TRANSCRIBING FOR THE HARP: A STUDY OF DEBUSSY'S CLAIR DE LUNE
Abstract (Summary)Debussy’s Clair de lune is one of the most transcribed pieces in harp literature. It is an ideal piece for the study of music transcribed from piano to harp, because of the similarities between the two instruments and because of the style, tempo, and tonalities of the piece. Although Clair de lune is an appropriate choice for transcription, one must take into account the distinctions between the harp and the piano when transcribing piano music for the harp. The famous conductor, Leopold Stokowski said that “…. so few composers understand the true musical personality of the harp, but write for it as if it were a piano.” The purpose of this document is to help the composer, transcriber and musician to promote a better understanding of the harp and the harp player and to recognize the strengths and weaknesses associated with each and how their limitations can be accommodated. The first chapter addresses different types of harp. The lever harp and the concert harp, both of which are diatonic in nature, are discussed in this study. The second chapter reviews in detail the various possibilities and purposes of transcription that can be used either to maintain or change the medium; to move from single to multiple instruments and vice versa; or to realize the potential of a composition in regards to different combinations of instruments. Chapter two also illustrates that transcription can allow the creation of either non-simplified or simplified versions of the music. The third chapter presents the concert harp and a comparison between the piano and the harp to emphasize the differences between the two instruments. Chapter four provides general information about Clair de lune and addresses Debussy’s intentions for this piece. The last two chapters are devoted to presenting detailed studies of various transcriptions for the concert harp and lever harp, juxtaposing various techniques that are applied to the transcriptions.
School:University of Cincinnati
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2006