Debussy: Reverie: Transcribed For Cello

The melody of this beautiful piece, originally for piano solo, can be played perfectly on the cello. The original piano part is used for the accompaniment, but almost all the notes that are now played by the cello (usually the highest, melodic, notes) have been removed from the accompaniment. This makes the accompaniment very simple for a pianist, and also makes it ideal for playing on the guitar or the harp.

On the third and fourth beats of bar 90 the Eb’s in the piano part have been changed to D’s. In the original piano version, the melody is one octave higher and the dissonance between the D in the melody and the Eb’s in the accompaniment are separated by an octave. In the cello transcription, however, the melody is one octave lower which makes this dissonance only a semitone apart. This is just too jarring. In bar 17, the cello melody has been altered to avoid an uncomfortable fourth on the second beat which would require either two consecutive string crossings or shifts, either of which would be ugly and break the beautiful, flowing melodic line.

The “Easier Version” of this piece simply has the higher passages transposed down one octave.

  1. Edited Performance Version
  2.     Clean Performance Version
  3.    Easier Version
  4.     Piano Score

And here is a play-along audio accompaniment, “played” – with quite a lot of rubato – on the harp. If you download it then it can be played back at different speeds with various apps including The Amazing Slowdowner: