Musical Terms. Analyses and translation

Updated: Apr 16, 2018



Musical terminology seems to be an interesting object for research studies of specialists in the field of language. This post is devoted to the study of the terminology of musical art - a highly specialized and currently little studied subject in the field of terminology. Only in the last few years there has been an interest of linguistic scholars and art historians to consider the problems of individual subject areas of musical terminology. In connection with this, it is extremely necessary to investigate the musical terminology - the processes of its formation and transformations.


The specificity of the musical term introduces corrections to the traditional notions of the term as such: ambiguity (within the terminopole), connotation, expressiveness. These characteristics are available in the following classification groups: tempo, dynamic. A number of musical terms include the terminology of several classification groups (risoluto, largo, placido, una corda, moderato, allegro, repitizione, touch).


The specificity of the musical term indicates the existence of a term in the form of a verb. The musical term-verb is included in the category of terms, expressing the professional concept at the level of movement, the process: pedaling, articulating, timing, instrumenting, orchestrating, syncopating, accompanying, dissonant, digitizing, phrasing, intonating, playing out, falsifying, malingering.


Along with non-traditional qualities in musical terminology, there are terms that have the traditional qualities of the term: brevity, uniqueness. Unambiguous - musical terms belong to a group of terms relating to the directions of the performing technique (tremolo, accolade, foritarig, farm, reprise, m.d., arpedgiato, de capo alfine, attacca).


Musical terminology is a part of the common language, as evidenced by the transformative processes taking place in it: interdisciplinarity (acoustics, vibration, gamma, analysis), terminology (pogrom, harmony, falsity, portable), determinology (polyphony, tone, pause, party).

Musical terminology has a universal classical graphic system, which has its own structure: character signs, digit signs, letter signs.


The formation of the musical terminology was influenced by Italian, French, German, English, Latin and Greek. Italian terms predominate in the group of tempo terms (89%) and articulation-dashed (75%).


The musical term is considered from the point of view of semiotics. In the middle of the 20th century, reform began in the notation system, which led to the renewal and expansion of the musical sign system. The main prerequisite for the evolution of notation was the renewal of compositional thinking - the desire of composers to find an adequate way to fix the phenomena of sounding modern music.


The specificity of the new system of a graphic sign is that verbal terms that do not have any other way of expression in the classical system have a graphical method of fixation (for example, tempo graph, arpeggiated cluster, silent keying technique, etc.), and also in creating a new form Expressions of visual music - abstract graphics.


New musical terms-signs differ in polysemy, non-standard. The collection of new musical sign units is prematurely called a system, because They are not unified and have features of a private nature. The multiplicity of author's iconic "systems" inhibits the processes of terminology, unification.


The reform of notation provides a new potential for the improvement of classical musical terminology and its transition to a new level of functioning.


As Louise M. Haywood from the University of Cambridge puts it, "we have to remember that translation is not just a movement between two languages but also between two cultures. Cultural transposition is present in all translation as degrees of free textual adaptation departing from maximally literal translation, and involves replacing items whose roots are in the source language culture with elements that are indigenous to the target language. The translator exercises a degree of choice in his or her use of indigenous features, and, as a consequence, successful translation may depend on the translator's command of cultural assumptions in each language in which he or she works".


In sum, the musical art has its own special language - musical terminology, Which is one of the most important components of musical culture. On the one hand, musical terminology is an integral part of the activities of people who are somehow connected with music. On the other hand, musical terminology is a more or less independent segment of the national language, representing a certain interest not only for musicians, but also for linguistic researchers. The interdisciplinarity of this scientific direction in the field of terminology is based on the synthesis of special knowledge in the field of linguistics and musicology.


Natalia Rojcovscaia

from Master Degree Thesis "Structural and Semantic Analyses of

Musical Terms in English and Russian. Russian Translation Strategy"

Institute of International Relations of Moldova


#art #culture #music #terms #linguistics

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