GARRITAN INTERACTIVE
PRINCIPLES OF ORCHESTRATION
by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov



Chapter II
MELODY

Part 2 - Melody in the Wood-wind

Lesson Notes: In this lesson we will begin our discussion on melody in the Wood-wind instruments. Wood-wind instruments have the most diversity in tone color; more than any other instrument group in the orchestra.

Professor Belkin Notes: There is in fact a good argument to be made that the WW are not one group at all, but rather, three (oboes and bassoons counting as one – double reed - family, with the English horn as intermediary). Unlike the strings, woodwinds do NOT behave similarly to one another in various registers. For example, flutes get softer as they get lower, whereas oboes/bassoons get louder. This diversity of color and of register is the main cause of the difficulty in writing well for winds. The beginner is advised to think of each woodwind instrument as really three in one: a high instrument, a medium one, and a low one. Although the transitions between registers are of course not really so drastic, combinations of woodwinds with each other and with from other families work differently depending on register. For example, a low flute melody requires a different accompaniment from a high flute melody.

This is also the reason that it is actually easier to score for a larger woodwind section than a smaller one: When the auxiliaries are available, the range available IN ANY GIVEN HOMOGENOUS TIMBRE is much increased. A chord scored for alto flute, regular flutes and piccolo will present less problems of blend and balance than one scored for 2 flutes and 2 oboes.

Of all the woodwinds, the oboe is one most likely to cause problems for the beginner. It is a natural “prima donna” and, while its melodic character can be wonderful in the right melody, it does not blend easily with most other timbres in the orchestra (exception: oboes blend quite well with SOFT, muted trumpets).




The choice of instruments for characteristic and expressive melody is based on their distinctive qualities, discussed minutely in the foregoing chapter. To a large extent the question is left to the orchestrators own personal taste. Only the best methods of using the wood-wind in unison or octaves, and distributing a melody in thirds, sixths and mixed intervals, from the standpoint of resonance and tone quality will be indicated in this section of the work. Examples of the use of solo wood-wind are to be found in any score; the following are typical instances:

Examples of solo wood-wind:

1) Piccolo:

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 36. The Tsar Sultan, Section 216- Piccolo melody.

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Other References:
• Serbian Fantasia, Section C .
• Snegourotchka
, Section 54.


2) Flute:
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:



No. 37. Sheherazade, 4th movement, before Section A - Flute melody in lower register.


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Other References:
• The Tsar Su
ltan, Section 216.
• Antar, Section 4.
• Servilia
, Section 80.
• Snegourotchkar, Section 79, 183.
• A Fairy Tale
, Section L.
The Christmas Night , Section 163.

Flute (double tonguing)
No. 38. Sheherazade, Section 240 - Flute flutter tongue.


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Other References:
• Pan Voyevoda
, Section 72.
• Sheherazade
, 4th Movement after Section V.

3) Bass Flute:
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 39. Legend of Kitesh , Section 44 - Bass Flute melody.


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4) Oboe:

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 40. Sheherazade, 2nd movement, Section A - Oboe melody.


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No. 41. Snegourotchka, Section 50 - Oboe melody.


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No. 42. The Golden Cockerel, Section 57 - Oboe melody


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No. 43. The Golden Cockerel, Section 97 - Oboe melody.


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Other References:
• The May Night,
Act III, Section Kk.
• Snegourotchka
, Section 112,239.
• The Tzar's Bride
, Section 108 (cf. Ex. 284).


5) English Horn:
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:


No. 44. Spanish Capriccio, Section E - English Horn melody.


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No. 45b. Extra Example: Tchaikovsky, Dance of the Reed Pipes - English Horn melody.

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Other References:
No. 45. The Golden Cockerel, Section 61 - English Horn melody.
• Snegourotchka, Section 97 & 283

6) Small (Eb) Clarinet:
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:

No. 46. Mlada, Act II Section 33 and 37 - Eb Clarinet melody.

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7) Clarinet:
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:

cf. No. 8. Snegourotchka, Section 231 - Clarinet melody.


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cf. No. 43. The Golden Cockerel, Section 97 (4th measure in)- Clarinet melody in lowest register.


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Other References:
cf No. 8. Snegourotchka, Section 231.
• Serbian Fantasy
, Section G.
• Spanish Capriccio
, Section A.
• Snegourotchka
, Sections 90, 99, 224 227.
• A Fairy Tale , Section M.
• A Tsar's Bride, Section 50 & 203.
• The Golden Cockerel
, Section 97.

8
) Bass Clarinet
:
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:

No. 47. Snegourotchka, Section 243 - Bass Clarinet.


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No. 48. Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy - Bass Clarinet melody.
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9) Bassoon:

Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:

No. 49. Vera Scheloga, Section 36 - Bassoon melody.


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No. 50. The Golden Cockerel, Section 249 - Bassoon melody.


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No. 51. Tchaikovsky, The Nutcracker, Arabian Dance - Bassoon melody.


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cf- No. 40. Sheherazade, 2nd movement, Section A - Bassoon melodycounter to Oboe.


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Other References:
Antar, Section 59
(cf. also Ex. 78).
10) Double Bassoon (Contrabassoon):
Score References & Musical Examples Using GPO:

cf. No. 10 (51b). The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitesh - Double Bassoon and Double Bass solo.


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cf. No. 21 (51c) The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitesh - Double Bassoon solo.


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Other References:
• Legend of Kitesh
, before Section 84 and Section 289
The normal order of wood-wind instruments and that which produces the most natural resonance is the following: Flutes, Oboes, Clarinets, Bassoons (the order used in orchestral full scores). Departure from this natural order, e.g. placing bassoons above clarinets and oboes, or flutes below oboes and clarinets, and especially below the bassoons, creates a far-fetched, unnatural tone, useful, however, in certain cases to attain certain special effects. I do not advise the student to make too free a use of this proceeding.


Professor Belkin Comments: One can also leave out the oboes from this “normal” group with no problem, in the sense that flutes, clarinets, and bassoons alone will produce perfectly satisfactory resonance. As mentioned above, the oboe is the hardest instrument in the group to use well.




Next Lesson: Melody in the Wood-wind (cont.) - Unisons & Octaves

Copyright 2006