GARRITAN INTERACTIVE

PRINCIPLES OF ORCHESTRATION
by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov



Lesson Notes: In this lesson we will continue to discuss melody in the Stringed Instruments. This lesson will cover Grouping in Unison, Doubling in Octaves, Doubling in Three and Four Octaves and Melody in Thirds and Sixths.


Chapter II (Continued)

MELODY



Part 1 - Stringed Instruments (Continued)

Grouping in unison.


a) Violins I and Violins II
It goes without saying that this combination entails no alteration in color; it gains in power and richness of tone by reason of the increased number of players, and is usually attended by doubling of the melody in some departments of the wood-wind. The large number of violins prevents the wood-wind predominating, and the tone quality remains that of the string quartet, enriched and amplified.




Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 12. Sheherazade, beginning of the 3rd movement - Cantabile for Violins I and II in unison on the D string.



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No. 13. The Golden Cockerel, Section 170 - Violins I + II con sordino in unison.


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References:

The May Night, Overture D. Quick piano melody, beginning cantabile and divided later in octaves (
Violins I & II in octaves) with florid embellishment.


b) Violins and Violas
The combination of violins and violas presents no special characteristics, as in the preceding case. The violins remain predominant, and the resonance is rich and full.

Score References & Musical Example Using GPO:



No. 14. Sadko, Section 208 - Violins I and II and Violas (G string) in unison. Quiet cantabile melody pp with the altos and tenors of the chorus.




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Other References:
The Golden Cockerel, Section 142 - Same combination.

c) Violasand Cellos
Produces a rich full resonance, the 'cello quality predominating.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 15. Snegourotchka, Section 5 -Apparition of Spring - Violas and Cellos (and English horn) in unison.
The same melody, mezzo-forte cantabile as in Ex. 9; but in a brighter key, a third higher, its resonance is more brilliant and tense. The addition of the Eng. horn makes no essential difference to the compound tone; the 'cellos stand out above the rest.

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No. 16. The Golden Cockerel, Section 71 - Violas and Cellos (con sordino) in unison


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Other References: cf. Example 15: The Legend of Kitesh, Section 330.

d) Violinsand Cellos
A combination similar to the preceding one. The 'cello tone prevails and the resonance is fuller.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 17. Snegourotchka, Section 288,"Spring descends upon the Lake." Violins I & II and 'Cellos in unison(with English. horn).
The same cantabile as in Example 9 and 15. The English horn is absorbed in the musical texture, the principal color being that of the 'cellos. Still more powerful in resonance.
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No. 18. The May Night. Act III, Section Chorus of Roussalki - The combination of the solo Cello with the Violins gives the latter a touch of the 'cello timbre.


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e) Violins I and Violins IIand Violasand Cellos
Combining violins, violas and 'cellos in unison is not possible except in the alto-tenor register; this process unites the full resonance of the instruments into an ensemble of complex quality, very tense and powerful in forte passages, extremely full and rich in piano.


Score References & Musical Example Using GPO:


No. 19. Sheherazade, 2nd movement, Section P - Violins I & II, Violas and Cellos. Energetic Phrase ff.

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Other References:

Mlada, Lithuanian dance, before 36;
Mlada, Act. III. 40. � Cleopatra's dance. Cantabile embellished in oriental fashion.
f) Cellos and Double Basses


A combination of rich full resonance, used occasionally for phrases in the very low register.

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 20. Sadko, Section 260 - Cellos and Double Basses. A persistent forte figure, severe in character.



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No. 21. Legend of the Invisible City of Kitesh, Section 240 - Cellos and Double Basses. A pianissimo phrase, sinister and horrible in character.

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Professor Comments:

Professor Belkin Comments: This is the moment to introduce the concept of “normal dispositions”. When combining instruments WITHIN THE SAME TIMBRAL FAMILY, a good analogy is the choir of human voices. There are 4 basic groups, organised in order of register; their blending requires no special effort. (The double bass is very rarely a separate part, normally being used to double the cello at the octave.) The doublings which are most innocuous are always the adjacent ones, e.g. vln. 1 + vln. 2, vla. + cello, etc.. Doublings involving non-adjacent instruments are generally more distinctive, since one of the instruments is usually playing in a more extreme register. Distinctive doublings (i.e. those which attract attention) are mainly used for foreground material, and must be chosen for their specific character.



Next Lesson: Melody in the Wood-wind


Copyright 2006 Garritan