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The development of the orchestra and orchestration in Italian opera : c.1600-c.1750

Beat, Janet Eveline (1968)
Other thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis sets out to discover the beginnings of the modern conception of the orchestra and orchestration, and to trace its evolution in relation to the needs of drama, in Italian opera up to the mid-eighteenth century. Though the heterogeneous nature of the Renaissance ensemble had, in itself, no lasting influence, the symbolical use of instrumental timbre survived; the thesis therefore begins with this aspect. The needs of opera, commercial and artistic, led to the establishment of the string orchestra, to which wind instruments were sometimes added. Where Venetian operas are concerned, as the majority survive only in mere manuscript sketches, this thesis further attempts to establish contemporary orchestral practice, and suggests some solutions to the problems posed. The operas of Alessandro Scarlatti and his contemporaries illustrate the next stage in orchestral development. They not only established the wind instruments as permanent members of the orchestra, but also evolved a purely orchestral idiom based on the individual characteristics of each instrument. Succeeding generations of composers built on this foundation, and by the 1750s a purely symphonic style of orchestration emerged in which every aspect of the texture as a whole was imaginatively explored.

Type of Work:M.A. thesis.
School/Faculty:Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
Department:Department of Music
Subjects:M Music
ML Literature of music
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:7656
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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