same, it seems to me quite certain that with such an orchestra one will be able to represent everything imaginable, in sufficient variety. Remember, first of all, that the piano can make no distinction of tonecolour whatever, and that the string quartet manages on three individualities. Yet the literature of both possesses unparalleled richness of figures, and one almost doubts whether there is a greater wealth of sound-figures in the orchestra than in the media whose economy has forced composers to make the fullest use of prevailing conditions. But then one must reflect on the following point: If coloration had no deeper significance than that of a crude, naïve pleasure in sheer colour, it would be something on a very low level — perhaps that of a child who enjoys striking matches, or the rather more primitive pleasure uncultivated peoples, or sections of the populace, derive from explosions and shooting — and it could scarcely have a claim to consideration. But if one’s approach is that colour serves to underline the clarity of the parts, by making it easier for them to stand out from one another, then one must reflect for a while, and moderate one’s views. Any painter will know that he can not in fact paint light, but only differences of brightness, as effects of a source of light not included in the picture. Colour is indeed only a part of decomposed light. For the same reason he cannot, at the other extreme, paint darkness. Total blackness is absence of light, and therefore absence of colour; there can be semidarkness, even if the fractional amount of light can then hardly furnish our eyes with colours. But here we also know at once that objective representation can be achieved in all its plasticity even without colour, simply through distinctions of brightness. More than that, a certain plasticity can be achieved — in line-drawings — even without distinctions of brightness, though perhaps not without a certain unconscious co-operation from the memory and the imagination, which have already identified some familiar object that is only hinted at; and here it would seem doubtful whether the object could be identified if it were unfamiliar or only slightly familiar. Applied to the orchestra, to instrumentation, this would mean that the objects, the parts, obviously stand out one from another with greater plasticity, the more they are distinguished from each other in all respects, including colour. But over and above that, black-and-white drawing again allows
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Instrumentation • 137
one to distinguish the parts with complete certainty, so long as they differ from each other in essentials — in movement, in rhythm, in the space allotted them. Let us remind ourselves at this point that there are not only elements meant to stand out from each other, but others that are meant to mingle, dissolve into one another, as, for example, harmonies mostly do if they move evenly and simultaneously. Moreover, one must now point out another reservation by asking, ‘To what end, after all, does one aim to perceive and follow separately all the parts that work together?’ Here the only reasonable answer can be, ‘What is played, what is composed, must be amenable to perception.’ And vice versa, ‘Whatever can not be perceived should not be written.’ As a formulation that is only a shade too severe — only, that is, in so far as the ‘cooperation’ of elements which are not all individually perceptible need not be flatly ruled out. But there is another objection to raise. It is justifiable to demand that, perceptibility being there, the way things stand out should still be graded according to their degree of importance. This objection will be particularly justified in homophonic music and in a certain kind of pseudopolyphony. In truly contrapuntal music there are only main points: that is to say, the whole. For the factor represented at any moment is the specific, mutually-opposing layout (horizontal and vertical, in simultaneity and succession); not the way in which a principal part is accompanied by subsidiary parts. The demands of plasticity would here be replaced by the demand for transparency. Only a transparent texture allows the ear to check whether at any moment the ‘individual’ sound of the elements’ ‘layout’ (‘stratification’) is perfectly in keeping with the strictness here applicable in the shape of thematic-motivic exactitude. Whether it is free of falsification, deviation, softening, watering-down of the idea — whether, that is, the idea has been strictly and exactly adhered to. Whether the new sound, the new figure in the unfolding succession of pictures does not ‘fall out of the picture’. Whether, in fact, a strict further development of the idea is present. This interest could in principle be satisfied without colour, and therefore clavichord and organ were rightly the principal instruments of contrapuntal art. And, in fact, the moment one has a theme played by different instruments, one is forced to alter the performing indications, the phrasing, the dynamics. Certainly it can not be said that the idea is then a different idea; but that a different colour, different bowings, different phrasings, different dynamics very easily represent a different stage of the idea — this possibility is by no means to be automatically excluded. But one may assert that a composer with a sense of form will do no such thing unless he has taken it into account in his construction, if only unconsciously.
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138 • Arnold Schoenberg
And, as already remarked, the organ uses varied colours, though without being forced to modify phrasing and mode of attack. Much more could be added here, but I shall confine myself to a brief statement of the degree to which a certain colourfulness is appropriate even in contrapuntal music. To be specific: transparency of sound can be more fully achieved when the elements used are heterogeneous rather than homogeneous. Similar colours, particularly similar tone-colours, melt too easily into one another, forming chords, and it is then certainly harder to follow the construction of the texture (e.g. when parts cross!). It will surely have been noticed that very often I even give chords, and also chordal progressions of simultaneous parts, to heterogeneous instruments. Though that only happens within homophony. Barcelona. November 23–25, 1931
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The Balance of Sonorities: Volume and Intensity From Volume I, Chapter II of Traité de l’orchestration Charles Koechlin Volume and Intensity The first question to treat after studying the resources of each individual instrument is that of the balance of instruments with one another and instrumental groups with one another. Beginners sometimes write sonorities that are stronger or heavier than they would prefer, — or sonorities that combine but leave gaps in the orchestra; one notices unintentional oppositions, inconsistencies, inequalities; an instrument predominates when another was intended, etc... . On this matter, let us first note that two elements play a part: volume and intensity. I believe it would be useless to define these two terms; moreover, I would be embarrassed by the definitions. Any musician with ears knows precisely what is meant by a loud sound and an intense sound. Volume is not always the cause or the antithesis of intensity. It depends on the circumstances. For example, in the low register of the flute, the volume is considerable but the intensity is weak; in the high register, the intensity becomes strong but the volume decreases. Low notes on this instrument seem transparent: they disappear against other “denser” sonorities, and they are easily covered because of their weak intensity.13 However, the oboe simultaneously increases intensity and volume as it approaches the low register. One could make a whole study on the subject of VOLUME; let us consider the individual instruments first, then the instruments in groups. For the woodwinds, the strongest volume is that of the flute in the lowest register and of the bassoon14 (only in the medium register where it is broad and sufficiently pale; elsewhere the bassoon is more “strangled,” especially in the highest register). The horn also is loud, and even its high notes do not sound thin. As for the very full notes at the bottom, one could compare them with those of the tuba, an instrument of considerable volume (more than even trombone or the trumpet). The clarinet’s volume is more balanced through its range than that of flute. It is not quite as loud as the flute on the same notes at the bottom of the treble clef, and undoubtedly fuller than the flute on the high notes. (When played by most clarinetists, the sound narrows in the highest range.) The sound of the oboe is thinnest but most piercing: the sound is fine in the second octave; the high octave tends to sound shriller,15 but not in the middleground [second plan] (unless it is not covered by the stronger sonorities of the trumpet or the strings). 139
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140 • Charles Koechlin
In general, the beginning orchestrator does not realize the surprising difference in volume between a wind instrument and a solo string instrument; I would even say between one wind instrument and several string instruments. A typical example is the melody of flute against divided, muted violins at the end of the First Nocturne (Nuages) of Claude Debussy.16 Frankly, the flute soloist often plays this passage too loudly;17 but despite the p dynamic, the flute will nevertheless be louder than the strings, which, almost imperceptibly, accompany. Debussy, Nocturnes 18 fl. solo (très expressif ).
(+ Hp.) V. I div. en 4 (all strings muted) V. II div. en 4
A. div. en 2 Vc. div. en 2 C.B.
And this is why, when Saint-Saëns gives the violins a voicing in octaves to answer one horn, he does not divide the first violins (which would sound thin after the horn), but doubles the first and second violins. Similarly, in Werther, Massenet accompanies four wind instruments with a C pedal in the strings, the pedal is written for the first and second violins and viola in unison.
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The Balance of Sonorities • 141
Massenet, Werther 19 1 ob. 2 cl. 1 fag.
V. I + II + A.
Tou-te chose est en-core à la pla-ce con-nue. cor
The whole section of strings in fact is never too loud (except perhaps with expanded strings and especially with certain voicings of basses, or of cellos and basses written in fifths in the low register). As for the winds, one best evaluates the volume of a group of these instruments according to their number. Accordingly, one can say six or even four winds sound as loud as the complete ensemble of strings playing normally, in p or mf (see, for example, the call and response of winds and strings in the first entr’acte of Carmen, which I will quote further). Eight to ten winds produce considerable volume commensurate (and sometimes exceeding) that of an ensemble of strings reinforced with basses.20 But even at ff, the winds have less intensity than strings playing f. And the force of the strings is enhanced by their unique clarity of attack. As for the horns, the sonority is not thin. It is sufficient to quote a measure from Verdi’s Falstaff where two horns are voiced a nineteenth apart; the effect is excellent and sufficiently full despite the gap.21
An ensemble of four horns has at least the same mass [volumineux] as a greater number of winds (six or seven); but the winds can be made to have more intensity than horns (especially if oboes are used) and the winds can be made more salient than horns (especially when the horns play in their
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142 • Charles Koechlin
middle register). Finally, the volume and even the intensity of saxophones lay between the horns and clarinets.22 One must also consider the expressive markings [nuances], which need not be the same for all instruments. And the voicings of chords must also be taken into account. Thus, for the horns, the octave resounds more smoothly than (and thus not as heavy as) the third or fifth, which are perfectly possible. Consider the “Classical” voicing so often adopted by past masters, which still works well today:
This voicing was not only used to avoid hand-stopped horn notes on F and B, but also because of the excellent sonority of the horns in octaves. Among the ancients, there is a fear, or even a complete absence, of fifths in the low register, often written (perhaps too often) by modern compos-
ers.23 The concern arises from the heaviness that results from low fifths, especially when sounded by the strings. Low fifths increase the volume, but also diminish the intensity. The harmonics they produce thicken the composite sound. In addition, sometimes the strings can seem a little harsh (high second violins alone at f for example: in this case it would be good to double them with winds). On the other hand the intensity of the strings helps them dominate, even against trombones, whereas a dozen winds, while more voluminous, will usually be covered by the brass.24 There is also the question of the incisiveness (mordant) of timbres that tend to predominate. The effect of these timbres is undeniable. The oboe, the clarinet in the “chalumeau” register, the muted trumpet, and the string instruments (particularly the viola in the medium and low registers, the violins on the IVth string, the cellos above IIIrd position): these instruments have an incisiveness that must be used advisedly. However, this property can be used to make a theme salient. And the attack has an equally pointed, even dissonant effect. Thus, one sees the extent to which the problem of balance is complex and difficult since it is comprised of volume and intensity and
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The Balance of Sonorities • 143
is a “function” of so many “variables.” Rigorous solutions and intangible principles do not interest us here: it is best to proceed by examples. But first, I must emphasize the important distinction between VOLUME and INTENSITY. When the student has completely grasped the contrast between the two sonorities demonstrated in the following example, it is a significant accomplishment. Mendelssohn, Italian Symphony, III 25
The “ring” of the winds is rich and energetic; the response of the strings is light and thin as a wire. Complete contrast, but motivated by the idea itself. It is essential. On the other hand, the contrast found in the next example, will likely cause an unintended disparity.
Sometimes such volume inequalities are desirable, but it takes a considerable mastery to achieve a good realization of this effect. Here are some examples.
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144 • Charles Koechlin
Ravel, Rhapsody Espagnole 26, 27
In this passage, Ravel makes the extremely fine, penetrating timbre of the strings salient because they contrast the voicing of the flute and clarinet. Similarly, the intention of Berlioz is quite clear in the following passage. Berlioz, Le Damnation de Faust 28 2 fl.
C’est mon rê-ve d’hi - er qui m’a-tou-te trou - blé Le V. I V. II Vc.
A. Unis (Strings are very soft and thin after the woodwinds.)
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The Balance of Sonorities • 145
In the following passage from La Valse, the imbalance of volume between the two bassoons and the strings is untenable unless the bassoons play ppp, which most conductors do not think to ask of the bassoons. The nuance p (indicated by Ravel) is certainly louder than what he truly intends. Ravel, La Valse 29 2 Fag.
( ⅓⅓ Vc. Vc.) + C.B. in unison with Vc.
⅓ C.B. pizz.
For a good realization of volumes and intensities, it is necessary to cultivate the memory of the ear. One can then clearly distinguish, for example, the difference between a thick and full sonority on one hand, (such as trombones + horns + winds, in unison, playing pp on a chord like the one below)
and on the other hand, a much thinner but intense sonority of violins and altos divided playing ff in a high range. The ear must remember the sound of the strings alone and learn how much volume is added by doubling winds . . . We can help the beginner with advice and “principles” by which to guide, but nothing is worth the experience of the ear. By hearing works, one will understand why certain masters often “double” — and
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146 • Charles Koechlin
are not wrong to do so — and conversely, why others prefer pure tones: sometimes the even the somewhat raw tones of a reduced orchestra.30 The correct match of sonority and volume to the musical idea itself is a difficult thing to achieve. However, nothing is more essential.
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Instrumentation From Conversations with Stravinsky Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft R.C. What is good instrumentation? I.S. When you are unaware that it is instrumentation. The word is a gloss. It pretends that one composes music and then orchestrates it. This is true, in fact, in the one sense that the only composers who can be orchestrators are those who write piano music which they transcribe for orchestra; and this might still be the practice of a good many composers, judging from the number of times I have been asked my opinion as to which instruments I think best for passages the composers play on the piano. As we know, real piano music, which is what these composers usually play, is the most difficult to instrumentate. Even Schoenberg, who was always an instrumental master (one could make a very useful anthology of instrumental practice in his music from the first song of op. 22 to Von Heute auf Morgen with its extraordinary percussion, piano and mandoline), even Schoenberg stumbled in trying to transfer Brahms’s piano style to the orchestra (his arrangement of Brahms’s G minor pianoforte quartet for orchestra), though his realization of the cadenza in the last movement with arpeggiated pizzicatos is a master stroke. It is not, generally, a good sign when the first thing we remark about a work is its instrumentation; and the composers we remark it of — Berlioz, Rimsky-Korsakov, Ravel — are not the best composers. Beethoven, the greatest orchestral master of all in our sense, is seldom praised for his instrumentation; his symphonies are too good music in every way and the orchestra is too integral a part of them. How silly it sounds to say of the trio of the Scherzo of the Eighth Symphony: “What splendid instrumentation” — yet, what incomparable instrumental thought it is. Berlioz’s reputation as an orchestrator has always seemed highly suspect to me. I was brought up on his music; it was played in the St. Petersburg of my student years as much as it has ever been played anywhere in the world, so I dare say this to all the literary-minded people responsible for his revival. He was a great innovator, of course, and he had the perfect imagination of each new instrument he used, as well as the knowledge of its technique. But the music he had to instrumentate was often poorly constructed harmonically. No orchestral skill can hide the fact that Berlioz’s basses are sometimes uncertain and the inner harmonic voices unclear. The problem of orchestral distribution is therefore insurmountable and balance is regulated superficially, by dynamics. This is in part why I prefer the small Berlioz to the grandiose. Many composers still 147
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148 • Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft
do not realize that our principal instrumental body today, the symphony orchestra, is the creation of harmonic-triadic music. They seem unaware that the growth of the wind instruments from two to three to four to five of a kind parallels a harmonic growth. It is extremely difficult to write polyphonically for this harmonic body, which is why Schoenberg in his polyphonic Variations for Orchestra is obliged to double, treble, and quadruple the lines. The bass, too, is extremely difficult to bring out acoustically and harmonically in the Variations because it is the lowest line, merely, and not bass-ic. Though the standard orchestra is not yet an anachronism, perhaps, it can no longer be used standardly except by anachronistic composers. Advances in instrumental technique are also modifying the use of the orchestra. We all compose for solo, virtuoso instrumentalists today, and our soloistic style is still being discovered. For example, harp parts were mostly glissandos or chords as recently as Ravel. The harp can glissando and arpeggiate en masse, but it can’t play en masse as I have used it in my Symphony in Three Movements. And, for another example, we are just discovering the orchestral use of harmonics, especially bass harmonics (one of my favourite sounds incidentally; make your throat taut and open your mouth half an inch so that the skin of your neck becomes a drum-head, then flick your finger against it: that is the sound I mean). At the beginning of my career the clarinet was considered incapable of long fast-tongue passages. I remember my Chopin instrumentations for Les Sylphides in Paris in 1910 and an ill-humoured clarinet player telling me after he had stumbled on a rapid staccato passage (the only way I could conceive Chopin’s pianism): ‘Monsieur, ce n’est pas une musique pour la clarinette.’ What instruments do I like? I wish there were more good players for the bass clarinet and the contra-bass clarinet, for the alto trombone (of my Threni and Berg’s Altenberg Lieder), for the guitar, the mandoline and the cymbalom. Do I dislike any instrument? Well, I am not very fond of the two most conspicuous instruments of the Lulu orchestra, the vibraphone and the alto saxophone. I do admit, however, that the vibraphone has amazing contrapuntal abilities; and the saxophone’s juvenile-delinquent personality floating out over all the vast decadence of Lulu is the very apple of that opera’s fascination. R.C. Are you attracted by any new instruments — electric, oriental, exotic, jazz, whatever? I.S. Of course, I am attracted by many non-standard orchestral instruments, percussion ones especially, but also stringed instruments like those Japanese ones I have heard in Los Angeles whose bridges are moved during the performance. And let us not forget the fact that traditional symphonic instruments like trumpet and trombone are not the same when played by jazz musicians. The latter people demonstrate greater variety in articula-
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Instrumentation • 149
tion and tone colour, and on some instruments, the trumpet for instance, they appear to be at home in a higher range than the symphonic player — the jazz trumpeter’s high lip-trills. We neglect not only the instruments of other ethnographies, however, but those of our greatest European composer as well. This neglect is one reason why Bach’s cantatas, which should be the centre of our repertoire, if we must have a repertoire, are comparatively unperformed. We don’t have the instruments to play them. Bach had families where we have single instruments: trumpet families, trombone families, oboe families, families for all sorts of the strings. We have simplifications and greater resonance; where he had the lute, perhaps the most perfect and certainly the most personal instrument of all, we have the guitar. I myself prefer Bach’s string orchestra with its gambas, its violino and ‘cello piccolo, to our standard quartet in which the ‘cello is not of the same family as the viola and bass. And, if oboes d’amore and da caccia were common I would compose for them. What incomparable instrumental writing is Bach’s. You can smell the resin in his violin parts, taste the reeds in the oboes. I am always interested and attracted by new instruments (new to me) but until the present I have been more often astonished by the new resources imaginative composers are able to discover in ‘old’ instruments. An entry in Klee’s Tagebücher says (under May 1913): ‘Und das Mass ist noch nicht volt. Man führt sogar Schönberg auf, das tolle Melodram Pierrot Lunaire.’31 And not yet full now either. For example, Boulez’s third piano sonata is quite as purely ‘pianistic’ as an étude by Debussy, yet it exploits varieties of touch (attack) untried by Debussy, and exposes in its harmonics a whole region of sound neglected until now. (These aspects of the piece are secondary, however, to the aspect of its form; always close to Mallarméan ideas of permutation, Boulez is now nearing a concept of form not unlike that of the idea of Un Coup de Dés ‘score’; not only does the pagination of the score of his third piano sonata resemble the Coup de Dés ‘score’, but Mallarmé’s own preface to the poem seems as well to describe the sonata: ‘ . . . the fragmentary interruptions of a capital phrase introduced and continued . . . everything takes place by abridgement, hypothetically; one avoids the narration . . .’; Mallarmé thought he was borrowing ideas from music, of course, and would no doubt be surprised to know that sixty years later his poem had cross-pollinated the two arts; the recent publication of Le Livre de Mallarmé 32 with its startling diagrams of the mathematics of form must have been an uncanny confirmation to Boulez.) Thus an ‘old’ instrument, the piano, interests me more than an Ondes Martinot, for instance, though this statement is in danger of giving the impression that I am thinking of instrumentalism as something apart from musical thoughts.
