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Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters

2/15/16, 12 : 23 AM

Mahler Symphony No. 6:

Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I

APRIL 3, 2015JUNE 21, 2015 / WONG CHUN-WAI AND CHAN KAI-YOUNG We begin our studies with the slow movement – Andante Moderato from Mahler’s Symphony No.6. The score we use is as follows: Mahler, Gustav. Symphonie Nr. 6 in vier Sätzen für grosses Orchester. Partitur. Lindau: C.F. Kahnt, 1998. This symphony features a range of colorful and effective orchestration techniques.

We would begin our discussion with the use of Klangfarbenmelodie (referred to as ‘KFM’ in the following) – a term usually associated with the works of Schoenberg and Webern – which means the shifting of instrumental color within a single melody.

Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters

2/15/16, 12 : 23 AM

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 6 (Lucerne Fe…
Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 6 (Lucerne Fe…

a. Pointillistic Change of Color

The first instance of KFM can be seen between mm.5-9. The piece st

begins with a melody in the 1

violin, which carries the melody

alone (accompanied mainly by strings) until m.5, when he starts a new phrase mid-measure (B-G-B). In the new phrase, two flutes in unison double the B– the first note of this new phrase.

Yet, instead of simply doubling the violin melody throughout the measure, it holds on to the Band becomes a pedal, or harmonic support to the melody. It gets to unison with the violin again at the last beat of the measure, when the violin returns to B. In the subsequent measure (m.6), the flutes has exactly the same melody with first violin, with same dynamics and articulations, until the melody comes to m.7, where it is passed to a solo oboe.

b. Gradual Change of Color The story doesn’t end here, however: At the point of dovetailing, the three different instruments has a range of detailed expressions:

  • 1. The flutes ends subito pp with a short 8

th

note

  • 2. The first violin ends with a fp attack (with an appoggiatura)

lasting a dotted quarter note, allowing time for the oboe to fade in

Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters

with a p to an crescendo to sf.

2/15/16, 12 : 23 AM

This allow a smooth passage of the melody from one instrumental group to another, resulting in a gradual change in timbre. Once passed to the oboe, the melody is accompanied mainly by winds (2 clarinets, 2 bassoons alternate with a bass clarinet, 1 horn) until measure 9 where the phrase comes to an end.

Example 1. Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato, mm.5-

9

Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters with a p to(https://orchestrationmasters.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/mahler- symphony-no-6-iii-andante-moderato-eg-1-i.jpg) (click to enlarge) Summary of instrumental colour employed for the second phrase in mm. 5-7: Measure Special Instrumental colour number Pitches 5 B ♭ 1st violin pp, upbow 2 flutes in unison, pp G 1st violin alone B ♭ 1st violin, slurred from the 1st Bb Flutes long Bb held from the previous beat 6 1st violin 2 flutes exact doubling 7 D 2 flutes ends subito pp with a th short 8 note 1st violin ends with a fp attack (with an appoggiatura) lasting a dotted quarter note 1 oboe fades in with a p and then crescendo D ♭ Oboe carries melody alone https://orchestrationmasters.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/mahler-symphony-no-6-andante-moderato-klangfarbenmelodie-i/#more-7 Page 3 of 4 " id="pdf-obj-2-20" src="pdf-obj-2-20.jpg">

(click to enlarge) Summary of instrumental colour employed for the second phrase in mm. 5-7:

Measure

Special

Instrumental colour

number

Pitches

5

B

1st violin pp, upbow 2 flutes in unison, pp

G

1st violin alone

B

1st violin, slurred from the 1st Bb

Flutes

long

Bb

held from the

previous beat

6

 

1st violin 2 flutes exact doubling

7

D

2 flutes ends subito pp with a th

short 8

note 1st violin ends

with a fp attack (with an appoggiatura) lasting a dotted quarter note 1 oboe fades in with a p and then crescendo

D

Oboe carries melody alone

Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters

2/15/16, 12 : 23 AM

The following recordings are good references to the example discussed:

  • George Szell with Cleveland Orchestra (October 1967 live) Note: flute doubling clearly heard in mm.5-7

  • Claudio Abbado with Berliner Philharmoniker (Deutschegrammophon, 2005 May) Note: Smooth and beautiful transition from the violin to oboe at m.7

Take-away Point: In orchestral writing, appropriate use of changing instrumental colors can make the melody much more interesting. In the beginning of this movement, Mahler has used various shifting colors to present the melody; Sometimes the color change applies to individual pitches in a pointillistic manner, and sometimes the color changes happen gradually, as if gradually shifting the lenses’ focus on a camera. If you have any additional thoughts, please let us know in the comments section below!

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Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters 2/15/16, 12 : 23Klan g farbenmelodie , Mahler 6TH SYMPHONY MODERATO ANDANTE KLANGFARBENMELODIE MAHLER CREATE A FREE WEBSITE OR BLOG AT W ORDPRESS.COM. | THE HEMINGWAY REWRITTEN THEME . Missing https://orchestrationmasters.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/mahler-symphony-no-6-andante-moderato-klangfarbenmelodie-i/#more-7 Page 4 of 4 " id="pdf-obj-3-37" src="pdf-obj-3-37.jpg">
Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters 2/15/16, 12 : 23Klan g farbenmelodie , Mahler 6TH SYMPHONY MODERATO ANDANTE KLANGFARBENMELODIE MAHLER CREATE A FREE WEBSITE OR BLOG AT W ORDPRESS.COM. | THE HEMINGWAY REWRITTEN THEME . Missing https://orchestrationmasters.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/mahler-symphony-no-6-andante-moderato-klangfarbenmelodie-i/#more-7 Page 4 of 4 " id="pdf-obj-3-43" src="pdf-obj-3-43.jpg">
Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters 2/15/16, 12 : 23Klan g farbenmelodie , Mahler 6TH SYMPHONY MODERATO ANDANTE KLANGFARBENMELODIE MAHLER CREATE A FREE WEBSITE OR BLOG AT W ORDPRESS.COM. | THE HEMINGWAY REWRITTEN THEME . Missing https://orchestrationmasters.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/mahler-symphony-no-6-andante-moderato-klangfarbenmelodie-i/#more-7 Page 4 of 4 " id="pdf-obj-3-53" src="pdf-obj-3-53.jpg">
Mahler Symphony No. 6: Andante Moderato – Klangfarbenmelodie I | Orchestration Masters 2/15/16, 12 : 23Klan g farbenmelodie , Mahler 6TH SYMPHONY MODERATO ANDANTE KLANGFARBENMELODIE MAHLER CREATE A FREE WEBSITE OR BLOG AT W ORDPRESS.COM. | THE HEMINGWAY REWRITTEN THEME . Missing https://orchestrationmasters.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/mahler-symphony-no-6-andante-moderato-klangfarbenmelodie-i/#more-7 Page 4 of 4 " id="pdf-obj-3-55" src="pdf-obj-3-55.jpg">