CELLO TRANSCRIPTIONS OF WORKS BY FREDERIC CHOPIN. SELECTED ASPECTS
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The practice of making use of existing compositions is not new, but in spite of this it has not so far received detailed analysis. The terminology used in the Polish language in describing the phenomenon of transcription of a musical work does not provide a consistent framework either. The volume of transcriptions of the works of Chopin, which can be counted in thousands, gives one good reason for reflecting on and investigating the nature of this phenomenon. The fragments selected and discussed in the text come from Etude in C sharp-minor op. 25 no. 7, Prelude in E-minor op. 28 no. 4 and Mazurka in a-minor op. 67 no 4. The majority of cello transcriptions, in spite of the change in the performance instrument, does not require changes in the text. It is very probable that Chopin was familiar with the issues involved in the technique of cello-playing, and an analysis of his cello compositions reveals an evolution in the conscious application of increasingly sophisticated technical devices (e.g. use of the thumb and the positions based on it, use of double or triple notes or jumps of greater ambitus). In turn, it is not difficult to find the timbre of the cello in his piano compositions, in particular those in minor modes and of nocturnal character. Amazingly, in many transcriptions of Chopin's works for the cello, the melodic line allows a free arrangement of the cellist's left hand, as if the composition was intended for that instrument. The changes of the bow in the transcriptions of Chopin's works often correspond to the length of consecutive phrases in his original compositions. This confirms the composer's desire to make the instrument 'sing' during playing.
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