Category: Техника музыкальной композиции


Abstract: The article explores the structure of polyphonic compositions for melodic instruments. The study found that the use of bowed string and wind instruments impacts a composer’s polyphonic technique. Fugues for melodic instruments employ either of the two options: the use of wind instruments, which, as is the case with the human voice, produce only one sound, or the use of bowed string instruments with incomparably greater possibilities. Therefore, polyphonic “kunstücks” for strings are much more common, since the possibility of performing two or more sounds gives way for polyphonic texture. Composing a fugue for a melodic instrument, composers sometimes resort to a special technique that creates the illusion of full-fledged polyphony—the so-called branching of the voice. Branching means that themes and counterpoint are written for different registers rather than for different voices (basically impossible for winds). This leads to the appearance of independent lines within the branched voice. Composing a fugue in such a rigid framework requires compliance with a number of requirements in relation to each of its components: from the theme and counter-theme to interludes and stretches. The analytical part of the report shows typical modifications of the established form and provides examples of the combination of polyphonic and instrumental performing techniques. Download the article


Abstract: The article explores the informative value of the most common oppositions “typical vs. individual”, “traditional vs. unique”, “stable vs. dynamic” for the study of evolutionary processes in music. The dichotomous method helps to reveal the dialectic of the general and the individual. On top of that, it is instrumental in discovering new approaches and meanings behind them. At the same time, the concepts of “typical”, “traditional”, and “stable” are understood as a generally accepted, recognizable (at the level of a compositional solution), essential and basic property of the form, while the concept of “metamorphosis” is understood as something special, changeable and non-conventional. The study focuses on the fugue as the key polyphonic form commonly perceived as the embodiment of strict traditions of academicism and, to a certain degree, of conservatism. At the same time, the fugue effectively demonstrates the interaction of technical and aesthetic aspects of the archetype and its numerous stylistic modifications. This is extremely important as regards studies into the evolution of the fugue and the discovery of its internally open and creative nature. Examples of fugues in various composing practices—from the heyday of the Baroque to the present day—show metamorphoses as an organic process that naturally permeates the entire history of the form. Diverse and sometimes paradoxical compositional solutions of the fugue provide a ground to supplement the above list of antonymic pairs with one more opposition: “morph vs. metamorphosis” (“morph” is a Greek word for “form”). This opposition makes it possible to identify the relations between different compositional and structural units of the invariant form and their variants in a modified form. Download the article


Abstract: At times Shostakovich composed his pieces so fast that one would feel something Mozartian in the lightness of his writing technique. However, there were times when things went the other way round. We find what Shostakovich himself says about his writing patterns, “I am trying hard to compose something new. I get down to writing and then change my mind. The symphony does no pan out.” These are just a few of a dozen of other similar statements. One of them makes the title of our paper. It is written as an understatement—a stylistic device so much favored by Shostakovich (O.G. Digonskaya). The words in quotes should not be taken literally. “To skip” does not mean omitting a measure—the measure may contain music subject to later review. The word “measure” does not always imply one measure. It may be one measure in short pieces like Prelude No. 14, Opus 34, or, in extensive scores, the number may reach a few dozens of measures (Symphony No. 4, Part 1). Sometimes “skipping” is nothing but a summary notation—when drafting music, the composer may omit certain details for the simple reason that he remembers them all. This approach is common for that phase of composing when music material is mostly ready but needs emphasis (Symphony No. 10, Part 2). To conclude, Shostakovich deals with music rather freely because of the underlying principle he follows in his composing manner, i.e., a comprehensive vision of what his future music piece will look like. Download the article


Abstract: The 1860s played a special role in the history of organ music in Belgium and France. This period was marked by the active development of substantive repertory and the establishment of the Franco-Belgian organ school. All the advances of this period could not be possible without the contribution of the Belgian composer, organist and teacher Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens. Brought up on the traditional for Catholic Belgium Gregorian chants and the organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Lemmens managed to organically transfer Bach’s principles of working with Lutheran chant to completely different material of Gregorian hymns. Lemmens is also credited for the foundation of the first educational institution that trained church musicians. The three organ sonatas became the pinnacle of his work and the first examples of the synthesis of liturgical content and a secular form. The article reveals general patterns in the choice of themes from the large-scale corpus of Gregorian chants. The melody of the chorale can also be traced in parts in which no chorale is indicated. It shows a deep connection between Lemmens’s heritage and a thousand-year-old church musical tradition. Download the article

Trio texture in choral arrangements and polyclavier organ of Southern Germany in the first third of the 16th century

Abstract: The article is an attempt to establish a relationship between the structure of large South German church organs of the first third of the 16th century and the compositional features of the then-contemporary organ works. The historical boundaries of the Renaissance in German architecture and music do not coincide, while an organ may be viewed as an architectural element. This contradiction presents a certain difficulty. In the indicated period, the late Gothic architectural style, which preceded the Renaissance, played a leading role. As we see it, the organ music of this time, usually attributed to the Renaissance, reflected the transition from the late Gothic to the Renaissance. This complex repertoire is marked by the coexistence and interaction of three general trends. Among them are archaic polymelodic polyphony as well as new techniques: the method of coloring that spread in Southern Germany and imitation borrowed from the European North. A polyclavier organ, which we take as the standard of the South German instrument, is called a late Gothic spaltsatz organ (spätgotische Spaltsatz-Orgel) in German musicology. The trio texture found in choral arrangements, in our opinion, most fully and accurately reflects the polyclavier structure and timbre richness of the large church organs of South Germany. Download the article


