Music Well – Dosia McKay, Composer, Painter, Writer

Reflections on Art and Life

Voice and Piano Transcriptions

I was able to carve out some time for a song cycle I composed in 2019 for mezzo-soprano, flute, bassoon, and guitar. The piece was commissioned by visionary flutist Kate Steinbeck in celebration of the 20th season of her chamber music organization Pan Harmonia. I returned to the music in order to transcribe it for voice and piano and thus make it more accessible to singers.

What an invigorating and challenging experience this has been! The word “transcription” might suggest easy copying and pasting, but let me assure you that this process has been anything but. I suppose, in some sense, it could have been, but not if I wanted to do the music justice. The challenge lies in making all harmonies and phrases originally written for flute, bassoon, and guitar, to fit seamlessly on the piano as if it was composed specifically for it, as if no prior version ever existed.

This is taking longer than I anticipated but it is an excellent exercise for me in understanding the fabric of my music. In fact, as I keep working, I feel as if I am carefully disentangling individual threads from a pile of yarn and weaving them into a new garment.

I should have a version for mezzo-soprano and soprano, perhaps even alto. I need to think about a possible version for tenor and baritone. I should have the final versions ready in October.

What do you think?

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2022 by in New Music and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , .


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