GARRITAN INTERACTIVE
PRINCIPLES OF ORCHESTRATION
by Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov



Chapter III
HARMONY


Part 5 - Harmony in Combined Groups


Lesson Notes: In this lesson we continue our discussion of harmony in the brass and wind instruments. This lesson will focus on the three methods of combination: overlaying, crossing and enclosure of parts.



Harmony in the wind and brass.



2. Overlaying (superposition), crossing, enclosure of parts.

It has already been stated that the bassoon and horn are the two instruments best capable of reconciling the groups of wood-wind and brass. Four-part harmony given to two bassoons and two horns, especially in soft passages, yields a finely-balanced tone recalling the effect of a quartet of horns, but possessing slightly greater transparence. In forte passages the horns overwhelm the bassoons, and it is wiser to employ four horns alone. In the former case crossing of parts is to be recommended for the purposes of blend, the concords being given to the horns, the discords to the bassoons:




Professor Belkin Comments: Another useful tip for combining winds and brass in such situations is to give OPEN intervals (e.g. octaves and fifths) to the brass; this helps keep the texture clear.


Bassoons may also be written inside the horns, but the inverse process is not to be recommended:



The same insetting of parts may be used for sustained trumpet notes in octaves. In soft passages, thirds played in the low register of the flutes, sometimes combined with clarinets, produce a beautiful mysterious effect between trumpets in octaves. In a chain of consecutive chords it is advisable to entrust the stationary parts to the brass, the moving parts to the wood-wind.

Clarinets, on account of their tone quality should rarely be set inside the horns, but, in the upper register, and in the higher har~monic parts, a chord of four horns, (piano), may be completed by clarinets as effectively as by oboes or flutes; the bassoon may then double the base an octave below:



Professor Belkin Comments: Actually the clarinet is the BEST instrument for completing a chord when the notes are too high for the horns. Oboes sound too different, and flutes are too pale unless written quite a bit higher.

Played forte, the horns are more powerful than the wood-wind; balance may be established by doubling the upper harmonic parts:





Professor Belkin Comments:
This is not necessary unless the woodwind are adding notes NOT present in the brass.


a) Superposition.


No. 152. Antar, Section 56 — 3 Fl., 4 Horns (basis)

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Other References:
* Sadko, Symphonic Tableau I, Section 1 and 9 - Fl., Ob., CI., Horn (basis).
* Sadko, before Section 14 — 2 Fl., CI., Horns
* Sadko, final chord - Fl., CI., Horn
* Snegourotchka, Section 300. — Full wind and horns.
* Sheherazade — Final chords of 1st and 4th movements.
* Russian Easter Fete, Section D — Fl, CI., Horn; later trumpets and trombones in juxtaposition (cf. Ex. 248).


No. 153. The Christmas Night, Section 212 , 10. bar.— Wind and Horns; trumpets and trombones added later.

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Other References:
• The Christmas Night, Section 215 - 3 FL + 3 Cl.doubled an octave below with 3 horns.
• Sadko, Opera Section 165 -Juxtaposition and Superposition.

No. 154. Sadko, Section 338 — Same distribution.

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No. 155. Sadko, Section 338 — 3 F1.+ 2 Ob.., Cl.. 4 Horns


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No. 156. Legend of Kitesh, before Section 157 — 3 Flutes, 3 Trombones.

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Other References:
• Legend of Kitesh, before Section 157 - final chord (cf. Table 111 of chords Ex. 15)
• The Golden Cockerel, before Section 219 - Mixed timbre of wood-wind, 4 Horns.


b) Crossing.

No. 157. Antar, before Section 30 — Wood-wind, Horns, then Trumpets.


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Other References:
• The Christmas Night, before Section 53 - Horn, Fag.
• The Christmas Night, before Section 107 - cl.., Horn, Fag.
• Legend of Tsar Salton, before 62 — Horn., Fag.
• The Golden Cockerel, Section 220 - 3 Trombones, 2 Fag., C-fag. (cf. Ex. 232).

c) Enclosure:


No. 158. Ivan the Terrible, Act 133 — Flutes within horns; later horns within bassoons.

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No. 159. Snegourotchka, Section 183— Fl., 2 Cl. within Trumpets.

