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Subject: Transpositions
From: R PRADA <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:R PRADA <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 20 Mar 2017 15:27:15 -0400

text/plain (38 lines)

In the lovely days of yore orchestras transposed at sight because their were well trained in transposition.

When a composer writes for singers, his music will be best displayed when the key chosen suits the singer so that he may do his best work.

Tebaldi never had high notes, so we know that her voice sat lower. The fact that she could sing agility in a lower key does not suggest she was any less for it. 

There was at one period a mania for singing come scritto is not meant in my opinion to mean that key changes are not possible.

Any composer who valued his key relationships more than his singers would have cast carefully. Changes in key might have been seen more in reprises of the work.

Orchestral musicians are not well trained in transposition these days, so if anyone wants to transpose anything outside the transpositions that orchestras have on hand would have to pay a copyist some serious bucks to write out orchestral parts in the preferred key. The singer would then have the transpositions in his possession.

When a transposition is used. A few measures of bridge are composed on either end of the transposed piece, to allow the ensemble to move gracefully to other sections of the work done in the normal course of the work. 

By the way this is done in musical theater all the time. And of course there is now the same set of obstacles in the more lax training of musicians.

A friend of mine had lower keys for female parts in Les Nuits D'Ete. She sounded lovely in the songs.
Having read a bio of Berlioz, I know that he happily transposed for singers. He wanted his music performed, and well.

Singers learn who they are, and how to create circumstances for them to be shown at their best advantage. 

It is not cheating to transpose but it has become damned expensive, sadly.


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