Treatise on Instrumentation (Dover Books on Music) [Hector Berlioz, Richard Strauss] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The most influential. Book Source: Digital Library of India Item : Hector ioned. Berlioz was one of the first composers to deal greatly with orchestration. In this treatise he talks about what the different sounds that instruments make (tone.

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

The authority of a hundred old men, be they all agedshould not persuade us to find ugly what is beautiful, nor beautiful what is ugly. But this doubling in the lower part is too weak and out of proportion to the upper part, and the result is a superfluous buzzing sound, which tends to obscure belrioz than enhance the vibration of the higher notes on the violins.

I have never been able to hear from a distance military music without being deeply moved by the feminine timbre of clarinets and being filled with images of that kind, as after the reading of ancient epic poems.

Mutes are normally used in slow pieces, but they are no less effective for quick and light figuration when the subject of the music calls for it, or for accompaniments in an urgent rhythm.

The sound of the two piccolos comes out an octave above and therefore produces sequences of elevenths, the harshness of which is extremely appropriate in the context. He will then select coaches for each one of the vocal and instrumental groups.

Suppose a mass of voices placed in the choir of a church, far away from the organ, and interrupting its chant to let the organ repeat it, in whole or in part; suppose even that the chorus, in a ceremony of a sad character, was accompanied by a lament alternating between the orchestra and the organ from the two extremities of the church, with the organ following the orchestra like a mysterious echo of its lament.

This is the place to draw attention to the importance of the different points of origin of the sounds. Since violinists do not regard tgeatise as an integral part of the art of violin playing they have hardly studied it. In mezzo forte in the middle range, in unison or in harmony in berliiz slow tempo, the trombones take on a religious character. As a result it has become the solo instrument that is indispensable for quadrilles, galops, variations and other second-rate compositions. Ordinary rhythms, devoid of melody, harmony or tonality, or of anything that constitutes real music, but intended solely to provide a beat for soldiers on the march, become exciting when performed by a mass of forty or fifty drums on their own.


These extracts are collected here on a page devoted entirely ihstrumentation the treatise also available in the original French.

A new edition of the original Treatise was published in as volume 24 of the New Berlioz Edition. Slow and gentle melodies, which too often are given to wind instruments, are never better expressed than by a mass of violins. The sounds of the second octave can be very suitable for pieces of a joyful character, and the whole dynamic range can be used. 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.

Care should be taken in this case to provide numerous tuning forks in the orchestra; this is the only way to preserve exactly the correct pitch of a crowd of instruments that are so different in character and temperament. It is Weber in my opinion who more than any other master has succeeded in making the most original, poetic and complete use of the instrument. I believe it is much better to have the ophicleide simply double the lower part, or at least the composer should provide a correct bass line by writing for the three trombones as though they were meant to be heard on their own.

Treatise On Instrumentation

The best layout for performers, in instrumentstion hall which is suitably proportioned in relation to the numbers involved, is to raise them one above the other by a series of tiers set out so in such a way that each row can project the sounds it makes to the audience without any intervening obstacle.

Many ignorant players, devoted to noise, make a deplorable use instrymentation these octave stops. Then came the turn of modulations. Les Francs-jugesOp. The Menuet des Follets from the Damnation of Faust may be mentioned as an example of the varied use of the instrument in the course of the same piece].

The sounds of the middle range have a proud quality tempered by noble tenderness, and are thus ideal for expressing feelings and ideas of the most poetic kind. Assisted by the low notes of two clarinets in A and B flat this gives the passage the sinister timbre which evokes the feelings of terror and fear which permeate this immortal scene. The viola is as agile as the violin; its lower strings have a peculiarly penetrating quality; its higher notes are distinctive and have a sad and passionate intensity; in general its tone has a quality of deep sadness which distinguishes it from all other stringed instruments.


These you now find, but the number of string instruments has not been indtrumentation, so the tonal balance is destroyed, the violins can scarcely be heard, and the overall result is dreadful. For further details see Berlioz: But treatjse I hear this instrument used to double three octaves above the melody of a baritone, to utter its shrill cry in the midst of religious harmonies, to add power and incisiveness to the upper part of the orchestra, from the beginning to the end of the act in an opera, and all just for the sake of noise, I cannot help finding this style of instrumental writing flat, stupid, and in general worthy only of the melodic style to which it is applied.

This manner of instrumentation could lead to grand and sublime effects. Hence its priceless ability to produce a distant sound, the echo of an echo, a sound like twilight. The trwatise of the cellos then acquires a very rounded and pure quality without ceasing to predominate. By doubling or tripling in the same proportions and order this body of performers the result would probably be a superb festival orchestra.

But it should be noted in such cases that the sound of the bass trombone always tends to predominate over the other two, especially if onstrumentation first is an alto trombone.

Spontini was the first to use it in his triumphal march in La Vestale and a little later in a few pieces in Fernand Cortezwhere it was well motivated.

Treatise on Instrumentation – Hector Berlioz, Richard Strauss – Google Books

References could of course be multiplied. The most direct, beautiful and noble march theme loses its nobility, directness and beauty if heard on the oboes.

Until Intsrumentation and Weberall composers, Mozart not excepted, have insisted either in confining it to the demeaning role of filling up, or in making it sound two or three rhythmic patterns, always the same, which are flat, ridiculous, and frequently jar with the character of the pieces where they occur.