Abstract: A 16th century composer would typically borrow a monophonic melody as cantus firmus for their new composition. As a rule, no notable changes were made and the borrowed material would remain, at least within the work itself, a “solid melody”. For his polyphonic psalm collection Dodecachorde, Claude Le Jeune chose cantus firmus from the melodies of the Genevan Psalter. They are not always quoted literally. At times, they take a different mode of the polyphonic setting they are founded on or undergo melodic deformations. The choice of the original source and its modal “retouching” are guided by one and the same reason: Dodecachorde is the artistic manifesto of religious tolerance made by a Huguenot composer. Le Jeune tries to combine the declaration of the Protestant melos as an intonational basis of a polyphonic metric psalter and an attempt to fit it in the traditional all-mode cycle on a new 12-mode basis. Download the article


Abstract: Our study investigates madrigal settings of sestinas, sonnets and ballata with highly structured forms. They are, to a varying degree, unambiguously attributed to fixed poetic forms (formes fixes). In particular, the study explores the correspondence of the musical form to a specific fixed poetic form (rather than text-music correspondences of the most general nature, as is the case with the analysis of musico-poetic lines). A number of publications focusing on madrigal settings of texts in certain poetic forms (most often ballads) show that “the poetry precedes and influences the music” (Anthony Newcomb). This understanding is somewhat different from our observations, which have revealed two complementary descriptions. The first affirms the idea of precedence of the poetic form and its influence on the musical form; the key word for the second is “reformatting”: it describes the transformation of sestina stanzas, sonnets and ballata as they are set to music. Thus, we witness a certain tectonic shift: • the displacement of boundaries of the poetic form, • a change in the number of structural elements, • the violation of original proportions, • the replacement of the equality of poetic constructions with the equality of musical constructions, etc. These and other similar signs of the refusal to simply follow the structure of the text are also the signs of a symmetrical metrotectonic construction produced exclusively by musical means. This occurs beyond the direct interaction of music with the word—in the sphere where the beauty of the numerical structure of the musical form becomes manifest (Georgi Conus, Alexey Losev). Download the article


Abstract: Orchestration of Rimsky-Korsakov’s operas on historical subjects has never been in the spotlight of researchers. The only scholar who provided a detailed analysis of orchestral techniques in The Maid of Pskov, The Noblewoman Vera Shelog and The Tsar’s Bride was the composer himself: almost a third of the examples in his manual Principles of Orchestration are drawn from his historical operas. The analysis of these examples as well as a number of scenes from the unpublished second edition of The Maid of Pskov shows that they clearly reflect the evolution of Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral style: an early period of The Mighty Five, the time of independent training and the beginning of teaching at the conservatory, and, finally, the development of his mature style. The three operas clearly illustrate Rimsky-Korsakov’s progress in orchestration training. This might be the reason for the detailed analysis of operas in his manual: the composer describes his mistakes and ways to overcome them. In fact, Rimsky-Korsakov writes his treatise reflecting on the formation of his own technique. Therefore, it is important to study the orchestration of historical operas through the prism of Rimsky-Korsakov’s own ideas reflected in the Principles of Orchestration. Download the article


Abstract: The Fugue for 13 Solo Strings by Witold Lutoslawski is one of the remarkable examples of a sonorous interpretation of the Baroque form. The first researcher to study the Fugue was Yuzef Kon, who chose Lutoslawski’s own statements about his opus as a starting point for research. Further studies are based, largely, on the conclusions made by Kon. Among them a special mention should be made to significant contributions by Valeria Tsenova and Natalia Simakova. Thus, the existing Russian research framework concerning the Lutoslawski Fugue is largely determined by the composer’s commentary and does not embrace elements of the form. The analytical part of the article explores issues that have not been the focus of research to date. It shows how sonorism transforms the theme texture, the logic of relations between the subject and the answer, the juxtaposition of the subject and countersubject. The article also discusses the choice of the means for the development and conclusion of the sections of the form and describes changes to the poetics of the Fugue. The article is a follow-up and a contribution to the development of Yuzef Kon’s ideas about the reinterpretation of the form of Lutoslawski’s Fugue. Download the article


Abstract: The fugues in the 1st and 4th movements of Maxim Berezovsky’s sacred concerto Do Not Reject Me in My Old Age, created no later than 1768, are probably among the first ones composed by him. Fugues differ in their texture. Written for four voices, the fugue of the first movement is, in fact, two-voice. Here, solo and ensemble statements alternate with choral interludes. The form of the 4th movement is a four-part fugue without solo episodes. At the same time, fugues have the same compositional structure: four sections delimited by cadences on the principal scale degrees V, III, and I. The uniformity and, at the same time, uniqueness of the structure of both fugues suggests that they follow a certain pattern or reproduce a scholarly model. An attempt to track this model in the 17th-18th century treatises by G. Karissimi, J. A. Reincken, G. Bononcini, J. Mattheson, J. J. Fux, J.A. Scheibe, M. Spiess, and F. W. Marpurg leads to Gradus ad Parnassum (1725) by Johann Joseph Fux—the most sought-after treatise on composition back in the 18th century. Two-part examples from the first part of Gradus ad Parnassum may have served as a hypothetical model of fugues from Do Not Reject Me in My Old Age. They also consist of sections completed by cadences on the V, III and I degrees. At the same time, cadences in the fugue Let Them be Ashamed (the 4th movement of the Concerto) are consistent with Fux’ remarks about the use of cadences in the conditions of polyphony. However, Berezovsky’s approaches are not always consistent with the ideas of Gradus ad Parnassum. This is partly due to the difference in the modal systems used by Fux and Berezovsky, and, partly, due to the difference in their ultimate goals: educational and artistic, respectively. Download the article