In the theory of music, it is accepted to call the whole scale a range in which the distances between adjacent steps make up a whole tone.
Its presence in the musical fabric of the work is easily recognizable, thanks to the pronounced mysterious, ghostly, cold, frozen character of the sound. Most often, the imaginative world with which the use of such a range is connected is a fairy tale, fantasy.
"Gamma Chernomor" in Russian music classics
The whole gamut was widely used in the works of Russian composers of the XIX century. In the history of Russian music, another name stuck behind the whole gamut - "gamma Chernomor"since it was first performed in the opera by M.I. Glinka "Ruslan and Lyudmila" as a characteristic of the evil Carla.
In the scene of the abduction of the protagonist of the opera in the orchestra, a whole-gamut passes slowly and ominously, denoting the mysterious presence of the long-bearded wizard Chernomor, whose false power has not yet been exposed. The gamma sound effect is enhanced by the subsequent scene, in which the composer masterfully showed how, shocked by the miracle, the participants in the wedding feast gradually emerged from the strange numbness that engulfed them.
A.S. Dargomyzhsky heard in the bizarre sound of this scale the heavy tread of the statue of the Commander (the opera "The Stone Guest"). P.I. Tchaikovsky decided that he could not find a better musical expressive means than an entire gamut to characterize the sinister ghost of the Countess, who appeared to Herman in the 5th picture of the opera "The Queen of Spades".
A.P. Borodin includes a whole range of colors in the accompaniment of the Sleeping Princess romance, drawing a nightly picture of a fairy-tale forest where the beautiful princess sleeps in a magical dream, and in the wilds one can hear the laughter of his fantastic inhabitants - the devils and witches. The whole gamut sounds once again at the piano, when the text of the romance mentions a mighty bogatyr who will sometime dispel the spells and awaken the sleeping princess.
Metamorphosis Target Range
The expressive possibilities of the whole gamut are not limited only to the creation of frightening images in musical works. W. Mozart has another, unique example of its use. Wanting to create a humorous effect, the composer portrays an incompetent violinist in the third part of his work “A Musical Joke”, who has become entangled in the text and suddenly plays a whole range of music that does not fit into the musical context.
K. Debussy's Landscape Prelude "Sails" is a most interesting example of how the whole range of gamma became the basis of the modal organization of a piece of music. Practically, the whole musical composition of the prelude is based on the b-c-d-e-fis-gis range with the central tone b, which performs the function of abutment here. Thanks to such an artistic solution, Debussy managed to create the thinnest musical fabric, giving birth to an elusive and mysterious image. Imagine some kind of ghostly sails, which flashed somewhere far on the sea horizon, and perhaps - dreamed of in a dream or were the fruit of romantic dreams.