GARRITAN INTERACTIVE
PRINCIPLES OF ORCHESTRATION
by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov



Chapter II
MELODY

Part 4 - Melody in different groups of instruments combined together



"The right music played by the right instruments at the right time in the right combination: that's good orchestration." --Leonard Bernstein

Lesson Notes: In this lesson we will discuss the combination of various groups of instruments. In previous lessons we discussed melody in each of the various instrument groups and in this lession we will focus on inter-group combinations. Knowing how the instrument groups combine is at the very heart of orchestration.

Professor Belkin: In general the inter-group doublings can be divided into two types: those where the result is a new, blended, timbre, and those where the result is interesting because of the a clear CONTRAST of timbre. RK is mainly concerned here with the former, since they are technically more difficult to achieve.

Note also that these doublings are never very personal or intimate in character; the effect is always a (relatively) thicker timbre.



Melody in different groups of instruments.

A. Combination of wind and brass in unison.

The combination of a wood-wind and brass instrument produces a complex resonance in which the tone of the brass predominates. This resonance is naturally more powerful than that of each instrument taken separately, but slightly sweeter than the brass instrument alone. The tone of the wood-wind blends with that of the brass, softens and rarefies it, as in the process of combining two wood-wind instruments of different colour. Instances of such doubling are fairly numerous, especially in forte passages. The trumpet is the instrument most frequently doubled: Trumpet + Clarinet, Trumpet +Oboe, Trumpet + Flute, as well as Trumpet + Clarinet + Oboe + Flute; the horn, less often: Horn + Clarinet, Horn + Bassoon. Trombones and Tuba may also be doubled: Trombone + Bassoon, Tuba + Bassoon. Combining the English horn, bass clarinet and double bassoon with the brass, in corresponding registers, presents the same characteristics.

Professor Belkin Comments: One might wonder WHY anybody would double a brass instrument with a woodwind, since the brass is almost always much louder. The main reason is to smooth out the brass timbre, to make it less aggressive.


Score & Musical Examples:
References:
Legend of Kitesh, Section 56 - Trombone and English Horn.
Mlada, Act III, before Section 34 - 3 Trombones and Bass Clarinet.

As a rule, the addition of a wind or a brass instrument yields a finer legato effect than when the latter instrument plays alone.


GPO Exercise - Melody in Different Groups: Brass and Winds in Unison - Exercise 1

In this exercise we will focus on the combination of wind and brass in unison.
1. 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 background track MP3 click here.
For a dry version if you want a more intimate sound, 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. Load the brass and wind instruments into GPO.
5. Play your melody in different combinations of brass and wind instruments in unison to the backing track of strings, harp and flutes. Refer to the rulesets given by Rimsky-Korsakov under wind and brass combined in unison (section above) either into a sequencer or notation program supporting GPO and assign instruments accordingly. If needed, refer at some of RK's examples.


GPO Exercise - Melody in Different Groups: Brass and Winds in Unison - Exercise 2

This is another exercise focusing on the combination of wind and brass in unison.
1. 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 background track MP3 click here.
For a dry version if you want a more intimate sound, 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. Load the brass and wind instruments into GPO.
5. Play your melody in different combinations of brass and wind instruments in unison to the backing track of strings, bassoons and clarinet. Refer to the rulesets given by Rimsky-Korsakov under wind and brass combined in unisons (section above) either into a sequencer or notation program supporting GPO and assign instruments accordingly. If needed, refer at some of RK's examples.
Here are possible examples:
Horn and Bassoon in Unison
Trombone and 2 Bassoons in Unison
Muted Trumpet and Flute in Unison


B. Combination of wind and brass in octaves.

Doubling the horns in octaves by clarinets, oboes or flutes often replaces the combination:

Professor Belkin Comments: As we will see later when discussing harmony in combined groups, the brass has no representatives in the highest register. Properly disposed, woodwinds (unlike strings) can reinforce the harmonics of the brass instruments without sounding overly different in color.


