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Topic: woodwind unisons

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  1. #1

    woodwind unisons

    Lesson 7 mentions that in a flute/oboe unison, the flute will dominate in the low register and the oboe in the high register. Also with a flute/oboe/clarinet combination in unison the flute will predominate in the low register. Surely this goes against the principle that the flute in the low register is rather weak and so would be dominated by the reed instrument.

  2. #2

    Re: woodwind unisons

    Clive,

    I looked it up in the book. "Played softly, the flute will will predominate..." The key phrase is, "played softly..." I might be off base on this, but it seems to me that it has more to do with the cutting power of the oboe played softly. With any effort the oboe would dominate the flute. Anyway, while I think that you are correct about the relationship in anything other than a very very soft passage, in soft passages the oboe does not cut through the same way the flute does... the higher the register, the more the oboe cuts through the flute.

    Try some experiments with those combinations in varying strength and register... just to see whether RK had it right. Experience is more important than a reference book, and I would wager that RK himself was a big proponent of finding out for yourself. His book was a guideline... or a book of tips. Rules of contrapuntal writing are similar creatures. While, they make sense 99% of the time... your ear may tell you to do something different 1% of the time.

    Let your ear tell you whether or not RK was right. Unlike the composers of the past, we have access to an orchestra at all hours of the day or night. Take advantage of that access... try every combination of instruments just to see how they blend. I think that you will find that a lot of RK's idea are still true!

    When one of the professors tell you I am wrong, smile at the idiot (me) in the corner drooling!
    Paul

    Prowland the posting Ninja

  3. #3

    Re: woodwind unisons

    Quote Originally Posted by cliveneal
    Lesson 7 mentions that in a flute/oboe unison, the flute will dominate in the low register and the oboe in the high register. Also with a flute/oboe/clarinet combination in unison the flute will predominate in the low register. Surely this goes against the principle that the flute in the low register is rather weak and so would be dominated by the reed instrument.
    Not sure, if it was Cesar Franck, who said that the unison in flute and oboe is the worst woodwind's combination. Anyway, I would suppose oboe will dominate here because of its sharper sound, in general.
    Petr Pololanik, M.A.
    Conductor, Orchestrator, Music Producer
    Capellen Music Production

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