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INSTRUMENT OF GOVERNMENT

again, a case usually, but perhaps wrongly, condemned for its orchestral appearance on paper. Such matters cannot be decided off-hand by the mere fact that tremolos are characteristic of orchestras: the question is whether in individual cases they have not a special character when played by single players. Where this is so there need be no confusion of style; but the danger of such confusion is great, and with the rise of modern dramatic instrumentation it may be doubted whether there are any standards of criticism in current use for chamber-music of other than the sonata style. The development of pianoforte technique since Beethoven has been in some ways even more revolutionizing than that of the brass instruments; and pianoforte instrumentation, both in solo and in chamber-music, is a study for a lifetime.

Orchestral Schemes Typical of Different Periods.

1. 16th Century.—We, with our stereotyped modern notions of the grouping of voices, may get some idea of the freedom of the 16th-century composers’ imagination by noting that the four-part movements for semi-chorus or solo voices in Palestrina’s Masses present us with no fewer than seventeen different combinations of voices, and that of these the familiar group of soprano, alto, tenor and bass is not the most common, though it is invariable as that used for entire four-part Masses. In three-part movements Palestrina presents us with twelve combinations of voices. In his five-part Masses and single movements we find eight combinations, and his six-part Masses and single movements show eleven. And when he writes in eight parts for a double chorus the two groups are seldom identical.

2. 18th Century.—17th-century instrumentation may be neglected here as having begun in chaos and ended in the schemes of the 18th-century decorative instrumentation. The following is Bach’s fullest orchestra: the string-band, consisting (as at the present day) of violins in two parts, violas, violoncellos, doubled (where the contrary is not indicated) by double basses; the wind instruments (generally one to each part, as the string-band was never large)—2 flutes, 2 or 3 oboes, or oboe d’ amore (a lower-pitched and gentler type), taille or oboe da caccia (some kind of alto oboe corresponding to the cor anglais), bassoon, generally doubling the string basses, 2 horns, with parts needing much greater practice in high notes than is customary to-day, 3 (occasionally 4) trumpets, of which at least the first 2 were played by players especially trained to produce much higher notes than are compatible with the power to produce the lower notes (the high players were called Clarin-Bläser; and the others Principal-Bläser); a pair of kettle-drums, tuned to the tonic and dominant of the piece.

Handel’s orchestra is less detailed. He does not seem to have found any English trumpeters capable of playing as high parts as those of the German Clarin-Bläser, and his plan seems generally to get as many oboes and bassoons as could be procured to double the top and bottom of his string-band. But his definite orchestral effects in certain places (e.g. “He led them forth like sheep,” in Israel in Egypt, and the music of the Witch of Endor, and the appearance of Samuel’s spirit in Saul) are as modern as Gluck’s.

3. Symphonic Orchestration.—Mozart’s full symphonic scheme requires the string-band, 1 flute (rarely 2), 2 oboes, 2 clarinets (whenever he could obtain them, he being the first composer who really appreciated them, instead of regarding them either as cheap substitutes for the clarino or high trumpet of Bach, or, like Gluck and, with rare and late exceptions, Haydn, as merely adding to the force of tutti passages). Further, 2 horns, 2 bassoons, 2 trumpets and a pair of kettle-drums.

Mozart imports from church music 3 trombones for special passages in his operas.

Beethoven almost always has 2 flutes, and invariably 2 clarinets. In his 5th symphony he introduced 3 trombones and extended both the upper and lower extremes of the wind-band by a piccolo and a double bassoon. “Turkish music,” i.e. the big drum, cymbals and triangle, was used by Haydn in his Military Symphony, and Mozart in his Entführung, for reasons of “local colour”; it appears as an extreme means of climax in the finale of Beethoven’s 9th symphony.

4. Wagner’s Orchestra: Tristan und Isolde.—(Families of instruments are connected by a brace.)

Strings: as usual, but subject to minutely complex grouping.
3 flutes (3rd to play piccolo when required).

2 oboes.
1 cor anglais.
3 bassoons.

2 clarinets.
1 bass clarinet.

