GARRITAN INTERACTIVE
PRINCIPLES OF ORCHESTRATION
by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov




Chapter II
MELODY

Part 1 - Stringed Instruments (Continued)

Lesson Notes: In this lesson we will finish the discussion on melody as it pertains to the stringed instruments. We will delve into doubling the stringed instruments in octaves, melody in double octaves, doubling in three and four octaves and melody in thirds and sixths.



Stringed Instruments doubling in octaves.
a) Violins I and Violins II in octaves.

This is a very common process used for all kinds of melodic figures in particular those in the very high register. It has already been stated that the E string diminishes in fullness of tone the higher it ascends from the limits of the soprano voice. Moreover, melodic figures in the very high register of the violins become too isolated from the rest of the ensemble unless doubled in octaves. Such doubling secures expression, fullness of tone and firmness of timbre. The reader will find numerous examples of violins in octaves; a few are added below, chiefly broad and expressive phrases.

Professor Belkin Comments: RK touches on a larger issue here: extreme registers should be used ALONE relatively infrequently. They are quickly tiring to the ear, and unless doubled in the main (central) register via octave doubling tend to be perceived as completely separate planes of tone.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 22. The Tsar's Bride, Section 166 - Violins I and Violins II in octaves. Cantabile, piano.


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No. 23. The Legend of Tsar Saltan, Section 227 - Violins I and Violins II in octaves.
Melody with reiterated notes, dolce, express. e cantabile.

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No. 24. The Christmas Night , Section 210.
Violins I and Violins II doubling the melody in octaves.
1st Violins play the melody in the upper octave, and the 2nd Violins can play the octave below. In this way the predominant higher notes will be diminished, the melody will acquire a clearer and more pleasant sound, and the expressive tone quality of the lower octave will be strengthened.

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No. 25. Ivan the Terrible, Act III, Section 63 - Violins I and Violins II in octaves.
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Other References:
The Tsar's Bride, Section 206. Cantabile, mezzo-piano; the lower part is in unison with the soprano voice;

Sheherazade, 3rd movement, Section J , Cantabile in G major; dolce and cantabile (the same as Ex. 12);
Sadko, Symphonic tableau, Section 12, Violins I and II (muted) in octaves. A short dance phrase pianissimo, given first to the violas, theta to the violins (cf. Ex. 6);
* The Golden Cockerel
, Section 156;

* The Golden Cockerel
, Section 165;
* Antar
, 1st movement, Section 11;


b) Violins divisi in octaves.
First and second violins divided in two parts and progressing in octaves will deprive the melody of resonance, since the number of players is diminished by half, the consequences being especially noticeable in small orchestras. Nevertheless the method can be used occasionally when the strings are doubled by the wood-wind, and when the melody falls in a sufficiently high register.

Professor Belkin Comments: … Or when a deliberately thin and transparent effect is desired, for example when the divisi line is NOT meant to be in the foreground.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 26. Snegourotchka, Section 238 - Chorus of Flowers - 2 Solo Violins and Violins divisi octaves. Pianissimo cantabile in two octaves, progressing with the women's chorus (Sopr. I), and given out earlier by the Engish horn. The flute and all the 1st Violins except two play in the lower octave, the two solo violins, only, in the upper. The solo desk will be sufficiently prominent owing to the general pianissimo.


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Other References:
Snegourotchka, Section 166.
Violins I and Violins II divisi in octaves. mezzo-forte espressivo. Partial
Doubling of Coupava's song (Sopr.) One flute and one oboe double the melody.

c) Violins and Violas in octaves.

First and second Violins progressing with the Violas in octaves is a common method, especially when the lower octave in the melody happens to go below the open G string on the violins.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:

No.27. Snegourotchka, Section 231 - Violins 1 and Violins II in unison, doubled an octave below by the Violas.


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No. 28. Snegourotchka, Section 137, finale of Act I -Violins I, doubled an octave below by the Violins II in unison with Violas. Cantible phrase, transmitted in flute and clarinet (cf. Ex. 8).


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Other References:
Snegourotchka, Section 137, finale of Act I.Violins 1 and Violins in unison, doubled an octave below by the Violas. Quick Melody, piano.

The distribution: Violins 1 and Violins in unison, doubled an octave below by the Violas; and, Violins 1, doubled an octave below by the Violins II in unison with Violas - are not exactly the same. The first should be used to obtain greater brilliance in the upper part, the second to give the lower part a fuller and more cantabile quality.
d) Violas and Violoncellos in octaves.
Of special use when the Violins are otherwise employed.
Other References:
* Legend of Kitesh, Section 59, Violas and Cellos in octaves, doubled by bassoons.

e) Violins and Violoncellos in octaves.
Used in very expressive passages where the 'cellos have to play on the A or D strings. This method produces a more resonant tone than the preceding one; instances of it are frequent.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 29. Antar, Section 43 - Violins I and Violins II in unison, doubled an octave below by the Cellos. Cantabile of Eastern origin.


