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Classical Saxophone Transcriptions: Role and Reception Kathryn Etheridge. Classical Saxophone Transcriptions: Role and Reception. Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations. Paper It has been accepted for inclusion in Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations by an authorized administrator of DigiNole Commons.
For more information, please contact mvandegrift fsu. Besides the advantages to composers, musicians, and students of music, transcriptions allow audiences to hear repertoire that would be unavailable to them in its original format. Transcriptions may also permit listeners to hear familiar works through fresh interpretations that can illuminate aspects of the music not heard in the original instrumentation. Classical saxophonists, in particular, use transcriptions for various purposes, including those previously mentioned.
Analysis of saxophone recordings and reviews, including four case studies that take a closer look at individual saxophone CDs, demonstrates how saxophone transcriptions portray the classical saxophone to various audiences. The study of this repertoire, and of saxophonists performing it, must go hand in hand with a study of the saxophonists themselves and the ways in which they view these works. Most saxophonists are arrangers; many of the pieces they perform and record were created by them, as well.
The choice to perform these transcriptions should prompt more decision-making on the part of the saxophonist than does that of completely original works, especially if the performer is also the arranger.
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This study shows that, whether practiced by a saxophonist or any other performing musician, creation and performance of transcriptions are multi-faceted activities. Transcriptions remain an important and valuable component of the recorded saxophone repertoire. They offer to audiences the opportunity to hear a stylistically appropriate rendition of music that adds variety and broader appeal to the mostly twentieth-century classical saxophone repertoire, thus opening the way for more listeners to discover and enjoy this sound resource.
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He recalls the concert debut of the saxophone in , noting that the first publicly performed piece for the instrument was a hymn by Berlioz, arranged by the composer for wind sextet. Since that time saxophonists have continued to play transcriptions alongside original works, despite a substantial and growing repertoire of original compositions. Patrick mentions how nineteenth- and early twentieth-century saxophonists used the multitude of transcriptions that swelled their repertoire at the time to convince composers to write for the saxophone.
Transcriptions actually have a much longer history, one that begins as early as the medieval period. Musical arrangements occupy a fundamental place in Western musical development. Transcriptions by Handel, Haydn, and Couperin are now accepted standards of the repertoire. Besides the advantages to composers, musicians, and students of music, transcriptions are also beneficial for performers and audiences of classical music. A musician should be familiar with all styles of music; limiting studies to one repertoire denies both performer and listener the opportunity to experience music in new, diverse ways.
That saxophonists from various places and ensembles of varying sizes have included transcribed works on their recordings points to the continuing appeal of these pieces. The exploration of saxophone transcriptions and saxophone recordings offers a number of issues for investigation. Key Definitions In a sense, every performance of a composition is a new arrangement, because not every performer will interpret and play the music in exactly the same fashion. Some key terms must be defined here to prevent confusion.
It may also mean an arrangement, especially one involving a change of medium. A distinction, although necessarily a rough one, can be made between the two terms: transcribing should be seen as the copying of a composition with changes only in the layout or notation for example, from parts to full score , while arranging involves a more thoroughgoing transformation, one that almost always includes a change of medium.
The Debussy Rhapsody for orchestra and saxophone has been performed in a number of different arrangements, even though it was originally written for the saxophone. Others were transposed from a similar performing force—such as oboe and piano to soprano saxophone and piano—and maintained the original accompaniment. A number of these works can hardly be called transcriptions, however: arranging for quite different ensemble types that require significant changes to be made articulation, phrasing, orchestration, key, etc.
The arrangers—many of them saxophonists themselves—can easily be considered composers or co-creators for these works. Sources Given the lack of existing research directly relating to this topic, many of the sources for this project provided only general reference information on broad topics or contained only a few specific points of interest each.
Easton includes a general history of the saxophone from its creation to the present and explains changes that have occurred in saxophone construction over the past years.
He also lists common errors of writing and arranging for the solo saxophone or saxophone ensemble. I have consulted a number of books whose authors touch upon specific issues related to my thesis topic, none of which, however, is saxophone-related. Schick also provides a substantial chapter on reviewing classical recordings. Dissertations Dissertations served as the main source of information regarding the history of the saxophone and the place of transcriptions in that history. No one document, however, provides a significant amount of information on the specific topic of this study.
