As published in Brazil: Per Musi: revista de Performance Musical, v. 3, 2001, pp 17-26.



Anthony Scelba


ABSTRACT: This article discusses and calls for a change in attitude regarding musical arrangements, particularly those of chamber music, which are needed to provide the double bass and some other neglected instruments with a significant literature for both pedagogical and performance purposes. This article finally aims at elevating transcriptions again to standard repertory status.

KEYWORDS: music arrangement, transcription, double bass, chamber music, language, translation, post-modernism.

RESUMO: Este artigo discute e sugere uma mudança de atitude em relação aos arranjos musicais, especialmente do repertório de música de câmara, os quais são imprescindíveis para prover o contrabaixo e alguns outros instrumentos com uma literatura significativa tanto do ponto de vista pedagógico quanto da performance. Finalmente, este artigo visa resgatar o status de repertório padrão outrora vivido pelas trasncrições.

PALAVRAS-CHAVE: arranjo musical, transcrições, contrabaixo, música de câmara, linguagem, tradução, pois-modernixsmo.


I would like to thank Professors Robert Cirasa, Chairman of the Department of English; Alan Robbins, Department of Design; and Matthew Halper, Department of Music at Kean University for their generous interest in my work and for their suggestions of research materials for this paper.


That a double bassist would rise in defense of arrangements and transcriptions would not surprise anyone who thinks for a moment about the dearth of original repertoire available to him. Young musicians studying the double bass (also the trombone, tuba, saxophone or guitar for that matter) begin to encounter complaints about the poor quality of the music written for their instruments long before they can play very much of it. Thereafter, the want for fine literature haunts them all their musical lives.

In his New York Times review of Eugene Levinson's double-bass recital performed last December in Weill Recital Hall, Allan Kozinn wrote in his rather condescending review in the New York Times (KOZINN, 1999) that the Sonata No.1 Op.5 in A by Adolph Misek - one of the best works from the late-Romantic style period written for my instrument - was a "not particularly memorable work but composed specifically for the double bass." I found interesting that Mr. Kozinn did not criticize Levinson for performing transcriptions, but I couldn't help but wonder how much the lack of original repertoire for the double bass led to his demeaning of the instrument in recital.

Transcriptions of sonatas and similar works originally for violin and cello performed on a double bass recital provoke less scorn than other types of arrangements; they are tolerated better than arrangements programmed in other fora. A recital is thought of by many as a demonstration of skill and accomplishment. Recital repertoire (except that for piano, violin, voice, and to a lesser extent, cello) is considered by most as less than profound. Arrangements programmed by symphony orchestras and other ensembles are routinely criticized as gauche or tolerated as curiosities; arranged literature forming the mainstay of a serious chamber-music ensemble would be, in today's climate, at the very least, remarkable.

It is my hope to offer in this paper a reasoned defense of arrangements - in particular, arrangements of chamber music. Arrangements of chamber music masterpieces form the core of the repertoire for the Yardarm Trio, an ensemble of piano, violin, and double bass that I founded and with which I perform. Why I formed the Yardarm Trio, and how I came to arrange chamber music for it demonstrate the need for my defense.

Although I had always been attracted to chamber music, I found myself as a student playing very little of it. This is not surprising. Although the double bass is used in some of our most popular works of chamber music - the Trout Quintet, the Beethoven Septet, the Schubert Octet - it plays a relatively subordinate or orchestral role in these works, and, with some notable exceptions, it plays no role at all in the rest of the chamber music repertoire from the common-practice period. That is to say, the double bass is not a chamber-music instrument in the historical sense, and this is indeed unfortunate.

Occasional lament is heard about our instrument’s absence from the world of chamber music. College teachers often confront this loss with embarrassment: When the strings are scheduled for chamber-music class, what does one do with the double bassists? Ensemble classes performing bass duets, trios, and the like, and involving sectional rehearsals of orchestral literature are good classes, but poor substitutes for the experience of playing great chamber music.

