Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and by Berlioz, Hugh Macdonald

By Berlioz, Hugh Macdonald

Berlioz's Orchestration Treatise (1843) is a vintage textbook by way of a grasp of the orchestra, which has now not been on hand in English translation for over a century. it is a publication via and approximately Berlioz, because it presents not just a brand new translation but in addition an in depth statement on his textual content, facing the tools of Berlioz's time and evaluating his guideline along with his perform. it truly is hence a examine of the excessive craft of the main certain orchestrator of the 19th century.

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Additional info for Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise: A Translation and Commentary

Sample text

Berlioz never uses a cancelling instruction such as ‘naturale’. Ex. 12 is the opening of a much longer extract from Act I of Gluck’s Armide, which Berlioz printed to illustrate the tremolo. This includes a number of tremolos of the kind shown as Ex. 13a, which are also found in Les francs-juges (Chœur de soldats, bar 155) and at the opening of Act II of Les Troyens (NBE 2a: 203). He presumably intended the bow to change at the same rapid pace as the left-hand fingers, although bar 11 of the Les Troyens passage is slurred over a whole bar, casting doubt on his intentions.

18a–d the black notes show the actual pitch of the harmonics, while the white notes show the positions to be touched on the open strings. Ex. 18 8va 8va 8va 8va (a) on the e string poor 8va 8va 8va 8va 8va (b) on the a string poor 8va 8va (c) on the d string hard (d) on the g string 12 F-Pn R´es. F. 1369. 8va 22 Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise Artificial harmonics can sound clearly over the whole range by pressing the first finger firmly on the string, providing a movable nut, while the other fingers touch it lightly.

11c. Ex. 11 (a) (b) (c) 16 Berlioz’s Orchestration Treatise A tremolo, fortissimo, in the lower or middle range on the bottom two strings is much more distinctive if the bow touches the strings close to the bridge. In a large orchestra (when the players take the trouble to do it properly) it produces a noise like a mighty cascade. It requires the indication ‘pr`es du chevalet’ (near the bridge). A magnificent example of this kind of tremolo is found in the oracle scene in Act I of Gluck’s Alceste (see Ex.

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