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No. 30. Shererazade, 3rd movement, before Section P - Violins I doubled an octave below by the Violins II and Cellos in unison; and Violins I and Violins II in unison, doubled an octave below by the Cellos. The first arrangement is rarely found.


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Other References:
Sheherazade, 3rd movement - Violins I and Cellos in octaves. Cantabile mezzo-forte appassionato (cf. Ex. 1);

Pan Voyevoda, Section134 , nocturne "Moonlight" -
Violins I and Cellos in octaves.. Cantibile melody given first to 'cellos alone (cf. Ex. 7);
The May Night, Act III Le, 0,51 �
All Violins and Cellos in octaves. A forte melodic phrase.
f) Violoncellos and Double basses in octaves.
The bass is usually constricted in this manner. Examples of it are to be found everywhere. Sometimes the double bass part is simplified in comparison with the 'cello part.

Other References:
Snegourotchka, Section 9.
Fairy Spring's Aria.
g) Violasand Double bassesin octaves.
This combination seldom arises and is only used when the Cellos are otherwise employed.


Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 31. Legend of Kitesh, Section 223 -Violas and Double basses in octaves.

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h) Parts progressing in octaves, each part doubled in unison. Melodies situated in the middle orchestral range may be allotted to 1st and 2nd Violins in octaves with Violas and 'Cellos. This arrangement is constantly found, and produces a beautiful quality of tone, somewhat severe in character.
Other References:
cf. Example No. 24: Sadko, Section 207.
Snegourotchka, Sections 58, 60 , 65 and 68 . The same melody, played twice pianissimo, not doubled, then twice (mezzo-forte and forte), doubled in the wood-wind;
Mlada, Act II, the beginning of the Lithuanian dance. A lively piano theme;
Ivan the Terrible
, Act II, Section 28.

Note: It may be of use to point out that melodies lying in the extreme upper register, e. g. those exceeding the middle of the 5th octave, are generally doubled an octave below, whilst those situated in the extreme low register (below the middle of the 15' octave) are doubled an octave higher.
Progression in octaves of divided strings of the same kind is generally to be avoided. For example, Violas 1 + Cellos 1 + Double basses 1 in unison, doubled an octave below by Violas + Cellos II + Double basses II, is to be avoided
For, in such cases the parts are played on strings which do not correspond, and unity of tone is impaired. This, however, does not apply to violins.


Note: The following distribution is ocassionally found:



Violas and Cellos I in unison, doubled an octave below by Cellos and Double basses.


Melody in double
octaves.

a) Violins I and II and Violas in double octaves (or with Violins I and II and Cellos in double octaves)
Melody in double octaves by the Violins I and II and Violas (or with Violins I and II and Cellos) may be used for full cantabile melodies extremely tense in character, and in forte passages for choice.

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 32. Antar, Section 223 - Violins I and II in octaves with the viola and celli an octave down.

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b) Violins in octaves doubled the octaves below with Cellos and Double basses (or double octaves with Violins and Violas, Cellos and Double basses; or Violins and Violas in octaves, doubled the octaves below by Cellos and Double basses).

These combinations are employed when the low register of each instrument in brought into play, and also to suit phrases of a rough and severe character.
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 33. Snegourotchka, Section 215, Tumblers' Dance- Unison of 1st, 2nd violins and violas, while the celli are an octave down, and the basses yet another octave below.



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Note: The lack of balance with the Violins and Violas in octaves doubled the octaves below with Cellos and Double basses.
This is not of any great importance, for in such cases, the partial harmonics of one octave support the tone of the other, and vice versa.
Other References:
* Legend of Kitesh, Section 66, opening of 2nd act.


Doubling in three and four
octaves.
The distribution of Violins, Violas, Cellos and Double basses doubling in three and four octaves apart is rarely found, and as a rule, only when supported by wind instruments.

Professor Belkin Comments: This may also be used alone (i.e. without any other families of the orchestra playing) when an extremely heavy string melody is required. A common beginner’s mistake is to orchestrate the bass line in 3 octaves, with or without winds/brass. This should remain very uncommon; it is appropriate ONLY when the bass is intended to be heavy and ponderous. The violas are NOT normally bass instruments.



Other References:
Legend of Kitesh, Section 150 (allargando);
Sheherazade, 4rd movement, commencing on the 10th bar.


Melody in Strings: Three and Four Octave Displacement Exercise


1. Click and refer to the background score here
2. Load the background track MP3 in your MP3 player or sequencer. For the MP3 click here.
For a dry version MP3, if you want a more intimate sound click here.
2. Load the Three or Four Octave MIDI file into a sequencer or notation program supporting GPO and assign instruments accordingly. For the MIDI file click here.
3. Create melodic content preferably with all groups as described in the above section "Doubling in Three and Four Octaves" If using 3 octave displacement, one group would either have to be left out or used in unison with another.




