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Nineteenth-Century Transcriptions of Works by Fryderyk Chopin


Barbara Literska

This book is the first monographic study of nineteenth-century transcriptions of Chopin's music. The work is based on the quantitatively and qualitatively rich source material, which formed the basis for considerations from the perspective of social history, music analysis and aesthetics. Thanks to these multiple perspectives, as well as the time range and the source base, this study may contribute to the history of the reception of Chopin’s work in nineteenth-century culture; it may also prove significant in overcoming the attitude that aesthetically deprecates transcriptions and in adopting a different stance, regarding such adaptations as valuable texts of musical culture.

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Conclusion. Contemporary transcriptions of works by Chopin: prospects for further research


As Stefan Morawski said ‘Every epoch perceives the past in the light of its own system of values; hence the constant reevaluation of works, with some falling out of circulation and others raised onto the highest pedestal’.507 That rule is borne out when comparing nineteenth- and twentieth-century transcriptions (cf. Figure 3, Table 30).508 The great popularity of transcribing, the explosion of which is dated to the 1880s, lasted for the next seven decades. The later peak in the 1950s was not so marked, but it did indicate a growth in interest, which lasted just two decades before fading very quickly.

Figure 3: Numbers of transcriptions 1830–1989.

Table 30: Numbers of transcriptions 1830–1989.


Sum of all transcriptions




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