GARRITAN INTERACTIVE

PRINCIPLES OF ORCHESTRATION
by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov



Chapter II
MELODY

Part 2 - Unison & Octaves in the Wood-wind

Lesson Notes: In this lesson we will continue our discussion of Melody in the Wood-Wind. We well delve into unison and octaves in wood-wind melody. As mentioned in the previous lesson, wood-wind instruments have more diversity in tone color than any other instrument group in the orchestra




Combinations in unison.


The combination of two different wood-wind instruments in unison yields the following tone qualities:


a) Flute
and Oboe

A quality fuller than that of the flute, sweeter than that of the oboe. Played softly, the flute will predominate in the low, the oboe in the upper register.



Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 52. Snegourotchka, Section 113 - Flute and Oboe in unison.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score
b) Flute and Clarinet

A quality fuller than that of the flute, duller than that of the clarinet. The flute will predominate in the lower, the clarinet in the higher register.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 53. Legend of Kitesh, Section 330; also 339 and 342 - Flute and Clarinet in unison.

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There are also instrument and full versions


c) Oboe
and Clarinet

A fuller quality than that of either instrument heard separately. The dark, nasal tone of the oboe will prevail in the low register, the bright, "chest" quality of the clarinet in the high compass.



Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 54. Snegourotchka, Section 115 - Oboe and Clarinet in unison.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score
Other References:
• Legend of Kitesh, Section 68, 70 & 84 - 2 Oboes and 3 Clarinets in unison (Ex. 199-201).
• Snegourotchka, Section 19.


d) Flute
and Oboe and Clarinet

Very full in quality. The flute predominates in the low register, the oboe in the middle, and the clarinet in the high compass.
References:
• Mlada, Act I, Section 1.
* Sadko, Section 58 - 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes and an Eb Clarinet in unison.

e) Bassoon
and Clarinet

Very full quality. The gloomy character of the clarinet prevails in the lower register, the sickly quality of the bassoon in the higher.

References:
• Mlada, Act II, after Section 49.


f) Bassoon
and Oboe and


g) Bassoon
and Flute


The combinations of f) and g) above, as well as Bassoon and Clarinet and Oboe; as well as Bassoon and Clarinet and Flute are very seldom found except in certain orchestral tutti, where they produce increased resonance without creating a fresh atmosphere. But in such combinations, the range of which is practically restricted to the limits of the third octave, the low notes of the flute will predominate in the lower third of this register, and the high notes of the bassoon in the middle third. The clarinet, weak in the middle compass will not stand out prominently in this particular combination.

h) Bassoon
and Clarinet and Oboe and Flute

This combination is equally rare. The colour is rich, and difficult to define in words. The tone of each instrument will be separated from the others more or less in the manner detailed above.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 55. Snegourotchka, Section 301 - Flute and Oboe and Clarinet and Bassoon in unison.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score
Other References:
• The May Night, Act III , Section Qqq.
* Russian Easter Fete, the beginning.

The process of combining two or more qualities of tone is unison, while endowing the music with greater resonance, sweetness and power, possesses the disadvantage of restricting the variety of colour and expression. Individual timbres lose their characteristics when associated with others. Hence such combinations should be handled with extreme care. Phrases or melodies demanding diversity of expression alone should be entrusted to solo instruments of simple timbres. The same applies to the coupling of two instruments of the same kind, such as 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons. The quality of tone will lose nothing of its individuality, and will gain in power, but its capacity for expression will be diminished accordingly. An instrument enjoys greater independence and freedom when used as a solo than when it is doubled. The use of doubling and mixed timbres is naturally more frequent in loud passages than in soft ones, also where expression and colour is broad rather than individual or intimate in character.