Bach, J. Schiffelholz, and G. Like Crabb, Konecne also addresses the relative lack of suitable recital literature from certain epochs. A handful of brief articles address the transcription of classical music. The recordings—collected from a variety of printed and online discographies and catalogs—were compiled into a database that has been transferred to an Internet website, to allow easy access and subsequent updating post-thesis.
It was from this discography that most of the project developed. To be included for consideration, the recordings in the discography had to meet certain criteria. A major facet of this project—shown through the preponderance of source material gleaned from saxophone publications—was discovering how saxophonists view themselves and their repertoire in regard to performing and recording transcriptions. Any concrete conclusions about the role of saxophone transcriptions must be based on a thorough study of both the history of the saxophone and the history of its repertoire.
An example would be a CD promoting the works of a particular composer; unless that composer has written solely for saxophone, the CD will probably include pieces played on other instruments alongside any saxophone compositions he or she has written. This type of recording does not generally include transcriptions anyway, except in the case of the featured composer transcribing one of his or her own works—and that particular type of transcription is not the focus of this study.
This overview is employed to assess the changes that the classical saxophone transcription repertoire underwent between the s and the later decades of the twentieth century. The life and career of Adolphe Sax, as well as those of saxophonists who helped to popularize classical saxophone in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, will also be a part of the historical information provided as background.
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The final section of Chapter 2 presents a dialogue between those saxophonists who have written about the purpose and use of transcriptions; this section is constructed from excerpts of mid- to later twentieth-century saxophone publications interviews with performers, arrangers, and saxophone professors; reviews of concerts, etc. Excerpts from saxophone publications that focus upon performance practice issues are also sampled in this chapter, providing a glimpse of what these musicians value most regarding transcription performance.
Because the place of historical performance style in transcriptions is a major concern, writings on performance-practice help to answer certain questions that can potentially impact how transcriptions are received by various listeners Do saxophonists create historically-informed renditions, or should they even try to do so? The final section of Chapter 3 discusses reviews of saxophone recordings, comparing and contrasting the columns of four different publications. Chapters 4 through 7 present case studies that help to focus the accumulated material from the discography and reviews.
Each of the four studies analyzes one saxophone compact disc; each CD represents one of four popular saxophone recording types that include transcriptions.
The data used in the case studies encompasses classical saxophone recordings released within the last twenty years. This allows the case studies to be relevant to the present state of classical saxophone recording. These chapters will also compare any reviews of the recording in question that were acquired from the four publications discussed in Chapter 3. In analyzing the recordings and reviews, and in creating the case studies, I have compiled information regarding how saxophone transcriptions portray the classical saxophone to saxophonists and to non-saxophonist audiences.
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Besides providing a broad overview of the recorded saxophone transcription repertoire, this information helps to clarify the appreciation of saxophone transcriptions among saxophonists and a wider public, and the possible uses of transcriptions to reach a broader, non-saxophonist audience. For the purpose of demonstrating these new instruments, Berlioz arranged a simple choral piece of his own that he had composed approximately fifteen years previously. Besides solos, the early saxophone debuted in orchestral literature in a small number of large-scale works during the mid- to late nineteenth century.
Georges Kastner, in addition to being the first to create a saxophone method book, 17 also gave the saxophone its first part in an 14 Wally Horwood, Adolphe Sax: His Life and Legacy Baldock, Herts. Sax owned and operated his publishing house in Paris from the late s until the late s. Other early large-scale works incorporating saxophone parts include three operas—Hamlet by Ambroise Thomas , and Herodiade and Werther by Jules Massenet—and the ballet Sylvia by Leo Delibes In the military band, however, the saxophone flourished during the latter half of the nineteenth century.
Its use in the French military bands introduced the saxophone to England and the United States and afforded saxophonists the most solo as well as ensemble experience. The military band sustained the saxophone to the end of the nineteenth century, and some of the soloists of such groups acquired international reputations as virtuoso performers. From concert reviews and printed programs, it is clear that these saxophonists often performed transcriptions.