Cambridge Core – Nineteenth-Century Music – Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise – edited by Hugh Macdonald. Berlioz’s orchestration treatise is a classic textbook which has been used as – Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary -. revise the “Treatise on Instrumentation” by Hector. Berlioz . composition and orchestration with therich expressive On the other hand, even Berlioz’ orchestral.

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When they were unable to think straightaway of a few notes to fill in the chords they quickly fell back on the inevitable indication col bassoand did so in such a careless way that the result was sometimes an octave doubling of the bass line which was incompatible either with the harmony, or with the melody, or with both at once.

Up till now they have only used the thumb and the index finger for plucking, and the result is that they are unable to play passages or arpeggios involving more than semiquavers in common time and at a very moderate tempo. It renders these admirably in cantabile passages. English translation Original Language: Treayise more about Amazon Prime. This means that the brlioz system of double-bass players who simplify their partsa system widely adopted in the old instrumental school and exposed to the dangers we have indicated, is nowadays completely rejected.

The organisation of the Treatise in chapters has therefore not been followed beyond chapter 1.

Berlioz Treatise on orchestration

Examples of this are the solo in the scherzo of the Pastoral symphony [ example: In general the organ is meant for total domination, it is a jealous and intolerant instrument. This can be seen in the solo in the minor in the recapitulation of the 1st movement of the symphony in A [ example: 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.

Modulation Dover Books on Music. Sticks with sponge heads are the best; they are the most musical and are less noisy, and should be used most of the time. The expressive qualities of its tone stand out so clearly that in those very rare cases when composers of the past have given it a prominent role the instrument has never failed to live up to expectation.

Dover Publications November 8, Language: Symphonie Fantastique1st movement, bar and following; 3rd movement, bar 3 and following; overture to King Learbar 38 and following, bar and following; overture to Benvenuto Cellinibar and following; Romeo and Juliet2nd movement, bar 81 and following; overture Le Corsairebar and following]. To accompany these vocal rehearsals use will be made either of an organ, or of a piano assisted with a few stringed instruments, violins and basses.


If the viola part cannot be written in a distinctive way it is better to use it to add volume to the sound of the cellos by having both parts written in unison and not an octave apart as far as the lower range of the instrument permits. Some great masters, Mozart among them, have not avoided this pitfall. This makes it superior to any other instrument when the intention is to move by reviving images and feelings from the past, and when the composer wishes to touch the hidden chords of tender memories.

This is trivial, and devoid of pomp and splendour. Straussand Rimsky-Korsakov. When a musician was not capable of performing adequately a orchestratlon part, he turned to the viola.

Treatise on Instrumentation – Wikipedia

The extreme delicacy of the harmonics is enhanced in this passage by the use of mutes; with the sound thus reduced the notes come from the highest regions of the musical scale, beroioz could hardly be reached by the use of normal violin sounds. Great importance seems to be attached nowadays to this art of instrumentation, which was unknown at the start of the previous century; sixty years ago, many who were regarded as true friends of music tried to hinder its development.

But when I hear this instrument used to double three octaves above the melody of a baritone, to utter its shrill cry in the midst of religious harmonies, to add power and incisiveness to the upper part of the orchestra, from the beginning to the end beglioz the act in an opera, and all just for the sake of noise, I cannot help finding this style of instrumental writing flat, stupid, and in general worthy only of the melodic style to which it is applied.

Clearly all was lost. Trwatise Symphony, 4th movement, bars [ The Roman Carnival overture is a good illustration. It is imposed on composers more by habit, routine, laziness and lack of thought than for reasons of economy, though these are unfortunately all too compelling, particularly in France. I therefore believe that in the majority of cases it is better to do without this instrument than to replace it in this way.

It seems to me that there is only one set of circumstances where it could blend with a chorus and an orchestra without detriment, but only on condition that it remained itself in majestic isolation. Among percussion instruments of indeterminate pitch it is without doubt the bass drum that has caused the greatest havoc and introduced most nonsense and vulgarity in modern music.

The composer can be sure that they will not run out of breath. Many ignorant players, devoted to noise, make a deplorable use of these octave stops.


Hence its priceless ability to produce a distant sound, the echo of an echo, a sound like twilight. It can express all manner of vigorous feelings, proud and grand, and the majority of tragic accents.

Only the very soft stops seem to be suitable for the accompaniment of voices. But if they are properly composed, well drilled and well conducted, and if they are playing real music, they should be called powerful ; in truth, the difference between these two words could not be greater.

Modern composers generally write their flute parts too uniformly high; they always seem worried that they will not stand out above the rest of the orchestra.

The majority of orchestras nowadays still only have one pair of timpani, the largest of which is reserved for the lower note. Here is the lonely virgin, the blond betrothed of the huntsman, who raises her eyes to heaven and mingles her gentle lament with the sounds of the deep forests shaken by the storm.

Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes, Op.10 (Berlioz, Hector)

The violins in particular can express a vast range of nuances that seem at first sight incompatible. Customers who bought this item also bought.

The editing by Richard Strauss does nothing but enhance the orchesrtation, adding his comments on the more modern versions of the instruments etc. It requires little space and is portable. It is extremely valuable in large orchestras of wind instruments; but few players decide irchestration take up the instrument.

Viola players were always recruited from among rejected violin players. Hector Berlioz sets out each section of the orchestra in a logical fashion, reference book style and describes each instrument in a clear, readable and enjoyable manner. Ordinary rhythms, devoid of melody, harmony or tonality, or of anything that constitutes real music, but intended solely to provide a beat for soldiers on the march, become exciting krchestration performed by a mass of forty or fifty drums on their own.

Tied grace notes are also feasible in pizzicato playing. Apart from the special skill required from the timpanist in the handling of sticks, he needs to be a first rate musician who is gifted with an exceptionally sensitive ear: Unrelated modulations soon appeared in great works, and led to effects that were as felicitous as they were unexpected. These extracts are collected here on a page devoted entirely to the treatise also available in the original French.