Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Keyboard Performance (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Santiago Rodriguez

Second Committee Member

Charles Mason

Third Committee Member

Thomas Sleeper

Fourth Committee Member

Tian Ying


For many, approaching an orchestral score is a challenge. The process of transcribing an orchestra piece for piano solo with the purpose of a further concert performance of the transcription may be both confusing and intimidating. Despite a substantial legacy of transcriptions in the piano repertoire, the process of transcribing an orchestral work for solo piano has never been systematized. An example of an explanation of the transcribing process would be an important document to examine for both pianists learning to play transcriptions and pianists getting ready to write their own transcriptions. In this essay I provide a thorough explanation of the process of writing my piano transcription of Richard Strauss’s “Ein Heldenleben” as an example. The music of “Ein Heldenleben” contains rich orchestral writing techniques, thus making it an ideal example for a work on which to model a transcription. I use the timeline of my work on the transcription and several versions of the piano score as a frame for detailed discussion of each technical problem that I was able to solve. I provide reasoning for each case along with preparation and performance suggestions. The piano score of my transcription of “Ein Heldenleben” is also part of this dissertation.


Richard Strauss; piano transcription; Ein Heldenleben for piano solo; Asiya Korepanova