Some pedagogical problems result from our lack of chamber music experiences. Music performed one to a part and without conductor demands special skills in performance. These skills involve myriad techniques that the best musicians carry with them into all ensemble performances, including orchestral performance. The development of these skills through the study and performance of chamber music is a vital part of the training for all string players except for double bassists. As a consequence, the classical ensemble technique of most double bassists is woefully underdeveloped. Only the best of them acquire it to the degree that most fine violinist, violists, and cellists do; but bassists must acquire it willy-nilly.

It is vital that a chamber-music repertoire for the double bass be developed if this unfortunate circumstance in our training is to be corrected. But the pedagogical reason is only one cause to bemoan the dearth of double-bass chamber music. An even more compelling reason is that playing great chamber music well is - I contend - the highest artistic experience a performer can have, and double bassists are, by and large, denied this experience.

In a quest to improve double-bass chamber-music repertoire, pioneers - chief among them Bertram Turetzky of the University of California at San Diego - have encouraged, inspired and commissioned hundreds of chamber works from many of our leading composers in the second half of the 20th century. Such efforts of double bassists are of central importance in the development of our instrumental repertoire, but, for all its benefits, it does not mitigate our need for music from the common-practice period.

Chamber music written by contemporaries is, of course, only in styles now current. Also, as of today, we have no standard chamber-music ensembles that contain the double bass: we have no equivalent to the string quartet, the piano trio, or the woodwind quintet. Concerts of double bass chamber music require a motley assemblage.

With standardized ensembles established, the performance of double-bass chamber music would cease to be such an ad hoc affair. It is only when we have significant numbers of good works in like genres that we shall be able to consider the bass as an established chamber music instrument.

The development of standardized ensembles containing double bass is a subject worthy of a moment's reflection. I would suggest the following five or six instrumental groupings as the most practical and therefore as giving us the best chance for success at standardization: (1) the String Quintet: 2 violins, viola, cello, and double bass. This ensemble has an obvious advantage: the bass can be added easily to a preexisting string quartet, and the Dvorák and Onslow Quintets can anchor this repertoire. What I have called the Faculty String Quartet - one of each stringed instrument - is a possible spin off of the quintet. This ensemble of four is practical (its members being available on the faculty of most universities), but is acoustically quite bottom heavy; (2) the Piano Trio: piano, violin, and double bass - like the standard Piano Trio but with a bass replacing the cello. This is the instrumentation of the Yardarm Trio and the Brazil's Trio Novart; (3) the Piano Quintet: piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, the company for the Trout quintet. The Schubert masterpiece, a work by Ferdinand Ries, one by Hummel, three by Onslow, and a few other pieces give this genre a head start; (4) Duets: double bass paired with any other instrument or with voice. The great advantage here is that a bassist can be added to the recital program of another performer. A viola and double bass duet gives a viola recital a welcome variety, as just one example; (5) the Octet: clarinet, bassoon, horn, 2 violins, viola, cello, and double bass - the instrumentation of the Schubert Octet. Having this work and the Beethoven Septet, which requires one violin instead of two, in the repertoire is reason enough to make the octet with the double bass a standard ensemble. A very interesting octet by Max Bruch and other works from the past give us a good beginning here. *

*For a account of some of the best double-bass chamber music from the common-practice period, see David Walter’s article "Chamber Made" in Double Bassist, Spring/Summer, 1996, 51. London: Orpheus Publications. Although the score was long available, the first recording of the Octet (1920) by Max Bruch was published by the Bronx Arts Ensemble in 1995 on the Premier Recordings label.

If we are to have standardized ensembles, the question of how the double bass is tuned in them should be established. For the String Quintet, Piano Quintet, and Octet, I would advocate the use of the standard orchestral tuning for the bass. For Piano Trios and for Duets, I propose the use of the alternate "solo" tuning a-e-B-F#*. I recommended these tunings simply because of the nature of these ensembles, i.e., the string quintet with double bass corresponds in nature to the standard string quartet and the piano trio with bass corresponds to the traditional piano trio. The more soloistic use of instruments in a piano trio or in a duet justifies the brighter and more penetrating solo tuning for these ensembles.

