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OBOETRY – French poetry played in melody: a poetical & vocal approach to French 'mélodie' on oboe

This interdisciplinary research presents a contextualisation and musico-literary analysis on the French poem and art song “Colloque sentimental” from Paul Verlaine and Claude Debussy, followed by a full-fledged transcription of this ‘mélodie’ for English horn, expanding the existing oboe repertoire. In the annotation and interpretation of “Colloque sentimental”, a poetical and vocal approach has been applied, aiming to communicate a deeper understanding of the ‘poésie’ and ‘mélodie’ for performance practices. The studying and singing of the song resulted in an experimentation and reflection of playing the ‘mélodie’ on English horn, a process of musically translating the poetry into an instrumental transcription that takes into account the particularities and possibilities of the language and voice as well as these of the instrument in question, with the aim of providing useful material for fellow oboists and those who are interested. For example, it was demonstrated during the research process how the understanding of literary and vocal phrases enhances horizontal and legato phrasing on English horn. Consequently, an important challenge in this case consisted of writing the transcription in a feasible notation that would be playable for any oboist, even without prior knowledge of the French language and poetry, hopefully leading to a poetical and purposeful performance of the piece.

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