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1. Rimsky-Korsakov, Nokolay, Principles of Orchestration, edited by Maxmilian Steinberg, translated by Edward Agate, (Paris: Edition Russe de Musique, 1922; reprinted, New York: Dover, 1964), 1. 2. Rimsky-Korsakov, x. 3. In “Priority,” an unpublished manuscript from 1932, Schoenberg claims that he dissuaded Hauer from writing only for tempered instruments. See A Schoenberg Reader: Documents of a Life ed. Joseph Auner (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003) 237. 4. Hauer’s Note: In the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony before the recapitulation [mm. 210–227] one finds chords that are alternately played by strings and winds, and only a wholly accomplished orchestra can present them so that one can grasp the musical connection. Most of the time, these consecutive chords sound altogether wrong in the orchestra, but strangely not on the piano. [A score example of this passage can be found in Jadassohn’s article in Section III.] 5. Hauer’s Note: The roots of deaf and raving [Taub und Toben] are etymologically related. 6. (New York: Henry Holt, 1911). In addition to his bandmaster positions, Arthur Clappé (18501920) was the editor of Metronome Music Monthly, which published Grainger’s article. 7. Sarrusophones are a family of woodwinds made of brass and fitted with a double-reed mouthpiece, inspired by the French bandmaster Sarrus and patented by Sarrus and Gautrot in 1856. 8. The bass oboe has the same written range as the oboe, but sounds down an octave. The modern bass oboe was first manufactured by the French firm Loreé in 1889. 9. J.C. Degan manufactured the nabimba for a number of years. It was a “buzz marimba,” with a thin membrane attached to metal resonators after the style of Central-American marimbas. 10. Deagan produced organ chimes and a variety of other bell instruments fitted with keyboards. The Una-fon (also “unaphone”) was a keyed vibraphone-like instrument. 11. In the examples that follow, Schoenberg gives sounding pitches. 12. Schoenberg’s range for the trumpet is mysterious. Most authorities give the third partial of the natural trumpet’s series as a poor low note; here the A3 would be the low note of a trumpet in D. However, valved trumpets are usually said to begin their range a tritone (all three valves) below the fourth partial. For a C trumpet, that would sound an F-sharp. In this scenario, Schoenberg’s A3 would indicate the low note of an F-trumpet: a favorite of Mahler, but underrepresented in Schoenberg’s oeuvre. In any event, Schoenberg writes for a sounding F3 for B-flat trumpet in m. 2. of the second of the Five Pieces for Orchestra. 13. Koechlin’s note: Consider a giant star with a low density. By comparison, the oboe, thin and solid in the middle register, corresponds to a dwarf star with considerable mass. 14. Koechlin’s note: And even the so-called “skimpy” notes [étriquées] (F, F-sharp of the medium register) are thin only in relation to the other notes; their volume is still greater than that of the same notes on the clarinet. 15. Koechlin’s note: This in no way reflects the talents of our modern oboists, who try to play high E with a tone that is not biting or shrill. 16. Debussy, Nuages from Noctures, rehearsal number 7; mm. 64–66. 17. Koechlin’s note: It is the defect of all “soloists”: they always fear they are not heard. 18. Koechlin’s particel reduction of Debussy’s, Nuages from Nocturnes, rehearsal 7, mm. 64–66. 19. Koechlin’s particel reduction of Massenet’s Werther, mm. 29–31. of the Act III duet that begins with Werther’s “Oui! c’est moi! je reviens!” Measure 30 is notated in 12/8. 20. Koechlin’s note: Especially when horns play among these 8 to 10 instruments. Note that one often joins the horns with winds, and it is customary to count the horns as winds.
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Endnotes • 151
21. This dyad is found in Verdi’s Falstaff, Act I, at rehearsal number 7 (mm. 123–125), accompanying Falstaff’s senza misura recitative. In the score, it is written for four horns in E, all notated on the treble clef, marked p. Three horns play the low E2; the first horn plays the B4. 22. Koechlin’s note: With certain saxophonists, the volume is almost equal to the horn. 23. Koechlin’s note: Especially in orchestral works that arise from a piano score where a low fifth is often conveniently employed. 24. Koechlin’s note: Or, at the very least, they will be relegated to the middleground. 25. Koechlin’s particel reduction of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony, III, mm. 78-81 (the trio). 26. Koechlin’s particel reduction of Ravel’s Prélude à la nuit from Rhapsody Espagnole, mm. 2–5. The entire passage should be in 3/4. To minimize the cross-bar beaming, Koechlin truncates includes the third beat of the second measure in his first measure, thus making a bar of 4/4. 27. Koechlin’s note: Flute and clarinet must play very softly in order not to ring too loudly in comparison with the strings. Note the writing for the harp. 28. Berlioz, La Damnation de Faust, mm 57-60 of the recitative between Faust’s Merci doux crépuscle and Marguerite’s Que l’air est étouffant. Koechlin omits the key signature (three flats), and in the original, the basses end on the 3rd beat. The dynamics are pp for winds and ppp for strings. 29. Ravel, La Valse, mm. 12-13, the downbeat of rehearsal number 1. Koechlin omits the F on the third beat played by timpani and harp. 30. Koechlin’s note: It should be added that an orchestral work need not always be so thick that the “spoon will stand up in it” (according to a characterization of Brahms’ music attributed to Gounod). Sometimes it is wise to “spare the plenitude.” 31. Roughly, “And this measure is not yet full. One can even specify Schoenberg’s mad melodrama, Pierrot Lunaire.” 32. Stravinsky’s Footnote: By Jacques Scherer (Gallimard ), the first study of Mallarmé’s published notebooks and papers.
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THE EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY: KLANGFARBENMELODIE AND TEXTURE
Schoenberg coined the term “Klangfarbenmelodie” in the last pages of his Harmonielehre, in the chapter “Aesthetic Evaluation of Chords with Six or More Tones.” While open to some interpretation, it is likely that Schoenberg’s description — in the context of a discussion of larger chords — has more to do with a phenomenon he heard in atonal harmonic progressions.1 However, Klangfarbenmelodie has come to mean a musical texture in which the succession of timbres is at least as important as the succession of pitches.2 This particular connotation is closely associated with the music of Anton Webern, who used instrumentation in his characteristically “pointillist” textures to set his pitch materials in relief. The technique and its history are explored in the following articles. The two letters by Anton Webern (1883–1945) provide an extraordinary glimpse into his creative process. In the first letter, written to the conductor Heinrich Jalowetz, Webern seems ambivalent about the texture of his Symphony, describing it as a score of strange sounds. Much like Schoenberg’s article Instrumentation (in Section IV), Webern claims he would much prefer fewer instruments with a greater range. In the second letter, written eight years later to the conductor Herman Scherchen, Webern embraces the variety of instruments as a means to provide motivic clarity to Bach’s Ricercata from the Musical Offering. In the twenty years that followed Webern’s letters, and especially in the period immediately after World War II, the expression Klangfarbenmelodie acquired its now familiar connotation. Schoenberg reacts to this connotation in his short essay, “Anton Webern: Klangfarbenmelodie,” which was not published in his lifetime. While reflecting Schoenberg’s sometimes-uneasy 153
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154 • Section V
relationship with Webern and Schoenberg’s proprietary zeal for protecting his own ideas, the article does affirm a harmonic basis for the concept of Klangfarbenmelodie. Similarly, Stravinsky takes a dim view of the indiscriminate use of Klangfarbenmelodie both as a term and a technique in a brief excerpt from Robert Craft’s Conversations with Stravinsky. In “Timbral Relationships and their Functional Use,” Alfred Schnittke (1934-98) epitomizes a later generation’s response to early twentieth century thinking about texture. After definitions and examples of timbral consonance, timbral dissonance, timbral polyphony, and timbral modulation, Schnittke proposes the existence of a timbral scale that varies from composer to composer and even from work to work.
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Klangfarbenmelodie From Theory of Harmony [Harmonielehre] Arnold Schoenberg . . . In a musical sound (Klang) three characteristics are recognized: its pitch, color [timbre], and volume. Up to now it has been measured in only one of the three dimensions in which it operates, in the one we call ‘pitch’. Attempts at measurement in the other dimensions have scarcely been undertaken to date; organization of their results into a system has not yet been attempted at all. The evaluation of tone color (Klangfarbe), the second dimension of tone, is thus in a still much less cultivated, much less organized state than is the aesthetic evaluation of these last-named harmonies.3 Nevertheless, we go rightly on boldly connecting the sounds with one another, contrasting them with one another, simply by feeling; and it has never yet occurred to anyone to require here of a theory that it should determine laws by which one may do that sort of thing. Such just cannot be done at present. And, as is evident, we can also get along without such laws. Perhaps we should differentiate still more precisely, if attempts at measurement in this second dimension had already achieved a palpable result. Again, perhaps not. Anyway, our attention to tone colors is becoming more and more active, is moving closer and closer to the possibility of describing and organizing them. At the same time, probably, to restrictive theories, as well. For the present we judge the artistic effect of these relationships only be feeling. How all that relates to the essence of naturally sound we do not know, perhaps we can hardly guess at it yet; but we do write progressions of tone colors without a worry, and they do somehow satisfy the sense of beauty. What system underlies these progressions? The distinction between tone color and pitch, as it is usually expressed, I cannot accept without reservations. I think the tone becomes perceptible by virtue of tone color, of which one dimension is pitch. Tone color is, thus, the main topic, pitch a subdivision. Pitch is nothing else but tone color measured in one direction. Now, if it is possible to create patterns out of tone colors that are differentiated according to pitch, patterns we call ‘melodies’, progressions, whose coherence (Zusammenhang) evokes an effect analogous to thought processes, then it must also be possible to make such progressions out of the tone colors of the other dimension, out of that which we call simply ‘tone color’, progressions whose relations with one another work with a kind of logic entirely equivalent to that logic which satisfies us in the melody of pitches. That has the appearance of a futuristic fantasy and is probably just that. But it is one which, I firmly believe, will be realized. I firmly believe it is capable of heightening in an unprecedented 155
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156 • Arnold Schoenberg
manner the sensory, intellectual, and spiritual pleasures offered by art. I firmly believe that it will bring us closer to the illusory stuff of our dreams; that it will expand our relationships to that which seems to us today inanimate as we give life from our life to that which is temporarily dead for us, but dead only by virtue of the slight connection we have with it. Tone-color melodies! How acute the senses that would be able to perceive them! How high the development of spirit that could find pleasure in such subtle things! In such a domain, who dares ask for theory!
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Letter to Heinrich Jalowetz Regarding the Symphony, Op.21 Anton Webern Mödling, 21 March 1930 […] Your performance of my Symphony greatly pleased me. If you could have heard it! On the whole, I believe there was much to it. Yes, it is outrageously difficult to perform. One must literally rehearse every note. The dynamics [Gewichtsverhältnisse] must be very precisely balanced— especially in the first movement — otherwise the thread is immediately lost. However, it is so curious: for again a score of strange [sonderbarsten] sounds ensued, although never in my life of composing have I been more indifferent to that realization of the ideas [Gedanken]. I would have preferred to notate it “in abstracto” so to speak, perhaps as in Bach’s Kunst der Fuge. The distribution of the melodies to different instruments in the first movement was only necessary because there are still no instruments with the sufficient range. Naturally then, I tried to make a virtue of necessity. And thus this score (especially the first movement) came to be. It fills out very well; it produces a very uniform, calm sound. […] Yes, I indeed conducted my Symphony with solo strings; however it sounded absolutely correct with a string section. Naturally not a giant ensemble but perhaps with the forces one assembles for Mozart or Bach. (But it also works with pure soloists.)
Letter to Hermann Scherchen Regarding the Transcription of J.S. Bach’s Ricercata Anton Webern Maria Enzersdorf, 1-I-1938 […] I am very glad that you are doing ‘my’ (I think I may call it that) Bach Fugue on the B.B.C. And more particularly that you have written to tell me so, which, anyway for me, reopens the contact between us that appeared to be broken after the unhappy days in Barcelona. To think that absolutely nobody should have understood me then! How I felt right after Berg’s passing, and that I was simply not up to the emotions aroused by the task of giving the first performance of his last work — so soon after his death!4 Right up to the last moment I hoped to be able to stand it. But I was not to succeed. Now for your question: the ‘rubato’ you ask me about is intended to indicate that I think of these measures of the Fugue subject as played with movement — every time, even with all the later additional counterpoints: 157
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158 • Anton Webern
accel., rit., finally merging into the ‘poco allargando’ of the last notes (of the subject). For I feel this part of the subject, this chromatic progression (G-B) to be essentially different from the first five notes, which I think of as being very steady, almost stiff (i.e. in strict tempo; for the tempo is set by this phrase), and which in my view find an equivalent in character in the last five notes. More precisely, I intend the ‘rubato’ like this: from G via F♯ to F faster, then holding back a little on the E♭ (accent given by the harp) and again rubato on the trombone progression (including the tied E♭ of the horn where the trombone has a crotchet rest in bar 6). By the way, G to E♭ is also 5 notes, and if you count the E♭, as a link, twice — (to the inner ear this first crotchet of bar 5, the tied E♭ on the horn plus the crotchet rest of the trombone, is heavily stressed, a dividing point, beginning and end, and I have orchestrated it as such); well now, if you count the E♭ twice, you again have 5 notes (from E♭-B). The construction therefore appears to 1 and 1 + 4 , which is twice 5, and at the end me as follows: 5 notes, then 4+ 5 another 5 notes! idem And these central twice 5 notes, the actual center of the structure, I feel to be quite different in character from the beginning and from the end. The latter leads back with the poco allargando to the stiffness of the opening--now appearing in the answer. In dynamics this means that you must make a strong difference between the pp of the first 5 notes and the p of the central notes! And in the last five notes return molto dim. () to pp. I have made myself understood. I must add that of course the subject must not appear too disintegrated by all this. My orchestration is intended (and I speak of the whole work) to reveal the motivic coherence. This was not always easy. Beyond that, of course, it is supposed to set the character of the piece as I feel it. What music it is! At last to make it available, by trying through my orchestration to express my view of it, was the ultimate object of this bold undertaking. Is it not worthwhile to awaken this music asleep in the seclusion of Bach’s own abstract presentation, and thus unknown or unapproachable by most men? Unapproachable as music! Let me know about your impressions and experiences in London. I shall listen! One more important point for the performance of my arrangement; nothing must be allowed to take second place. Not even the softest notes of the muted trumpet must be allowed to be lost. Everything is of primary importance in this work — in this orchestration ....
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Anton Webern: Klangfarbenmelodien Arnold Schoenberg Dorian-Deutsch6 studied with Webern, and recently, when he visited me, he told how Webern was the first to write Klangfarbenmelodien, and that I then used this at the end of the Harmonielehre. Anyone who knows me at all knows that this is not true. It is known that I should not have hesitated to name Webern, had his music stimulated me to invent this expression. One thing is certain: even had it been Webern’s idea, he would not have told it to me. He kept secret everything ‘new’ he had tried in his compositions. I, on the other hand, immediately and exhaustively explained to him each of my new ideas (with the exception of the method of composition with twelve tones — that I long kept secret, because, as I said to Erwin Stein, Webern immediately uses everything I do, plan or say, so that — I remember my words — ‘By now I haven’t the slightest idea who I am.’). On each of these occasions I then had the pleasure of finding him highly enthusiastic, but failed to realize that he would write music of this kind sooner than I would. It was like that when I had just completed the first two of the Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11. I showed him them and told him that I was planning a cycle (which I never wrote), among which would be a very short piece, consisting of only a few chords. This he found most surprising, and it was obviously the cause of his extremely short compositions. I also discussed what would be essential if a short piece were not to be merely a ‘shortened’ one: concentration of expression and of the phrases. But as far as Klangfarbenmelodien are concerned it is above all untrue that I invente this expression after hearing Webern’s Klangfarben- compositions. Particularly, anyone can see that I had thought of progressions of tone-colors equaling harmonic progressions in terms of inner logic. These I called melodies, because, like melodies, they would need to be given form, and to the same extent — but according to laws of their own, in keeping with their nature. I remember that Webern several times showed me compositions and insisted that I should recognize them as “ternary Lied-forms.” When he tried to apply that to Klangfarbenmelodien, that was highly naïve. For progressions of tone-colors would certainly demand constructions different from those required by progressions of tones, or of harmonies. For they were all that, and specific tone colors as well. Klangfarbenmelodien would demand a particular organization, which would perhaps show a certain similarity to other musical forms; but they would have to take into account the demands imposed by homophony and by the art of counterpoint. The latter did not have the chance of linking 159
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contrasted phrases with each other; but since homophony freed harmony from the obligations imposed by the art of counterpoint, with its combination of parts, it could find a different way of working out its material. It is certainly most naïve to think that Klangfarbenmelodien will be like ternary songs. The two will be no more similar than a scherzo and a fugue. And since I could make no prophecy, I was content to use the expression, not thinking that it could be taken so superficially. May 3, 1951
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Regarding Klangfarbenmelodie Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft R.C. Do you know that a whole school of Klangfarbenmelodie composers is flourishing at present? I.S. Most of that is the merest stylistic imitation, of course, and nothing could be more ephemeral. But the German word needs definition; it has come to mean too many things. For example, I don’t think the melodie part of it is good or useful applied to a work such as Webern’s Concerto, and I am sure that in the same piece farben is less important than klang-design which isn’t the same thing. If by Klangfarbenmelodie you mean no more than a line of music which is divided among two or more instruments, that habit has already reached a reductio ad absurdum. Looking at a ridiculously difficult score recently — it was really the map of an idea that had begun not in musical composition but before it — I was reminded of a Russian band I knew in my childhood. This band was made up of twelve open, that is, valveless horns. Each horn had one note to play and together they could produce the chromatic scale. They would practise hours and hours in order to surmount the rhythmic problems presented by simple melodies. I do not see the difference between the idea of this band of hunting horns and the idea of some of the Klangfarben scores I have seen.7 If a serious composer intends the lines of two or more instruments to produce one melodic line, I advise him to follow Elliott Carter’s practice in his string Quartet, and write out the one line reduction as a guide.
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Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use Alfred Schnittke The development of the individual elements of music does not take place simultaneously. Although the system of functional harmony in European music is more than two hundred years old and the period of its obvious dominance has long since passed, the functional use of timbral relationships has become an autonomous technique only in the twentieth century. In spite of Rimsky-Korsakov’s assertion that instrumentation is a creative act, not mere embellishment, in spite of the revered Age of Orchestration as a subject of music theory, in spite of the examples of functional orchestral logic left to us by such geniuses as Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, and so on, timbre remained a subordinate element in the hierarchy of expressive resources. It helped to make themes more vivid, harmonies more colorful, form more precise, but it hardly ever became an autonomous element of musical thought. Timbre naturally had an extremely dynamic influence on the associative sphere of music, but this was always in conjunction with the more important elements of melody or rhythm. Even such a stereotyped timbral device as a fanfare is an embodiment of the timbre of brass instruments in specific rhythms and intonations. The comparative properties of different timbres were used to achieve unity of form. For example, a thematic relationship was emphasized by a connection in timbre, a contrast was made more pronounced by using a new timbre. As long as instrumentation had only this secondary role, there was no need for any systematic and concrete treatise on the concepts of timbral relationships and contrasts.8 The stormy development of music in the twentieth century, however, has long been concerned with ideas about timbre. The emancipation of dissonance (in the works of Debussy, Schoenberg, Scriabin, and Ives) meant, in practical terms, the emancipation of timbre as well. Emancipated dissonance brought to light the direct expressivity of coloristic harmony, that is, of harmony as timbre. In 1908 Schoenberg crossed the boundary of tonality (in the finale of his second quartet), and by 1909 he had used the “harmony” of timbre as the sole way of defining the form of a whole composition (No. 3 from the Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 16). But it took a long time for this experiment to find direct continuation (unless one counts Varèse, who turned timbre into a full-fledged element of musical thought). Instead the newly discovered primary power of timbre was kept subordinate to the purposes of intonational intensification. Only in electronic music of the 1950s did timbre become a basic structural material, finally achieving pre-eminence in the sonoristic works of the early 1960s.
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Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use • 163
Since timbre is capable of being an autonomous and even a fundamental means of expression, a more concrete and systematic treatment of its characteristic features is required. And since relationships between timbres manifest themselves in both horizontal and vertical planes, it is appropriate to apply to them terms borrowed from harmony and polyphony: timbral consonance and timbral harmony, timbral dissonance and timbral polyphony, timbral modulation and timbral counterpoint. Timbral consonance is a combination of related timbres that create a blended sonority difficult for the ear to analyze, in which the individual characteristics of instruments are fused into a single total color. A typical example of timbral consonance can be found, for example, in the harmonic timbres of the Leitakkord used by Schoenberg in Piece No. 3 from Op. 16. The timbral consonance of individual lines leads to timbral harmony. One of the most vivid and bold examples of this may be found in the third movement of Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms. A four-voice mixed chorus, together with five trumpets and cellos divisi a3, which augment the choral harmony with independent heterophonic voices, create a combination so closely blended that even the trumpets are dissolved into the sonority of the chorus, giving it a kind of dissonant sheen, a shining aureole. Example 1. Stravinsky, Symphony of Psalms, 3rd Movement9 Coro
5 Tr-be Vc div in 3
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Timbral dissonance is a combination of distantly related timbres that retain their own individual characteristics. If a multitimbred chord is very brief, the ear has no time to identify the various timbres in it. Only when a timbral dissonance is prolonged can the ear gradually come to fix all its components. The two climactic chords in the fourth movement of Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony exemplify this. Combined here are a cymbal strike, a sharply accentuated then gradually fading perfect fourth sounded by a pair of trumpets, and a subdued echo from the strings.