*When in "solo tuning," the double bass becomes a transposing instrument. The transposition is the same as that for the Horn in D. The octave designations for the written pitches of the open strings are shown in the system preferred by Randel (see "Pitch", New Harvard Dictionary of Music).

At any rate, while we are waiting for new chamber-music masterpieces to be written, and to balance the 20th-century music that we program, I believe that double bassists should perform arrangements of chamber music, and we should perform them unabashedly.

How did the arrangement develop the lowly status it is now accorded? It is hardly necessary to recount the important position that arrangements have played in the repertoire throughout the centuries. For Bach and Handel, for Liszt and Ravel, arrangements were a tie-beam, and today their arrangements are given a valued place in the repertoire. How did arrangements come to be looked down upon in recent years?

Since the late 1960s, the trends in music toward the "authentic" - period instruments, original versions, etc. - coincided with the viewing of arrangement as anathema. Was this change influenced by the change in critical literary perspective that followed DERRIDA (1978) and displaced Structuralism with Poststructuralism?*

*Jacques Derrida's paper on "Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences" (delivered in 1966 at Johns Hopkins and included in the author's Writing and Difference, 1978), is credited by M. H. Abrams (A Glossary of Literary Terms, Harcourt Brace) and others as being the "conspicuous announcement" of Postmodernism to North American scholars.

In reviewing David Harvey's Condition of Postmodernity, whose third chapter entitled "Postmodernism" is remarkably illuminating and eschews the passion and politics found in most literary discussions about the subject, I came upon Ihab Hassan's schematic differences between Modernism and Postmodernism. Although excitement about what I thought might be a clue to many of our current ideas about "musical authenticity" quickly waned, Hassan does make other points related to arrangements. With his schema before me, I am able to argue that a positive view toward arranging music is in accord with Modern critical perspectives just as it is in accord with Postmodern ones. If Modernism is concerned with "root" and "depth," and Postmodernism with "rhizome" and "surface"; Modernism with "paradigm" and Postmodernism with "syntagm"; Modernism with "master code" and Postmodernism with "idiolect"; it would seem that Modernism is the more friendly to arrangement. Nonetheless, where Modernism views art as "object" and "finished work" or emphasizes "centring," and Postmodernism stresses "process, performance, and happening" and encourages "dispersal," we have a reading that puts Postmodernism in support of arrangement (HASSAN, 1985; quoted by HARVEY, 1990, p.39-65).

I defend the performance of arranged and transcribed chamber music from the common-practice period for practical reasons. As justification I should like to offer not a historical defense, but what I believe to be a strong intellectual defense that has not been made hitherto. I equate arranging music to translating literature, a parallel that I believe holds up intellectually and that should inform our thinking on the subject of arranging.

How is a musical arrangement like a literary translation? Translation makes the world’s literature available to everyone; arrangement makes great music available for performance by musicians who do not play the original instrument. Arrangement through transcription gives a double bassist access to masterpieces written for other instruments, just like translation gives us access in English to literature in other languages.

Both translation and arrangement produce derivatives. But derivative is not a pejorative. After all, every performance produces a derivative: something that transforms the original and injects the personality of the performing musician. Every performance, like every arrangement, like every translation, is an interpretation.

The result of arrangement is a palimpsest: two works, one on top of the other, an original and an interpretation. But unlike the true palimpsest (which is a new writing on parchment after the old has been scraped away)–the original is not destroyed in making a translation or an arrangement. Both recreations merely make the original newly available (Cf. WECHSLER, 1998).

In another sense, the arrangement complements the original by causing its musical essence to glow brighter. Here reference to the Platonistic metaphor of essences is useful. To grasp the Platonistic justification for an arrangement one must recognize that performance itself is a remaking of a musical blueprint. Both the performance of the composition and the performance of the arrangement are an afterlife of an original conception–a term that I would not use if I were not alluding to a transformation and a renewal of something living (Cf. BENJAMIN, 1968, p.72-73).