4 horns. (The mechanical improvements by which horns and trumpets acquired a complete scale have revolutionized the nature of those instruments; and Wagner’s orchestration, more than that of any other composer, has profited by this. Yet, in the preface to the score Wagner speaks very strongly of the loss of the original character of the horn in the hands of ordinary players; and goes so far as to say that, if experience had not shown that they could be trained to play nearly as smoothly as the classical players, he would have renounced all the advantages of the new mechanism.) 3 trumpets.
3 trombones.
1 tuba.
2 or, for safety in tuning, 3 kettle-drums.
Triangle and cymbals.
1 harp (multiplied quant. suf.).

In Der Ring des Nibelungen Wagner specifies the proportions of the string-band as 16 first and 16 second violins, 12 violas, 12 violoncellos, 8 double basses. The rest of the orchestra consists of—

  Piccolo and 3 flutes.
 3 oboes and cor anglais, or 4th oboe.
 3 bassoons, or 2 and contra-fagotto.
  3 clarinets and 1 bass clarinet.
  8 horns, 4 of whom are also required to play 4 specially constructed
      tenor and bass tubas.
  1 ordinary (double-bass) tuba.
 3 trumpets.
 1 bass trumpet. (A project of Wagner’s which instrument-makers
      found impracticable, so that Wagner had to content
      himself with a kind of valve trombone shaped like a
      trumpet.)
 3 trombones and 1 double-bass trombone.
 2 pairs of kettle-drums.
 Triangle.
 Cymbals.
 Big drum.
 Gong.
 6 harps.

5. Chamber-music.—Bach’s and his contemporaries’ combinations with the harpsichord show the natural fondness, in his day, for instruments of a tone too gentle for prominent use in large rooms, or indeed for survival in modern times. Thus there was quite as much important solo music for the flute as for the violin; and almost more music for the viola da gamba than for the violoncello. A frequent combination was flute, violin and harpsichord (very probably with a violoncello doubling the bass), and in more than one case the violin was partly tuned lower to soften its tone.

Classical and modern chamber-music in the sonata style consists mainly of string-quartets for 2 violins, viola and violoncello; string-trios (rare, because very difficult to write sonorously); pianoforte-trios (pianoforte, violin and violoncello); pianoforte-quartets (pianoforte with string-trio); pianoforte-quintets (pianoforte with string-quartet); string-quintets (with 2 violas, very rarely with 2 violoncellos), and (in two important cases by Brahms) string-sextets. Larger combinations, being semi-orchestral, especially where the double-bass and wind instruments are used, lend themselves to a somewhat lighter style; thus Beethoven’s septet and Schubert’s octet are both in the nature of a very large serenade.

Wind instruments produce very special effects in chamber-music, and need an exceedingly adroit technique on the part of the composer. Magnificent examples are Mozart’s trio for pianoforte, clarinet and viola, his quintet for pianoforte, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon (imitated by Beethoven), his quintet for clarinet and strings, Brahms’s clarinet-quintet for the same combination, and his trio for pianoforte, violin and horn.

 (D. F. T.) 


INSTRUMENT OF GOVERNMENT, the name given to the decree, or written constitution, under which Oliver Cromwell as “lord protector of the commonwealth” governed England, Scotland and Ireland from December 1653 to May 1657.

The Long Parliament was expelled in April 1653 and the council of state dissolved; the Little, or Nominated, parliament which followed ended its existence by abdication; and Cromwell, officially lord general of the army, with a new council of state, remained the only recognized authority in the country. It was in these circumstances that the Instrument of Government, drawn up by some officers in the army, prominent among whom was John Lambert, was brought forward. The document appears to have been under consideration since the middle of October 1653, but Ludlow says it was “in a clandestine manner carried on and huddled up by two or three persons,” a remark probably very near the truth. The nominated parliament abdicated on the 12th of December 1653, and after certain emendations the Instrument was accepted by Cromwell on the 16th. Consisting of forty-two articles, the Instrument placed the legislative power in the hands of “one person, and the people assembled in parliament”; the executive power was left to the lord protector, whose office was to be elective and not hereditary, and a council of state numbering from thirteen to twenty-one members. The councillors were appointed for life;