Orchestra (Piccolo, 2 Flutes, 2 Oboes, Cor Anglais, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons, Contrabassoon, 4 Horns, 3 Trumpets, 2 Cornets, 3 Trombones, Tuba, Timpani, Tamtams, Triangle, Cymbals, Bass Drum, Glockenspiel, 2 Harps, Violins I, Violins II, Violas, Violoncellos, Contrabasses)
Year of composition
Syrinx by Claude Debussy (1913)
This original composition is written for orchestra and is based upon the solo flute composition Syrinx which was composed in 1913 by the French composer, Claude Debussy. The process of orchestrating this monodic composition by Debussy is completely based on the research presented in my Masters Degree dissertation Principles of Orchestration and the Analysis of Musical Gestures.
This original composition is written for orchestra and is based upon the solo flute composition Syrinx which was composed in 1913 by the French composer, Claude Debussy. I used the instrumentation of La Mer, trois Esquisses symphoniques pour Orchestre as a guideline for the instrumentation of this composition. The process of orchestrating this monodic composition by Debussy is completely based on the research presented in my Masters Degree dissertation Principles of Orchestration and the Analysis of Musical Gestures.
I found that the orchestration of monodic compositions is not effective when the melodies are simply harmonized. Instead of harmonizing the very complex melody of Syrinx, I identified and classified the motifs in this composition and reinterpreted these motifs as musical gestures in terms of musical forces. I employed the theory of musical forces by Steve Larson in this study. Larson identified three musical forces which exist because of unstable tones which are attracted to a point of stability. These three musical forces are musical gravity, musical magnetism, and musical inertia. Musical magnetism is the tendency of an unstable note to move up or down to the nearest stable pitch. Instances of musical magnetism is also known under terms such as ‘attraction’, ‘pulling’, ‘yearning’ and ‘leading note’. Musical gravity is the tendency of an unstable note to descent to a lower, more stable pitch. Musical inertia is the tendency of a pattern of musical motion to continue in the same fashion.
In my orchestration I establish the point of stability (Bb) and then state the musical gestures where I amplify the interaction of certain musical forces by means of orchestration. The restrictions in this composition are the material, which was composed by Debussy, upon which I base my orchestration, as well as my objective to amplify the musical forces in this composition according to my research conducted. Other restrictions are the kind of composition techniques that one finds in monodic music such as the music of certain parts of the Arabian world, or certain types of Indian music.
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