Transcriptions

© 2022 Massimo Zicari, CC BY-NC 4.0 https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0277.07

The closing section of this volume includes the full transcription of all the arias I have discussed and analysed; this should be understood as a working tool for any practitioner, singer or conductor eager to get an insight into Luisa Tetrazzini’s vocal style and willing to consider some of her interpretative solutions. For the sake of comparability, these transcriptions are accompanied by source materials belonging to other reference interpreters and teachers from the late nineteenth century. Some of them, like Cinti-Damoreau and Marchesi, are already available in printed editions, while others, like Patti, Melba and Sembrich, are not.

As for the transcription criteria, a number of decisions had to be taken, with regard to what should be notated and what could remain relegated uniquely to the aural experience. Features like the different use of vibrato and the changes in the voice registers were not considered. Instead, portamentos were notated as carefully as possible, together with every modification in the text, whether a grace note, an embellishment, a roulade or an entire cadenza. As can be observed from the trascriptions, Tetrazzini remained consistent with what may have been her first choice and only minor changes can be detected across the years.

Although a rich body of scholarly literature demonstrates how effectively audio recordings can be investigated with regard to tempo modifications and how precisely internal relative tempo modifications can be measured, I decided not to provide metronome marks or other similar indications. As we have seen, interpretative choices involving tempo modifications were dramatically affected by the rudimentary technologies available at the time. Thus, only those tempo changes which are clearly noticeable by ear can be found in these transcriptions. These are indicated by means of accel., rall. etc.

For similar reasons, limited attention has been paid to dynamics. In fact, due to technological constraints, it is not always easy to detect changes in dynamics that are musically relevant, even though the direction of a phrase approaching its climax is often perceivable thanks to the combination of different expressive parameters.

Bars are numbered with reference to the vocal part, regardless of the original numbering; when possible, rehearsal marks are also indicated as they appear in the relevant Ricordi printed edition.

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