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Topic: Silly question about names of instruments

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  1. #1
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    Silly question about names of instruments

    I heard Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 on the radio a few days ago and so, remembering how much I liked it, I decided to dig out the score. I have a quick question about instrument names. The string section is listed as follows:

    Violino I di ripieno
    Violino II di ripieno
    Viola di ripieno
    Violine di ripieno
    Violoncello e Cembalo all’ unisono

    OK, I know the top 3 and think that the “di ripieno” is pretty much there so somebody doesn’t mistakenly use their viol (I’m sure a very common mistake today). I’m also pretty sure the Violoncello is simply a cello. But what is the Violine? Or the Cembalo? In the No. 5 Concerto the Cembalo part is written as a keyboard part (now that I think about it, No. 5 is the harpsichord concerto with a great solo) and in the other concertos the Violine is in the continuo. So is the Violine a bass and Cembalo the harpsichord and Bach, for this concerto, wanted the harpsichord to be based on the cello instead of the bass? The Violine and Violoncello parts are very similar but not identical.

    Anyway, in asking the question I seem to have answered it. Is this correct? Just want to be sure before I do a GPO of this (if I ever do - I'm working on 3 other things).

    Thanks.
    Trent P. McDonald

  2. #2

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    Actually a cello is short for Violincello...

    As for the others.. maybe give the Google translator a shot, I would but I'm sleepy. If it is still unanswered, tomorrow, I'll figure it out... or ask my old composition teacher.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  3. #3

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    trent,

    I think you've got it about right. I believe di ripieno means "of the full orchestra", which is to say, the part is not for a solo violin. For the double bass, I believe the term is spelled "violone", not "violine". Cembalo is Italian for harpsichord.

    I don't have the score, but your description does appear to indicate that the cellos and harpsichord are to play from the same figured bass, though it is much more normal for the bass instrument(s) to share this part with the harpsichord. In fact, originally there often wasn't an actual bass or harpsichord part per se. There was simply a part called "continuo", which was a figured bass line that the double bass (and bassoon if available) and keyboard share. In this case, the keyboardist would actually improvise a part by interpreting the figurations for chords and suspensions over the bass line.

  4. #4

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    Hmm, Violine might be plural of Violino (as in violin section).

    and Fagotti is not what you think it is, you bad boy you )

    Matt

  5. #5

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    DarwinKopp has got it right.

    "Violine" is a misprint for "Violone" = Double Bass. It cannot be the plural of "Violino" which is "Violini".

  6. #6

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    This is interesting . Harpsichord is also called Klavicembalo i think . Klavi for piano..... cembalo for ?
    And Staccato is italian for detache :P ( just googled that )
    Theo Krueger - Composer

    www.TheoKrueger.com

    Kontakt 2 Scripts

  7. #7

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by Theodor
    This is interesting . Harpsichord is also called Klavicembalo i think . Klavi for piano..... cembalo for ?
    And Staccato is italian for detache :P ( just googled that )
    Hi guys,
    Hope this help from an italian musician (just me!)

    "Violino I di ripieno" and all the other instruments with "ripieno" means that they all have to play toghether (Like the modern Violin/Viola section).
    RIPIENO is synonymous of CONCERTO GROSSO where all the instruments play toghether, in opposite of CONCERTINO where we find only solo instruments.
    VIOLINE doesn't exist...maybe you find a print error. Probably it is the VIOLONE which is between the VIOLA and the CELLO, played like a cello but smaller in dimensions with a baritonal range.
    VIOLONCELLO is the italian word for CELLO, and CLAVICEMBALOis the Harpsichord.
    The name CLAVICEMBALO is composed by the words KLAVI which means Keyboard, and CEMBALO which comes from CYMBALION which is and ancient indian instrument very similar to the dulcimer. In fact the harpsichord it's a cymbalion,but played with a keyboard instead of sticks.
    Hope this help
    Bye
    Francesco

  8. #8

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    Ole!

    Thanks Francesco!

  9. #9

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    And how about the brass section??

    Cornet is trumpet, correct, not what we would think of as a cornet? And Trombe doesn't seem to be trombones- is it the french horn??

  10. #10

    Re: Silly question about names of instruments

    Quote Originally Posted by FredProgGH
    And how about the brass section??

    Cornet is trumpet, correct, not what we would think of as a cornet? And Trombe doesn't seem to be trombones- is it the french horn??

    Cornet is not italian, however it is the flugelhorn.
    TROMBE it's the plural of TROMBA which is the trumpet.
    cheers
    Francesco

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