Professor Belkin Comments: Melodic doubling of the same instrument at the unison, e.g. 2 flutes in unison gives no really new timbre, and easily sounds out of tune (2 instruments are not enough to create the “chorus effect” seen in a string section). The result is also not very much louder than one instrument, and the effect of a solo woodwind as an “intimate voice” in the orchestra is lost. Overuse of this kind of doubling is a common beginner’s mistake and is best avoided. Note the we are here referring to a melody doubled ONLY in two instruments of the same kind. Combining, say, 2 flutes with a section of violins is fairly common: The goal here is not the flute timbre in itself but rather to soften the violin sound.

Doubling woodwind at the unison with MORE than two of the same instrument, e.g. 4 clarinets in unison, is sometimes useful when a rather crude, rustic sound is desired. Of course is band scoring this practice is quite common.


I cannot refrain from mentioning how greatly I dislike the method of duplicating all the wood-wind, in order to balance a group of strings, reinforced out of all reason, to 'suit the ever-growing dimensions of concert halls. I am convinced that, artistically speaking, a limit should be set to the size of both concert room and orchestra. The music performed at these super-concerts must be specially composed on a plan of its own — a subject which cannot be considered here.





Combinations in octaves.

When the melody is entrusted to two wood-wind instruments in octaves, the usual arrangement producing natural resonance is:




The combination of flute and bassoon in octaves is rare on account of the widely separated registers of the two instruments. Deviation from the natural order, such as placing the bassoon above the clarinet or oboe, the clarinet above the oboe or flute etc., creates an unnatural resonance occasioned by the confusion of registers, the instrument of lower compass playing in its high register and vice versa. The lack of proper relationship between the different tone qualities then becomes apparent.

Professor Belkin Comments: The melodic ombination of high flute and high bassoon, doubled at TWO octaves apart with nothing in between, is a favourite of Mozart’s.

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 56. Spanish Capriccio, Section O - Flutes and Oboes in octaves.


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No. 57. Snegourotchka, Section 254 - Flutes and English Horn in octaves.



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No. 58. Sheherazade, 3rd movement, Section E - Flutes and Clarinets in octaves.


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No. 59. Vera Scheloga , Section 30 - Clarinets and Bassoons in Octaves.



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Likewise any number of examples in the scores of many composers.


Other References:
• Pan Voyevoda,
Section 132 - Flutes and Clarinets in octaves.
Tsar Sultan, Section 39 - Flutes and Clarinets in octaves.

The use of two instruments of the same colour in octaves, e. g. 2 flutes, 2 clarinets or 2 bassoons etc., if not exactly to be avoided is certainly not to be recommended, as the instruments, playing in different registers will not correspond one with the other. Nevertheless this method may be safely employed when stringed instruments, areo or pizzicato double the two members of the wood-wind, and especially in the middle compass. The process is most satisfactory for repeated notes or sustained passages.

Professor Belkin Comments: This doubling is more “neutral” sounding, since there is little timbral variety. With discrete accompaniment, it can be quite useful on occasion.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 60. Mlda, Act III. before Section 44 - Oboes and English Horn in octaves.


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Other References:
cf Example 21- Legend of Kitesh,
Section 240 - Bassoons and Double Bassoons in octaves.
cf Example 15 - Snegourotchka
, Section 5 - Piccolo and Flutes in octaves.

cf Example 36: Tsar Saltan, Section 216 - Piccolo and Flutes in octaves.
Tsar's Bride,
Section 133 - Piccolo and Flutes in octaves.
Sadko, after Section 59, Eb Clarinet and Bb Clarinet in octaves.

As in the strings, so in the wood-wind it is advisable to double in octaves any melody situated in the extremely high or low compass; an octave lower in the first case, an octave higher in the second. Thus the piccolo will be doubled by the flute, oboe or clarinet an octave lower; the double bassoon will be doubled by bassoon, clarinet or bass clarinet an octave higher.

Professor Belkin Comments: This is because pitch perception at extremes is harder than in the middle register.






Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 61. Mlada*, Act II, Lithuanian Dance, Section 32 - Piccolo and Eb Clarinet in octaves.


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No. 62. Servilia, Section 168 - 2 Flutes and Oboe in unison playing an octave above 2 Clarinets & English Horn.


