PhD University of Tasmania 2014 Pages:

Piano transcription as translation in music : cross-genre adaptations

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Piano transcription is often used as a vehicle for virtuosity in modern piano recitals; however, there has been little academic research into this field, particularly from the standpoint of the performer. This research project has explored the evolution of piano transcription in concert performance, with the findings presented in a folio of recorded performances with an accompanying exegesis. The project has focused on cross-medium transcriptions – from violoncello to piano and from one culture to another – documented in a series of international piano recitals. The exegesis contextualises these performances with analysis of those transcriptions, and includes a series of original transcriptions drawing on techniques discovered in the analysis of the performed transcriptions. The transcriptions performed in recital for this project included Liszt’s ‘Paganini Etude’ and ‘Valse de l’Opera’, and transcriptions of works of J.S. Bach by Siloti, Kempff and Busoni. Included are also original transcriptions of Bach’s Violoncello Suite No.6 and two oriental melodies: ‘Jasmine Flower’ and ‘Silver Cloud in a Moon Night.’ These original transcriptions demonstrate comprehension of the variety of melodic, harmonic and gestural characteristics possible in virtuosic transcriptions for the piano. This research has identified that the performance of piano transcriptions can provide audience appeal by presenting a tune that is familiar in a new musical interpretation including a change from one instrumental medium to another and that transcriptions can provide an artistically valid way of expanding the repertoire and musical expression of pianists.

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