This is done when it is a question of introducing a rich tone into the upper octave which the trumpet is not capable of imparting. If a single horn is used, the upper part is allotted to 2 clarinets, 2 oboes, or 2 flutes. But it there are two horns playing the lower octave in unison, three or four wind instruments will be necessary above, especially in forte passages:

Professor Belkin Comments:
This is because winds by nature are not as loud as brass, and the louder they get, the more the brass stand out.






To double a trumpet in the upper octave three or four wind instruments are required, but in the top register two flutes will suffice.




Wood-wind instruments should not be used to double a trombone in the octave above; trumpets are more suitable.

Professor Belkin Comments: Unlike horns, which can be considered “transitional” instruments between woodwinds and brass (notice their position in the score!), trombones have no non-brass “family” relationships. Trumpets suffer less from this problem, probably simply because there are so few choices anyway above their normal register.



Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 78. Mlada, Act III, after Section 25 - 2 Clarinets + 2 Horns + Trombone with Bass Clarinet +2 Horns + Trombone doubling an octave below (low register)Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score


79. Mlada, Act III, after Section 355 -
general unison.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score


Other References:
Sheherazade, 4th Movement, 15th bar after Section W - 2 Flutes + 2 Oboes with Piccolo doubling an octave above and 2 Trumpets doubling an octave below.
Mlada, Act III, beginning of Scene III - Trombone + Bass Clarinet with Tuba and Contrabassoon doubling an octave below.
Legend of Tsar Salton, Section 228 - 2 Flutes + 2 Oboes with Piccolo doubling an octave above and Trumpet and English Horn doubling an octave below.
Legend of Tsar Salton, before 180 - Oboe and Clarinet in unison, playing a sixth apart from another oboe and clarinet, doubled an octave below by the horns.
* Mention should also be made of mixed timbres (wood and brass) in progression in octaves.




GPO Exercise - Melody in Different Groups: Brass and Winds in Octaves - Exercise 1

In this exercise we will focus on the combination of wind and brass in octaves
.
1. 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 background track MP3 click here.
For a dry version if you want a more intimate sound, 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. Load the brass and wind instruments into GPO.
5. Select a brass or wind instruments from GPO and play your melody in different combinations of brass and wind instruments in octaves to the backing track. Refer to the rulesets given by Rimsky-Korsakov under wind and brass combined in octaves (section above) either into a sequencer or notation program supporting GPO and assign instruments accordingly. If needed, refer at some of RK's examples.

Here are two possible examples:
Solo Horn doubled by oboe clarinet above.
Trumpet doubled Oboe 2 flutes- higher register leap. This is described above. The melody starts in the lower register thus has 2 flutes and an oboe above the trumpet. The oboe drops out when the big skip arrives to show what RK is talking about with lower register needing more doubling and higher just 2 flutes suffice.
GPO Exercise - Melody in Different Groups: Brass and Winds in Octaves - Exercise 2

This is another exercise focusing on the combination of wind and brass in octaves.

1. 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 background track MP3 click here.
For a dry version if you want a more intimate sound, 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. Load the brass and wind instruments into GPO.
5. Select a brass or wind instruments from GPO and play your melody in different combinations of brass and wind instruments in octaves to the backing track. Refer to the rulesets given by Rimsky-Korsakov under wind and brass combined in octaves (section above) either into a sequencer or notation program supporting GPO and assign instruments accordingly. If needed, refer at some of RK's examples.Here is one possible example:
3 Octave Displace, Brass & Wind mixture



C. Combination of strings and wind.

In commencing this section of the work I consider it necessary to lay down the following fundamental rules which apply equally to melody, harmony, counterpoint and polyphonic writing.

All combinations of strings and wood-wind are good; a wind instrument progressing in unison with a stringed instrument increases the resonance of the latter and amplifies its tone, while the quality of the strings softens that of the wood-wind. In such combinations the strings will predominate provided that the two' instruments are of equal power, e. g: when violins are coupled with an oboe, a bassoon with the 'cellos. If several wind instruments play in unison with one group of strings, the latter will be over-powered. As a rule all combinations refine the characteristics of each instrument taken separately, the wood-wind losing more than the strings.

