Treatise on Instrumentation (Dover Books on Music) [Hector Berlioz, Richard Strauss] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The most influential. Book Source: Digital Library of India Item : Hector ioned. Berlioz’s orchestration treatise is a classic textbook which has been used as – Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary -.

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This method is probably far superior to the opposite one which most contemporary French and Italian composers have now adopted.

On the other hand the bass drum played pianissimo on its own is sinister and threatening provided the instrument is of large dimensions and well built ; it then resembles a distant cannon shot. There were those who insisted that most of the time the melody should only be accompanied by a bass, and that the listener should have the satisfaction of supplying himself the notes missing from the chords. This can sometimes produce excellent effects, even with stopped trextise.

The latter consists in writing for the horns exactly as for bassoons and clarinets, without taking into account the vast difference between stopped notes and open notes, and also between different stopped notes, or the difficulty for the performer to play a particular note after another that does not lead treatize it naturally, or the doubtful intonation, poor sonority and harsh and strange sound produced when two thirds or three quarters of the bell are stopped.

A phrase that would appear tolerable, when performed by violins or the woodwind, becomes flat and intolerably vulgar when emphasised by the incisive, brash and impudent sound of the cornet.

Berlioz Treatise on orchestration

Side drums, like the timpani, can be used covered; but instead of covering the skin with a piece of cloth, players often merely loosen the snares, or insert a leather strap between them and the lower skin to check the vibrations.

I must admit that in our time this prejudice against the viola part has not been completely eliminated, and that even in the best orchestras there are still players who have not mastered the art of viola playing any better than that of the violin. The poverty of the writing of older composers is obviously preferable to this ignorant and hateful wastage. Clearly all was lost. One can learn what is suitable for the various instruments, what can or cannot be played on them, what is easy or difficult, and what sounds well or not.


Melody did all the same take hold, but the reaction over melody was treatisr long in coming. The Menuet des Follets from the Damnation of Faust may be mentioned as an example of the varied orcheestration of the instrument in the course of the same piece]. But the joyful character of such tunes actually owes more to the melody than to the timbre of the horns.

He will then select coaches for each one of the vocal and instrumental groups.

Treatise On Instrumentation

The purpose of the present work is therefore first to indicate the range of some essential parts of the mechanism of the instruments, then to proceed to the study, hitherto much neglected, of the nature of the timbrethe peculiar character and expressive potential of each of them, and finally to that of the best methods known of combining them in an appropriate manner.

The tamtam, or gong, is only used in compositions of a dirge-like character and for dramatic scenes of the utmost horror. Our aim in this work is merely to study those instruments that are used in modern music and to try to discover the rules for creating harmonious understanding and striking contrasts between them, by taking into account above all their expressive potential and the individual character of each.

Yet even in this case the organ would not really blend with the other instruments, but would answer and question them. Beethoven, 4th symphony, 2nd movement, bars [ It was first published in after being serialised in many parts prior to this date and had a chapter added by Berlioz on conducting in As with the bass drum, cymbals, timpani, trombones, and all instruments that have a thunderous, explosive or reverberating sound, the triangle is nowadays deplorably misused.

Slow and gentle melodies, which too often are given to wind instruments, are never better expressed than by a mass of violins.

Its task is therefore not to reinforce the double-basses, with which its timbre does not blend in any way. The feelings of absence, oblivion, and painful loneliness which arise in the minds of some listeners when they hear this forsaken melody would not have a quarter of their force if sung by any instrument other than the cor anglais. The instrument requires harmony, or at least the unison of the other members of its family for its various qualities to manifest themselves completely.


I assume he is thoroughly familiar, down to the smallest detailswith the score he is going to perform. The second coach will rehearse in the same way the first and second tenors. They do not merely threaten, they proclaim, they sing instead of roaring. For many years composers have complained of the awkward obligation, caused by the lack of a third timpani sound, to avoid using the instrument in chords which did not include either the tonic or the dominant; no one ever asked whether a single timpanist might not play on three timpani.

Treatise on Instrumentation – Wikipedia

It is extremely valuable in large orchestras of wind instruments; but few players decide to take up the instrument. Harp harmonicsespecially with several harps in unison, are even more magical.

Admittedly harp players are not anxious to play whole pieces in these lower octaves; they are rather far from their bodies, force them to lean forward and stretch their arms, and thus to maintain a rather uncomfortable posture for some length of time.

This is a mistake. Since violinists do not regard pizzicato as an integral part of the art orchestrtion violin playing they have hardly studied it.

This odious commonplace has now been abandoned at last. The performers belioz all kinds which together make up the orchestra would then seem to be the strings, tubes, boxes, flat surfaces, of wood or metal, that are like machines endowed with intelligence but actuated by a vast keyboard played by the conductor under the direction of the composer. Yet one may see in a host of otherwise fine scores the basses almost constantly doubled in unison with a single trombone.