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Other References:
• Sadko, symphonic tableau, Section 3 - 4 Horns withing Clarinet and bassoon.
• Antar, before Section 37 - 2 horna withing bassoon aand clarinet.
• Sadko, Opera before 155— Harmonic basis; oboes within trumpets (cf. Ex. 260).

No. 160. Sadko, Opera, before Section 155— Flutes within trumpets.

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Other References:
• The Tsar's Bride, end of Overture — Bassoons within horns (cf. Table III of chords, Ex. 14).

No. 161. Tsar Saltan, Section 50 — Trumpets within wood-wind doubled.

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No. 162. Tsar Saltan, Section 59
— Flutes within trumpets; clarinets within horns.


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No. 163. Legend of Kitesh, Section 82 — Oboes and clarinets within trumpets.


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The relationship which has been shown to exist between stopped horns and oboe or English horn authorizes the simultaneous use of these instruments in one and the same chord, played p or sfp:






No. 164. Legend of Kitesh, before Section256 - 2 Oboes, Eng. Horn an octave above 3 Horns (+).


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Other References:
• The Christmas Night, Section 78— 3 Horns (+) + Oboe.
• The Tsar's Bride, Section 123 — Ob., Eng. horn, Horn (+) (cf. Ex. 240).
• Legend of Kitesh, Section 244 — Cl., 2 FL, -; 2 Ob., Eng. horn, 3 Horn (+) .
• Cf. also Tsar Saltan, before Section 115 - Horn (+) 2 Fl. +2 Fag. (Ex. 110) .

If trumpets and trombones take part in a chord, flutes, oboes and clarinets are better used to form the harmonic part above the trumpets. The following should be the arrangement:









Professor Belkin Comments: In effect, the idea here is to have complete harmony in the brass, and to use the woodwind to reinforce the upper harmonics, adding brilliance. Using the woodwind in UNISON with the brass adds almost no force and dulls the tone somewhat.

No. 165. The May Night, Act I, Section Ee
— 3 Trombones, 2 Ob. + 2 C1.+ 2 Fag.


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Other References:
• Sadko, symphonic tableau, Section 20.
• The May Night, p. 325. — Final chord, C maj. (cf. Table I of chords, Ex. 1).

No. 166. Snegourotchka, Section 198; cf. also Section 200 and before Section 210.

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Other References:
• Sheherazade, 1st movement, Section E, 2nd movement, Section P. 3rd movement, Section M, 4th movement p. 203 (cf. Ex. 195, 19, 210, 77).


No. 167. The Christmas Night, Section 205
; cf. also Section 161, Section 212, 14th bar. (Ex. 100, 153).


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Other References:
• Mlada, end of Act 1 (cf. Chord Table II, Ex. 13). Act II 20.


No. 168-169. Sadko, Opera, before Section 249, Section 302; (cf. also Ex. 120).

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No. 170. Sadko, Section 244
- Chord of widely extended range; bassoons at the limit of low compass. (Ex. 86).


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Other References:
• Sadko, Opera Section 143, Section 239; cf. aalso Section 3 (Ex. 86).
• The Tsar's Bride, Section 179 (cf. Ex. 243).
• Antar, Section 65 Alternation of notes in horns and wood-wind on
trombone chords (cf. Ex. 32).

General observations. It is not always possible to secure proper balance in scoring for full wood-wind. For instance, in a succession of chords where the melodic position is constantly changing, distribution is subordinate to correct progression of parts. In practice, however, any inequality of tone may be counterbalanced by the following acoustic phenomenon: in every chord the parts in octaves strengthen one another, the harmonic sounds in the lowest register coinciding with and supporting those in the highest. In spite of this fact it rests entirely, with the orchestrator to obtain the best possible balance of tone; in difficult cases this may be secured by judicious dynamic grading, marking the wood-wind one degree louder than the brass.

Professor Belkin Comments: Another important principle is to keep the upper woodwind parts packed tightly together in such harmony. That way the details of their middle parts are less in evidence.


Next Lesson: Lessson 18 - HARMONY - Combined Groups - Strings & Wind, Three Groups


Copyright 2006 Garritan