Transcriptions for Cello
TRANSCRIBED OR ORIGINAL?
Most of the sheet music available in this Repertoire Library was not originally written for the cello. Most of it can be considered “stolen treasures”: interesting, spectacular, dramatic or simply beautiful pieces (masterpieces), transcribed (stolen) from the repertoire of other instruments (including the voice). Perhaps we could call this transcription idea “musEcology” in the sense that we are making the best of limited (musical) resources (repertoire) by reusing and recycling them in a harmless but very pleasant (and useful) way. Rather than trying to write an original Mozart cello sonata isn’t it much easier and infinitely more successful to borrow seventeen of his magnificent violin sonatas? The few original-for-cello pieces that are found here (notably an extended section dedicated to the Bach Cello Suites) are included because they were either unpublished, unavailable in a playable edition, or because the available editions were considered “improvable”. For a detailed explanation of the transcription process, click on the highlighted link.
FREE OF CHARGE
All of the material available on this website is downloadable for free.
THE CELLO PARTS: “LITERAL”, “CLEAN”, “EDITED”, “EASIER” …… ???
Most of the downloadable (and printable) cello parts here are available in several versions. Click on the links for a more detailed description of each version:
- Literal Transcription: a direct, literal transcription, taken from the most authentic source available (ideally manuscript or Urtext) with all the original bowings and interpretative indications, transposed into the cello-version key, but with no other modifications or additional editing.
- Edited Version: a performance version, fully adapted for the cello, transposed to a more suitable key if necessary and including fingering, bowing, and occasionally dynamic suggestions by cellofun.eu. Here, all changes made to the original source material are designed to please principally our player (and listener) rather than our musicologist (for whom the Literal Transcription is offered).
- Clean Version: the same identical performance version but now without any bowings or fingerings. Sometimes even the dynamics and expression marks have also been removed.
- Easier Version: for most pieces, an easier version is also offered. Most often this involves principally transposing the highest passages down an octave but, occasionally, tricky figures may have their notes or rhythms modified to make them easier. Some pieces even have another “Easiest Version”, which normally will not go above the Neck Region.
All of these different versions have the exact same layout in order to make comparison between them easy.
HOME PRINTING: PAGE SIZE AND THICKNESS
All of the downloadable/printable music on this website is designed for printing on A4 size paper. My apologies to north-americans, for whom the standard paper size is “letter size” (a little shorter and a little wider). Beware of printing on American-size paper (and at photocopy shops): the music will be reduced in size as the margins are automatically increased. The cellofun.eu editions have very small page margins to allow the music to be as big as possible and anything that makes these margins bigger risks making the music too small for comfortable reading. For this reason, home printing (on A4 paper) may be the best printing option. If the commercial printing option is chosen, then to avoid reducing the music’s size a good option may be to print it onto larger paper and then cut the unused edges off.
Our printing results can also be made more professional by using slightly heavier paper than normal. Normal office paper (80g/m) is just not rigid enough and tends to collapse on the stand, a phenomenon that gets worse with age and humidity. Even just a little heavier (100g/m) gives a great improvement in rigidity and resistance.
Some of the pieces in this library are extremely virtuosic (Saint Saens’ Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, for example). Others are not especially difficult. Each piece will ultimately be classified in one of three categories of virtuosity: Low, Medium and High.
Nothing is more infuriating than a “performance edition” that cannot be used in performance because of the impossible page-turns. Nowadays, music layout programs make the task of finding intelligent pageturns infinitely simpler than it was in pre-computer times. All the different editions of sheetmusic available on this website (Original, Edited, Clean, Easier), as well as the piano parts, are designed to be suitable for performance use, in the sense that the page-turns coincide with rests that are sufficiently long to allow the page-turn to be done with relative tranquillity.
The pages, in multi-page pieces, will however need to be taped together. Before doing this, we need to know whether the first page of a piece is a “cover page” (with a page turn at its end) or if on the contrary, the first page needs to be opened out to a double page at the beginning. To make this clear, at the bottom right corner of those pages that require a page-turn at their end, you will see a “Pageturn” instruction. This is especially important in piano accompaniment parts, as these usually have many more pages (and therefore turns) than our cello parts.
PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT SHEET MUSIC
Some of the “classical” music accompaniments have been recorded on the piano and these audio accompaniments can be downloaded. To play with our own pianist, we will however need to obtain the piano parts. If the piece has not been transposed to a new key, then the piano part is not normally provided on this website. The piano parts for most of the standard classical repertoire can however be downloaded for free from www.imslp.org or otherwise bought from a normal music publisher.
When the transcription is in a different key to the original, two choices are possible:
- your pianist can play from an original-key piano part but on an electronic piano which has a “transpose” function
- the transposed piano part can be downloaded from this site (if available).
PRERECORDED AUDIO ACCOMPANIMENTS
With some of the pieces for “One Accompanied Cello”, prerecorded accompaniments (or a link to a website where the accompaniment can be obtained), are available as free downloadable audio files with the sheet music.