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Sad And Happy Instruments?


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#1 stevensfo

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 21:23

A remark on another forum about a sad piece for clarinet got me thinking. Although we use them to play happy music as well, I've always thought that sad or melancholy music sounds particularly effective on the oboe, cello and violin. Cheerful music, perhaps the clarinet, bassoon, sax and flute.

So if you were given a really sad piece of music for a film, but for only one instrument, which would you choose? Which instrument can play the saddest tone?

Likewise, a solo piece that would lift spirits and make everyone feel happy.


Steve
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#2 maggiemay

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 21:32

One of the most wistful sounds I have ever heard is on an old Enya cd - I'm not quite sure what kind of pipes they are though! Gentle, plangent, the cd is either Shepherd Moons or - erm the other one that came out round about the same time - erm ! will look it up.

(ed - the other one is Watermark. It's on one of those two - the last track). Vague I know! Uillean pipes maybe?
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#3 Guest: petrat_*

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 21:43

Saddest sound for me has to be one of the larger saxes. Happiest would be a soprano recorder. smile.gif
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#4 Arundodonuts

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 21:46

For sad, I would say viola and oboe (or cor anglais) which is what has attracted me to both of them - despite being a fairly happy sort of chap.

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#5 notmusimum

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 22:21

QUOTE(petrat @ Dec 5 2008, 09:43 PM) View Post

Saddest sound for me has to be one of the larger saxes. Happiest would be a soprano recorder. smile.gif


Agree on the happiest and Soprano Recorder. I think some of the low notes on Bari are more scary than sad laugh.gif Oboe can do sad very well but can also be beautiful.

The head of my daughters school thought a piece she played was too sad. It was on Flute and the title "The Wedding" laugh.gif
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#6 bassmadmatt

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 22:32

QUOTE(maggiemay @ Dec 5 2008, 09:32 PM) View Post
One of the most wistful sounds I have ever heard is on an old Enya cd
Beat me to it - and both of the cd's you mentioned are listed as featuring Uillean pipes. smile.gif
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#7 maggiemay

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Posted 05 December 2008 - 23:26

QUOTE(bassmadmatt @ Dec 5 2008, 10:32 PM) View Post

QUOTE(maggiemay @ Dec 5 2008, 09:32 PM) View Post
One of the most wistful sounds I have ever heard is on an old Enya cd
Beat me to it - and both of the cd's you mentioned are listed as featuring Uillean pipes. smile.gif

Thanks Matt! I think the track I had in mind is called Smaointe.
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#8 violoboist

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 00:03

Cor anglais... biased? Me?! blush.gif
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#9 Crotchetymum

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 09:40

I was recently listening to the music from Schindler's List, so my first thought was violin, but I don't think of that as a sad instrument - the violin whizzing through a hornpipe has got to be one of the liveliest of instruments. I think that the viola and cello generally have the more melancholy edge as far as strings go. From what people have said, is it generally the lower the range, the sadder the sound? (with the exception of the Uillean pipes!)
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#10 july

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 13:11

Saddest for me: the cello and the clarinet

Happiest: Flute, piccolo
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#11 sarah123

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 17:07

Piano can be very sad and empty in a really beautiful way when used in moderation (thinking along the lines of the american beauty theme). I'm not sure it can really be counted as a sad instrument though.I can't think of any examples, but I imagine that viola would do sad pretty well. Also, I've just remembered the young musician trombonist, who played a really moving solo piece. I can't decide! unsure.gif
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#12 ymapazagain

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 00:14

QUOTE(stevensfo @ Dec 5 2008, 09:23 PM) View Post



So if you were given a really sad piece of music for a film, but for only one instrument, which would you choose? Which instrument can play the saddest tone?




I would say Cello

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#13 Stephie

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 09:45

laugh.gif Definitely oboe for melancholy music (I always think of the duck in Peter & the Wolf... dry.gif tongue.gif ) and for happy music I would choose the ... cornemuse biggrin.gif laugh.gif rofl.gif
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#14 river

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 12:05

i've always thought the flute was a wonderful instrument for sad music - although as it tends to play higher than other 'sad' instruments like the cello or fiddle, it has a different feel... more 'lonely/wistful' than the darker, more melancholy sound of the stringed instruments.
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#15 AmandaL

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 13:35

QUOTE(Crotchetymum @ Dec 6 2008, 09:40 AM) View Post
From what people have said, is it generally the lower the range, the sadder the sound? (with the exception of the Uillean pipes!)
But the bassoon generally sounds happy and even humorous.

I think the context of the music has more to do with making an instrument sound sad or happy.

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