Previous Page Table Of Contents Next Page

Many critics and countless listeners claim that contemporary music is ‘tuneless’, that is, devoid of melody. I would argue that this is not the case and there are many tunes in the Arutiunian that you will be whistling away to after hearing this work.

Melodic organisation in the Classical period were usually symmetrical (i.e. based on a 4 + 4 bar plan). The proposition stated in the first 4 bars (antecedent) would be answered in the second 4 bars (consequent).

There are many clear examples in all movements of the Haydn. The clearest is the arching opening four bar phrases in the second movement:

Listen to sample no. 3 - (RealAudio)

MUSIC EXAMPLE ~ Haydn: Opening solo part (4+4)

The melodic component in the 20th century is hard to define. Often melodies do not have a symmetrical structure and has less predictable paragraphing, which can be seen in the Arutiunian at E where the phrases are between 1½ bars and 4 bars long. It is also hard to determine where the phrases start and finish. Like the Haydn, the Arutiunian does have sections with the ‘Question & Answer’ phrases, such as at M. It is not so easily recognisable though, so the tape extract will show this more clearly.

Listen to sample no. 4 - (RealAudio)

Having researched Joseph Haydn and other classical composers I found out that a primary interest, whilst composing, was the overall architecture of their piece and also the elaboration of their melodic ideas. This is no exception in this concerto as the first movement is in Sonata form where Haydn’s melodies and motifs are later developed. An obvious example is the opening melodies in the solo part.

Listen to sample no. 5 - (RealAudio)

In this example you can see that it is built on scale steps and the notes of the common diatonic chord (Cmajor). This tendency was dominant of the Classical period. The Haydn concerto is definitely no different as it continues in step-wise fashion until bar 45 where it plays a short motive in 3rds followed closely by a chromatic motive.

However, there are exceptions to this and during the development section of the first movement there are some massive leaps for the soloist.

MUSIC EXAMPLE ~ Haydn: solo part ~ end of 3rd movt

In the Arutiunian I found out that he often resorted to other scale systems other than the well-known major and minor modes of the diatonic scale. In sections, such as D-F, it has a sense of wandering tonality as it modulates frequently. During the slow sections at D and M the melody is made up of many whole tones. This means there are few cadencing points because there are not many leading notes. This use of whole-tone figures at M gives the Arutiunian a Russian sound.

The two concerti, however, do have melodic ideas in common, such as they both have tuneful melodies that are singable and have slow lyrical sections for the trumpet in the middle range. The latter is particularly important noting that the Haydn was the very first brass concerto to have lyrical passages in the lower to middle range of the instrument. Haydn consciously exploited these low narrow chromatic intervals, especially throughout the second movement, previously unattainable on any other brass instrument of its time and to great effect too. Looking at the ranges of each concerti, Haydn wrote for the new keyed trumpet (see appendix no.4 & 5) to play in its very extreme range. This too was never done before, as it was impossible to play at this pitch and speed.

Listen to sample no. 6 - (RealAudio)

In the first movement the trumpet covers basically the whole range of the instrument (G – 3Bb in Eb pitch). Even on a modern Eb trumpet this is hard to play. This shows us the range used in each concerto (Bb pitch):


The Haydn also has wider leaps and a wider range of notes than the Arutiunian. This may seem unusual as most 20th century pieces are far more technically difficult to play than Classical repertoire. Large skips are not inevitable features of 20th century music, esp. in the Arutiunian where large intervals would be unpractical as it is technically difficult to play. Arutiunian had the performer in mind when composing this work and was concerned with the performer’s restrictions, he wrote it centered around Bb major because it is a convenient key for the trumpet to play in (see appendix no.2, Q.6)

On the whole, melodies with larger intervals in will have longer phrase lengths, while melodies with narrower intervals are more likely to be broken down into smaller phrases, separated by rests. The melodies with the narrower intervals are generally dominated by rhythmic forces. The Arutiunian has no interval greater than an octave.

Other differences looking at the melodic aspect includes the Arutiunian having more rubato, frequently modulating melodies, and there is a greater emphasis on rhythm and dynamics.

After comparing these two concerti it may be said that 20th century melodies are not as dominant as in the classical period. The melodies are more irregular and less predictable, with more emphasis on larger interval (e.g. 7th and 9th) or very small intervals and also augmented intervals. Often the melody is more dependent on its rhythmic energy (as in the main theme of the Arutiunian).