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Example 2. Shostakovich, Symphony No. 9, 4th Movement10 3 Trbi, Tuba
Ottoni Piatti Archi
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A consistent prolonged dissonance of timbres creates timbral polyphony. This usually serves to intensify the prolongation of melodic polyphony and explains why Webern made wide use of it in those of his works that were structurally most perfect (the Symphony, Op. 21, and the Cantata No. 2, Op. 31). A gradual timbral modulation during the process of a formal development has always acted as a counterbalance to timbral contrast (the latter may be regarded as an abrupt timbral modulation). For example, in the second movement of Brahms’s Symphony No. 1, the transfer of the theme from the oboe to the clarinet is camouflaged in a most subtle way: the clarinet enters four beats before the oboe stops playing, taking off from the oboe as if it were what was left of the oboe’s sound. After the clarinet enters, the oboe loses its thematic independence, its part now merely figuration in the pulsing chords of the strings. Example 3. Brahms, Symphony No. 1, 2nd Movement11
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Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use • 165
Timbral modulation was widely used by Wagner, Mahler, Richard Strauss, and Rimsky-Korsakov, but for them it remained merely one means among many. Only in the twentieth century did compositions appear in which timbral modulation served as the basis for the logic of orchestration. Apart from Piece No. 3 from Schoenberg’s Op. 16, one might also mention Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta and Webern’s transcription of Bach’s Fuga (Ricercata) a 6 voci. 12 The use of timbral modulation and timbral relationships presupposes the existence of a timbral scale, that is, a succession of gradually changing timbres which, extended over a considerable distance, is capable of unifying all those transitional timbres into a coherent grouping. It goes without saying that — because of the vast number of different instruments, and also because of the individual colorations of instruments of the same type — there cannot be one simple and discrete timbral scale (like a pitch scale in equal temperament) for every situation. Furthermore, one composer’s ideas about timbre may be more precise and thus may require a scale that is more subtly graduated than would be the case for another. Thus an infinitely differentiated scale of interpolating sonorities, which move one to the next and which include every imaginable richness from the world of sound, can be conceived only in theory although it might be applied more readily to electronic than to traditional orchestral music. In the latter, by virtue of the three factors mentioned above (the individuality of the composer, the individuality of the instrumental ensemble selected, and the individual relationship of the performer and his instrument), only a more or less precisely graduated illusory scale is possible, as some sort of artificial construct that may provide rational control over the sound material in the process of composing. Boulez, Stockhausen, Nono, Berio, Ligeti, and many others use a timbral scale in precisely this way: as a prearranged working plan. Certainly, in connection with this, the composer does not always have a conscious conception of this scale — he may follow it by instinct. But even so, the concept of a timbral scale can still be useful as a means of analyzing the score after the fact. The analogy between timbral and pitch organization of music lies in the fact that in both cases there exists the possibility of a functional system with a scale of nuances and gradual modulations. But it is also revealed in the possibility of consciously avoiding traditional functional logic. It is no accident that the move away from the overt gravitational tendencies in functional tonality toward the concealed poly-semantic pitch associations of atonalism should have been accompanied by a similar move away from more conventional timbral affinities among orchestral groups, and toward daring combinations of instruments that at first appear unrelated. In the last three bars of Piece No. 1 from Webern’s Op. 10, we are presented
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166 • Alfred Schnittke
with all the orchestral groupings in the following order: cellos/celesta → harp → flute → muted trumpet → celesta. But once one identifies precisely what these instruments are playing, one discovers an affinity among the contrasting timbres: they are all marked pp-ppp, the last three instruments are playing the same note, imitating each other, and there is an indubitable kinship of timbre between the harmonics of the cellos and those of the harp and the flute. In this same example is yet another highly significant linking motif — its context. In the context of the whole piece the last bars are a timbral “resolution” of the opening bar, in which the colors of the same instruments are presented in the following blend: muted trumpet/ harp → celesta/harp harmonics/cello harmonics → flute trillato/harp. Example 4. Webern, Op. 10, No. 113
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Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use • 167
Thus the obvious (“tonal”) timbral affinity of related instruments has been replaced by the less obvious (“atonal”) affinity of related timbres from unrelated instruments. But the next step, too — the structural organization of atonal material by the use of twelve-tone technique — immediately entailed an analogous systematization of timbral logic. Starting with the Symphony, Op. 21, Webern assigned a distinctive timbre to each of the three fixed, four-tone melodic cells into which the twelve-tone series is divided. Here, once again, the contrast function of timbre is brought to the foreground, heightening the motivic and structural contrast (while the significance of the timbral affinities is relegated to the background). Although this modifies the individual melodic cell in a variety of ways, Webern does not change the instrumentation. Those who followed in Webern’s footsteps in the 1950s (Boulez, Stockhausen, Nono) were particularly interested in this tendency in Webern’s musical thinking to disassociate and differentiate. In their efforts to achieve a total absence of repetition, expressed in the total serialization of all parameters, including timbre, they arrived at timbral pointillism — continuous jumps in timbre from note to note. At the same time, however, they failed to notice the timbral affinities, whose efficacy Webern had preserved. Only timbral contrast of the highest intensity remained both in the vertical and horizontal planes, continuous timbral dissonance. This is shown most clearly in Stockhausen’s Kontrapunkte and Nono’s Incontri.
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168 • Alfred Schnittke
Example 5. Stockhausen, Kontrapunkt14 Flöte
= ca. 126
Klarinette BassKlarinette Fagott Trompete Posaune
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The total serialization of all the parameters, however, was not acceptable to the ear, and as the serial method became more thoroughly pervasive, the music sounded more chaotic.15 To counteract the destructive forces of serialism, the most talented representatives of the “avant-garde” introduced factors designed to ensure the unity of a composition. The centrifugal trend toward the non-repetition of timbre began to interact with the centripetal tendencies toward unity of timbre.... The former dictated ensembles of assonant instruments (in Boulez’s Le Marteau sans maître we have mezzo-soprano, alto flute, guitar, viola, marimbaphone, percussion), while the latter prompted a search for timbral affinities (all the performers in Boulez’s score are the “alto” representatives of their differing groups, the voice being treated as first among equals, not as soloist). The former tendency pushed for an uninterrupted line of continuously renewed timbres from note to note (even in his choral writing, expanding on the technique of hocketing, Nono settled on a pointillistic fragmentation of melody and
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Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use • 169
words — even the individual voices do not always sing complete words, but syllables and sounds). The latter required timbral bridges, dynamic and phonetic links between the different points. Example 6. Nono, Intoleranza 16
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In deciding on the performing group for a future work, composers immediately confronted the problem of trying to ensure unity of timbre, and this required them to pay attention to timbral affinities, forcing them to rely on a timbral scale. The score of Nono’s Varianti for violin, three flutes, three clarinets, and string orchestra provides an example of equilibrium between the pointillistic non-repetition of timbres and their uninterrupted affiliations. [Example 7.]17 In this work every note is independent with respect to its timbre (even in the solo part, no two adjacent tones can be produced by means of the same technical device), but every new coloration appears as a step in an unbroken modulation in timbre: string harmonics herald the contrasting group of woodwinds, the solo violin appears as a consequence of the reduction in forces of the string orchestra.18 As we see, timbral modulation within a single timbre is a characteristic Nono device. Apart from the examples quoted (timbre modulation in a chorus and in a group of strings), we can recall, as an example of extremely
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170 • Alfred Schnittke
subtle timbral gradation, the range of recolorations of timbre required of a single performer on the concertato violin in those same Varianti. Apart from the usual arco and pizzicato, we also have sul ponticello, flautato, col legno, legno battuto, and every possible combination of these techniques. And even for the solo soprano in the second movement, Canti di vita e d’amore, we have bocce chiusa, poco chiusa, poco a poco aprire, poco aperta, ordinario. [Example 8]. It is now possible to refer to the existence in practical terms of a functional system of timbral affinities as a highly important architectonic factor in contemporary music. The search for more and more new timbral affinities continues. There are modulations from music to speech (Gubaidulina’s Stupeni [Steps]), from cymbal crash to chorus (Pousseur’s Elektra). Electronic music opens up enormous possibilities in this direction, particularly in the interaction of “live” sounds with synthetic ones. Electronic music, however, is not the subject of these notes. Written in the 1970s. The original Russian text has not been published.
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Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use • 171
Example 7. Nono, Varianti rall.
ca. 80 ca. 76accel rall.
ca. 80 ca. 76 accel rall.
ca. 60 accel
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172 • Alfred Schnittke
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Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use • 173
ca. 76 ca. 60
*) Kb.: Die Flageolette klingen immer wie mit kleiner Note in Parenthesi notiert!
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174 • Alfred Schnittke accel
= 60 accel
ca. 76 accel
ca. 60 rall.
= 60 accel
ca. 76 accel
ca. 60 rall.
= 60 accel
ca. 76 accel
ca. 60 rall.
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= 54 ca.
= 54 ca.
Canti di Vita e D’Amore II.
= 54 ca.
= 48 ca.
= 48 ca.
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= 54 ca.
Example 8. Nono, Canti di vita e d’amore
Timbral Relationships and Their Functional Use • 175
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1. See Alfred Cramer, “Schoenberg’s Klangfarbenmelodie: A Principle of Early Atonal Harmony,” Music Theory Spectrum: The Journal of the Society for Music Theory 24/1(Spring 2002): 1–35. 2. This understanding of Klangfarbenmelodie is sufficiently pervasive as to be the only connotation given in The New Grove Dictionary of Music as, “the possibility of a succession of tone-colours related to one another in a way analogous to a relationship between the pitches in a melody.” Julian Rushton, “Klangfarbenmelodie,” Grove Music Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed 4 February 2006), . 3. “Chords with Six or More Tones.” 4. Webern traveled to Barcelona as part of the Austrian delegation to the International Society for Contemporary Music in April 1936 to conduct the premiere of Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto as the highlight of the festival. Unfortunately, Berg’s death in December 1935 devastated Webern. Moreover, his soft, heavily Austrian-accented German was incomprehensible to the Catalonian orchestral players. Seized by a panic attack, Webern stormed off during the third rehearsal demanding the premiere be canceled. At the insistence and pleading of Helene Berg, the concerto was premiered and Hermann Scherchen conducted after only one rehearsal. The incident was a great embarrassment to Webern who was censured by the Vienna chapter of the ISCM. 5. Compare Webern’s description to the score. His divisions are marked below:
Horn in F Trompete in C Posaune
= ca 60
poco rubato mit Dämpfer
mit Dämpfer mit Dämpfer
Bach/Webern: Fuga (2. Ricercata) A 6 Voci Aus “Das Musicalische Opfer.” © 1935 By Universal Edition, A. G. © Renewed. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission Of European American Music Distributors, LLC, Sole U.S. and Canadian Agent For Universal Edition A.G.
6. Leonard Stein’s note: Frederick Dorian, musicologist and conductor, was born in Vienna and participated in the Schoenberg Seminars there after the First World War. 7. Dika Newlin recounted a conversation with Schoenberg about an early string quartet Schoenberg had composed with a theme distributed among the instruments. A music critic examining the score remarked that, “such technique reminded him of those Russian bands in which many of the instruments can play only one note, so that the melody must constantly shift from one instrument to the next. That cured Schoenberg of “distributed” melodies…” Schoenberg Remembered (New York: Pendragon Press, 1980), 270. 8. Schnittke’s Note: There are cases, however, in nineteenth-century composers’ concrete decisions about instrumentation, in which one finds “modifications of timbral quality,” “a gradual transition from one timbral nuance to another,” “a timbral shift within a string group,” “timbral bridges,” “timbral continuity,” “timbral dissonance within the musical texture,” and “timbral disjunction.” See A. M. Veprik, Traktovka instrumentov orkestra [Principles of Orchestration] (Moscow: Muzyka, 1961).
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Endnotes • 177
9. This excerpt comes from the third movement of the Symphony of Psalms, rehearsal 22 (m. 162 &f.). Schnittke omits a bass line played by harp, 2 pianos, and timpani, which consists of the notes E-flat, F, and B-flat. Schnittke also omits the text “Laudate Eum in cymbalis, bene sonantibus.” (Praise Him on well-tuned cymbals.) 10. This excerpt is mm. 6–9 of the fourth movement of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9. The tempo is Largo, ♩ = 84. Shostakovich marks the cymbal crash col bacch. di Timp. 11. This excerpt is from the second movement of Brahms’ Symphony no. 1 at rehearsal B (m. 39 &f.). 12. Schnittke wrote articles on all three works: “Timbral Modulations in Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta,” “The Principle of Uninterrupted Timbral Affinities in Webern’s Orchestration of Bach’s Fuga (Ricercata) a 6 voci,” and “Klangfarbenmelodie — ‘Melody of Timbres’.” All published in Alfred Schnittke, A Schnittke Reader Alexander Ivashkin, ed., John Goodliffe, trans., (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002). 13. This excerpt presents the first two and last three measures of the first of Webern’s Fünf Stücke für Orchester, op. 10. Webern marks the flute “Flatterz.” for fluttertongue (Schnittke’s “trillato”). 14. Schnittke gives a hand-written transcription of the first ten measures of KontraPunkte. 15. Schnittke’s Note: Xenakis was among the first to try to find a way out of this fatal circle. Instead of constructing a work on the basis of canonical law (that is, a series), he proposed the idea of constructing it on the basis of objective mathematical laws, namely, the Theory of Probability (stochastic music). 16. The first four measures of Luigi Nono’s Intolleranza. Schnittke’s hand-copied example omits some details. This excerpt is for a chorus. The tempo is ♩ =56. The first sopranos are marked “divisi” in the third measure and “uniti” ad the ed of the fourth measure (implying “metá”?). The third sopranos, second and third altos are marked “2 soli.” The text (Lebendig is wer wach bleibt) might be translated “He who is awake is alive.” For clarity, Nono prints the text below the score. 17. Schnittke provides four copied pages of the Varianti score, mm. 10–21, reprinted at the end of this article. 18. Schnittke’s Note: This is a reversal of the device used in Berg’s Violin Concerto, in which the soloist’s playing is gradually absorbed into the collective sound of the orchestral violins, which enter a few at a time.
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LATER TWENTIETHCENTURY INNOVATIONS
The intensification of two distinct and sometimes overlapping tendencies can be noted in later twentieth-century orchestration: the use of the orchestra to create multiple layers of musical activity and the objectification of individual or blended timbres. These two tendencies are explored in this section. Layering describes an orchestral texture where individual strands of musical activity are perceptually distinct. While layered textures may resemble the dense polyphony of Richard Strauss’ orchestral music, layering can differ from counterpoint in significant ways: the individual layers may contain ostinati, static figuration, drones or clusters, or even music in other keys, tempi, and physical locations. As such, the renewed interest in spatial music fits into the category of layering. The objectification of individual or blended timbres describes varying approaches to timbre that stem from widely varying aesthetic traditions. On one hand, the post-war interest in Klangfarbenmelodie, as it was discerned in the music of Webern, led to an increased interest in using timbre to delineate musical materials. On the other hand, the interest of timbre as a principal element of composition has precedents in the music of Claude Debussy, Edgar Varèse, and later, John Cage. This intense interest in timbre has led to such developments as the use of new or non-Western instruments, electronic and tape music, and the music of the French spectralist composers.
Layering Charles Ives (1874–1954) wrote the program note for his Fourth Symphony on the occasion of the publication of the second movement in the periodi179
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180 • Section VI
cal New Music. Ives’s program note exemplifies the difficulty in categorizing approaches to orchestration in the twentieth century. His topic is the difficulty of achieving clarity of the parts — or layers — through physically separating the instrumentalists. However, he seeks this clarity because the physical separation adds a context to the sound of the instruments — or timbre — that could not be achieved by other means. Despite the early mentoring of Charles Ives, sound experimentation is clearly not as pressing an issue to Elliott Carter (b. 1908). In the following excerpt from a volume of edited conversations with Allen Edwards, Carter extends his compositional aesthetic — that the continuity of musical ideas is more important than their presentation — to the practice of orchestration. For his entire career, Steve Reich (b. 1936) has pursued a unique sound beyond conventional forces. After his early works for tape loops, he has largely written for his own ensemble of pianos and mallet percussion, augmented with winds and voices. In the 1980s, Reich wrote or adapted a number of works for orchestra. In the following article, Reich details how he adapted the orchestra to the unique requirements of his music, and, in doing so, addressed many of the concerns that Ives raised fifty years earlier. Finally, the music of Henry Brant (b. 1913) depends on physical separation — or spatialization — of instruments. In the excerpted dialogue with Frank J. Oteri, Brant provides a useful overview of the techniques and challenges for using space as an element of composition. Brant also addresses the problems of transplanting spatial works to other halls and recording spatial works.
Timbre The two items that end the book provide divergent perspectives on the increased role of timbre in musical composition. The three short excerpts from the lectures and program notes of Morton Feldman (1926–87) assert his conviction that instrumental timbre is the foremost parameter of composition. As is well known, Feldman never composed with a system but rather looked to his friends who were abstract painters of the New York School for inspiration. As a result, Feldman’s music puts an unprecedented emphasis on tone color and the sounds of conventional instruments. A common theme in these three excerpts is the notion that timbre is more immediately perceived than pitch and should have a more prominent role in the creation of music. Feldman is critical of composers who use timbre — or orchestration — to illustrate other compositional designs. Pierre Boulez (b. 1925) wrote “Timbre and Composition — Timbre and Language,” for a seminar on timbre at IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et
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Coordination Acoustique/Musique — the center for experimental music that Boulez helped create). Boulez sketches the recent history of developments in instrumental technique with enthusiasm. However, in sharp contrast to Feldman, Boulez warns that timbre only has functional possibilities if linked to a musical discourse or language. Thus, Boulez’s position is not unlike the position of Wagner in the previous century: he seeks a synthesis between the promise of new timbral resources and the intrinsic value of compositional rhetoric. However, unlike Wagner who simply blended the opposing trends of French and German orchestration, Boulez suggests a more nuanced relationship between sound and structure. For Boulez, timbre, which both “explains and masks at the same time,” can be used for musical designs that precede, parallel, or follow simultaneous discursive structures in composition.
