78081 - History of Instruments and of the Orchestra (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will know about the main instruments of the European tradition, especially those employed in the modern and contemporary orchestra: they are able to concisely present their history, describe their peculiarities as far as construction, sound and timbre are concerned, and provide examples of their use. Furthermore, students will know about the main stages in the history of the orchestra and orchestral direction, from the origins to our days. After carrying out practical sessions focusing on compositions from the 17th to the 20h century, they will be able to recognize the essential principles of orchestral writing.

 

Course contents

Module I = first 30 hours

The first module of the course provides in-depth knowledge about the history, construction, sound and timbre characteristics, and use of the main musical instruments of the European tradition, in particular those employed in modern and contemporary orchestras. Each instrument (according to its family: strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, keyboard instruments and plucked instruments) will be introduced through listenings and the analysis of the most significant passages, in order to arrive at a more in-depth knowledge of the writing peculiarities associated with each instrument and its role in the orchestra.

 

Module II = following 30 hours

The second module is an in-depth exploration of the main stages in the history of orchestra and orchestral conducting, from the origins to our days. The key principles of orchestral writing will be discussed in lessons addressing the analysis of compositions from the 17th to the 20th century

 

The 6 CFU course unit consists of module I, while the 12 CFU course unit consists of the two modules.

 

Readings/Bibliography

The exam program is the same for regular and non-regular students.

 

6 CFU course unit (module I)

All the students are required to know:

- S. Adler, Lo studio dell’orchestrazione, Torino EDT, 2008, pp. 3-605 (in the Biblioteca del Dipartimento delle Arti, section of Musica e Spettacolo, students will find also the CDs with Musical Examples).

Students who lack adequate knowledge of music history from the 17th to the 20th century are advised to read:

- E. Surian, Manuale di Storia della musica, vol. II: Dalla musica strumentale del Cinquecento al periodo classico (5th ed., Milano, Rugginenti, 2010), vol. III: L’Ottocento: la musica strumentale e il teatro d'opera (5th ed., ibid., 2010), vol. IV: Il Novecento (4th ed., ibid., 2017).

NB: any change in this programme should be agreed with the teacher.

 

12 CFU course unit (module I + module II)

All the students are required to know:

- S. Adler, Lo studio dell’orchestrazione, Torino EDT, 2008, pp. 3-605 (in the Biblioteca del Dipartimento delle Arti, section of Musica e Spettacolo, students will find also the CDs with Musical Examples);

- L. Taschera, Forma e gesto nella composizione orchestrale. Linee guida per una lettura della partitura, Bologna, CLUEB, 2000;

- I. Cavallini, Il direttore d’orchestra. Genesi e storia di un’arte, Venezia, Marsilio, 1998 (also available on Virtuale).

All the students are further required to know at least one chapter of their choice from the following books:

- H. Sachs, Toscanini, Torino, EDT, 1981;

- Musica maestri! Il direttore d’orchestra tra mito e mestiere, ed. by F. Rosti, Milano, Feltrinelli, 1985;

- R. Osborne, Conversazioni con Herbert von Karajan, Parma, Guanda, 1990;

- P. Boulez, Conversazioni sulla direzione d’orchestra, Scandicci, La nuova Italia, 1995;

- E. W. Galkin, A History of Orchestral Conducting, in Theory and Practice, New York, Pendragon, 1998;

- The Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra, ed. by C. Lawson, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003;

- The Cambridge Companion to Conducting, ed. by J. A. Bowen, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2003;

- J. Spitzer - N. Zaslaw, The Birth of the Orchestra: History of an Institution, 1650-1815, Oxford, Clarendon, 2004;

- D. Bertotti, Il direttore d’orchestra da Wagner a Furtwängler: l’illustre aberrazione, Palermo, L’Epos, 2005;

- A. Zignani, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Palermo, L’Epos, 2005;

- D. J. Koury, Orchestral Performance in the Nineteenth Century: Size, Proportions, and Seating, Rochester, University of Rochester Press, 2010 (also Ann Arbor, UMI, 1986);

- Arturo Toscanini: il direttore e l’artista mediatico, ed. by M. Capra and I. Cavallini, Lucca, LIM, 2011.

Students who lack adequate knowledge of music history from the 17th to the 20th century are advised to read:

- E. Surian, Manuale di Storia della musica, vol. II: Dalla musica strumentale del Cinquecento al periodo classico (5th ed., Milano, Rugginenti, 2010), vol. III: L’Ottocento: la musica strumentale e il teatro d'opera (5th ed., ibid., 2014), vol. IV: Il Novecento (4th ed., ibid., 2017).

NB: any change in this programme should be agreed with the teacher.

 

Assessment methods

6 CFU course unit (module I)

The final exam will consist in:

1) a concise listening test, in which students will have to be able to identify, at least roughly, the setting of an orchestral composition proposed by the teacher, composed in the period between the 17th and the 20th century;

2) an oral discussion, focusing on the readings in the bibliography.

 

12 CFU course unit (module I + module II)

The final exam will consist in:

1) a concise listening test, in which students will have to be able to identify, at least roughly, the setting of an orchestral composition proposed by the teacher, composed in the period between the 17th and the 20th century;

2) an oral discussion, focusing on the readings in the bibliography;

3) students will discuss their analysis of an orchestral score of their choice, from the period between the 17th and the 20th century. The analysis will concern the most significant elements in the orchestral writing (for the exam, students should carry with them the corresponding score). Students from the Theatre curriculum may replace this test with one of the readings chosen among those included in the bibliography (they may pick the same book from which they have drawn the chapter of choice).

 

It will be assessed as excellent the performance of those students achieving an organic vision of the course contents, the use of a proper specific language, the originality of the reflection as well as the familiarity with the tools for analysing the orchestral writing. It will be assessed as discrete the performance of those students showing mostly mechanical or mnemonic knowledge of the subject, not articulated synthesis and analysis capabilities, a correct but not always appropriate language, as well as a scholastic study of the strategies for analysing the orchestral writing. It will be assessed as barely sufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, lack of knowledge of the strategies for analysing the orchestral writing. It will be assessed as insufficient the performance of those students showing learning gaps, inappropriate language, no orientation within the recommended bibliography and inability to analyse the orchestral writing.

 

Office hours

See the website of Elisabetta Pasquini