Why are there piano transcriptions but relatively few poetry transcriptions?
A splendid example of the latter is a recently posted performative transcription (2014) of “Thοse you see“/Αυτούς που βλέπεις (1963), a well-known song by Mihalis Katsaros (lyrics) and Mikis Theodorakis (music).* Delivering in a haunting Sprechstimme his splendid English translation over the first recording (1963), virtuoso poet and translator George Economou has transcribed the well-known song into a new and unique medium.
To put the question in general terms, why are there so many musical transcriptions but rather few literary ones? Thinking about what Kostis Palamas called “ξανατονισμένη μουσική”/re-tempered music, my “other self,” Pantelis Polychronidis, and I often wonder. Musical transcriptions (or “reductions” or “arrangements”) re-write for another instrument or ensemble a piece written originally for solo or ensemble. To take an eminent diachronic example, Bach transcribed both Vivaldi and many of his own compositions, and in…
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