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Program Note for the Fourth Symphony Charles Ives To give the various parts in their intended relations is, at times, as conductors and players know, more difficult than it may seem to the casual listener. After a certain point it is a matter which seems to pass beyond the control of any conductor or player into the field of acoustics. In this connection, a distribution of instruments or group of instruments or an arrangement of them at varying distances from the audience is a matter of some interest, as is also the consideration as to the extent it may be advisable and practicable to devise plans in any combination of over two players so that the distance sounds shall travel, from the sounding body to the listener’s ear, may be a favorable element in interpretation. It is difficult to reproduce the sounds and feeling that distance gives to sound wholly by reducing or increasing the number of instruments or by varying their intensities. A brass band playing pianissimo across the street is a different sounding thing than the same band playing the same piece forte, a block or so away. Experiments, even on a limited scale, as when a conductor separates a chorus from the orchestra or places a choir off the stage or in a remote part of the hall, seem to indicate that there are possibilities in this matter that may benefit the presentation of music, not only from the standpoint of clarifying the harmonic, rhythmic, thematic material, etc., but of bringing the inner content to a deeper realization (assuming, for argument sake, that there is an inner content). Thoreau found a deeper import even in the symphonies of the Concord church bell when its sounds were ratified through the distant air: “A melody, as it were, imported into the wilderness . . . at a distance over the woods the sound acquires a certain vibratory hum as if the pine-needles in the horizon were the strings of a harp which it swept . . . a vibration of the universal lyre, just as the intervening atmosphere makes a distant ridge of earth interesting to the eye by the azure tint it imparts.”1 A horn over a lake gives a quality of sound and feeling that is hard to produce in any other way. It has been asked if the radio might not help in this matter. But it functions in a different way. It has little of the ethereal quality. It is but a photographing process which seems only to hand over the foreground or parts of it in a clump. The writer remembers hearing, when a boy, the music of a band in which the players were arranged in two or three groups around the town square. The main group in the bandstand at the center usually played the main themes, while the others, from the neighboring roofs and verandas, played the variations, refrains, etc. The piece remembered was a kind of paraphrase of “Jerusalem the Golden”, a rather elaborate tone poem for 182
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Program Note for the Fourth Symphony • 183
those days.2 The bandmaster told of a man who, living nearer the variations, insisted that they were the real music and it was more beautiful to hear the hymn come sifting through them than the other way around. Others, walking around the square, were surprised at the different and interesting effects they got as they changed position. It was said also that many thought the music lost in effect when the piece was played by the band altogether, though, I think, the town vote was about even. The writer remembers, as a deep impression, the echo part from the roofs played by a chorus of violins and voices. Somewhat similar effects may be obtained indoors by partially enclosing the sounding body. For instance, in a piece of music which is based in its rhythmic side principally on a primary and wider rhythmic phrase and a secondary one of shorter span, played mostly simultaneously — the first by a grand piano in a larger room which opens into a smaller one in which there is an upright piano playing the secondary part, if the listener stands in the larger room about equidistant from both pianos, but not in a direct line between them (the door between the rooms being partially closed), the contrasting rhythms will be more readily felt by the listener than if the pianos be in the same room. The above suggests something in the way of listening that may have a bearing on the interpretation of certain kinds of music. In the illustration above, the listener may choose which of these two rhythms he wishes to hold in his mind as primal. If it is the shorter spaced one and played after the longer has had prominence and the listener stands in the room with the piano playing this, the music may react in a different way — not enough to change its character, but enough to show possibilities in this way of listening. As the eye, in looking at a view, may focus on the sky, clouds or distant outlines, yet sense the color and form of the foreground, and then, by bringing the eye to the foreground, sense the distant outlines and color, so, in some similar way can the listener choose to arrange in his mind the relation of the rhythmic, harmonic and other material. In other words, in music the ear may play a role similar to the eye in the above instance. Some method similar to that of the enclosed parts of a pipe organ played by the choir or swell manuals might be adopted in some way for an orchestra. That similar plans, as suggested, have been tried by conductors and musicians is quite certain, but the writer knows only of the ways mentioned in the instances above. When one tries to use an analogy between the arts as an illustration, especially of some technical matter, he is liable to get it wrong. But the general aim of the plans under discussion is to bring various parts of the music to the ear in their relation, as the perspective of a picture brings to
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184 • Charles Ives
the eye. As the distant hills, in a landscape, row upon row, grow gradually into the horizon, so there may be something corresponding to this in the presentation of music. Music seems too often all foreground even if played by a master of dynamics. Among the physical difficulties to a satisfactory working out are those of retarded sounds that may affect the rhythmic plan unfavorably and of the cancellation of sounds as far as some of the players are concerned, though the audience in general may better hear the various groups in their intended relation. Another difficulty, probably less serious, is suggested by the occasional impression in hearing sounds from a distance, that the pitch is changed to some extent. That pitch is not changed by the distance a sound travels unless the sounding body is moving at a high velocity is an axiom of acoustics; that is, the number of the vibrations of the fundamental is constant; but the effect does not always sound so — at least to the writer — perhaps because, as the overtones become less acute, the pitch seems to sag a little. There are difficulties transcending those of acoustics. The cost of trial rehearsals, duplicate players, locations or halls suitably arranged and acoustically favorable, is very high nowadays. The plan will seem to some little more than another way of increasing the already heavy burdens of conductors, orchestras and their management. In fact, most of the remarks in this rather long footnote are somewhat out of place in a “Conductor’s Note”. It is far from the intention to have these taken as an issuance of instructions. The writer has but taken the opportunity to get some things out of his system that have been there for some time; whether the process will help or not help music presentation is another matter. Nor does anything that has been said mean to imply that music which might be benefited by a certain arrangement, etc., of players, cannot be given acceptably well in the usual way, with sufficient rehearsals and care in preparation. The matter of placement is only one of the many things which, if properly examined, might strengthen the means and functions of interpretation, etc. The means to examine seem more lacking than the will to examine. Money may travel faster than sound in some directions — but not in the direction of musical experimentation or extension. If only one one-hundredth part of the funds that are extended in this country for the elaborate production of opera, spectacular or otherwise, of the money invested in soft-headed movies with their music resultants, or in the manufacture of artless substitutes for the soul of man, putting many a true artist in straightened circumstances — if only a small part of these funds could
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Program Note for the Fourth Symphony • 185
be directed to more of the unsensational but important fields of musical activity, music in general would be the gainer. Most of the research and other work of extending and distributing the premises, either by the presentation of new works or any other ways, has been done by societies and individuals against trying obstacles. Organizations like the “Pro-Musica” Society, with its chapters throughout this and foreign countries, the “League of Composers”, the “Friends of Music” (in its work of uncovering neglected premises of the past), and similar societies in the cities of this and other countries, are working with little or no aid from the larger institutions and foundations who could well afford to help them in their cause. The same may be said of individual workers, — writers, lecturers and artists who take upon themselves unremunerative subjects and unremunerative programs for the cause, or, at least for one of the causes they believe in — the pianist and teacher who, failing to interest any of the larger piano companies in building a quartertone piano for the sake of further study in that field, after a hard day’s work in the conservatory, takes off his coat and builds the piano with his own hands,3 — the self-effacing singing teacher who, by her genius, character and unconscious influence, puts a new note of radiance into the life of a shop-girl,4 — the open-minded editor of musical literatures,5 and the courageous and unselfish editor of new music quarterlies, who choose their subject-matter with the commercial eye closed.6 Individual creative work is probably more harmed than helped by artificial stimulants, as contests, prizes, commissions and subsidies; but some material aid in better organizing the medium through which the work is done and interpreted will be of some benefit to music as a whole. In his interesting treatise, “Music: A Science and an Art” (Alfred A. Knopf, New York), Professor Redfield says: “The States of Europe have reached sufficient maturity to recognize the wisdom of extending governmental support to musical institutions. America is yet too young, perhaps, to take this point of view; possibly the attitude of American governments toward music is one inherent in democracy.” Although in some instances, if there be especially able men at the head as there are in the Music Division of the Library of Congress, the government’s aid may be a favorable influence, yet, it is probably better in this country, for a while at least, to keep music out of politics; it might become softened up as some tenets of morality and personal conduct seem to have been by the contact. It may be better to trust the people and the individual. They, after enough opportunity to examine the premises and so get at the underlying facts, whether in a fundamental matter of music or of economics, may work out their own problems better than statesmanesque politicians can for them. “As compared
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186 • Charles Ives
with the endowment of an additional musical foundation providing for the instruction of interpretive artists” of which he says, “there is in America an over-supply” — though probably only an over-supply of a certain kind — “the endowment of a school for musical research should commend itself … If ... the musical philanthropist establishes an institution for conductors and composers or for the improvement of musical instruments and music itself, through research in the fundamentals of music, then he is entering a field where the harvest is great and the laborers few. Every one who contributes according to his ability to the improvement in the world of music, is choosing probably one of the most prolific fields for the expenditure of his efforts, for human betterment.” But the voice born the day after Adam and every day since, keeps on chanting, “there’s nothing in all this — there’s nothing in art to-day worth developing, worth reading, worth looking at or listening to — art is dead” — and somebody says to Rollo, “How do you get that way?” In closing, and to go still further afield, it may be suggested that in any music based to some extent on more than one or two harmonic schemes, the hearer has a rather active part to play. Conductors, players, and composers, as a rule, do the best they can and for that reason get more out of music and, incidentally, more out of life — though, perhaps, not more in their pockets. Many hearers do the same, but there is a type of auditor who will not meet the performers halfway by projecting himself, as it were, into the premises as best he can, and who will furnish nothing more than a ticket and a receptive inertia which may be induced by the predilections or static ear habits — a condition perhaps accounting for the fact that some who consider themselves unmusical will get the “gist of” and sometimes get “all set up” by many modern pieces, which some of those who call themselves musical (this is not saying they’re not) — probably because of long acquaintance solely with certain consonances, single tonalities, monorhythms, formal progressions and structure — do not like. Some hearers of the latter type seem to require, pretty constantly, something, desirable at times, which may be called a kind of ear-easing and under a limited prescription; if they get it, they put the music down as beautiful; if they don’t get it, they put it down and out — to them it is bad, ugly or “awful from beginning to end.” It may or may not be all of this, but whatever it is will not be for the reason given by the man who doesn’t listen to what he hears. “Nature cannot be so easily disposed of,” says Emerson. “All of the virtues are not final” — neither are the vices. The hope of all music — of the future, of the past, to say nothing of the present — will not lie with the partialist who raves about an ultramodern opera (if there is such a thing), but despises Schubert, or with the party
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Program Note for the Fourth Symphony • 187
man who viciously takes the opposite assumption. Nor will it lie in any cult or any idiom or in any artist or any composer. “All things in their variety are of one essence and are limited only by themselves.” The future of music may not lie entirely with music itself, but rather in the way it makes itself a part with — in the way it encourages and extends, rather than limits, the aspirations and ideals of the people — the finer things that humanity does and dreams of. Or to put it the other way around, what music is and is to be may lie somewhere in the belief of an unknown philosopher of a half century ago, who said: “How can there be any bad music? All music is from heaven. If there is anything bad in it, I put it there — by my implications and limitations. Nature builds the mountains and meadows and man puts in the fences and labels.” He may have been nearer right than we think.
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Instrumental Character and the Problem of the Tutti From Flawed Words and Stubborn Sounds Elliott Carter and Allen Edwards It’s always seemed to me that instruments, in a certain sense, offer one materials for composition just by virtue of having, as they always do, builtin “character-structures,” so to speak, which can be suggestive of musical possibilities both on the level of sonority and on that of actual musical behavior. If one pays no particular attention to this fact, then one automatically has in mind some other generalized idea of sound and musical character, which particular instruments are made to fit after the fact. It’s obvious, for example, that Stravinsky and Copland work at the piano when they compose and then transfer, in many cases, the percussive character of pianistically-based ideas to, say, the orchestra, and that their musical conceptions are to a degree independent of their final instrumental incarnation. This was also the case, I understand, with Ravel, and was invariably true of composers in the Renaissance and much of the Baroque. In these periods the musical language was, so to speak, “indifferent” to the possibilities of differentiation of musical character that are latent in any group of instruments. It’s really only with the Classical period that a repertoire of kinds of écriture related to the sonorities and technical peculiarities of particular instruments arises. This began to be used in a dramatic way by Mozart, particularly in his piano concertos, where often one instrument is made to “imitate” another by playing a passage of a character usually associated with that other instrument — that is, say, the piano’s soloist will play a distinctly “horn call” type of figure, which the horns will answer, and so on. In this case the sonorous characteristics and behavioral possibilities of the instruments play a role not only in that they suggest varied and distinct kinds of musical materials, but also in that they become dramatic identities that can be played off against each other in many ways and thus actually help create the musical argument itself. Now in more recent times there have been contrary attitudes on this question — some composers have attempted to reinstitute a kind of “uniform canon” of musical sonority and behavior to which instruments would then be made to conform. This is true of Hindemith and is markedly the case with Webern after Op. 20. The serialists of more recent vintage have carried this even further. (“L’apres-midi d’un vibraphone” — with the o pronounced Germanically — has lasted now for over fifteen years.) I myself, however, have been interested in pursuing the possibilities of dramatic contrast and interplay offered by the individual character of instruments and have attempted in all my works, at least since my Piano Sonata, 188
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Instrumental Character • 189
to exploit these possibilities in the most vivid ways I could imagine. Of course one might ask whether there could be such a thing as a “totally idiomatic” piece — whether a piece, or part in a piece, could be written that would employ only those kinds of sonority or gesture “peculiar” to the instrument in question — but naturally this cuts out one dramatic possibility, which is to have an instrument play against its nature. And of course in any “dialogue,” musical or otherwise, there must be areas of overlap and interchange as well as points of divergence. Thus in my music there is a kind of ongoing dialectic of affirming and contradicting the character of the instruments involved, which nonetheless have an organic relation to the character of the musical ideas and to the formal-dramatic conception of the whole work in each case. […] One has to consider that the symphony orchestra as it is presently constituted reflects in its grouping and composition the textural and timbral earmarks of the kind of music it was historically evolved to play — that is, mainly “harmonic” music. Thus one finds wind instruments grouped always by threes and fours to accommodate the triads and the seventh chords of tonal music. Similarly, the families of instruments cover ranges from high to low in each case to permit the ubiquitous octave doublings characteristic of the tonal orchestral style. The large number of string instruments reflects a preoccupation with fat sonorities on the part of composers like Brahms and Strauss, whose music was just about the last, chronologically, to affect the physical makeup of orchestras, and that make-up has been standardized and preserved without change to this day. Writing post-tonal music for an orchestra of this kind presents a great problem, which might be called the problem of the “tutti” — that is, since octave doublings are excluded or are to be used in a special way in the vast majority of cases (as a result of the modern practice of avoiding the octave as a functional interval), there is a real problem in giving a hundred players something to do simultaneously. The special attitude toward octaves means that one must either double at the unison or else write an extremely thick “divisi” texture, with each instrument doing something totally different from the next one. The only apparent alternative to this is to adopt Stravinsky’s recent program of the “giant chamber orchestra” and have only a very few instruments play at once, with the musical line passing from one little group to another constantly throughout the piece. To me this solution seems to beg the problem, as far as my own music is concerned, because I feel one might as well just have a chamber orchestra and not play around with color for the sake of color; if one has a hundred players together in one room, they should be given something to do simultaneously, at least part of the time. That is, once again, I feel that the musi-
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190 • Elliott Carter and Allen Edwards
cal language or thought ought in each case to grow out of the possibilities of the instruments or groupings of instruments at hand, and in the case of the orchestra one of the possibilities — the distinguishing possibility — is that of simultaneous playing. Yet how to deal with this, even “theoretically,” is a problem of today. My new Concerto for Orchestra divides the orchestra up into packs of concertini, many of which sound different musical character-continuities at the same time. And since, in keeping with the consideration of orchestral density, the work is all based on five- and seven-note vertical combinations, I had to think of musical ideas that, say, five double basses could play and that would sound well without being blotted out by or blotting out what the other groups of instruments are doing at the same time. This is one of the most acute problems in contemporary orchestral music: the problem of instrumental balance. One can never be terribly sure just how clearly everything will sound when one is dealing with previously untried textural combinations. The instruments have such different dynamic weights and vary so much in strength according to register that one always runs risks of having a perfectly clear musical idea come out sounding like much because of the imponderables of orchestral chemistry, which can often be worked out only by trial and error — especially the more unconventional the textural idea. From a “purely compositional” point of view, the best thing would be to be able to select the exact instrumental combination one requires for each composition, rather than be saddled with a “standard” ensemble of a hundred or so players. We all may fondly recall the days before World War I when Schoenberg could write a piece like Die Jakobsleiter or the Orchestral Songs, Op. 22 calling for ten horns or six clarinets, exactly corresponding to his musical requirements. Nowadays the economics of the orchestral situation make prohibitively expensive the addition and subtraction of large numbers of players from the “standard” grouping to accommodate the possible imaginative orchestral conceptions of new pieces — or so we are told. And now, even with the standard ensemble, once one has produced a piece one is faced with the terrible restriction of rehearsal time and the insecurity or hostility of conductors who just want to get it over with and go on to the Strauss piece that will get them immediate applause. Without the help of a serious conductor, the musicians have no idea how to balance with each other in a musical texture unlike that of the tonal works they are trained to play, and thus they cannot give a recognizable or convincing performance of a new piece. I don’t know how many countless modern orchestral works have been damned on the basis of incompetent, insufficiently rehearsed performances.
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In addition to these circumstantial problems, there is the built-in problem of player’s reflexes in large instrumental groupings, which requires the composer — at least a more advanced one — to simplify his rhythmic vocabulary to a degree, though this can be compensated by the density factor not available in chamber music. I should say, finally, that in writing my new orchestral piece I was interested in trying to find new “central” sound-bodies from which musical ideas grow and to which they return; that is, it’s obvious in all orchestral music before Mahler that the string instruments are the “basic sound” and that the brass and woodwinds, to say nothing of the percussion, have a dependent, superstructural role in the continuity, from the point of view of timbre and character. With Mahler this sound-scheme is reversed for the first time, and the wind instruments come to the fore, with the strings playing often a secondary and sometimes an equal role. In my new piece, I have tried all kinds of things in this domain in order to bring the orchestra into a new light, one that reflects the multiple simultaneous layers of continuity on which the work is based. [Question about string quartets.] Well, as far as color goes, I still believe that the real interest of music lies in its organization, and therefore, the lack of variety of color in the string-quartet combination is not terribly disturbing to me. In fact, in neither of my previous quartets have I used the “eccentric” techniques of string writing — I’ve never used col legno tapping on the wood, or playing behind the bridge; I might in the next one, but I haven’t so far. And in the Second Quartet the only thing that’s “novel” is that there’s one instrument that plays unusual kinds of pizzicati every once in a while. To me the real problem, and the interesting one, is to deal with the medium as it is and get something out of it that’s expressive and vivid to me. I don’t believe in the novelty of sound for its own sake; that’s always the easiest thing to bring off and loses its interest very quickly.
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On the Size and Seating of an Orchestra Steve Reich In 1979, after more than 15 years of composing for my own ensemble, I gradually became interested in composing for the orchestra. One of my main interests was to transfer certain techniques I was developing in smaller ensembles to the orchestra. In particular, I was interested in interlocking unison canons for instruments of identical timbre. For instance, three flutes in unison canon simultaneous with three clarinets, three oboes and all the first violins divided in three equal groups also playing harmonically related unison canons. These ideas found orchestral form in 1984 in The Desert Music, for chorus and orchestra, and in 1987 in The Four Sections, for orchestra. In both pieces I found questions of orchestral size and seating to be essential for performance. In 1984 in Cologne, during the rehearsals and first performance of The Desert Music by the West German Radio Orchestra, chorus, and members of my own ensemble conducted by Peter Eötvös, I became aware of certain ensemble difficulties within the orchestra that were related to its size and seating arrangement. Later that same year, during the rehearsals for the American premiere of the piece at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, chorus, and members of my own ensemble conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas, I was able to implement changes both in the size and seating of the orchestra that proved to make a significant improvement in performance, not only for The Desert Music but also for my 1987 work for orchestra, The Four Sections. Most major orchestras employ about 18 or more first violins. This gargantuan string section may be appropriate for Sibelius, Mahler and Bruckner (and several neoromantic composers today), but I have found that it is much too overblown for me. By trial and error, I have come to the conclusion that when I write for orchestra, I generally need no more than 12 first violins and an overall string force of about 48 players — the size of a full classical as opposed to romantic orchestra.7 As a general principle, I find that the fewer players there are on stage, the more intense the concentration. The desire for a clear contrapuntal texture has also led me to reseat members of the orchestra. Specifically I have put the mallet players (marimbas, xylophones, and vibraphones), who often play continuously in my orchestral pieces, directly in front of the conductor. This is done not merely to enact the “percussionists revenge” (although this may be of merit), but because if they are in their customary place — 40 to 60 feet from the conductor — and are playing continuously in a brisk tempo, then, as a result of the acoustical delay in sound traveling, the rest of the orchestra will see one beat from the conductor and hear another from the mallet instru192
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ments. By putting the mallet players directly in front of the conductor, and placing the other sections of the orchestra around them, one tempo is seen and heard simultaneously by the whole orchestra. I also found it necessary in The Desert Music to reseat the strings, since they are playing divisi in three parts with each part playing the same repeating patterns but in different rhythmic positions (see the Desert Music performance placement diagram). As you may know, orchestral string players like to follow the leader in front of them, and if he or she is playing in a conflicting rhythm you can count on confusion. By seating the strings in three separate smaller groups — similar to the two groups in Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celeste — each string group can both follow its own section leader and simultaneously contribute its own individual contrapuntal voice. I would encourage all composers to rethink the orchestra in terms of forces and placement in order to best realize their musical ideas. Whether such rethinking, along with the added need for considerably greater rehearsal time and electronics, will be welcomed by orchestras is clearly another and thornier issue.
