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Topic: Woodwind Octave Doubling Question

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  1. #1

    Question Woodwind Octave Doubling Question

    When RK says:

    "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."

    Does he mean e.g. 2 flutes playing an octave above e.g. 2 clarinets OR does he mean 2 flutes playing an octave apart doubled by 2 clarinets playing an octave apart OR is he simply referring to e.g. 2 flutes playing an octave apart?

  2. #2

    Re: Woodwind Octave Doubling Question

    Quote Originally Posted by midi sordino View Post
    When RK says:

    "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."

    Does he mean e.g. 2 flutes playing an octave above e.g. 2 clarinets OR does he mean 2 flutes playing an octave apart doubled by 2 clarinets playing an octave apart OR is he simply referring to e.g. 2 flutes playing an octave apart?
    Using your flute example, I believe Rimsky-Korsakov would be referring to the flutes playing an octave apart by themselves, not necessarily combining with other winds playing in octave pairs.

    RK was indeed a master orchestrator, and his Principles of Orchestration is still an incredibly useful learning tool. With that said, his statement displays some limited thinking, because woodwinds playing in octave pairs can be used quite effectively. You'll find a number of examples in the orchestral music of Jean Sibelius, who was every bit the master orchestrator as RK. In fact, there's much one can learn about orchestration from Sibelius' scores, although perhaps a somewhat daunting task considering how complex his orchestral writing often was. (A look at his score to the tone poem Tapiola can be a humbling experience!)

    Steve
    If you'd like to hear a couple of pieces I might actually finish someday, please visit my virtual concert hall.

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