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No. 63. The Tsar's Bride, Section 120 - 3 Flutes and Oboe playing an octave above a combination of 2 Clarinets and a Bassoon and an English Horn.


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Other References:
Tsar Saltan*,
Section 39 - Piccolo and Oboe in octaves.
Sadko,
Section 150 - Piccolo and Eb Clarinet in octaves.
Pan Voyevoda , Section 134 - Clarinet and Oboe playing an octave above a Clarinet and English Horn.
Mlada, Act III, Section 41 - Flute and Bass Flutes playing an octave above a Clarinet and Bass Clarinet.
* Mixed qualities of tone may be employed in doubling in octaves, the above remarks still holding good.




Doubling in two, three and four octaves.

In such cases the student should follow the above-mentioned rules, and should take care not to infringe the natural order:



Mixed timbres may also be employed.

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 64. Spanish Capriccio, Section P- Melody in 4 octaves: Piccolo doubled the octave above 2 Flutes, which is doubled an octave above 2 Oboes and Clarinet, which is doubled above the Bassoon .


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No. 65. Antar, 1st version, 3rd movement, the beginning - Piccolo and 2 Flutes doubled the octave above 2 Flutes and 2 Clarinets, which is doubled an octave above the Bassoon.


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*Here is a Winds-only MP3 version of No. 65 Antar: Click here.

http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ntar-winds.mp3


No. 66. Sheherazade, 3rd movement, Section G - Piccolo doubled the octave above Clarinet I, which is doubled an octave above Clarinet II.

Professor Belkin Comments: These examples illustrate the use of the woodwind as a MASSED CHOIR, rather than as soloists. There are actually various interesting sounds thus made available; however it should be remembered that the more colors one combines at once, the less effect they have afterwards. One of the simplest, but deepest, principles of Mozart’s orchestration is: a wind instrument with an important solo often will rest for a while before, so the entry of the new color remains fresh. This is an important reason for avoiding overuse of doubled sounds in general. The grand master of heterogeneous wind doublings is Wagner.


Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score


Other References:
The Tsar's Bride,
Section 141 - Melody in 3 octaves.
Legend of Kitesh ,
Section 212 - 2 Clarinets Double an octave above a Bass Clarinet, which is doubled an octave above the Double Bassoon.
Mlada, Act III, after Section 42 - Flute doubled an octave above the Oboe, which is doubled an octave above the English Horn.
Examples of melody doubled in five octaves are extremely rare; in such cases the strings participate in the process.


Melody in the Wood-wind: Three and Four Octave Displacement Exercise


1. Click and refer to the background score.
2. Load the background track MP3 in your MP3 player or sequencer. For the MP3 click here.
This is an ambient version and if you want a dryer, more intimate version, click here.
2. Load the Three or Four Octave MIDI file into a sequencer or notation program supporting GPO and assign instruments accordingly. For the MIDI file click here.
3. Recreate your melody used for 3 and 4 octave displacement in strings to the specified structures (natural order) described on this page using winds. If needed, look at some of RK's examples for guidance.
Note: Here is but one possible example using various stringed instruments. For the test example click here.




Melody in thirds and sixths.


Melodic progression in thirds and sixths demands either two instruments of the same colour (2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons) or instruments of different colours in the normal order of register:






If this order is inverted, e. g. Oboe with Flute in 3rds or 6ths below, Clarinet with Flute in 3rds or 6ths below, or Bassoon with Clarinet in 3rds or 6ths below; a strained and forced resonance is created. For progressions in thirds, the best method, from the standpoint of equality in tone is to use instruments of the same kind in pairs; for progressions in sixths instruments of different kinds are more suitable, but both courses are good and useful: They may also be employed for progressions in thirds and sixths, or thirds, fifths and sixths mixed, as for example:


Professor Belkin Comments: The use of flutes in thirds doubled two octaves lower by bassoons in thirds is often found in Sibelius.



Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:




No. 67. Spanish Capriccio, before V - various wood-wind in thirds and sixths.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score



*Here is a Winds-only MP3 version of No. 67 Spanish Capriccio: Click here.

http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/principles/mp3/67SpanishCapriccio-winds.mp3


Other References:
Legend of Kitesh,
Section 24 - different woodwinds in turn.
The May Night
, Act III, Section G - Clarinets playing in thirds.
Sadko,
Section 279-280 - Flutes playing in thirds.
Servilia,
Section 228 - Flutes playing in thirds.
The Golden Cockerel,
Section 232 - 2 Flutes playing a 3rd above 2 Oboes.
Sadko,
Section 279-280 - All wood-wind in turn, simple timbres.
When the doubled parts progress in thirds or sixths, the following method is advisable:




In the case of tripling, the following arrangement may be adopted:




Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 68. The Christmas Night, Section 187 - Oboe and Clarinet playing in third with another Oboe and Clarinet.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score


Other References:
Legend of Kitesh,
Section 202-203 - Different mixed timbres.


GPO Exercise - Melody in the Wood-wind: Thirds & Sixths Exercise

1. Refer to the background score and the melody score. For the background score click here. For the melody score click here.
2. Load the background track MP3 in your MP3 player or sequencer. For the background track MP3 click here.
This is an ambient version and if you want a dryer, more intimate version, click here.
3. Load the given MIDI file either into a sequencer or notation program supporting GPO and assign instruments accordingly. For the MIDI file click here.
4. Take the given melody and harmonize it according to the explanations in the "Melody in thirds and sixths" section above using various wind combonations in 3rds and 6ths and the same rhyhtmic value as the initial melody. Feel free to experiment with register and ornamentation. Use references if needed under this topic.
Here is but one possible example.



Thirds and sixths together.



Apart from the obvious distribution:






There are certain complicated methods which involve doubling:




Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 69. Legend of Kitesh , Section 35 - Oboe/Oboe + Clarinet/Clarinet + Flute/Flute + Oboe/Oboe.
Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score




SUMMARY EXERCISES:

Melody in Wood-wind Summary Exercise 1

In this exercise you will experiment with adding a various wood-wind instrument melodies to a background track of harp and strings.

1. Click and refer to the background score. For the background score click here.
2. Load the background track MP3 in your MP3 player or sequencer. For the MP3 click here. This is an ambient version and if you want a dryer, more intimate version, click here.
3. Load the given MIDI file into your sequencer or notation program load the respective GPO instruments. For the MIDI file click here.
4. Load the woodwind instrument(s) into GPO.
5. Go through the various instrument combos from solo winds to unisons and octaves in accordance with the above sections dealing with melody in the wood-wind, combinations in unison and combination in octaves.

Note:
Here are some possible examples using various wood-wind instruments: Flute & Oboe; 2 Oboes;
Clarinet, Bassoon; Bassoon Octave Below Oboe; Wood-wind in Double Octaves.

Try doing your own melodies as you try the different string instruments.

Melody in Strings Summary Exercise 2 focusing on Low Range Wood-winds

In this exercise you will experiment with adding various low-ranged wood-wind instrument melodies to a background track of harp, flutes and strings.

1. Click and refer to the background score. For the background score click here.
2. Load the background track MP3 in your MP3 player or sequencer. For the MP3 click here. This is an ambient version and if you want a dryer, more intimate version, click here.
3. Load the given MIDI file into your sequencer or notation program load the respective GPO instruments. For the MIDI file click here.
4. Load the wood-wind instrument(s) into GPO.
5. Go through the various instrument combos from solo winds to unisons and octaves in accordance with the above sections dealing with melody in the wood-wind, combinations in unison and combination in octaves.

Note: Here are some possible examples using various low range wood-wind instruments: Bassoon; Bass Clarinet; Wood-wind in Double Octaves.

(note, the MIDI are optimized for sequencers, however balance issues may vary from system to system)




Next Lesson: Melody in the Brass


Copyright 2006 Garritan