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INSTRUMENTATION


seriously damaged even Gluck's work, and which always had the grave inconvenience that while the new methods of blending and contrasting instruments stimulated an increase in the variety, if not in the size of orchestras, there was at the same time extreme difficulty in finding occupation for the members of the lower middle class of the orchestra in ordinary passages. On the other hand, it is significant how everything in the development of new instruments seems to suggest, and be suggested by, the new methods of expression. The invention of the damper-pedal in the pianoforte epitomizes the difference between polyphony and symphonic art, for it is the earliest device by which sounds are produced and prolonged in a way contrary to the spirit of “ real ” part-writing. It is possible to conceive of any number of notes struck and sustained by the fingers as consisting of so many quasi-vocal parts; but when a series of single sounds is played and each sound continues to vibrate by means of a pedal which prevents the dampers from falling on the strings, then we are conscious that the sounds have been produced as from one part, and that they nevertheless combine to form a chord; and this is as remote from the spirit of polyphonic part-writing as modern English is from classical Greek.

The pianoforte trios of Haydn are perhaps the only works of first-rate artistic importance in which there is no doubt that the earlier stages of the new art do not admit of sufficient polyphony to give the instruments fair play. Haydn finds the pianoforte so completely capable of expressing his meaning that he is at a loss to find independent material for any accompanying instruments; and the violoncello in his trios has, except perhaps in four passages in the whole collection of thirty-three works, not a note to play that is not already in the bass of the pianoforte; while the melodies of the violin are, more often than not, doubled in the treble. Yet there is a certain difference between this and the work of a poor artist whose designs are threadbare. It would be impossible to add a note to Haydn's trio; the only question is how to account for the superfluity of much of the string parts and how to make the trios effective in performance. It is sometimes suggested that the 'cello part is best omitted and these works played as violin sonatas. But experiment shows that in this condition much of the violin part sounds incomplete; and the truth appears to be that Haydn is thinking, like any modern composer, of the opposition of two solid bodies of tone-the pianoforte and the stringed instruments. And it will be found that the method of performance which most nearly justifies the instrumental effect of these otherwise beautiful works is that in which the pianoforte player regards himself as frequently doubling the stringed instruments, and not vice versa. He should therefore in all such passages play extremely lightly, so as to give the violin and 'cello the function of drawing the main outline. In the time of Bach such writing was beautifully suited to enliven the dry glitter of the harpsichord, and Bach's duets for clavier and violin seem to have been sometimes played as trios with a violoncello playing from the clavier bass. But this was ineffective with the pianoforte, and is only explicable in Haydn as a survival. His trios were, indeed, published under the title of “ pianoforte sonatas with accompaniment of violin and violoncello ”; but this in no way militates against the above remarks as to their proper method of performance nowadays, when we take into consideration the greater strength of tone of the modern pianoforte, especially in the bass, and the fact that in no case could a violinist consent to play as an accompaniment such melodies as that at the beginning of the G major trio known as No. 1.

For Mozart there never was an such embarras de rich r y esse

in any combination of instruments. His music is highly polyphonic, and modern in its instrumental treatment throughout. It was lucky for the development of instrumentation (as in all branches of music during the change from polyphonic to formal design) that whenever the texture is not polyphonic the natural place for melody is on the surface: in other words, when the accompaniment is simple the tune is generally on the top. Haydn, when he was not tempted by the resources of an instrument so complete in itself as the pianoforte, soon learnt to write artistically perfect string quartets in which the first violin, though overwhelmingly the most important part, is nevertheless in perfect balance with the other members of the scheme, inasmuch as they contribute exactly what their pitch and the little polyphonic elaboration admissible by the style will enable them to give. In the treatment of the orchestra volumes might be written about Haydn's and Mozart's sense of fitness, as shown in Haydn's experiments and Mozart's settled methods. Where they consent to any practical custom from practical necessity they also consent because it is artistically right for them, and if it had not been artistically right they would have soon swept it away. For example, it has often been said that the extent to which their orchestral viola parts double the basses is due, partly to bad traditions of Italian opera, and partly to the fact that viola players were, more often than not, simply persons who had failed to play the violin. This was in many cases true, and it is equally true that Mozart and Haydn often had no scruple in following the customs of very bad. composers. But, when we look at the many passages in which the violas double the basses, we shall do well to consider whether there is room in the harmonic scheme for the violas to do anything else, and whether the effect would not be thin without them. As music becomes more polyphonic the inner parts of the orchestra become more and more emancipated. Already Mozart divides his violas into two parts quite as often as he makes them play with the basses. In Beethoven's orchestration there is almost always room for an independent viola part. There is not room for one together with an independent violoncello part; the wonderful use of muted solo violoncellos in the slow movement of the Pastoral Symphony being a special effect, like the earlier instance in Haydn's 12th Salomon Symphony. Otherwise, when Beethoven has anything special for the violoncellos to say, he invariably softens and deepens their singularly incisive cantabile tones by doubling them with the violas. In the orchestras of his day this was perhaps the only safe proceeding for players unaccustomed to such responsibilities, and that may have been one of Beethoven's reasons for it. But it is equally certain that the pure violoncello tone in large masses belongs to a distinctly different region of orchestral effect. Haydn's numerous examples of independent violoncello melodies are almost all either marked solo or written for such small orchestras that they would be played as solos.

Similar principles apply in infinite detail to the treatment of wind instruments, and we must never lose sight of them in speculating as to the reasons why the genius of Beethoven was able to carry instrumentation into worlds of which Haydn and Mozart never dreamt, or why, having gone so far, it left anything unexplored. A subject so vast and so incapable of classification cannot be discussed here, but its aesthetic principles may be illustrated by the extreme case of the trumpets and horns, which in classical times had no scale except that of the natural harmonic series. This could be fixed, within certain limits, at whatever pitch suited the composition; but on the horn it could be only very partially filled out by notes of a muffled quality produced by inserting the hand into the bell of the instrument, a device impossible on the trumpet. These instruments thus produced, in Haydn's and Beethoven's times, a very remarkable but closely limited series of effects, which, as Sir George Macfarren pointed out in the article “ Music ” in the oth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, gave them a peculiar character and function in strongly asserting the main notes of the key. An instance of this characteristic function, specially remarkable because the composer has taken exceptional measures for it, is Beethoven's overture to Fidelio. It is in E major, while Beethoven chooses to use trumpets in C. The only note which these can play in E major is the tonic, to which they are accordingly confined until the recapitulation of the second subject. This is unexpectedly placed in C major, the remotest key reached in the overture, and one that had already appeared in an impressive passage in the introduction which foreshadows the reference in the first act to the hero in his dungeon (“ Der kaum mehr lebt und wie ein Schatten schwebt ”). In this key the trumpets

blaze out with an effect which entirely depends upon their