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Spatial Music and Orchestration From “Spaced Out with Henry Brant” Henry Brant and Frank J. Oteri FRANK J. OTERI: The notion of music existing in space as well as time was a very radical notion when you first started doing this. Were there precedents for you? HENRY BRANT: Yes, there were and I will tell you how I came up with it. I like music that is complicated. I like a lot going on because you have some chance of remembering it if there’s more stuff to remember than the alleged manipulations of material. In ordinary life it’s never simple. You’re aware of so many things and music has the advantage. It’s temporal, like ordinary experience. Well, I’ve never been a great fan of the simpler, cut down music with fewer things. It seems to me that’s arbitrary. It just isn’t true in ordinary life. Even now, look at the amount of things that are happening in this room both known and unknown to us and things that each of us is aware of. Why should music (I’ve figured after a long tortured cogitation about this) cut itself off from the experience of the most ordinary kind of life? It seems to me that since many different things happen, they should happen. My first experience was writing a very complicated texture and they were on the stage playing it all together. Well, to tell the truth, with more than ten linear parts, I didn’t know what was going on. I assumed they were playing the right notes, or approximately the right notes, but something was the matter here and the answer is: Don’t be simple; be pure. Abase yourself. One note is good enough… I don’t like that kind of thing. That is my temperament. So I thought there’s got to be some way to make complicated music intelligible. So that’s the whole thing. Now, usually the word form is given to you as the thing that makes music intelligible. I think it’s the thing that makes music unintelligible in the case of most music. And then, three things happened in about a year. I heard the Berlioz Requiem in Paris in the place where it was first performed. There were four brass choirs in the corner of the balcony and there were sixteen timpani in the middle of the floor and a symphony orchestra to one side of that and a chorus on the other side of that and I began to see that there’s a lot going on. He’s doing it harmonically because he despised counterpoint. That was one thing. Then when I was teaching at Juilliard, somebody told me about the music of Gabrieli which used to be played in St. Mark’s. So I got hold of it and saw that he writes for two, three, four groups of instruments, mostly brass, sometimes with voices too, and it is known that they 194
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were placed in different parts and I thought he put them in different places because he wants them to be identified in a different way. It’s not the same as Berlioz. I spoke to Stokowski about this about twenty years before all this. He’d been there in Venice and his idea was to try to play some of this Gabrieli in St. Mark’s and was told we can’t do this; the building has to be repaired. The police won’t allow it. This stuff is so out of date anyway; nobody listens to it. But he finally got permission to do this and he found out one thing which solved the one puzzle. All those Gabrieli pieces end with a place at the end where all of those choirs perform all at once and you hear a time lag every time, and what’s supposed to be sublime is sublimely out-of-tune harmony, a sublime messy ensemble. He found that no matter where you placed the groups, there was a time lag. So, I’m beginning to get some of this through my dull head and then I got a collection of Ives and it had a piece called The Unanswered Question. It said there were actually three pieces being played at once in different parts of the hall by different instrumental groups and I didn’t believe it, so I played it with my students. Then I got a commission to write an orchestral piece. So I said I’ll do it. I waited all this time without knowing what I should do and then it became clear. All music is space music. Every piece of music is situated in some space where it’s being played and it couldn’t be played otherwise. There has to be a space for you to play your trumpet and a place for me out in the audience to hear it and for the sound waves to move and space for them to reverberate in the hall. Space is a convention. It’s set up in such a way that the performing part is over here and the listening part is over there, but it’s just as much space music as anything else. It then occurred to me that it might be possible to use the space more expressively, and that would be a much more natural way and so I wrote my first spatial piece. Before I wrote it, my gifted student Teo Macero, whose name is probably known to you, succeeded in producing a jazz concert at Juilliard for the very first time. He asked me if I’d mind if he’d do a special piece for five jazz orchestras, separated, each playing something different, improvisation as well as written music. So I said, “Teo, if you can make that thing go, go ahead and do it but I don’t see how you’re gonna do it.” [laughs] He did this. He brought in this piece and performed it. So that, I would say, is the first spatial orchestral piece along the lines I worked. Mine followed that by about six months and had no jazz in it. FRANK J. OTERI: When you’re writing a piece like that, you mentioned going into a room and experiencing it before working on the piece. That’s very different from the notion we have of a composer creating music out of his or her head and completed on paper. There’s a real connection to the
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physical world in what you’re talking about that there really isn’t in the standard, abstract tabula rasa idea of how a work is created. HENRY BRANT: That’s very true. FRANK J. OTERI: So do you always write a piece keeping in mind the place where it will receive its premiere? And if so, how does that translate if the piece is ever done somewhere else? Are these all one-time deals? HENRY BRANT: Fortunately, I’ve had a very practical musical life. I’ve had to do things that have got to be ready tomorrow and they’ve got to be playable. So I realized that that was what I want. I didn’t want to write complicated music that would require a lot of rehearsals and never get played. I admired Ives but I didn’t want to produce music in that manner. So it occurred to me that in order for it to be practical, the spatial aspect had to be transferable, within reason, to any hall and all my pieces say in the prefatory note, “If you can’t do this, then don’t play the piece. Do not attempt or presume to play it all from the stage.” This is very difficult to convince conductors of. FRANK J. OTERI: When you’re working on a piece, you’re obviously not in the hall, so your memory of having been in the hall before you started working is what shapes the music. So, let’s say, if you’re thinking of a piece that has a flute over here in the left corner and a group of trombones in the right corner and maybe a piano hanging from the ceiling and a group of percussionists in the back of the hall. I’m just making this up… HENRY BRANT: That’s O.K. FRANK J. OTERI: Or maybe there’s a flute on the left side and another flute on the right side… HENRY BRANT: No. I don’t do that. That’s like music in airports. That’s confusing. You never know where it’s really coming from. FRANK J. OTERI: So you would always group the same instruments together in one location? You never have the same instruments in more than one location? HENRY BRANT: No. That’s asking for trouble. If what you want is clarity and the directionality gives you that clarity, then you’d wipe it out. That’s the fault of Stockhausen’s Gruppen, which he claimed was the very first
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spatial piece ever written and he didn’t know that I did the second one eight years before that and performed it. FRANK J. OTERI: [laughs] HENRY BRANT: That’s the trouble with spatial pieces that you may hear. I’ve written 112 for big and little combinations, up to as many as 400 and down to as few as 3. It takes a long time to learn how this thing works. You have to write a lot of pieces and make a lot of mistakes. Many composers give up after a few, half a dozen. They say it’s no good. You can’t make it work. Well, they can’t make it work. So, let’s take your spatial piece that you’ve given me. The next question is what should those trombones play so there’s a reason for them being in those places. First of all, they must be highly individualized so that they never play the same material. You don’t toss material back and forth in the way you’re supposed to with traditional orchestration. Keep the same material for each tone quality or the same kind of material. I’ve heard spatial pieces that were wrecked because the composer didn’t know that. So, once you’ve decided those things you know a good deal about your piece. FRANK J. OTERI: These pieces are designed to work theoretically in a variety of places even though the result might never be exactly the same as the result in the hall it was originally intended for. HENRY BRANT: I’d say it should be 85% the same plan. If the piece is written with enough care, it can stand that much punishment. But it cannot be changed so that there’s only 50%. I’ve run into conductors who actually have the presumption to change the position of some of the groups. One of them, a well-known conductor, said, “Well, I can’t hear this.” And I said, “It’s not for you to hear; it’s for the audience to hear. It’s for you to produce.” FRANK J. OTERI: This is a problem with preserving your music on recordings because almost all recordings put all sound onto two speakers. There haven’t been a lot of recordings of your music. And, for better or worse, in our society today, recordings are the predominant way that music is transmitted and discovered. In fact, even I have to admit that most of the music I know I know only through recordings; most pieces I’ve never had a chance to hear live. You might say I don’t really know those pieces… HENRY BRANT: Well, you know who decides the spatial arrangement that’s going to get on a recording. The engineer, not the composer… Who
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the hell is the engineer? Did he write the piece? Did he figure it out? Did he figure out a spatial plan? Did he participate in the performance? No, but he’s at the top of the totem pole. He’s very grand and the composer is some little worm that put this insignificant thing together. I apologize for the violence of my language but I’m long suffering. So, the first thing is this: My recordings of which you’ve heard, they sound good. They sound as good as anybody else’s recordings for one reason: I know more about orchestration than most composers. I’ve had more experience. I made something that has a good orchestral sound even if you take the space away. Nobody’s ever complained about how thin my music is on recording. Have you heard any of it live? FRANK J. OTERI: Very little. HENRY BRANT: Anybody who’s heard a piece of mine live will tell you, although you may find it satisfactory in some ways when you hear it in recording, something comes to you when you hear it live that recordings don’t even hint at. But without the recordings, I’d have nothing. At least with the recordings, there’s some interest in my music. FRANK J. OTERI: Of course, there are now new technologies out there that might better serve to document your music. I’m thinking of something like 5.1 surround-sound DVDs, for example. HENRY BRANT: It’s an engineer’s concept that aims at a generalized diffusion of the sound. That’s exactly the opposite of what I do. I want directional sound. I want it to come from there and nowhere else and I don’t want the illusion where you’re fooled into believing that something’s coming from so many places when it’s really only coming from one position. Also, the absolute insane disproportion between the role of the engineer and the role of the composer is to me absolutely destructive. A recording is, in my point of view, an engineer’s creation. FRANK J. OTERI: So you don’t feel that surround sound would work for your music? HENRY BRANT: I’ve heard the effects of it. There is some music — I was talking to Tilson Thomas about this — in which a generalized distribution of the sound all over is appropriate and there are some places where he told me he goes to some length to try to get that. This is a comparatively small area of expression in the western tradition.
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FRANK J. OTERI: Using this same technology though, couldn’t it somehow be used for a different end? Rather than having the sound come from everywhere in all the speakers, couldn’t the speakers have more focused, directionalized sound so that, in essence the recording would be trying to recreate the spatial distribution you are doing in a hall? HENRY BRANT: A recording could do that. The technology is fully capable of having sound coming from six real sources and not speakers picking up many sources mixed different ways. But it’s neither a composer’s concept nor is it commercial. Who’s going to make a set-up of that kind that requires six speakers in your living room? If it fits six, it does not fit five or two or three. They are very different things and that difference is a very simple matter to a composer. FRANK J. OTERI: I know that you’ve said that you dislike amplification and electronic sound. HENRY BRANT: Well, first of all, a loud speaker is a musical instrument with a tone quality of its own — a very poor tone quality! What we’re told is that it’s even better than the original in some ways, that it lacks the drawbacks of acoustic instruments and the imperfection of human performance. This kind of thing I can’t believe. Also, the organic constituents of the sounds that are electronically produced are vastly different, not a little different, but vastly, fundamentally different and they affect the nervous system in different ways. I’m sure that careful studies of this will show this and I think it’s very much my business to think about such things. I don’t have to think of them very much when I deal with live performers on acoustic instruments; I know I’ve got one thing and when I’ve got synthetically derived sounds I’ve got another. One is organic and the other one is not and you can taste it on your dinner table. FRANK J. OTERI: So have you ever written for electronic instruments? HENRY BRANT: Yeah. When I want microtones… FRANK J. OTERI: You didn’t feel you could write microtonally for standard acoustic instruments? HENRY BRANT: I did and I still do, but if I want microtones, I want someone to press a key and play the note. I don’t want a slide in between unless it’s a whole concept that involves sliding. A friend of mine, a composer, told me, “We’ve got a Japanese thing here that will give you micro-
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200 • Henry Brant and Frank J. Oteri
tones, anything you want.” “Well,” I said, “all I want is quartertones to start with.” So I wrote this piece and I heard my quartertones, but I realized there was something the matter because of the way they combined resultant tones, which is not the way music acoustically produced would. So I’m the worst possible person to talk to about any of the new magical solutions for sound, recording, composers, and stuff like that. I can’t talk to many composers about this; they don’t know what I’m getting so excited about. FRANK J. OTERI: What do you think of this whole notion of making music on the Web? There are now musicians who collaborate from different locations, in different rooms, in different cities, by being hooked up through the Internet, which creates a whole new realm of spatial music… HENRY BRANT: It’s not very realistic. Who can hear music in different cities live? FRANK J. OTERI: Well, of course, they’re hearing it through the speakers. [laughs]
On Orchestration FRANK J. OTERI: What you’re mostly known for is a heterogeneous music — different groups of people playing in different styles in different places — but some of my favorite pieces of yours are homogenous to the extreme, music for ensembles of the exact same type of instrument. I’m thinking of Angels and Devils scored for an ensemble of flutes. It’s nothing but flute sound. And then there’s Orbits, that 80-trombone piece! HENRY BRANT: Nothing in my thinking is against music of one timbre only. Since writing Angels and Devils I’ve gotten the idea that, unlike the flute pieces which are only four and half octaves, the family should be extended with different instruments. My newest piece, the successor to Angels and Devils written 70 years later, has bass flutes. FRANK J. OTERI: You were the first composer to get involved with the Violin Octet, which is supposed to be a real violin ensemble of eight identically designed instruments across the pitch range.
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HENRY BRANT: It’s a more rational string orchestra. Carleen Hutchins built these instruments at my suggestion to fill the missing gaps. For instance, the instrument between the viola and the cello should have been there a long time ago and she made one and she finally made a very good one. Also, an instrument an octave above the violin so that you’re not playing the violin way up, so that things could be done with lower tension, and larger basses… With the trombones I was able to get four and half [octaves] at most. There I had all the sizes that are now made. It means that some of the most elementary things in music you hear for the first time — what harmony sounds with perfectly rational and natural layouts played in the same tone quality. Most of our music exists in five octaves, but mostly in the middle range. FRANK J. OTERI: Now, you’re working on a book about orchestration, which you talked about with Molly Sheridan after you won the Pulitzer and I saw it on the table here. How is this book different than other books on orchestration? HENRY BRANT: It’s conventional in some ways. I don’t take up spatial orchestra, which is so different a field and so elaborate that it wouldn’t meet the immediate needs of most composers. Most composers need to find recipes so that what they’ve got will first of all be clear and secondly have a range of timbres that they didn’t know about and a book that limits itself to that and says nothing about the mechanism of instruments and technique is going to be about five pages anyway. There are many examples, all of which I composed in a neutral style. Now, neutral style nowadays takes in a lot of ground. It has no quotes from any music of mine or
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anybody else’s. There are things I’ve written down over the last 50 years — whenever I heard something that was unusual I made a note of it. […]
Remarks on Ochestration Morton Feldman One Pianos and Voices II was written in Berlin during February 1972. The titles from my “Berlin Period” (Three Clarinets, Cello and Piano; Chorus and Orchestra; Cello and Orchestra; etc.) simply state the compositions’ orchestration. What is orchestration? The means by which music becomes audible might be a definition of orchestration. Orchestration is composition. All other musical ideas eventually become unimportant — swallowed whole or pounded into sediments like the ground beneath us. Orchestration is the life of music without “taking thought.” In almost Freudian terms it is both the instinctual and outer reality of the composer’s musical character. No other idea in the body of the work transcends this. Try and remember a musical composition you were at one time very fond of. Even a professional finds that though he remembers the music and the construction of sequences are clear in his memory, he is not convinced that he is remembering and even if he denies this, he soon becomes distracted, loses the thread, so to speak, and begins thinking of other things. Like anything else, the moment music enters the world of imagination, where we have to conjure it up from our memory, it is soon lost to us. One of the reasons I continue to write at the piano is to help me from the “imagination.” Having the sounds continually appearing as a physical fact wakens me from a sort of intellectual daydream. The sounds are enough. The instruments that realize them are more than enough. But what comes first, the instrument or the sound? This, as they say on Berlin television, is the frage. I think that in the music long past, the sounds came first, and there was not too much concern for the instrument. Then as music, or the “art of composition” developed, more attention was given to what instruments could be best utilized or need be invented. With this new role, the instrument became an integral aspect of the musical composition. As notions about what composition actually is began to be questioned in recent years, the virtuosity of the instrument increased and became more important than either the forgotten sound or the forgotten composition. This is not 202
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orchestration, though it appears to fit my definition: the means by which sound becomes audible. The instrument might be the sound but the sound might not be the instrument. What I obliquely mean is that any virtuosity, whether compositional expertise or in showing what the instrument “can do,” is one and the same thing. That the virtuosity of modern instrumental usage came out of composition and not out of a closeness to sound. Years ago I received a letter from an English composer at that time unknown to me, Cornelius Cardew. He was presenting a concert in London of one of my Projections and asked if he could use instruments other than those given in the score. I answered that he couldn’t. This was my first indication that I must have been equally involved with the instruments as well as the sounds. I don’t find this paradoxical. Being that I made myself ward of the sounds in this orphanage of my design — I felt that they should not be misrepresented when adopted by others. My “orphan” required an instrumental home that was in keeping with their upbringings; to speak softly over dinner, not affect a nasal intonation, or attach each word as if it was a command. After all, most everything is education. I’m no better or worse than anyone else. The choice of mine was not the sound but the sound’s preference for certain instruments became the composition. This is why I could then leave either the pitches or rhythms free in so much of my music. […]
Two I think what really makes a composer distinguished from another composer except for Stockhausen, is one’s instrumentation. And this is something that I know my most sophisticated students never talk about, no one ever thinks about. They feel it’s an ad hoc thing, any instruments, it’s the notes given to them from God, the ideas in a sense that give the work a certain distinction, naturally. You see, I feel that orchestration is another gift. And Varèse once said to me, “orchestrators are born.” He never said composers are born, he used the word orchestrators are born. And I really feel it’s another gift and very few people have that gift. Maybe that’s why it’s not considered a parameter. I mean, Messiaen is not an orchestrator. That’s not orchestration you hear, I don’t know what the hell it is. It’s Disney, it’s Disneyland. It’s Technicolor, you know from the forties when they first came out, like a Doris Day movie, those crazy colors, you know how crazy the people look in the old Technicolor, that’s Messiaen, just something is wrong someplace. Somebody, an old man in Berlin, two days ago, he was about eightyfour, eighty-six, he told me he was the only composer alive in Berlin that was born in the nineteenth century. That was his distinction. He asked me
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what I thought composition was, he heard my piece, he liked it, though he thought it was too “colorful.” And I said, “I’m not interested in color.” I said “My definition of composition is: the right note in the right place with the right instrument!” Schoenberg in his harmony book talks about the relationship between pitch and timbre. And he says that timbre is the prince of the domain, that the resulting timbre is to some degree more important than the pitch itself, as we think of as pitch. That’s a very important idea. That’s why I feel a lot of Webern’s subsequent orchestration, and many people feel this, that his orchestration was somewhat arbitrary. That you just can’t take a row and give it to a piccolo and then give the other segment to the doublebass. You can’t be insensitive to the pitches here, you see, how they speak and go on. So, that whole Darmstadt world, or the Webern influence is that essentially instruments were used just as another denominator of variation. And very few were sensitive to the instruments playing those notes. They associate usually pitch as tonal music. I don’t, you see. In other words, something happened to pitch that was terrible. It was like these people get sex changes, it’s as if pitch went to Scandinavia and came back an interval, had a sex change. It had to come back an interval. It’s like in my early piano pieces, 1951, I would have a chromatic field and I introduced an octave, No one was doing that. Very beautiful, it worked. But even Webern had octaves. You are not supposed to hear anything out of the context. […]
Three Ideas are given. Concepts are given, everything is given. How do you orchestrate it? That’s not given. That’s not in the books. We must make that decision. That’s the only decision. This has to do with differentiation, has to do with form, has to do with contrast, has to do with the history of art. They are given things, but what instruments, how to use them, how to get away from this. In other words, you don’t want to reveal your ideas the way Webern revealed his structures by his instruments. Webern does not orchestrate. He gives you the instruments and he presents his ideas like a lecture, with the instruments. We have to be careful not to do that. So what could be a new function for instruments. Rather than just the function of demonstrating information: compositional. Does it have another function? Is that it’s only function? And orchestration is also notation. So, we also are talking about, everything is metaphoric. Do you have the right notation for the instruments? You don’t need a system, a notation, keeps you from flying many times,
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you see. So, what is the notation? So there are two things that composers don’t think about: they don’t think about notation, and they don’t think about orchestrating it. You’ll be free, the instruments free, instruments are like James Bond, you know, takes a “shhhh,” he gets out of the building. Instruments are like James Bond. Crazy Karlheinz is after you, the automobile goes “krchh.” Instruments are like that, they get you out of situations which you should not be in. Instruments are the answer to the cul-de-sac, not ideas. At least I found it, and I found it because no one was interested in instruments, you know, no one was interested. And I said to myself “why aren’t people interested in instruments?” And they are not unless the instruments could demonstrate the idea. One of the problems with Kunst is that, it’s not concerned with the medium, it’s concerned with themselves, that the idea is ego. And the minute we start taking away the ego, we have to find other things to substitute the ego and we don’t know what it is. Material. And instrument is material, you see. We have been very distant from material, especially with the younger people, they listen to the early Schoenberg and Webern and they think it’s fantastic colors, everything, but, it has nothing to do with color, it has to do with other things, they did it for other reasons. Differentation, variation, that had nothing to do with color, really. It had to do with ideas. So, I feel that one of the problems with music is that it never had its Matisse. They never had a Matisse. They had great artists. I mean, to use color right and wonderful doesn’t mean you have a feeling for color. You have an intellectual rightness for color, not a natural rightness for color. Again, craft and skill. Titian had craft, Matisse had skill — to understand what color was, to leave alone, to let go in a big area, you know. We had no Matisse. We don’t know what color is. I think, music is open to color. And when I talk about color I don’t mean the environment, I don’t mean noise, I mean instruments together. It is fantastic. You can even get the idea, the instrument doesn’t have any ideas, the instrument is ready to play any idea, that’s the trouble with my students. They say, “How can you write anything for the piano in 1978? How could you write anything for the piano?” I said, “Leave the piano alone, it’s not the piano’s fault. It’s what people write for the piano. There is nothing wrong with the piano. Leave it alone.” And Western music depends on good instruments, not toys, not improvisational instruments. And the reason the piano is fantastic is because a good piano is a good instrument, a good violin is a good, perfected instrument. And we are not gonna have anything important for toys. I was some place, somebody wrote a piece for four recorders. And I said “In principle I feel that people should write what
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they want to write. In principle, there is nothing wrong with your writing for four recorders. But, actually,” I said, “you are making a big mistake. It sounds terrible.”