Melody in thirds and sixths
.


In confiding a melody in thirds to the strings it is frequently necessary to use the same quality of tone in both parts, but in the case of a melody in sixths different timbres may be employed. In writing thirds doubled in octaves, the first and second violins should be used. In spite of the difference in the quantity of players, the thirds will not sound unequal. The same arrangement may obtain in the viola and 'cello groups, but it is useless in the case of melody in sixths.

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 34. Legend of Kitesh, Section 34 -Violins I playing the melody divisi in thirds, doubled an octave below with Violins II playing divisi in thirds.

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Other References: cf. Example 31: Legend of Kitesh, Section 39, Violins I divisi playing the melody in thirds with Violins II divisi, doubled an octave below with Violins I divisi playing the melody in thirds with Violins II divisi.
Legend of Kitesh, Section 39, Violins I playing the melody in sixthes with Violas.

GPO Exercise - Melody in Strings Instruments: Thirds & Sixths Exercise

1. Refer to the background score and the melody score. For the background score click here. For the melody 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. Take the given melody and place it in the Violins at the written pitch by notation or playing it into a sequencer. Now either write out or play in(depending on software used) with VLNs 1 the exact phrasing and rythmn using 3rds and 6ths below the melody(VLNs 1 divis). Once that is established you may want to add VLNs 2 an octave below doing the exact same thing.
Here is but one possible example.

Note: Use Example #34 for reference and feel free to copy the RK example and double VLNs 1 with flutes and VLNs 2 with clarinets. The midi is set up for this option.

(note, the MIDI are optimized for sequencers, however balance issues may vary from system to system)
Distribution in octaves, thirds, and sixths is usually regulated by the normal register of the respective instruments, so as to avoid any suggestion of mannerism resulting from the disturbance of balance. But such a departure from the recognised order may be permitted in special cases. For instance, in the following example of writing in sixths the upper part is allotted to the 'cellos, the lower part to the violins on the G string; this arrangement produces a quality of tone distinctly original in character.

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:





No. 35. Spanish Capriccio, Section D - Cellos playing in sixths with Violins I and II.



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Melody in Strings: Cellos Above Violins Exercise

1. Refer to the background score and the melody score here.
For the background score click here. For the melody score click here.
2. Load the backgound track MP3 in your MP3 player or sequencer. For the MP3 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. Take the given melody and place it in the cellos at the written pitch by notation or playing it into a sequencer. Now either write out or play in(depending on software used) with either VLNs 1 or VLNs 1+2 ect the exact phrasing and rythmn either a 3rd or 6th below(in this case tritone intervals can be used with certain backing harmonies, however the ability to keep it in 3rds and 6ths is possible. The whole point being keeping the violins melody below the cellos melody).
Note: Here is but one possible example:
You can also use example #35 for reference.




SUMMARY EXERCISES:

Melody in Strings Summary Exercise 1

In this exercise you will experiment with adding a various stringed instrument melodies to a background track of harp, bass, clarinets and bassoons.

1. Click and refer to the background score. For the background score click here.
2. Load the backgound track MP3 in your MP3 player or sequencer. For the MP3 click here.
This is an ambient version and if you want a dry more intimate version click here.
3. Load the given MIDI file into your sequencer or notation program load the respective GPO instruments. For the MIDI file click here.
4. Load the string instrument(s) into GPO.
5. Create a melodic line with the respective groups Violins 1, 2, violas or cellos and play along with the background MP3 track or MIDI file. It is recommended to keep the same melody throughout each group.

Note:
Here are some possible examples using various stringed instruments: Violins and Cello example and Cellos example.


Try doing your own melodies as you try the different string instruments.
Melody in Strings Summary Exercise 2

In this exercise you will continue to add various stringed instrument melodies to a background track.

1. Click and 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 MP3 click here.
This is an ambient version and if you want a dry more intimate version click here.
3. Load the given MIDI file into your sequencer or notation program load the respective GPO instruments. For the MIDI file click here.
4. Load the string instrument(s) into GPO.
5. Try to retain your melody from String Summary Exercise 1 above and create unisons(ui.e. VLNs/Cellos ect), octaves, and double octaves as described in the lessons. In the case of double octaves, if needed use Score #32 as a reference.
Note: Here are some possible examples using various stringed instruments: Violins and Violas Example, Violins and Cellos Example and Violas and Cellos Example.


Note: If by some reason your melodic content contains range issues in certain cases, try the following transposed versions: MIDI file, Wet MP3 Background Track,
Dry MP3 Background Track, Possible Example Track
(note, the MIDI are optimized for sequencers, however balance issues may vary from system to system)

Next Lesson: Melody in the Wood-wind

Copyright 2006