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

Beat, Janet Eveline (1968). The development of the orchestra and orchestration in Italian opera : c.1600-c.1750. University of Birmingham. M.A.

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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: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.A.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.A.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Music
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music


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