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Piano Transcription in the 19th century Europe - Essay Example

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Piano Transcription in the 19th century Europe

One day, when I studied Beethoven's several symphonies in my high school music textbook, I thought that the author made several mistakes in his book. The most prominent mistake he made was the "key" in the symphony. He said Beethoven's 5th symphony (1st mvt) was in key of C minor, which was not exactly same key I played before. At that time, I was very confused with what the author thought and my piano version of Beethoven.
However, many scholars/ musicologists have discussed that piano transcription gave a sense of original master works to amateurs, children and female players at their private home since the nineteenth century. Comparing to the previous century, the nineteenth century Europe was the place where piano music developed actively, for examples, music publications including piano transcription/reduction, music lessons, and piano productions. In the late eighteenth century, particularly, piano became more affordable price for middle (working class) so that they could have more opportunities to familiar with masterwork in their home. Following this trend, they also spent money on getting two hands, four hands or two pianos transcription of masters' orchestral, choral and opera to perform. Since they could have know music the upper class members only enjoyed in the eighteenth century through the piano transcriptions/ reduction, scholars have seen only advantages of them. Of course, it seems good but through my childhood experience, I have a totally different view of piano transcription/reductions. Myself as a professional pianist and musicologist now, I will argue that classical music authenticity (originality) was misrepresented by piano transcriptions whose main consumers were the middle-class in nineteenth century Europe in this thesis.

2. [HISTORY of 19th century Europe] i.e, who was the member of middle class
The industrialization was emerged in the nineteenth century, and it particularly influenced on growth of sheet music. Jon W. Finson says, "Rotary steam presses could print much more music than had presses had, and improved transportation could speed the greater supplies of printed music to a wider audience." Hand written sheet music could not support music consumer in Europe so that rotary stream was a breakthrough to spread out to every corners of Europe. Remember that there were no radios, recording machine or TV in the nineteenth century. The only access to music was going to the concert halls, which require high price tickets. Moreover, only most major cities offered public concerts so that people in small town did not have chance to have musical life. Similar to the past, concert halls in modern life also costs lots of money; however, we do not have any problems to enjoy music in terms of the development of technologies such as radios, musical websites, and TV. Even some concert halls provide people to ...Show more


Raise your hand if you can play the piano whether professional, amateur, or even beginner. How and when did you start to play the piano In my case, my mother forced me to learn piano and hired several private piano teachers for me when I was only seven…
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Piano Transcription in the 19th century Europe essay example
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