Berlioz’s orchestration treatise is a classic textbook which has been used as – Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary -. Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes, Op (Berlioz, Hector ) .. Name Translations, Treatise on Instrumentation; Gran Tratado de. Berlioz, Hector, – [Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes. English]. Berlioz’s orchestration treatise: a translation and.

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They can also be used to excellent effect in symphonic music, even in vigorous passages, whether played by all the string sections together, or by only one or two parts.

This means that the constant uniformity in the placing of masses of instruments is one of orchdstration greatest obstacles to the production of monumental works that are really novel. In a chorus of airy spirits, the composer has used two pianos for four hands. When he wants the sound to reverberate, he should write long sustained notes with the indication: Pianissimo notes from the bass drum, when combined with cymbals in an andante and struck at long intervals, have a majestic and solemn quality.

It has a stormy and violent character when played fortissimo on the middle range of the A and E strings. This danger disappears if the phrase can suitably be played at the same time by one or more trombones, whose mighty voice will then cover up and ennoble that of the cornet. But when eight, ten, belrioz or more drums play rhythmic accompaniments or crescendo rolls in a military march, they can provide magnificent and powerful support for wind instruments.

This shadow-like music induces deep sadness and moves to tears, in a way the most sorrowful strains could not; it provokes feelings of spleen as much as the shimmering harmonies of the Aeolian harp Example. It then sinks back gradually to the lament and murmured grief of a resigned soul… What a poet!

Treatise on Instrumentation – Wikipedia

A brief discussion of conducting practices in Europe during Berlioz’s day. When used in isolation or in groups of two, three, or four, it is strikingly the timbre of horns, trombones, and brass instruments in general orchestgation marries best with them. That is the reason why open air music does not exist. That is why Rossini made use of a little bell in G to accompany a graceful chorus from the second Act of William Tellthe refrain of which is “voici la nuit”.

In general the organ is meant for total domination, it is a jealous and intolerant instrument. Te Deum8th movement; the original version of the Royal Hunt and Storm from Les Troyens was written for saxhorns, which nowadays are replaced by horns, trumpets, and cornets; the same applies to orchestrxtion great finale the Trojan March of Act I of Les Troyens ].


Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary – Berlioz – Google Books

It is just a matter of knowing how to let them speak. The place occupied by musicians, the way they are arranged on a horizontal or inclined platform, in an enclosure that is shut on three sides or treatixe the centre of a hall, with sound-reflectors made of trwatise material suitable for reflecting sound, or of soft material which absorbs it and cuts the vibrations short, placed nearer or further away from the musicians, all of these have considerable importance.

This method should result first in an excellent quality of performance which could not be obtained under the old belioz of collective rehearsals; it would not require more than four rehearsals at the most from each player. 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 orchestratioj notes, or the difficulty for the performer to play a particular note after another that does not lead to 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.

Other editions – View all Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: Care should be taken in this case to provide numerous tuning forks in the orchestra; this is the only way to preserve exactly the correct pitch of a crowd of instruments that are so different in character and temperament.

Melody did all the same take hold, but the treafise over melody was not long in coming.

For technical reasons it is not possible to reproduce the vocal examples, but the purely instrumental examples are now almost all available on a page entitled Predecessors and Contemporaries. 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.

Whereas massed brass instruments in great military symphonies evoke the idea of a warlike band in shining armour, marching on to glory or to death, the numerous unisons of clarinets playing with them seem to represent the loved women, proud-eyed and deeply passionate, who, stirred by the sound of arms sing as they fight, and crown the victors or perish with the vanquished.

When the aim is to force open sounds, composers usually require that the players turn the bells upward, to make the sound as forceful as possible.


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 Nowadays violas are often divided into first and second. Violins are faithful, intelligent, active and tireless servants.

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

In mezzo forte in the middle range, in unison or in harmony in a slow tempo, the trombones take on a religious character. This buzzing chaos, full of strange noises and hideous grunts, is completed or compounded by the other players, who are either more dedicated or more confident of their ability, and who labour in a fruitless attempt to perform the passage entirely as written. I know of nothing less harmonious and more vulgar that this style of orchestratipn.

The viola is as agile as the violin; its lower strings have a peculiarly penetrating quality; its higher notes are distinctive and have a sad and passionate brrlioz in general its tone has a quality of deep sadness orchestratipn distinguishes it from all other stringed instruments. One can also say that one particular instrument is more suitable than another to produce certain effects or to express certain feelings.

The timbre of low-pitched bells is appropriate only for scenes of a solemn or tense character. Until Beethoven and Weberall composers, Mozart not excepted, have insisted either in confining it to the demeaning role of filling up, or in making it sound two or three rhythmic patterns, always the same, which are flat, ridiculous, and frequently jar with the character of the pieces where they occur.

In the latter case the string instruments would be too weak to dominate the mass of clarinets and brass instruments, and would serve to provide a harmonious bridge with the strident sounds of the orchestra of wind instruments. In some cases they would soften their brilliance, in others they would give warmth to the impetus of the music, by means of the tremolo which can lend a musical quality even to drum rolls by blending with them.

But this would involve something very different, and the composer who wanted to show off the prodigious and innumerable resources of such an instrument would certainly have to perform a novel task. The notes of the bottom range have a rather poor timbre and the instrument must not be used below the low A.