GARRITAN INTERACTIVE
PRINCIPLES OF ORCHESTRATION
by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov



Chapter III
HARMONY


Part 5 - Harmony in Combined Groups


Lesson Notes: In previous lessons we discussed harmony with the individual families of instruments. In this lesson we discuss harmony in combined groups of instruments.



Harmony in Combined Groups


A. Combination of wind and brass.

Professor Belkin Comments:

There are two general cases to be discussed here:
a) using woodwind/brass to FILL each other OUT, and
b) using them TOGETHER, as full masses, usually in a tutti situation.
The two situations require different approaches. RK is here mainly interested in the first case. Using woodwind and brass to complete each other’s harmony should NOT be done indiscriminately, since the volume (=”fatness” of timbre) and force of the two groups are so unequal. On the other hand, there are many “affinities”, which can be exploited, especially in smaller ensembles, where a full complement of brass may not be available. For example, 2 bassoons and 2 horns playing interlocked, in 4 part harmony, is very close in sound to 4 horns, in all but the loudest dynamics. Muted trumpets and oboes are close in sound, again provided that the muted trumpets are not very loud. Bassoons can form an excellent bass to (even quite loud) trombones.

These examples and many others, are very common, but they require detailed knowledge of the woodwind registers. Simply adding any woodwind to any brass can easily lead either to “visual” music (the woodwind will be seen but not heard), or gross tonal incompatibility (e.g. trying to make blended harmony from horns + oboes).

The final case mentioned here by RK is using woodwind to SOFTEN the brass. This is valuable, but beginners should be warned that this should be occasional and intentional, not the “default” behaviour. Clear, pure, brass sound has an important place in good orchestration; softening it all the time will only tend to make the orchestration less colourful.


Wind and brass instruments may be combined by the method of placing a chord in one timbre side by side with the same chord in another timbre, or by any of the three methods already described: overlaying, crossing and enclosure of parts.

1. In unison (juxtaposition or contrast of tone qualities).

This class of combination possesses the same features as combinations in the melodic line (cf. Chap. II). Wood-wind reinforces the brass, softens it and reduces its characteristic qualities. Arrangements such as the following are possible:




Also



As well as:



The combination 3 Trombones + 3 Fag., or 3 Trombones + 3 CI. are very rare.

A chord scored for full brass doubled by the same chords scored for full wood-wind (in pairs) produces a magnificent and uniform tone.



No. 141. The Tsar's Bride, Section 50 — 4 Horns +2 Cl., 2 Fag

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Other References:
• Snegourotchka, Section 315— 2 Horns+2 Cl. and 2 Horns+2 Ob. (cf. Ex. 236).


No. 142. The Tsar's Bride, Section 142
- Juxtaposition of full wind and brass.


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Other References:
• Ivan the Terrible, Act II, Section 30 — Juxtaposition and enclosure (cf. Table of chords II, Ex. 8).


No. 143. The Christmas Night, Section 165 - 4 Horns -f- FL, Cl., Fag.

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No. 144. Sadko, before 79 - Horn, Trumpet-I- doubled wood wind (1)

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(1) In the full score a misprint occurs in the clarinet part; it is corrected in the example. (Editor's note.)


No. 145. Sadko, Section 242 — Full brass +Flute, Clarinet.

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Other References:
•Legend of Kitesk, beginning - Horn, Trombones + CI., Fag. (cf. also Section 5, Ex. 244)


No. 146. Legend of Kitesk, Section 10 — English horn, 2 Clarinets, Bassoon legato + 4 Horns non-legato.


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Other References:
•Legend of Kitesk, Section 324 — Full brass + wind.


No. 147. The Golden Cockerel, Section 233
- Trumpets + Oboe playing an octave above Horn and Clarinet.


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Stopped or muted notes in trumpets and horns resemble the oboe and Eng. horn in quality; the combination of these instruments produces a magnificent tone.

No. 148. Russian Easter Fete, p.11. — Horn (+), Trumpets (low register) + Ob., Cl.

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Other References:
* The Christmas Night, before 154 — Full muted brass + wind.


No. 149. Tsar Sultan, Section 129 - 2 Ob., Eng. horn, + 3 Trumpets muted (3 CL at the bottom).

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No. 150. Tsar Sultan, Section 131 — 17th bar. — Same combination with added horns.


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Other References:
* The Christmas Night, before Section 154 — Full muted brass + wind.

No. 151. Antar, Section 7 — Ob., Eng. horn, 2 Fag. + 4 Horns (+)

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A beautiful dark tone is derived from the combination of middle notes in stopped horns and deep notes in the clarinet:




If bassoons are substituted for clarinets the effect loses part of its character.

Other References:
* Kashtchet the Immortal, Section 29 , 11th bar. -2Ob., 2Cl.+4Horns (+)
* Kashtchet the Immortal, Section 107 , 6th bar. -2 CL, Fag. +- 3 Horns (+)
*The Christmas Night, p. 249 — CI., Fag.+ 3 Horns (+).
* Mlada, Act III, Section 19 — 3 Horns ( + ) + 3 Fag. and 3 Horns (+) + 3 Ob. (cf. Ex. 259).


Next Lesson:

Lessson 17 - HARMONY - Combined Groups - Wind & Brass (cont.)