The transcription as a supplement to nineteenth century flute repertoire



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Texas Tech University


During the nineteenth century the flute evolved, primarily through the work of Theobald Boehm, from a relatively primitive form to one of great sophistication based on acoustical principles. Its popularity during this period created a huge demand for flute music, most of which was supplied by prominent flutists or second-rate composers. This large body of music contains little of musical substance and is written in the extremely virtuosic style which was the norm for flute playing of the time.

This demand for virtuosic music probably caused the great composers of the nineteenth century to ignore the flute in their solo and chamber music, to the disappointment of present day flutists. Transcriptions for flute of works for other instruments by these composers can help to fill the void in the repertoire created by the lack of quality flute music from the Romantic era. These transcriptions can be beneficial to both the performer in search of quality repertoire and to the teacher looking for material to utilize in the study of the nineteenth century musical idiom.

In selecting works for flute transcription in conjunction with this study, the following limitations were imposed: no work was to be transposed from its original key, and all works considered must be scored for a solo instrument and piano. Their suitability for transcription was also determined by other musical considerations: range, tessitura and register, phrase structure, the adaptability of any idiomatic instrumental techniques, and compatibility of the piano part with the flute.

The results of the study are two-fold. First, a list of works from the nineteenth century which are deemed suitable for further investigation as flute transcriptions was compiled. Second, three flute transcriptions were made of works from this list, along with a discussion of the specific problems involved in the transcription process. Those works transcribed are Felix Mendelssohn's Sonata in f minor for Violin and Piano, Op. 4, Antonin Dvorak's Sonatina in G ma.jor for Violin and Piano, Op. 100, and the F.A.E. Sonata for Violin and Piano written jointly by Albert Dietrich, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms.



Flute music, Arranged, Flute music -- 19th century