Timbre and Composition — Timbre and Language Pierre Boulez The subject of my paper was announced as being the function of timbre in 20th century instrumental music. In fact I would prefer to deal with the relation between timbre and musical composition (écriture)8 and more generally speaking, timbre and language. Whatever the intention, it can be said that there are basically two ways of considering timbre: one is an objective, scientific way, beyond language, and without aesthetic criteria, in which there is an extreme difficulty in moving from the quantitative aspect back up to the qualitative. With the help of graphs and diagrams many acoustic phenomena can be described but the quality of integration of sound and timbre in the structure of a composition is absent from these measurements. Even when one deals phenomena and their quality, it is mostly a question of perception in isolation, exempt from any context. I feel that the truly artistic value of timbre is fundamentally forgotten using this approach. On the other hand we have the subjective, artistic manner of dealing with timbre, as a constituent of a musical language, along with the aesthetic and formal criteria which relate to it. This leads us to an opposite difficulty, namely the impossibility of linking instinctive feelings about the qualitative aspect to a more reasoned appraisal of the quantitative. This difficulty becomes evident when composers with a traditional musical education based on instrumental knowledge are confronted with sound synthesis. They find themselves out of their element because the notion of quantity which is essential to the organization of synthetic sound is completely foreign to them. They are no longer dealing with established categories. Musicians in general are not interested in measurement or objective analysis. What matters to them is the function of timbre as related to composition, and, even more so, the affectivity created by the perception of timbre in the context of the work. One can object to this by saying that the timbre of an instrument is defined by the manufacturer without reference to any stylistic criteria. If this had not been the case many of our instruments would never have survived such an enormous evolution of styles. If the violin had only been
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associated with baroque music, it would obviously not have survived. It possessed, however, infinitely more stylistic possibilities than would have ever been dreamt of by its original makers. A clarinet manufacturer doesn’t ask himself questions about the ultimate use of the instrument he makes. He creates an object which can serve equally well for a country choral society as for the interpretation of a highly elaborate piece of music. The instrument maker is in principle neutral, although not totally: instruments are made to follow a precise musical system and a fairly rigid standardization. When one wants to go beyond certain types of instrumental usage, one comes up against a hierarchy embodied in the instrument and one risks creating marginal and anecdotal effects. Violin tuning is based on the 5th, an interval essential in the tonal system, with no particular importance in the 12-tone system. Violin positions follow a certain hierarchical conception of the universe of intervals, and the further one moves away from this, the more the playing of the instrument becomes difficult. In the same way, if one refuses the primacy of the semitone on the clarinet, one will come up against difficulties, having to avoid orthodox solutions by using special fingerings and alternative embouchures. Even though circumscribed by standardization, the instrument can escape the control of the system by the use of “peripheral” techniques. To understand the extent to which timbre, composition and affectivity are linked in the mind of the composer, one only needs to look at the musical education he has received, and which he himself transmits. Instrumentation is not learned by a systematic study of timbre, but by picking out here and there examples, chosen as models, which work particularly well. All the time that is necessary is taken, and sometimes more, in the study of the laws of harmony and their evolution. In the same way, counterpoint is studied at great length, various aspects being covered in extensive detail. Musical form is also taught: the fugue for example, a very coherent and powerful form, where a compositional technique is developed from the study of historical models, obeying rules which are much stricter than those used in the originals themselves. But how far does the study of instrumentation go? Only as far as descriptions of a practical nature and methods more or less derived from examples divorced from their contexts. These practical descriptions can be clearly seen in a book on orchestration. One can look up one instrument after another, read a description of their registers with respect to range, dynamic levels, articulation, speed, breathing limits, etc.... Beyond this are found some recipes taken from the repertoire: disparate, incoherent examples to which are linked certain specific emotional effects. Berlioz’ treatise remains the prototype of this genre, because it is the most intelligently written — sharp and astute, completely and accurately
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reflecting his views on the summation of orchestration — a treatise which has survived extremely well. In it one finds an intimate mixture of the practical, the emotional and the symbolic, characteristic of the attitude of the musician. Berlioz associates the French horn with Weber’s Oberon, the timbre of enchantment. He tells you, of course, that the lowest register of the clarinet sounds ‘hollow,” but quickly adds mention of anguish, and somber feelings. He notes the brilliance of clarinets in the middle and upper-middle registers, going on to make an analogy with the voices of women cheering warriors into battle. Today these expressions are amusing. Nonetheless they show an approach linked closely with symbolism and affectivity. Such an interpretation is not merely limited to timbre, it also applies to different keys: the heroic key of E♭, the pastoral key of F. The shadow of Beethoven hangs over these too precise associations, derived directly from well-loved examples and chosen with this catalogue of tonalities in mind. When musical language left behind such strongly coded hierarchies, these connotations more or less disappeared. It would nowadays be extremely difficult to keep to a point of view so closely linked to masterpieces from a given period. It is not, however, the only characteristic of our evolution that timbre has lost the exclusive value of its function as a “sign-post for the emotions.” I would like to emphasize the fact that, previously, musical language was based on the recognizable identities of its constituent elements. It comes as no surprise to note that the orchestra has developed in the direction of standardization: by ordering the means of sound production, such as grammar orders language. At the high point of tonality this identity was fundamental: the note D is above all a D. Whether it is played on a violin, a clarinet, or a trumpet it must be recognizable as being the note D. In this way our instruments were built to facilitate and confirm this hierarchy. This standardization has in a sense impoverished the family of timbres, but it has enabled communication between them. On the other hand, one has noticed that in other civilizations each instrument, even each part of an instrument, is endowed with a separate power: each sound in its struggle, against standardization is allocated a range and at the same time a timbre, or a certain auxiliary quality which gives the sound a deeply individual character. As far as our civilization has, in a sense, favored the neutrality of the elements included in a general hierarchy, so other civilizations have given priority to the individual quality of these elements. Today, as there is no longer a harmonic language based on a general hierarchy, the note D is only what it is: an ingredient of a chord. There is nothing essential about its identity. On the contrary, the greater the malleability of the note D, the more it will lend itself to differential organizational methods, and the greater the satisfaction it will give us. This transformation will be reflected
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in the timbre, no longer considered as a principle of identification but as a principle of transition, if not of confusion. In Baroque music (the Cantatas, Passions or the Brandenburg Concertos), the instrumental group is small, clearly perceptible as a group of individual instruments. Moreover it remains fixed in a piece, or a group of pieces. There is is not yet a sense of an orchestra as we understand this notion: none of its neutrality or generality. Thanks to a given instrumental group, timbre helps one to perceive the totality of the work. An aria with two cors anglais, viola da gamba, flute or solo violin will keep its characteristic sound for most of the piece, by means of its clearly identifiable timbre. The instrumental timbre has stability and a single function: it defines a world which refers uniquely to itself, and provides a total identification of the form with the timbre. As one approaches the definition of the orchestra as we understand it, instrumental entities become more diffuse, the identification of instruments becomes mobile and temporary, the specific emotional effect associated with a particular instrument becomes less evident. It is generally accepted that the modern orchestra was a creation of the 19th century. Effectively it was born as a result of a flexible use of instruments: timbre was to model itself upon various aspects of form. With the growing size of the orchestra, the role of the instrument becomes not blurred but flexible, multifarious, and correspondingly the forms expand. Even in large scale Baroque works one sees an accumulation of relatively small scale forms. In the period when the orchestra developed, from Beethoven to Mahler, forms increased in scale, based on transitions and multiplicity. In the same way, timbre took on a multiplicity of uses and instrumental characteristics. In certain usually relatively short passages an instrument would be used in a soloistic capacity, to be immediately identified with a given expression. The opposite happens at other points: the group dominates. The woodwind or brass ensembles, or more frequently mixtures between groups, create temporary ensembles. As soon as this happens the instruments take on a neutral quality. Their role evolves from the identifiable to the unrecognizable, because of the complexity and brevity of their blending. Indeed it is an understatement to say that the principle of their individual identity is brought into question! The instrument is exploited for something beyond its individual qualities: its potential for fusion, for being neutral, for losing its individual quality, the latter quality naturally impeding the phenomenon of fusion. From Schoenberg onwards instruments become increasingly considered as being part of a texture, or, constituent elements of varied textures, each time appearing in a different context. A typical example of this approach, and in a sense the archetype, is the third of the Op. 16 pieces, called Farben
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(colors in German), where the rhythmic, motivic and harmonic components are extremely rarefied. Only timbre with its multiple identifies creates cohesion between the different elements. The identity of sound is no longer seen as being the basis of the language, but instead this identity is progressively created from the needs of the language, is created by these needs themselves. As a result the orchestra has “increasingly admitted instruments which don’t conform to the accepted dominant hierarchy, instruments which are completely alien to it.” In the main, instruments which have been imported or adopted from other civilizations have been introduced, with the idea that they would easily integrate. The percussion section, for example, shows the most visible recent transformation of the body of the orchestra, admitted at first as a sporadic, picturesque element restricted to a few instruments. It has grown to an extensive number of instruments from cultures foreign to the “classical” orchestra. Gradually it became an important constituent of the collection of orchestral sounds; but these instruments don’t obey the hierarchy to which the others belong and so a certain number of them is necessary to create another hierarchy based essentially on timbre. It has been forgotten that some of these imported instruments belong to very precise hierarchies. If they are not abstracted from the civilization to which they originally belonged, they will keep with them disparities of culture which will create problems for the unity of the work. They can enrich the sound world, but only as an “exotic” adjunct. In the same way, the marginal use of traditional instruments destroys the hierarchy to which they originally conformed, without the addition of anything other than a peripheral effect. In the orchestral sphere one can see the desire to create sound objects from traditional instruments which are held together by a hierarchy other than that which governed the making of these instruments. At the same time one observes the intrusion of ancillary phenomena into the orchestral world, calling into question by their very existence the hierarchy in which they are made to participate. The slow evolution of the musician’s sound-world, slow because it runs up against much important acquired experience, is certainly due to the evolution of musical thought with respect to organizational hierarchies. This thought is increasingly dependent on the work itself, at the moment of its creation, and is thus reduced to temporary and provisional states. Endeavors, whether in the vocal or instrumental fields, have been aimed at confronting the established hierarchy, at rejecting a standardized order. At this point I would like to make a suggestion concerning vocal music. Even though we note an important evolution in the 19th century of what is correctly called the modem orchestra, we can observe, in vocal music on the other hand, a near immobility. Evolution in style, yes; in the intervals
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used, yes; in the harmonic vocabulary, yes; but vocal writing has hardly changed to this day. Only very recently has vocal delivery become diversified. In the most innovative works, vocal writing remains traditional. Schoenberg, in Die Glückliche Hand, in Moses und Aron especially, mixed different types of delivery, spoken and sung — in proportions which disturb the hierarchy, because the problem of this technique hasn’t been stated clearly enough. For example the rhythmic structures used for singing and spoken passages are identical. When voices are superimposed, a sort of harmonic mud is the result, because in sung delivery pitches are selected, limited and circumscribed, whereas in spoken delivery they are anarchic and beyond control. The result is effectively a dirty environment, so to speak, surrounding the phenomenon of song which is very pure. Cohesion here becomes a problem because the spoken delivery disturbs the singing, without the latter orienting the former. The problem is incompletely treated, but it is at least tackled. It is examined more closely in this case than in Sprechgesang where the conception arises, in my view, from an erroneous analysis. For over three quarters of a century a satisfactory solution to the problem posed in Pierrot Lunaire has still not been found. Only lame solutions have emerged, referring to one factor more than another, preferring one mode of delivery over another. I close this digression by observing that the evolution of the use of vocal timbre has come much later than the evolution of instrumental timbre. I cannot propose a rational explanation for this, but I think that for many reasons, some of which are non-musical, vocal culture has been more important than instrumental culture in the evolution of music up to a certain point in its history. Vocal music has remained rooted in the vocal tradition, which preceded the instrumental tradition and survived it for a certain period. Let us return to the notion of timbre, whether instrumental or vocal. Timbre exists aesthetically when it is directly bound to the constitution of the musical object. On its own timbre is nothing, like a sound on its own is nothing. Obviously a sound has an identity; but this identity is not yet an æsthetic phenomenon. Aesthetic identity only appears if there is utilization, language and composition. Unless one has arrived at this stage, objects exist by themselves, available, but empty of meaning. In the same way, a spot of color is definable as being blue, or red; but it does not induce in us any sense of a pictorial world. Composition can start from within objects, in order to build them, or from the outside, in order to organize them. These are two types or two stages of composition. Composition from without puts these different objects together in a formal context, with a view to development. External criteria can act on internal criteria and modify the objects in order to link them in a coherent development and place them in a formal context.
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Or the objects can be relatively neutral, organized in a simple way from within, even reduced to a single component. Then the composition of relationships becomes paramount, and very complex. Or you can organize complex objects from the inside, but you can only manipulate them in a relatively simple manner. Complexity of organization, of composition, can move from the inside to the outside, but in my opinion it cannot exist on the same level in both cases. Moreover one, has to consider that in the area of sound synthesis, as in the purely instrumental realm, complex objects have a tendency not to be neutral with respect to a formal context. A complex object possesses a centrifugal force, making it capable of entering into a conflict without context since it retains its identity. Its strength of identity tends towards an autonomy in relation to the context, and can go as far as destroying it. A simple, malleable object can, on the contrary, progressively modify its identity according to the event in which it participates. When the principle of identity, of identification, is too strongly reinforced, is too strongly reinforced from within, it becomes of little use without, and vice versa. All methods are legitimate, provided one accounts for their specificity. Firstly as a model I should like to take the world of instrumental music since it provides many examples, taken from years of experience. One can then project conclusions on the future by extrapolation. The world of instrumental music is effectively divided into two. This division subsists despite many intermediate marginal areas. I will call them the world of small ensembles, or chamber music, and the world of large groups, or orchestral music. Each of these worlds, especially at their extremes, opens up a number of possibilities which are, in general, mutually exclusive, in spite of certain marginal interferences. The small ensemble, primarily uses the analysis of discourse by means of timbre, creating interest by refinement and division, while the large ensemble primarily uses multiplication, superimposition, accumulation, creating an illusion, what Adorno called (in another context) phantasmagoria. The large ensemble, the orchestra, is the model, even, of the instrument of illusion, of phantasm, while the small ensemble represents the world of immediate reality and analysis. The small ensemble is preferably the world of articulation, while the large ensemble is essentially the world of fusion. Articulation and fusion, these are the opposite poles of the rise of timbre in the instrumental world. A characteristic example of the small ensemble is the Klangfarbenmelodie as found in the Webern Op. 10 pieces. In the first piece in particular the melodic line is analyzed by timbre, each note being vested in an instrumental color, each articulation underlined by a change in timbre. The problem of melodic understanding through timbre is fascinating. When played on
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a single instrument the melodic line has an immediately clear continuity, but you have to conceive your own articulation. Your comprehension, your participation, or simply your habit of mind cause this melodic line, with the help of the performer who highlights the phrasing in playing it, to appear first in its continuity, and then in its articulation. If I want to demonstrate this articulation through timbre, like Webern I will distribute the timbres according to the articulation of the phrase. But in doing this I have introduced an element of diversion, of difference in timbre, which breaks the continuity so evident in a phrase with a single timbre. I have, at the same time, created a perceptual difficulty. The more one wants to produce clarity, the more one risks ending up with obscurity. At a certain point, things go the other way — the more you explain the fundamental construction of a phrase by timbre, the more you make its totality difficult to perceive, because you have mixed different categories, which have a tendency to take their autonomy and tear up the continuity which, on the contrary, you wanted to preserve by over-explaining it. Starting from this point one can play with the multiplicity of timbre in relation to, amongst other things, the unity of the melodic line, in other words to play on the identification or the impossibility of identification. To illustrate this I shall take an example from the Symphony Op. 21 by Webern. The exposition in the first movement is a double canon. The main canon is identifiable by means of a clear distribution of timbres — the parts of phrases are sufficiently long and explicit with a fairly regular change of timbre. The secondary canon is more discontinuous in its phrasing, as it is in its distribution of timbres. As such it is difficult to identify. One sees the wish to contrast a phrase which is less analyzed and more clear with a phrase that is more analyzed and less clear, resulting in the distinct differentiation between the two levels of this double canon. One can also use the brevity of a sound object or its length to orient or disorient the perception of timbre. In my work Eclat, certain chords are played simultaneously by resonating instruments. The different timbres which make up this chord would be recognized if I were to leave to each instrument its individual duration of resonance. If all the instruments play the chord staccato, then I suppress this natural means of analysis, and our perception can no longer discern which combination is in use in the block of sound. Identification depends in this case on the presence or absence of elements essential to perception. Large ensemble technique is very different. My first example concerns the illusion of timbre which can be created by harmony. Below a certain level of perception, that is to say beyond a certain speed, a succession of chords will be perceived as a mixture of timbres rather than as a superimposition of pitches. Effectively these chords do not obey accepted harmonic
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functions and our perception is unable to analyze the phenomenon of these fleeting pitches. The vertical intervallic relationships are there to create a sound-object and not to establish functional relations. If such a chord is attached to a horizontal line, without any internal modifications, its identity is absorbed by our perception: as a timbre-object the chord thickens the line. If you vary the articulation or the relationship between the intervals, or if the different instrumental components change across the structure of the chord-object, the illusion of a created timbre in continuous evolution is evidently much stronger, our perception having been pulled in different directions by equal forces. One will have created the opposition between the hidden constant and an apparent diversity. The beginning of Eine Blasse Wäscherin in Pierrot Lunaire is a prototypical example of this interplay of melody, harmony and timbre: only three instruments — violin, clarinet and flute — follow each other in playing the top note of a series of three-note chords to form a melody of timbres which emerges from the harmony. This is a small ensemble example, but the technique used is that of fusion. The technique of accumulation is typical of the large ensemble: one finds it especially in late Debussy, but it already exists in Wagner. A single sound universe is transcribed by the use of different timbres into rhythms and figurations which are slightly divergent prisms. The superimposition of two or more of these prisms will create the illusion of a complex timbre: a coagulation, a fusion which emerges from the way the passage is composed. This is what matters. Timbre does not function on its own, but the acoustic illusion of timbre is brought out by the way the music is composed. From this I deduce two notions of timbre used in instrumental music: raw timbre and organized timbre. In the first case composition acts from the outside. In the second case it works from the inside of the soundobject. The reality and identity of the instrument can thus be enveloped in a network of ambiguities which either hides it within a fused soundobject or reveals it in its absolute state. In this case timbre is related to the evolution of musical language and contributes to its enrichment. One must not forget that the very realistic factors of time and space — involving transition between sounds, emission of sounds, the actual space separating instruments — can present serious obstacles to the realization of these illusions. That is why it is so important to plan the placing of instruments, the stage setting and the acoustics, at the very time the work is being composed as composition and timbre are essentially, confined by the appropriate acoustic arrangement. Thus we are going against the standardization reached at the beginning of the 20th
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century. From now on timbre, composition and acoustic setting should be linked by the same necessity, unique to the work in question. The identification of raw or organized timbres is to be found in an area between the extremes of immediate perception and elusive perception, with the unique possibility of playing on memory — the memory of an event, a sound object you have mentally recorded without having had the time to analyze it. For example, you may partially remember, thanks to one component, a striking event. In this way you give your memory the possibility of analyzing or perceiving retroactively this component from the sound-object which has been heard. This virtual memory of the heard object constitutes one of the most important and interesting phenomena in composition, from the moment it can be integrated into the development of form and thematic material. The memory’s comings and goings from the past to the present, its possible projections towards the future, give the work a range of perspectives which makes it take root in memory in a way which would be otherwise impossible. To me the functional possibilities of timbre only seem valid if they are linked to language and to the articulation of a discourse through structural relationships; timbre both explains and masks at the same time. Without musical discourse it is nothing, but it can also form the entire discourse on its own. I have dwelt so long on the question of orchestral writing since I believe that much can be learnt from it. I very much deplore the wide gap which exists between composers who have learnt to write for the orchestra and know how to use it, and composers who exclusively use new electro-acoustic means. I am sure that the latter would avoid a certain amount of tentative stumblings and set-backs if they knew how to transpose all the accumulated orchestral technique into other areas; if they could recognize the principles which have guided the evolution of orchestral timbre, and approach the use of synthetic timbre by drawing from the rich store that this evolution has brought, the provisional result of which is infinitely varied and, extremely rich. What often worries me when I hear works based on sound synthesis is either the confusion between levels of composition, or the great concentration on sound-objects and the lack of concern regarding the relationships between them. Sometimes these sound-objects are very beautiful and well thought of, but they possess a very vigorous centrifugal force and so have great difficulty integrating themselves into a real discourse. They have a tendency, rather, to group themselves in a collage that is neither very subtle nor very solid. Differentiation in the levels of perception and variation in the use of time with regard to its density or specificity can be some of the functions of timbre in the articulation of forms.