Professor Belkin Comments: What RK means by “refine” here is: ATTENUATE! It is worth mentioning that in pre-classical scores, before the formation of the orchestra became standardized, records frequently show ensembles with the winds far outnumbering the strings. (See Adam Carse’s books on the history of orchestration.)


Doubling in unison.

The best and most natural combinations are between instruments whose registers correspond the nearest:





The object of these combinations is:
a) to obtain a new timbre of definite colour;
b) to strengthen the resonance of the strings;
c) to soften the quality of the wood-wind.
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 80. The May Night, Act III, Section Bb -
Violas and Clarinet.


Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score


No. 81. Sadko, Section 311 - Violins and Oboe.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score


No. 82. Sadko, Section 77 - Violas and English Horn.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score


83. Sadko, Section 123 - Violas and English Horn.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score

84. Tsar Saltan, Section 30, 10th Bar -
Cellos and Violas and 3 Clarinets and Bassoon.

Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score


Other References:
• cf. Example 15: Snegourotchka,
Section 5 - Cellos and Viola and English Horn.
• cf. Example 15: Snegourotchka, Section 28 - Violins I and Violins and Cellos and English Horn.
Snegourotchka,
Section 116 - Violins I and Violins II and Oboe and Clarinet.
Snegourotchka, Section 288 - Violins I and Violins II and Oboe and Clarinet.
Tsar Saltan, Section 30 - Violins I and Violins II and 2 Clarinets.
Tsar Saltan, Section 156-159 - Violins I (detache) and Flute (legato).
The Tsar's Bride, Section 10 - Violas and Cello and Bassoon.
Servilia, Section 59 - Violins I (G String ) and Flute.
• Antar,
4th Movement, Section 63 - Cellos and 2 Bassoons.
Sheherazade,
3rd Movement, Section H - Violas and Oboe and English Horn.

GPO Exercise - Melody in Different Groups: Violins and Winds in Unison

In this exercise we will focus on the combination of violins and winds in unison.
1. 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 background track MP3 click here.
For a dry version if you want a more intimate sound, 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. Load the string and wind instruments into GPO.
5. Try combining various groups of woodwinds (most common) in unison with the violin family using the same melody you have composed.
Here is one possible example:
Violins (con sordino) and oboe


GPO Exercise - Melody in Different Groups: Violas and Winds in Unison

In this exercise we will focus on the combination of violas and winds in unison.
1. 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 background track MP3 click here.
For a dry version if you want a more intimate sound, 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. Load the string and wind instruments into GPO.
5. Try different arrangments of cellos in combination with some of the more common unison doublings such as Oboe, English horn, Clarinet, and Bassoon with the melody you have composed.
Here are two possible examples:
Violas (con sordino) and Clarinet
Violas (con sordino) and English horn


GPO Exercise - Melody in Different Groups: Cellos and Winds in Unison

In this exercise we will focus on the combination of cellos and winds in unison.
1. 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 background track MP3 click here.
For a dry version if you want a more intimate sound, 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. Load the string and wind instruments into GPO.
5. Try different arrangments of cellos in combination with unison doublings with the wind instruments suggested by Rimsky-Korsakov. Feel free to experiment (different solo cello and wind vs sections etc.).
Here is one possible example:
Cellos & English horn

If you wish to try another exercise, here is a similar example with a different range and bassoons added to the background track:

For the Score, click here.
For the MP3 background track, click here.
Dry version, click here.
For the MIDI file, click here.



GPO Exercise - Melody in Different Groups: Double Basses and Winds in Unison

In this exercise we will focus on the combination of double basses and winds in unison.
1. 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 background track MP3 click here.
For a dry version if you want a more intimate sound, 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. Load the string and wind instruments into GPO.
5. Try different arrangments of basses in unison with the wind instruments suggested by Rimsky-Korsakov. Feel free to experiment (solo bass and wind vs sections etc.) as very low register, though uncommon in melody, has a very interesting texture.
Here are two possible examples:
Double basses and Bassoon
Two basses and Contra bassoon (very low register)



Next Lesson: Lesson 10 - MELODY - Different Groups of Instruments (Cont.)


Copyright 2006 Garritan