Transcription of vocal literature for solo instrument and piano accompaniment: A unique challenge for accompanists

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

First Committee Member

Paul Posnak, Committee Chair


The purpose of this essay was to study and compare instrumental transcriptions of vocal literature. Two pieces from each musical period were chosen for comparison and analysis. Issues of articulation, phrasing, transposition, registration, rhythm, tempo, timbre, dynamics, and text were addressed. Selected musical examples demonstrated the changes that occur in the process of performing works that have been transcribed. The interpretation of a transcribed opera aria or art song requires that both soloist and accompanist be familiar with traditional performance practices of the musical period, understand the sentiment of the work, and have the text and translation (if needed) for an accurate interpretation. Of the transcriptions studied, most were written to accommodate the idiomatic needs of the solo instrument; strict adherence to the original phrasing, articulation, and other elements appeared to be secondary considerations.



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