Type of Document Thesis Author Etheridge, Kathryn Diane URN etd-08212008-170238 Title Saxophone Transcriptions: Role and Reception Degree Master of Music Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Douglass Seaton Committee Chair Denise Von Glahn Committee Member Patrick Meighan Committee Member Keywords
Date of Defense 2008-07-29 Availability unrestricted AbstractTranscriptions occupy a fundamental place in Western musical development, having been created used since the Middle Ages Composers, performers, and arrangers are still constantly adapting music in order to learn various musical styles and to bring variety to their programs. 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. This study of saxophone transcriptions raises three overarching points:
• Transcriptions have been and remain an important component of classical saxophone performance and recording.
• Recorded saxophone transcriptions range from high art to popular music, their material borrowed from the last nine centuries or more of Western music history—and these works are reviewed differently in different journals.
• The key to a successful programming of transcriptions lies in historical and performance practice research, and in awareness of one’s audience.
A study of transcriptions within the context of the saxophone’s history, how these pieces are interpreted by the performers and organized on recordings next to—or instead of—original works for the saxophone, and reviews of these recordings were all employed in the present study in order to determine how transcriptions represent the instrument. 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.
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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