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A major, frequently mentioned preoccupation with regard to invented timbres is continuity. I believe, without paradox, that the notion of discontinuity is far more important both in the fields of timbre and of pitch. Discontinuity provides a means of transition and of this frequently-mentioned continuity, as much as it provides abrupt divisions and separations. In short, discontinuity gives rise to composition in its many dimensions. The notions of polyphony and heterophony would need to be re-thought and re-evaluated in a completely different context: true polyphony, where structures are deduced one from another, following more or less strict laws; heterophony where structures based on similar principles create an apparent divergence. Such notions remain fundamental. They need to be re-assessed in the context of a new sound-world which pre-supposes a more quantified means of investigation than before. Finally, to conclude this brief survey of timbre, I shall express a wish: that the transmission of sound be studied very seriously, and that a radical renewal should be attempted in this field. Today’s loudspeaker is a great anonymous pulveriser of sound that does not measure up to the means which have been developed to create a new sonic world. In an orchestra the transmission of the sound of instruments is infinitely varied, depending on their shape, their power, their ability to radiate sound. If the loudspeaker discharges sound through its dark sterile mouth: if it has the advantage of being able to relocate sound at will, it has the grave disadvantage of causing a reduction in the sound. I saw a play in London where the actors in the first part spoke without amplification; in the second they had their voices amplified. It was as easy to recognize their “natural” voices as it was difficult to hear the amplified voices which were lost in an anonymous fog. This wasn’t through a lack of quality in transmission, but because the loudspeaker forcibly compressed the register of the voices into a formidable uniformity. The loudspeaker is not so much a polyvalent tool as a piece of non-valent equipment, if I may say so. The projection of sound will remain problematical as long as the relationship between sound transmission and timbre is not carefully studied. Timbre and its transmission are characteristics which I judge to be inseparable one from the other. To briefly provide a provisional conclusion, I would underline that timbre, through composition, should integrate itself totally with musical language in a multidimensional world where its specificity will be the measure of its importance.
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1. Henry David Thoreau, Walden; or Life in the Maine Woods (Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1854). Chapter 4, Sounds, paragraph 15. The full paragraph reads: Sometimes, on Sundays, I heard the bells, the Lincoln, Acton, Bedford, or Concord bell, when the wind was favorable, a faint, sweet, and, as it were, natural melody, worth importing into the wilderness. At a sufficient distance over the woods this sound acquires a certain vibratory hum, as if the pine needles in the horizon were the strings of a harp which it swept. All sound heard at the greatest possible distance produces one and the same effect, a vibration of the universal lyre, just as the intervening atmosphere makes a distant ridge of earth interesting to our eyes by the azure tint it imparts to it. There came to me in this case a melody which the air had strained, and which had conversed with every leaf and needle of the wood, that portion of the sound which the elements had taken up and modulated and echoed from vale to vale. The echo is, to some extent, an original sound, and therein is the magic and charm of it. It is not merely a repetition of what was worth repeating in the bell, but partly the voice of the wood; the same trivial words and notes sung by a wood-nymph. Ives quoted this passage almost verbatim at the end of his “Thoreau” essay in Essays Before a Sonata (New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1920); reprinted in Three Classics in the Aesthetics of Music (New York: Dover, 1962), 155. 2. Jerusalem the Golden. Words by Bernard of Morlaix (Urbs Sion aurea ); translated by John M. Neale (1858). The music is by Alexander Ewing (1830-1895) (“Ewing”1853). Ives made a set of variations on this hymn Fantasia on “Jerusalem the Golden” in 1888. 3. According to Henry Cowell, Ives refers to Hans Barth (1897-1956), pianist, composer, and inventor. 4. According to Henry Cowell, Ives refers to Katherine Bellamann (1877-1956), singer and later a novelist; the wife of Henry Bellamann (1882-1945), music critic and novelist (Kings Row) who championed Ives. 5. According to Henry Cowell, Ives likely refers to Minna Lederman (1896-1995) founding member of the League of Composers, first and only editor of Modern Music. 6. According to Henry Cowell, Ives refers to Henry Cowell (1897-1965). 7. Reich’s Note: In addition, I made a chamber version of The Desert Music for two reasons. One is that this arrangement sounds — and one could argue as to whether or not it is better than the full orchestral original. Another is that large flexible chamber ensembles, particularly European groups like the the Schönberg Ensemble in Holland, the Ensemble Modern in Germany, Ensemble Intercontemporain in France, the Group 180 in Budapest, and the London Sinfonietta in England are interested in playing my music but need this version in order to play The Desert Music. 8. R. Robertson’s note: The term “musical composition’ which appears several times in this text does not fully convey the meaning of the French word “écriture” which has implications of symbolic reasoning.
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BIBLIOGRAPHY “Nothing seems to date more quickly than an orchestration text-book.” Gardner Read
Twentieth Century Books on Orchestration. Adler, Samuel. The Study of Orchestration, 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2002. Bekker, Paul. The Story of the Orchestra. New York: Norton, 1936. Blatter Alfred. Instrumentation and Orchestration, 2nd ed. New York, Schirmer, 1997. Burton, Stephen Douglas. Orchestration. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1982. Casella, Alfredo and Virgilio Mortari. The Technique of Contemporary Orchestration. 2nd rev. ed. Translated by Thomas V. Fraschillo. Milan: BMG Ricordi, 2004. Del Mar, Norman. Anatomy of the Orchestra, revised edition. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. Erickson, Robert. Sound Structure in Music. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975. Erpf, Hermann. Lehrbuch der Instrumentation. Mainz: B. Schott’s Söhne, 1959. Forsyth, Cecil. Orchestration, 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1935; Dover Publications, 1982. Indy, Vincent d’. Cours de Composition Musicale. Edited by Guy de Lioncourt. Paris: Durand et Cie, 1950. Jacob, Gordon. Orchestral Technique: A Manual for Students, 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1982. ________. The Elements of Orchestration. London, H. Jenkins . Jost, Peter. Instrumentation: Geschichte und Wandel des Orchesterklanges. Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2004 Kennan, Kent and Donald Grantham. The Technique of Orchestration, 6th ed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 2002. Koechlin, Charles. Traité de l’orchestration. 4 volumes. Paris: M Eschig, 1954–9. Kunitz, H. Die Instrumentation. 13 Vol. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1956–1961. Leibowitz, René and Jan Maguire. Thinking for Orchestra, Practical Exercises in Orchestration. New York: Schirmer, 1960. Mancini, Henry. Sounds and Scores: a Practical Guide to Professional Orchestration. n.p.: Northridge Music Inc., 1962. Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov. Principles of Orchestration. Edited by Maximilian Steinberg. Translated by Edward Agate. [Paris?]: Edition Russe de Musique, 1922; Dover Publications, 1964. Palmer, King. Teach Yourself Orchestration. London: English Universities Press, . Piston, Walter. Orchestration. New York: W.W. Norton, 1955. Polansky, Larry. New Instrumentation And Orchestration: An Outline For Study. Lebanon: Frog Peak Music, 1986. Read, Gardner. Contemporary Instrumental Techniques. New York: Schirmer Books, 1976. ________. Orchestral Combinations: The Science and Art of Instrumental Tone-Color. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2004. ________. Style and Orchestration. New York: Schirmer Books, 1979.
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220 • BIBLIOGRAPHY ________. Thesaurus of Orchestral Devices. New York: Pitman Pub. Corp. . Schillinger, Joseph. The Schillinger System of Musical Composition, vol. 2, books VIII–XII. New York: Carl Fischer, Inc., . Schoenberg, Arnold. Coherence, Counterpoint, Instrumentation, Instruction in Form (Zusammenhang, Kontrapunkt, Instrumentation, Formenlehre). Edited by Severine Neff. Translated by Severine Neff and Charlotte M. Cross. Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press, 1994. Shatzkin, Merton. Writing for the Orchestra: An Introduction to Orchestration. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall, . Stiller, Andrew. Handbook of Instrumentation. Berkeley: University of California Press, . Wellesz, Egon. Die Neue Instrumentation. Berlin: Max Hesse Handbücher, 1928. Widor, Charles Marie. The Technique of the Modern Orchestra: A Manual of Practical Instrumentation. Translated by Edward Suddard. London: J. Williams, Limited, . Reprinted as Manual of Practical Instrumentation. New York: Dover Publications, 2005.
Nineteenth Century Books on Orchestration Bellini, Fermo. Teoriche musicali su gli istromenti e sull’istrumentazione. Milan: G. Ricordi, 1844. Berlioz Hector and Richard Strauss. Treatise on Instrumentation. Translated by Theodore Front. New York: Kalmus, 1948; Dover Publications, 1991. Corder, Frederick. The Orchestra and How to Write for It. A Practical Guide to Every Branch and Detail of Modern Orchestration: Including Full Particulars of All Instruments Now in Use and Rules For Their Combination. With Numerous Exercises and Over Two Hundred Useful Examples From Modern Works. The Whole Forming an Indispensable Manual for Conductors and Composers. London: R. Cocks & Co., . Czerny, Carl. School of Practical Composition: Complete Treatise on the Composition of All Kinds of Music, Both Instrumental and Vocal: Together with a Treatise on Instrumentation, op. 600, 3 vols. Translated by John Bishop. London: R. Cocks & Co., ; Reprint, New York: Da Capo Press, 1979. Francoeur, Louis Joseph. Diapason général de tous les instrumens à vent avec des observations sur chacun d’eux au quel on a joint un projet nouveau pour simplifier la maniere actuelle decopier. Paris: Des Lauriers [1782?]. Reprint, Genève, Minkoff Reprints  Gassner, Ferdinand S. Dirigent und Ripienist für angehende Musikdirigenten, Musiker und Musikfreunde: (zugleich seiner Partiturkenntniss). Karlsruhe: C. T. Groos, 1844. Reprint, Straubenhardt: Antiquariat-Verlag Zimmermann, 1988. ________. Partiturkenntnis, ein leitfaden zum selbstunterrichte für angehende tonsetzer, oder solche, welche arrangiren, partiturlesen lernen oder sich zu dirigenten von orchestern oder militärmusiken bilden wollen. Karlsruhe: C. T. Groos, 1842. Gevaert, F.-A. (François-Auguste). Cours méthodique d’orchestration. Brussels: Lemoine & Fils, Éditeurs, 1890. ________. New Treatise on Instrumentation. Translated by Edward Suddard. Paris: Lemoine, 1885. Hofmann, Richard. Practical Instrumentation. Translated by Robin H. Legge. London: Augener, 1893. Humperdinck, Engelbert. Instrumentationslehre. Edited by Hans-Josef Irmen. Cologne: Verlag der Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Rheinische Musikgeschichte, 1981. Kastner, Georges. Gesamt Cours l’instrumentation: considéré sous les rapports poëtiques et philosophiques de l’art. Paris: [n.d.], . ________. Manuel général de musique militaire ; À l’usage des armées françaises. Paris, n.p. 1848; Genève: Minkoff, 1973. ________. Traité général d’Instrumentation. Paris: n.p., 1837. Lobe, J. C. Lehrbuch der Musikalischen Komposition, vol. 2, Die Lehre von der Instrumentation. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Härtel, 1858–67. MacDonald, Hugh, translator and editor. Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Marx, Adolph Bernard. Die Lehre von der Musikalischen Komposition, Praktisch-Theoretisch, vol. 4. Leipzig: Breitkopf und Härtel, 1837–47. Prout, Ebenezer. The Orchestra, 2 vols. London: Augener, 1897; New York: Dover Publications, 2003.
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Reicha, Anton. Vollständiges Lehrbuch der musikalischen Composition oder Ausführliche und erschöpfende Abhandlung über die Harmonie, <den Generalbaß>, die Melodie, die Form und Ausarbeitung der verschiedenen Arten von Tonstücken, den Gebrauch der Gesangstimmen, die gesammte Instrumentirung, den höhern Tonsatz im doppelten Contrapunct, die Fuge und den Canon, und über den strengen Satz im Kirchenstyl [franz. u. deutsch]. Translated and edited by Carl Czerny. Wien: Diabelli, . Riemann, Hugo. Grosse Kompositionslehre, vol. 3, Der Orchestersatz und der dramatische Gesangstil. Berlin: W. Spemann, 1902–13. ________.Handbuch der Musikinstrumente [Kleine Instrumentationslehre]. Berlin: Hesse, . Sundelin, August. Die Instrumentirung für das Orchester, oder Nachweisungen über alle bei demselben gebräuchliche Instrumente, um dafür wirkungsvoll und ausführbar komponiren zu können. Berlin: Wagenführ, 1828. Tosoroni, Antonio. Trattato Pratico di Strumentazione, Ossia, Nozioni Generali sul Carattere e Sulle Proprieta Degli Strumenti Musicali Tanto Antichi che di Recente Invenzione e Perfezionamento: i Quali Servono Attualmente, per le Orchestre, la Bande e le Fanfare. Firenze: G. Borgo, 1850. Voigt, Augustus. A Short and Efficient Treatise on the Art of Scoring: With the Capabilities of, and Scales for Every Instrument in the Orchestra, and Plain Directions for Their Use. London: Z.T. Purday, [184–?]
Orchestration History and Analysis Barrière, Jean-Baptiste, ed. Le Timbre, Métaphore pour la Composition. Paris: IRCAM/Christian Bourgeois éditeur, 1991. Brant, Henry. “Orchestration.” In Dictionary of Contemporary Music, ed. John Vinton. New York: E. P. Dutton, . Brindle, Reginald Smith. “Orchestration, Texture, and Tone-Colour.” In Serial Composition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1966. Baines, Anthony. Brass Instruments and Their History. London: Faber & Faber, 1980; New York: Dover Publications, 1993. ________.Woodwind Instruments and Their History. London: Faber & Faber, 1977; New York: Dover Publications, 1991. Becker, Heinz. History of Instrumentation. English translation by Robert Kolben. Cologne: Arno Volk Verlag, 1964. Brown, Clive. “The Orchestra in Beethoven’s Vienna.” Early Music 16/1 (Feb., 1988): 4–20. Burkhart, Charles. “Schoenberg’s Farben: An Analysis of Op. 16, No. 3.” Perspectives of New Music 12/1–2 (Autumn, 1973- Summer, 1974): 141–172 Carse, Adam. “Text-books on orchestration before Berlioz.” Music and Letters 22 (1941): 26–31. ________. The History of Orchestration. London: Kegan Paul, 1925; New York: Dover Publications 1964. ________. The Orchestra from Beethoven to Berlioz: a History of the Orchestra in the First Half of the 19th Century, and of the Development of Orchestral Baton- Conducting. Cambridge: Heffer, 1948. ________. The Orchestra in the XVIIIth Century. Cambridge: Heffer, 1940 Coerne, Louis Adolphe. The Evolution of Modern Orchestration. New York: Macmillian, 1908. Cogan, Robert and Pozzi Escot. Sonic Design: The Nature of Sound and Music. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1976. Cramer, Alfred. “Schoenberg’s Klangfarbenmelodie: A Principle of Early Atonal Harmony.” Music Theory Spectrum 24/1 (Spring 2002): 1–35. Covach, John. “The Music and Theories of Josef Matthias Hauer.” Ph.D. diss., The University of Michigan, 1990. Dufourt, Hugues. Musique, Pouvoir, Ecriture. Paris: Christian Bourgois éditeur, 1991. Eichhorn, Andreas. Beethovens Neunte Symphonie: die Geschichte ihrer Aufführung und Rezeption. Kassel: Bärenreiter, . Finson, Jon W. Robert Schumann and the Study of Orchestral Composition: the Genesis of the First Symphony, op. 38. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989.
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222 • BIBLIOGRAPHY Gruhn, Wilfried. Die Instrumentation in den Orchesterwerken von Richard Strauss. Ph.D. diss., Mainz, 1968. Lawson, Colin, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). Lavoix, Henri. Histoire de l’instrumentation. Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1878. Lockspeiser, Edward. “The Berlioz-Strauss Treatise on Instrumentation.” Music & Letters 50/1 (January, 1969): 37–44. Macdonald, Hugh. “Berlioz’s Orchestration: Human or Divine?” The Musical Times 110/1513 (Mar., 1969): 255–258. McCaldin, Denis. “Mahler and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.” Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 107 (1980–1): 101–110. Newlin, Dika. “Arnold Schoenberg’s Debt to Mahler” Chord and Discord 2/5 (1948): 21–26. ________. Bruckner, Mahler, Schoenberg. New York: W. W. Norton, 1947; Revised Edition. New York: W. W. Norton, 1978. Parks, Richard S. “A Viennese Arrangement of Debussy’s ‘Prelude a l’apres-midi d’un faune’: Orchestration and Musical Structure.” Music & Letters 80/1 (Feb., 1999): 50–73. Peterson, Barbara A. “Die Händler und die Kunst: Richard Strauss as Composers’ Advocate.” In Richard Strauss: New Perspectives on the Composer and His Work, ed by Bryan Gillam, 115-134. Durham: Duke University Press, 1992. Perone, James E. Orchestration Theory: A Bibliography. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996. Peyser, Joan, ed. The Orchestra: Origins and Transformations. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1986. Suckling, Norman.”’La Clarte Francaise’ in Orchestration.” Music & Letters 27/3 (Jul., 1946): 141–146. Stanford, Charles Villiers, Sir. “Colour.” In Musical Composition: a Short Treatise for Students. New York: Macmillan Co., 1911. Reprint, Westport, Conn: Hyperion Press, 1979. Stein, Erwin. Orpheus in New Guises. London: Rockliff, 1953. Terry, Charles Sanford. Bach’s Orchestra. London: Oxford University Press, 1932. Voss, Egon. Studien zur Instrumentation Richard Wagners. Regensburg: Gustav Bosse Verlag, 1970. Zlotnik, Ascher George. Orchestration Revisions in the Symphonies of Robert Schumann. Ph.D diss., Indiana University, 1972.
