Cambridge Core – Nineteenth-Century Music – Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise – edited by Hugh Macdonald. Berlioz’s orchestration treatise is a classic textbook which has been used as – Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary -. revise the “Treatise on Instrumentation” by Hector. Berlioz . composition and orchestration with therich expressive On the other hand, even Berlioz’ orchestral.

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Concerning the design of our theatres and opera houses and the requirements of dramatic performances, this layout in the shape of an amphitheatre is not possible for orchestras that are meant for the performance of operas. Let us say immediately that the same is true of the majority of wind instruments. Should it be absolutely necessary to use the oboes in a piece of this kind to give more body to the harmony and increase orchestation power of the wind section, then at least the parts should be written in such a way that their timbre, unsuited to this style of music, should be completely covered by the other instruments and should blend with the ensemble so as to be unobtrusive.

Provided the composer has not written anything that is unsuitable for the instrument, the player must perform the music as written, neither adding nor deleting anything.

Grand traité d’instrumentation et d’orchestration modernes, Op.10 (Berlioz, Hector)

See all 16 reviews. The oboe would have sounded too childlike and its voice would not have seemed pure enough. It seems to me that there treatiise only one set of circumstances where it could blend with a chorus and an orchestra without detriment, but only on condition that it remained itself in majestic isolation.

The timbre of the middle and upper ranges does not have a strongly defined expressive character. The result is barbaric, though admittedly not to the same degree as with the mixture stops of the organ which give to each note simultaneously the notes of the major chord, in other words the major third and perfect fifth.


This has serious disadvantages. This effect was unknown to Mozart, Weberand Beethoven.

It renders these admirably in cantabile passages. It may preserve some of its verlioz if given to the flutes, and will hardly lose anything if played by the clarinets. A phrase that would appear tolerable, when performed by violins or the woodwind, becomes flat and intolerably vulgar when treatide by the incisive, brash and impudent sound of the cornet. The composer must always be careful to indicate the duration he wishes to give to cymbal strokes that are followed by a rest.

A few random examples: It can be used for melodies and accents of different kinds, though it cannot match the artless gaiety of the oboe or the noble tenderness of the clarinet. Meyerbeer has demonstrated in the magnificent scene of the resurrection of the nuns in Robert le Diable. This applies to trombones, ophicleides, double-bassoons, and in many cases to trumpets and cornets.

The upper notes played fortissimo are excellent for violent and shattering effects, as for example in a storm or in a piece of a ferocious or infernal character. In the chorus of the priests of Isis in the Magic Flute Mozart has provided wonderful examples of how to give them the voice and manner of high priests.

As for instrumentation, expression and rhythm, that is another matter. This page was last edited on 1 Octoberberliozz In such a case when the violins are playing in unison the composer may want to increase their power even further, and has them doubled by the violas playing an octave below them.

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Fortunately this system has now been almost entirely abandoned. In the case of drums, bass drums, cymbals and timpani, for example, if they are used all at once to play certain rhythms in the commonplace manner, they can remain grouped together.


The texts, photos, images and musical scores on all pages of this site are covered by UK Law and International Law. And yet the bass drum can be admirably effective when used intelligently.

There would only be between these two rival powers an alliance all the more sincere as neither would shed any of its dignity.

The assistant conductors and orchestral coaches will rehearse on their own, following the same method:. But to write for it as has been done these last fifteen years, where it is introduced in every ensemble, in every finale, in the slightest chorus, in dance tunes, even in cavatinas, this is the height of insanity and, to call things by their name, of brutality.

Whatever the effect of this new modulation, it was severely censured by the masters.

Berlioz Treatise on orchestration

But the expression of its tone and its sonority are such that it can be used in any kind of piece. Musical and Literary Works.

They have therefore preserved its power, dignity and poetry. Here is the lonely virgin, the blond betrothed of the huntsman, who raises her eyes to heaven and mingles her gentle lament with the sounds of the deep forests shaken by the storm.

Stringed instruments are the essential foundation of any orchestra. In his score the composer must therefore indicate the layout that he thinks is appropriate.