The arranger’s task (like the translator’s) is a noble one: It is performed not with hopes of fame or fortune, but rather out of love for art, out of a sense of sharing what one loves and loving what one does.

Pushkin called the translator "a courier of the human spirit," and Goethe called literary translation "one of the most important and dignified enterprises in the general commerce of the world." Borges wrote, "Perhaps…the translator’s work is more subtle, more civilized than that of the writer: the translator clearly comes after the writer. Translation is a more advanced stage of civilization" (WECHSLER, 1998).

Of course, Pushkin, Goethe, and Borges never wrote what I just quoted to you. Instead, their words first had to be translated into English. Without the translation, I could not present to you their thoughts (cf. WECHSLER, 1998). When I perform a neglected masterpiece, like a Piano Trio by Haydn, most in my audience hear the music for the first time.

Translators have for centuries described their work using the metaphor of pouring wine from one bottle into another. A musical transcription does just that. But the American translator from Spanish, Margaret Sayers Peden, has constructed a complex metaphor on translation that, to me, accurately describes the art of musical arrangement. She wrote: "I like to think of the original work as an ice cube. During the process of translation the cube is melted. While in its liquid state, every molecule changes place; none remains in its original relationship to the others. Then begins the process of forming the work in a second language. Molecules escape, new molecules are poured in to fill the spaces, but the lines of molding and mending are virtually invisible. The work exists in the second language as a new ice cube–different, but to all appearances the same." (WECHSLER, 1998).

Common wisdom holds that important works of literature should be translated and retranslated at least once every generation. The greater the original literary work, the more diverse translations it can bear–witness the continuous flood of new versions of Homer, Dante, and the books of the Bible.

But common wisdom today holds that great works of music should not be transcribed. The greater the original, the less it can seem to bear tampering–witness the great derision of late heaped on transcriptions and performances of transcriptions by some musicians and writers. This purist view flies in the face of history and stands opposed to the aesthetics of great musicians past.

One of the earlier complaints about arrangements comes from BEETHOVEN (1961, p.59) in a letter of July 13, 1802 to Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig, answering requests to produce, as he did with Op. 14 No. 1, string quartet versions of his piano sonatas: "The unnatural mania, now so prevalent, for transferring even pianoforte compositions to stringed instruments, instruments which in all respects are so utterly different from one another, should really be checked". But this is not an objection to arrangements per se, only string versions of piano sonatas. The "purist view" now current, that arrangements are aesthetically offensive, came about relatively recently.

Would those who criticize bassists for borrowing literature criticize Bach for having transcribed Vivaldi? Today, Mussorgsky’s 1869 and 1872 versions of Boris Godunov are sometimes performed (albeit with corrections applied), but should we criticize Rimsky-Korsakov for having adapted the work and for providing an arrangement that kept the opera in the repertory for 75 years? Does anyone criticize Ravel for having arranged Pictures at an Exhibition?

Lesser arrangements, like Ebenezer Prout’s Messiah, tend to fall from grace over time because the arrangement of a masterpiece is a provisional version of it that is limited and defined by the arranger’s talents and by the aesthetic currents of his or her own times, and because arrangers seldom match the original composer for genius. But great arrangers have produced great arrangements–some that have attained classic status. Sometimes arrangements can even surpass their originals for authority and influence–witness Bach’s Vivaldi, or Stravinsky’s Pergolesi. So it is not the act of arranging that we should criticize, only the quality of it (Cf. SCAMMELL, 1998, p.75).

A great musical work captures the zeitgeist; an arrangement marries the temper (and aesthetics) of two times. While the composer's work will endure as an embodiment of his age, the arranger's, as an overlay, is bound more to the time of its own making. Arrangers, unlike composers, cannot presume permanence for their work, but this does not mean that great arrangements cannot endure.

