Thank you, bcjohnson3, for your careful and detailed listening, and your notes. As the primary editor of the course, may I outline a few areas that may be of interest.
Concerning the excerpts in general, little editing of Rimsky-Korsakov's text or excerpt choices was done, in the interest of maintaining the truest possible representation of the original work. For instance, per your specific concern, if Rimsky-Korsakov chose to call something "melodic" -- we didn't argue. If you read the original Rimsky-Korsakov, I believe you will easily corroborate our fidelity to his original work.
Concerning accuracy, the Rimsky-Korsakov is indeed a challenge in regard to the score excerpts -- as anyone who has studied the original text in detail will vigorously confirm.
Many of the excerpts are unclear in the original: obscure notation conventions, absence of proper markup, and notes themselves that cannot be properly read. In many such cases, one of our editors (David Sosnowski) sought out other editions of the scores if they were available -- only to find that even differing editions disagreed. Our orchestration professors also reviewed the material available.
Inevitably, editorial choices had to be made in these cases, and those choices are reflected in the materials.
In cases where simple errors have arisen in the monumental task of transmogrifying this venerable text into an online version, we shall, of course, endeavor to correct them as a more mature edition develops.
Thank you again, bcjohnson3, for your input; it's much appreciated!