Composer Testimony Berlioz, Hector. Evenings with the Orchestra. Translated by Jacques Barzun. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956. Reprint, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. ________. À Travers Chants. Paris: Michel Lévy Frères Éditeurs, 1862. Brant, Henry. “Space as an Essential Aspect of Musical Composition.” In Contemporary Composers on Contemporary Music, ed. Elliott Schwartz and Barney Childs, 223–242. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967. ________. “Spaced Out with Henry Brant.” Interview by Frank J. Oteri (4 October 2002) NewMusicBox 4/9 (Accessed 6 February 2006) . Boulez, Pierre. Notes of an Apprenticeship. Edited by Paule Thévenin and translated by Herbert Weinstock. New York: A. A. Knopf, 1968. ________. Orientations: The Collected Writings by Pierre Boulez. Edited by Jean-Jacques Nattiez. Translated by Martin Cooper. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1986. ________. Stocktakings From an Apprenticeship. Edited by Paule Thévenin. Translated by Stephen Walsh. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. ________. “Timbre and Composition — Timbre and Language.” Translated by R. Robertson. Contemporary Music Review 2 (1987): 161–171. Busoni, Ferruccio. Entwurf einer neuen Ästhetik der Tonkunst: Faksimile einer Ausgabe von 1916 mit den handschriftlichen Anmerkungen von Arnold Schönberg. Im Anhang Transkription der Anmerkungen und Nachwort von H[ans] H[einz] Stuckenschmidt. [Frankfurt (Main)]: Suhrkamp, 1974. Copland, Aaron. “The Sonorous Image.” In Music and Imagination. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1952.
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Douglas, Roy. Working with R. V. W. [Ralph Vaughan Williams]. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972. Elgar, Edward. “Orchestration.” In A Future for English Music. Edited by Percy M. Young. London: Dennis Dobson, 1968. Feldman, Morton. Give My Regards to Eighth Street. Edited by B. H. Friedman. Cambridge: Exact Change, 2000. ________. Morton Feldman Essays. Edited by Walter Zimmerman: Kerpen: Beginner’s Press, 1985. Fenby, Eric. Delius as I Knew Him. London, Quality Press ; Dover Publications, 1994 Grisey, Gérard. “La musique, le devenir des sons.” In Darmstädter Beiträge XIX, 16–23. Mainz: Schott, 1982. Hines, Robert Stephan, ed. The Orchestral Composer’s Point of View: Essays on Twentieth-Century Music by Those Who Wrote It. Norman: The University of Oklahoma Press, 1970. Ives, Charles. Essays Before a Sonata (New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1920). Reprint in Three Classics in the Aesthetics of Music. New York: Dover Publications, 1962. Ligeti, Gyorgy. “States, Events, Transformations.” Translated by Jonathan W. Bernard. Perspectives of New Music 31/1 (Winter, 1993): 164–171. Mahler, Alma. Gustav Mahler: Memories and Letters 3rd edition. Translated by Basil Creighton, Edited by Donald Mitchell. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1975. Murail, Tristan, “Spectres et lutins.” In Darmstädter Beiträge XIX, 24–34. Mainz: Schott, 1982. Translated by Tod Machover as “Spectra and Pixies.” Contemporary Music Review 1/1 (1984): 157–170. Reich, Steve. “On the Size and Seating of the Symphony Orchestra.” Contemporary Music Review 7/I (1990); reprinted in Writings on Music. New York: Oxford, 2002. Schnittke, Alfred. A Schnittke Reader. Edited by Alexander Ivashkin. Translated by John Goodliffe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002. Schoenberg, Arnold. Berliner Tagebuch. Edited by Joseph Rufer. Frankfurt, Berlin, and Vienna: Propyläen-Verlag, 1974. ________. Style and Idea: Selected Writings of Arnold Schoenberg. Edited by Leonard Stein. New York: St. Martin’s Press 1975; Paperback reprint, Berkley: University of California Press, 1984. ________. Theory of Harmony [Harmonielehre]. Translated by Roy C. Carter. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978. Schuller, Gunther. “Composing for Orchestra.” In Musings: The Musical Worlds of Gunther Schuller. New York: The Da Capo Press, 1999. Schuller, Gunther, and [Edgar] Varèse. “Conversation with Varèse.” Perspectives of New Music 3/2 (Spring – Summer, 1965): 32–37 Still. William Grant. “Orchestration.” In William Grant Still and the Fusion of Cultures in American Music, ed. Robert Bartlett Haas, 103–107. Los Angeles: Black Sparrow Press, 1972. Wagner, Richard. “On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.” In Richard Wagner’s Prose Works, Vol. 5, Actors and Singers. Translated by William Ashton Ellis. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trüber & Co. 1896; Reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. ________. “Opera and Drama.” In Richard Wagner’s Prose Works. Vol. 2, Actors and Singers. Translated by William Ashton Ellis. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trüber & Co. 1896; Reprint, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. von Weber, Carl Maria. Writings on Music. Translated by Martin Cooper. Edited by John Warrack. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
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Sources Czerny, Carl. “On the Symphony.” In School of Practical Composition: Complete Treatise on the Composition of All Kinds of Music, Both Instrumental and Vocal: Together with a Treatise on Instrumentation, op. 600. Vol. 2. Translated by John Bishop. London: R. Cocks & Co., , 31–41. Berlioz, Hector. “Les instruments ajoutés par les modernes aux partitions des maîtres anciens.” In À Travers Chants [3rd ed.]. Paris: Calmann Lévy, 223-224. Wagner, Richard. “On the Rendering of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.” In Richard Wagner’s Prose Works. Vol. 5, Actors and Singers. Translated by William Ashton Ellis. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trüber & Co. 1896, 229-254. Gounod, Charles. “Richard Wagner et la 9e Symphonie de Beethoven: lettre de M. Ch. Gounod [Polémique].” La Revue et Gazette musicale de Paris, 17 Mai 1874, 157; Anonymously translated as “Instruments Added By Modern Composers: Wagner and Beethoven.” Dwight’s Journal of Music, 13 June 1874, 242–23. Mahler, Gustav. “[Pamphlet on Mahler’s Performing Edition of Beethoven’s Ninth].” Translated by Henry-Louis de la Grange. In Gustav Mahler v. 2. Vienna : the years of challenge (1897– 1904), Henry-Louis de la Grange. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994, 235-6. Stravinsky, Igor. “[Beethoven’s Instrumentation].” In An Autobiography. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1936; Norton, 1998, 118–9. Bauer-Lechner, Natalie. Recollections of Gustav Mahler. Translated by Dika Newlin. Edited by Peter Franklin. London: Faber Music, 1980, 45-6. Mahler, Gustav, The Selected Letters of Gustav Mahler. Translated by Eithne Wilkins, Ernst Kaiser, and Bill Hopkins. Edited by Knut Martner. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1979 182-183; 147-149. Gevaert, F.-A.[François-Aguste], “Première Leçon.” in Cours méthodique d’orchestration. Brussels: Lemoine & Fils, Éditeurs, , 4–8. Strauss, Richard. “Foreword.” In Treatise on Instrumentation. Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss. Translated by Theodore Front. New York: Kalmus, 1948; Dover Publications, 1991, i-iii Berlioz, Hector. “The Orchestra.” In Treatise on Instrumentation. Hector Berlioz and Richard Strauss. Translated by Theodore Front. New York: Kalmus, 1948; Dover Publications, 1991, 406-408. Jadassohn, S.[Salomon]. “Orchestra Tutti.” In A Course of Instruction in Instrumentation. Translated by Harry P. Wilkins. Leipzig: Breitkopf and Hartel, 1899, 310-342. Delius, [Frederic] and Papus [Gerard Encausse]. “[General Divisions and Classification].” In Anatomie et phisiologie de l’orchestre Paris: Chamuel Éditeurs, 1894, 9-14. Rimsky-Korsakov, Nikolay. “Composition of the Orchestra.” In Principles of Orchestration. Edited by Maximilian Steinberg. Translated by Edward Agate. New York: Dover, 1964, 97-118. Busoni, Ferruccio. “Die Unzulänglichkeit der musikalischen Ausdrucksmittel.” In Wesen und Einheit der Musik. Edited by Jochim Herrmann. Berlin-Halensee und Wunsiedel: Max Hesses Verlag, 1956, 59-61. Hauer, Josef [Matthias]. “Orchester: diatonische und atonale Musik”, in Vom Wesen des Musikalischen. Leipzig: Verlag Waldheim-Eberle A.G., 1920, 28–35.
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226 • Sources. Schoenberg, Arnold. “Instrumentation.” In Style and Idea: Selected Writings of Arnold Schoenberg. Edited by Leonard Stein. Berkley: University of California Press, 1984, 330–336. Granger, Percy. “The Possibilities of the Concert Wind Band from the Standpoint of a Modern Composer.” Metronome Orchestra Monthly, 43/11 (November 1918), 22–23. Koechlin, “L’equilibre des sonoritiés: Volume et intensité” In Traité de l’orchestration. Vol. 2. Paris: M Eschig, 1954–9,20–24. Stravinsky, Igor. [Instrumentation]. Conversations with Stravinsky. Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft. Berkley: University of California Press, 1980, 28–32. Schoenberg, Arnold. [Klangfarbenmelodie]. Theory of Harmony. Translated by Roy E. Carter. London: Faber Music, 1978, 421-422. Webern, Anton. “[Letter to Scherchen].” In Die Reihe No. 2: Anton Webern. Edited by Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen. [Translated by Eric Smith and Leo Black]. Bryn Mawr: Theodore Pesser, 1958, 19. ________. “[Letter to Jalowetz].” In Publications of the Paul Sacher Foundation. Vol. 7, Briefe an Heinrich Jalowetz. Edited by Ernst Lichtenhahn. Mainz: Schott, 1999, 609. Schoenberg, “Anton Webern: Klangfarbenmelodie.” In Style and Idea: Selected Writings of Arnold Schoenberg. Edited by Leonard Stein. Berkley: University of California Press, 1984, 484-485. Schnittke, Alfred. “Timbral Relationships And Their Functional Use.” In A Schnittke Reader. Edited by Alexander Ivashkin. Translated by John Goodliffe. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002, 101–112. Stravinsky, Igor. [Klangfarbenmelodie]. In Conversations with Stravinsky. Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft. Berkley: University of California Press, 1980, 110-111. Ives, Charles. “The [Second Movement of the] Fourth Symphony, for Large Orchestra.” In New Music 2. Vol. 2 (1929). Carter, Elliott. [The Problem of The Tutti]. In Flawed Words and Stubborn Sounds: A Conversation with Elliott Carter, Allen Edwards. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1971, 67-69; 72-75. Reich, Steve. “On the Size and Seating of the Symphony Orchestra.” In Writings on Music. Edited by Paul Hillier. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 161-3. Brant, Henry. “Spaced Out with Henry Brant.” Interview by Frank J. Oteri (4 October 2002) NewMusicBox 4, no. 9. (Accessed 6 February 2006) . Morton Feldman, “Unpublished Writings.” In Give My Regards to Eighth Street. Edited by B. H. Friedman. Cambridge, MA: Exact Change, 2000, 205-208. ________. “Anecdotes & Drawings.” In Give My Regards to Eighth Street. Edited by B. H. Friedman. Cambridge, MA: Exact Change, 2000, 191-193; 160-161. Boulez, Pierre. “Timbre and Composition — Timbre and Language.” Translated by R. Robertson, in Contemporary Music Review 2 (1987): 161–171.
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Index A Adler, Victor, 43 Altenberg Lieder, 148 Anacreon Overture, 87 Anatomie et phisiologie de l’orchestra, 93–96 Angels and Devils, 200 Armide, 17 Auber, Daniel François Esprit, 55 An Autobiography, Stravinsky, 3, 41–42
B Bach, J.S., 59–61, 119, 149, 153, 157–158, 165 Barberi, Giovanni, 115 Barth, Hans, 217 Bartók, Béla, 165, 193 Bauer-Lechner, Natalie, 45, 47, 64 Beer, Augustus, 63 Beethoven, Ludwig van, 1–44, 47, 53, 55–56, 60, 65, 69, 77–84, 87, 89–90, 115, 119, 125–126, 129, 138–145, 147, 209, 407–414 Berg, Alban, 148 Berio, Luciano, 165 Berlioz, Hector, 2, 17, 46, 56–58, 60–61, 63–64, 66–76, 117, 119, 127, 144, 147, 151, 195, 207 Bizet, Georges, 117 Boehm, Theobald, 115 Boulez, Pierre, 65, 114, 149, 165, 167, 180–181, 206–216 Brahms, Johannes, 60, 147, 164 Brandenburg Concertos, 208 Brant, Henry, 180, 194–201 Bruckner, Anton, 192
Busoni, Ferrucio, 66, 118, 120
C Cage, John, 179 Cardew, Cornelius, 203 Carmen, 47, 141 Carpenter, John Alden, 127 Carter, Elliott, 180, 188–191 Chadwick, George, 66 Charlton, David, 43 Cherubini, Luigi, 55–56, 87 Chopin, Fryderyk, 148 Choral Symphony, 37 Coerne, Louis Adolphe, 46, 63 Comettant, Oscar, 2, 43 Concerning the Execution of the Ninth Symphony, 40 Consecration of the House Overture, 87 Copland, Aaron, 114, 188 Coriolan overture, 1 A Course of Instruction, 77–92 Craft, Robert, 119, 147–149, 161 Cramer, Alfred, 176 Czerny, Carl, 2, 4–16, 43
D Le Damnation de Faust, 144, 151 de la Grange, Henry-Louis, 3, 43 Debussy, Claude, 127, 140, 149–150, 162, 179, 214 Delius, Frederick, 66, 93–96, 127–129, 131 The Desert Music, 192–193 Diatonic music, 121–126 Don Giovanni, 17
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228 • Index Grieg, Edvard, 66, 129 Gruppen, 196
Dvorák, Antonin, 129
E Edwards, Allen, 180, 188–191 Egmont Overture, 89–90 Eighth Symphony, of Beethoven, 26, 147 Encuasse, Gerard, 66 Euryanthe, 56, 60
F Falstaff, 151 Feldman, Morton, 180, 202–205 Fidelio, 2, 17, 55 Fifth Symphony, of Beethoven, 17, 21, 60, 77–78, 84 Figaro, 17 Figlia del Regimento, 32 First Nocturne (Nuages), 140 First Symphony of Beethoven, 8–16 of Brahms, 164 Flawed Words and Stubborn Sounds, 188–191 Fourth Symphony of Beethoven, 79–80 of Mendelssohn, 87 French orchestration late nineteenth century, 45–64 turn of twentieth century, 117–151 Friends of Music, 185 Fuga (Ricercata) a 6 voci, 165 Fux, Johann Joseph, 43
G Gabrieli, Giovanni, 195 Gavaert, F.-A., 53–57 German orchestration late nineteenth century, 45–64 turn of twentieth century, 117–151 Gevaert, F.-A., 45, 58, 63–64, 66, 114 Giovanni, Don, 54 Glazounov, Alexander, 117 Glinka, Mikhail, 117 Gluck, Christoph Willibald, 17, 53–56, 59–60, 64 Gounod, Charles, 2, 37–39 Grainger, Percy, 118, 127–132
H Handel, George Frideric, 59–60 Hauer, Josef Matthias, 118, 121–126 Haydn, Franz Joseph, 6, 18, 20, 53–54, 59–60, 121 Hebridies, 81, 114–115 Hindemith, Paul, 188 Hoffmann, E.T.A., 1, 43 Les Huguenots, 56 Hutchins, Carleen, 200
I Idomeneo, 54 In Flammen, 63 Incontri, 167 “Instruments Added by Moderns to the Scores of the Ancients,” 2 Intoleranza, 169–170 Italian Symphony, III, 143 Ives, Charles, 162, 179, 182–187
J Jadassohn, Solomon, 65, 77–92 Jakobsleiter, Die, 190 Jalowetz, Heinrich, 157
K Klangfarbenmelodie, 153–177, 179, 212, 221, 226 Koechlin, Charles, 119, 150–151 Kontrapunkte, 167–168
L Lachner, Franz Paul, 6, 43 Late nineteenth century, French/German orchestration I, 45–64 League of Composers, 185 Leonore, 82–84, 115 Leitakkord, 163 Ligeti, György, 165 Lipiner, Siegfried, 40 Lipinski, Karol Jozef, 43 Lipner, Sigfried, 3
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Index • 229
Liszt, Franz, 27, 43, 46, 61, 67, 117 Lohengrin, 26, 62, 88–89, 115 Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Die, 44
M Macero, Teo, 195 Mahler, Gustav, 2–3, 40, 45, 47, 50, 52, 119, 165, 191–192, 209 Marschalk, Max, 48–50 Martner, Knut, 63 Massenet, Jules, 140–141 Meistersinger, 60–61 Mendelssohn, Felix, 56, 81, 87–88, 114–115, 143 Meyerbeer, Giacomo, 56 Milhaud, Darius, 114 Moses und Aron, 210 Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 5–6, 17–18, 20, 37, 41, 54, 56, 59–60, 121, 129, 162, 188 Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta, 165, 193 Musikalische Kompositionslehre, 65 Musikalisches Wochenblatt, 2
N Name Day Overture, 87 New music, orchestral possibilities, 65–116 Newlin, Dika, 176 Nibelungen tetralogy, 56 Nicolai, Otto, 38, 44 Ninth Symphony of Beethoven, 1–3, 18–32, 35–38, 40, 56, 60, 138–145, 407–414 of Shostakovich, 163–164 Nono, Luigi, 165, 167, 169–175 Nouvel, Walter, 3, 43
O Oberon, 56, 60, 207 Olympie, 55 Oper und Drama, 45, 59 Orchestra tutti, 77–92, 101–103 instrument arrangements, 82–84 separation of groups of instruments, 84–86 tone color/movement of, 86–92 Orchestral Songs, 190
Oteri, Frank J., 194–201
P Phanor and Phanette, 63 Pierrot Lunaire, 211, 214 Poulenc, Francis, 114 Principles of Orchestration, 66, 97–117, 176 Pro-Musica Society, 185 Puccini, Giacomo, 129
R Ravel, Maurice, 66, 144–145, 147–148, 151 Reich, Steve, 180, 192–193 Reissinger, Carl Gottlieb, 43 Rhapsody Espagnole, 144 Ricercata, 153, 157–158 Riemann, Hugo, 46 Ries, Ferdinand, 6, 43 Rimsky-Korsakov, Nicolay, 46, 66, 97–117, 147, 150, 162, 165 Robert le Diable, 56 Rossini, Gioachino, 37, 55–56, 129
S Saint-Yves d’Alveydre, Marquis Joseph Alexandre, 114 Scherchen, Hermann, 157–158 Schnittke, Alfred, 154, 162 Schoenberg, Arnold, 118–119, 133–138, 147–148, 153, 155–156, 159–160, 162–163, 165, 190, 209 School of Practical Composition, 4–16 Schubert, Franz, 2, 186 Schule der Praktischen Tonsetzkunst, 2 Schumann, Robert, 56, 60 Scott, Cyril, 127, 129 Second Symphony, of Beethoven, 81–82, 115 Seventh Symphony, of Beethoven, 22 Sheridan, Molly, 201 Shostakovich, Dmitri, 163–164 Sibelius, Jean, 192 Siegfried Idyll, 61 Sinfonia Eroica, 18 Smythe, Ethel, 66 Spatial orchestral pieces, 194–200 Spohr, Louis, 6, 43 Spontini, Gasparo, 17, 55–56 Steinberg, Maximilian, 117
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230 • Index Stockhausen, Karlheinz, 165, 167–168, 196 Strauss, Richard, 45–46, 58, 62–64, 67–76, 119, 127, 165 Stravinsky, Igor, 3, 41–43, 119, 128, 131, 147–149, 161, 163, 188 Les Sylphides, 148 Symphonie Fantastique, 56 Symphony of Psalms, 163
V La Valse, 145, 151 Vanti de vita e d’amore, 175 Verdi, Giuseppe, 151 La Vestale, of Fernand Cortez, 55 Viardot, Pauline, 2 Von Heute auf Morgen, 147 von Weber, Carl Maria, 46
T Tchaikovsky, Piotr Il’yich, 117, 129, 162 Theory of Harmony [Harmonielehre], 155–156 Third Symphony, of Mahler, 45 Threni, 148 Tolney-Witt, Gisella, 46, 50–52 A Travers Chants, 17 Treatise on Instrumentation, 58, 127 Tristan, 60–61 The Tsar’s Bride, 109
U The Unanswered Question, 195
W Wagner, Richard, 1–3, 18–32, 37–41, 44–47, 56–62, 88–89, 115, 117, 125, 128–129, 162, 165, 181, 214 Weber, Carl Maria, von, 2, 53, 56, 60–61, 69, 129, 207 Webern, Anton, 153, 157–161, 165–167, 188, 204, 212–213 Weingartner, Felix, 66, 115 Werther, 140–141 Wieck, Friedwich, 43 The Wind Band and its Instruments, 127–128 Wolf, Hugo, 43 Wolfrum, Karl, 64 Wolfrum, Philipp, 64
Z Zauberflöte, Die, 54
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