The arrangement is dealing with the "musical spirit" of a work, the process of arranging can be thought to raise the composition into a higher and purer musical air, as it were–revealing its Platonic quintessence. The music does not live there permanently, to be sure, and it certainly does not reach it in its entirety because an arrangement also uses instrumental idiom to transmit its essence (BENJAMIN, 1968, p.75). But in working on an arrangement and by virtue of the existence of both a composition and its offspring, the musical essence shines brighter.

Some musical arrangements are scrupulously faithful to the original. Others purposefully inject something new and original. Is the arranger a creator or a craftsman? This must be answered on a case to case basis. Only an evaluation of an individual arrangement can say if it is a work of originality. Some arrangements can be criticized as too clever, misinterpreting, a violation of style, etc., but a good arrangement (with or without purposeful originality, made by a creator or a craftsman) is good music. Why not enjoy it for what it is?

I believe what Fritz Kramer, an old music-history teacher of mine, once said: "If you don’t believe in transcriptions, you shouldn’t be a musician!" What he expressed in that statement was based on both historical and aesthetic considerations. Great musicians have always arranged music, and the essence of most great music transcends its instrumental medium.

When selecting a work to arrange, I find it safest to pick good music that is less well-known, and is not highly idiomatic in its composition. For those who accept the idea of transcription or arrangement on a limited basis, the thought of adapting a neglected piece or an obscure one is generally easier on the sensibilities. And I largely agree with this position, provided that we recognize works like the Haydn Piano Trios, for example, to be among the neglected.

But I must admit that I have gone against my own advice given here on occasion. In seeking the neglected or obscure, one would not descry Schubert’s great Quintet in C. One would not offer it as a proper object of arrangement in this context, but I have had great success with an arrangement of it that has a double bass part arranged from the second cello part.

Another of my arrangements that has met with success is the Mozart horn quintet. In it, I transcribe the solo horn part for the double bass. Anton Hoffmeister wrote a number of quartets for strings in which a double bass is the erste Geige. I have joked that my Mozart arrangement sounds a bit like "the greatest Hoffmeister piece that Hoffmeister never wrote."

What I aim for in arrangements like these is a musical verisimilitude–the same quality of authenticity that is required of a good cadenza. Verisimilitude in arranging is achieved by making a well-chosen pattern of decisions, not just an accumulation of them. An important component is, of course, fidelity to the harmonic language of the composer. But, it should be emphasized that transcription and arrangement should never be mechanical solutions. Instead they should be participations in the creative process of composition.

Discussions about transcribing music or evaluations of individual transcriptions often teeter between two poles: fidelity and license–fidelity to the presumed original sound and the license or freedom allowed to capture an original intent. Thinking about transcriptions with reference to these antipodes is limiting, however, to someone who looks for things in an arrangement other than masked reproduction. A good transcription need not be identical to the original, but merely a cognate. Furthermore, one can use the techniques of arrangement to create something new, and idiomatic for the new medium.

But even when it is the arranger's intention to produce the same musical effect in another voice, a certain amount of leeway is in order. An analogy by BENJAMIN (1968) in "The Task of the Translator" from his book entitled Illuminations is thought provoking. I borrow it to inform our thinking about transcriptions as arrangements. Fragments of a vessel that are to be glued together must match one another in the smallest details, although they need not be like one another. In the same way, a transcription as an arrangement, instead of attempting to recreate the sound of the original composition, can thoughtfully incorporate the original's pure musical substance, thus making both the original and the arrangement fragmental conveyors of musical meaning–just as the above-mentioned fragments are part of a vessel (BENJAMIN, 1968, p.78).

As I practice the crafts of transcription and arrangement, I take existing music as a starting point and freely alter it–not breaking with tradition, but joining its powerful current–to make a new creation: a work including double bass as if written by the original composer possessing full knowledge of the modern instrument.*

*For parallel arguments see Daniel Mendelsohn’s review of the Stanley Lombardo translation of the Iliad, Book Review, New York Times, Sunday, July 20, 1997.

