Gershwin: “Summertime” Transcribed For Cello

Here is a transcription for cello of George Gershwin’s (1898-1937) famous aria “Summertime” from the opera “Porgy and Bess” (1935). In this version, we play the melody twice, first in the tenor range on the D-string, and then one octave higher on the A-string, as though we were now a soprano. The “Easier Version” simply repeats the verse twice in the same (lower) register. We mustn’t play the dotted rhythms too tightly: this is definitely not Beethoven, In fact, the dotted rhythms should really be played very lazily, as though they were triplets. They are not notated as triplets because that would have made the reading too complex.

Two alternative piano introductions are offered in the Piano Score

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

A play-along audio of the piano accompaniment can be found here below. If we actually download it then we can play it at different tempi with the wonderfully useful and simple Amazing Slowdowner program. The piano introduction used here is the “alternative version” in the Piano Score.


By clicking here a YouTube video recording of this cello transcription can be seen.