In making transcriptions, I try to avoid merely substituting the bass for the cello, that is, in simply rendering the cello part an octave higher. If the use of the double bass does not add something new, why bother to use it? I am particularly sensitive to the criticism: Why not just play it on the cello?

In many of my arrangements, I aim for something as authentic sounding as possible; nevertheless, at the same time, I may also build purposeful originality into the piece. Since the idea of arrangement includes both the transference of a composition from one medium to another and the elaboration of a piece however that elaboration is effected, the latitude I allow myself is quite broad. Compositional procedures that create in an arrangement something quite new from the original help make the arrangement per se of greater musical interest. Contrafactum, the parody mass, and the pasticcio all give us a firm historical base on which to stand. Some degree of recomposition is usually involved. Arrangements, therefore, can vary from a straightforward, almost literal, transcription to a paraphrase that is more the work of the arranger than the original composer.

The unique 20th-century approach to musical parody that has come to be called quotation music has met with considerable success - witness Joan Tower’s Petroushskates, a chamber work for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano based on Stravinsky’s Petrushka,* or more recent works in the genre by Libby Larsen** and others. While I have not written in this genre, I have - as in my Celtic Folk Song arrangements - freely combined music by Haydn with folk elements and strophic variations of my own. In my arrangement of one of the songs, I interpolated music from Haydn's Piano Sonata Hob. XVI: 41, which I converted into a trio. Using the opening of the sonata as an introduction to the song and interspersing sections of the sonata between its strophes, I created a form in which the introduction develops into a rondo element and the strophes of the song function as digressions. The form is novel and was not created by Haydn but is reminiscent of his formal inventiveness.

*Petroushskates was written in 1980 on commission from the Da Capo Players and the New York State Council on the Arts.

**Larsen's Symphony: Water Music (1985) was commissioned by the Minnesota Orchestra and occasioned by the 300th anniversary of Handel's birth.

Mention of some points of originality in other arrangements of mine will help to make the point. My arrangements of Piano Trios by Joseph Haydn and of Ragtime Piano Solos by Scott Joplin represent two types of arrangement with different degrees of change from the original compositions. The Haydn Piano Trio in E Hob. XV:28 welcomes a marvelous change of medium in the slow movement. Haydn's spellbinding second movement begins with a very long piano solo in two voices widely spread. These become in the arrangement a violin melody supported by double bass pizzicato. The result of the arrangement is that the movement is more balanced in the distribution of materials among the three instruments.

In my arrangement of the Haydn Trio in C Hob. XV:27 I took a passage featuring imitation and redistributed the figure among the strings and in various registers of the piano more generously than in the original. The result elicited a comment from John SICHEL (1999, p.21-23) who in his review of a recent performance said "these pieces work very well with double bass. There are several moments in this work where Haydn takes a two- or three-note motive and fires it from register to register like a musical pinball. The extra low notes of the bass only make this effect more delightful than it is in the original"

My three-movement trio constructed from the music of Scott Joplin is a parody piece. Entitled Three Rags for Three Wags, it was created the same way in which Renaissance composers created the Parody Mass. The composition is, in a sense, collaboration between Joplin and me. In this piece, I have taken original works for piano solo by Scott Joplin and arranged and subsumed them into a larger composition for violin, double bass, and piano. Some newly composed music was added, including much of the double bass part, making a kind of double-bass obbligato. The resulting composition turns three independent piano solos into a piece of chamber music in the style of Joplin’s ragtime.

STURM (2000, p.56) reviewed the work in a journal aimed at double bassists:

Not content to merely give the violin the melody, the piano a chordal accompaniment and the bass, well, the stride bass part, Dr. Scelba has added counter lines and harmonies to transform the solo piano work into a more intricate, successful chamber work. The bass line is just as fluent as the violin part, frequently playing the running sixteenth notes typical [of] Joplin's rags in unison, harmony, or contrary motion. 'Three Rags' is a collection of well-conceived light works, stylish and musical, and make a wonderful addition to the light chamber music repertoire.*

*Three Rags for Three Wags reviewed in Bass World, XXIII, 3, Winter 2000, p. 56. Production of this and all other of my arrangements mentioned above were supported in part by a Released Time for Creative Work Award from Kean University; the Yardarm Trio arrangements are published by Ludwin Music Publications, Los Angeles.

What the review does not mention are the formal revisions that were made part of the arrangement. Joplin typically followed a primary rag with another, a trio as it were, in a related key. There he ended the composition without tonal closure. He seemed content to create a two-tiered tonal structure and apparently felt no need to return to the original tonic. These compositions impress me as having a structural weakness. In works from 3 to 5 minutes long, so forcefully tonal, the two-tiered tonal layout turns what could be a more formally satisfying piece into a mere "medley". In my arrangements, I round off the work with a modified return to the primary rag in the tonic, creating a classic compound-ternary. The result is, for me, a bigger, more integrated, more structurally satisfying musical work.

After reading of experiments by COOK (1987, p.197-206) and others on tonal closure, I am willing to concede that my rounding may musically satisfy me less because I return to the tonic, and more because I return to opening textures and thematic materials; nevertheless, since the return is organized around a tonal plan it serves to project a structural closure in a directly perceptible way, and this, for me, is musically satisfying.

To conclude, I believe that an arranger must in some works let himself go, so as to give voice to the intentio of the original not as reproduction, but as musical complement. A good arrangement is transparent; it does not cover the original or block its light, but allows the pure music, as though reinforced by its new medium, to shine all the more fully (BENJAMIN, 1968, p.79). But an arrangement is also a product of its own time and a reflection of the aesthetic judgments of its maker. What was a composition by one becomes one by two.

Arrangements of chamber music are demanded by our need for literature for new combinations of instruments. Just as in the original composition, musical meaning and musical medium should be one without any tension, so the arrangement is one with the original in the essential musical moment in which literalness and freedom, original and counterpart, creation and derivation are united.



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Harry Zohn. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1968.

COOK, Nicholas. The Perception of Large-Scale Tonal Closure.

Music Perception, Winter 1987, v.5, n.2.

DERRIDA, Jacques. Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of

the Human Sciences. Writing and Difference. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1978.

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the Origins of Cultural Change. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1980. Reprint. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1990.

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and Society, 1985, volume. 2, pages 123-124.

KOZINN, Allan. A Bassist Recital Attracts Not Only Bassists'

Spouses. New York Times, Saturday, December 25, 1999.

MENDELSOHN, Daniel. Stanley Lombardo translation of the Iliad.

New York Times, Sunday, July 20, 1997.

SCAMMELL, Michael. The Don Flows Again. New York Times,

Sunday, January 25, 1998.

SICHEL, John. So close and yet so far. Classical New Jersey, 1999, vol. IV, no. 6.

STURM, Hans. Bass World, v.23, n.3, winter, 2000.

WECHSLER, Robert Performing without a Stage: The Art of

Literary Translation. N. Haven, CT: Catbird Press, 1998.


Anthony Scelba is Associate Professor in the Music Department of Kean University, Union, New Jersey, USA. He holds three degrees from the Manhattan School of Music in New York and was the first person to be awarded a doctorate in double bass from the Juilliard School. For 10 years he was Principal Double Bassist of the New Jersey Symphony; he continues to perform widely as soloist, chamber and orchestral musician. He is the founder of the Yardarm Trio. Dr. Scelba was a 1983-84 winner of the Fulbright Performing Artist Award for Seoul, Korea, and subsequently gave masterclasses in Beijing and Shanghai, China. In 1998 he was named "Musician of the Year" by the Musicians Guild of Essex and Morris Counties. In 2000, he judged Brazil's first National Classical Double Bass Performance Competition. A published writer and composer, Dr. Scelba is the founder and Director of the Affiliate Artist Program at Kean which sponsors many of his chamber music performances.