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Translate Musical Notes
Thread poster: Denyce Seow

Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 23:39
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
Jan 7, 2006

Dear all,

I have an agency client who wants someone to translate lyrics and MUSICAL NOTES from Chinese to English and vice versa. She could not explain to me what her client really means by "translating musical notes". I always thought musical notes were universal. Do we have any musicians or Mozarts in the house??? Is it really possible to translate MUSICAL NOTES?

Thanks in advance!

Denyce Seow


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chica nueva
Local time: 04:39
Chinese to English
set the words to the score?; programme notes? Jan 8, 2006

sounds like you have to translate the song for people to sing (ie set the translated words to the existing musical score?)
possibly, you would have to be able to put the words in the musical score for the singers/choir to read. you would need to work with the existing musical metre, etc. need help from a songwriter/musician?

BTW from what I understand, traditional Chinese music does have its own notation, musical scale, etc, but converting it to Western notation would be a job for a music specialist, I imagine.I think Western notation is used for non-traditional music.

Otherwise, 'music(al) notes' could just be 'programme notes' for a concert, or a recording sleeve etc. This seems more likely perhaps? That was my first thought.


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 23:39
English to Chinese
+ ...
Have fun! Jan 8, 2006

Hi Weiwei,

Listen to the music of the following page:
http://www.duarbo.jp/versoj/v-popular/wakarenoasa.htm

The music was written for a clarinette accompanied by violines, a piano and some percussion instruments. Imagine first how the score would look like. Then imagine, if you want it be played by a solo guitar, how would the musical notes look like?

For sure, the music score cannot be translated, but the notations can be changed. You'd better ask your client what he exactly means with "translating musical notes".

By the way, it is almost impossible to have songs translated both lyrically and musically, as you may notice in the parallel texts of this "What I want to tell you" or "In the Morning When We Part".

Cheers,
Wenjer

補充說明:歌詞翻譯一方面要忠實原意,另一方面要配得上原譜來唱,這種工作其實已經不是單純的翻譯工作,而是加上 "填詞" 的工作,因此價錢絕對不可以用字數算,而是每一首歌至少要多少錢的算法,翻譯者甚至應該要求後續的版稅分紅。

[Edited at 2006-01-08 07:24]


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Last Hermit
Local time: 23:39
Chinese to English
+ ...
If this "Musical" is treated as a Play... Jan 8, 2006

then "Notes" may refer to texts.

weiwei wrote:

Dear all,

I have an agency client who wants someone to translate lyrics and MUSICAL NOTES from Chinese to English and vice versa. She could not explain to me what her client really means by "translating musical notes". I always thought musical notes were universal. Do we have any musicians or Mozarts in the house??? Is it really possible to translate MUSICAL NOTES?

Thanks in advance!

Denyce Seow


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Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 23:39
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Traditional Chinese Music Jan 8, 2006

Lesley McLachlan wrote:

BTW from what I understand, traditional Chinese music does have its own notation, musical scale, etc, but converting it to Western notation would be a job for a music specialist, I imagine.I think Western notation is used for non-traditional music.


I did some research and found out that traditional Chinese music has its own pitches, modes and scales. I played in a Chinese orchestra when I was in high school, but we used Western notations then.

Lesley McLachlan wrote:
Otherwise, 'music(al) notes' could just be 'programme notes' for a concert, or a recording sleeve etc. This seems more likely perhaps? That was my first thought.


Nah, I really think it is the musical scores the client is talking about....


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Denyce Seow  Identity Verified
Singapore
Local time: 23:39
Member (2004)
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for the advice, Wenjer Jan 8, 2006

Wenjer Leuschel wrote:

補充說明:歌詞翻譯一方面要忠實原意,另一方面要配得上原譜來唱,這種工作其實已經不是單純的翻譯工作,而是加上 "填詞" 的工作,因此價錢絕對不可以用字數算,而是每一首歌至少要多少錢的算法,翻譯者甚至應該要求後續的版稅分紅。


同意。若我真有这种音乐天分,我早给孙燕姿、周杰伦做曲填词,赢个金曲金钟奖。


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Richard Creech  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:39
French to English
+ ...
Chinese Musical Scale Jan 8, 2006

This may refer to a request to transform notes from the traditional Chinese musical scale, which is based on notes with different mathematical ratios than those used in the octaves that are the basis of western music. But this would really be a re-writing of the music, and is not simply a translation and rather calls for an expert in comparative musical notation. This would be like "translating" architectural plans for a two-story house into those for a one-story house. The technical demands of the two systems are fundamentally different. In any event, you had best ask the client what they mean.

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chica nueva
Local time: 04:39
Chinese to English
It really could be programme notes...? Jan 8, 2006

[Sorry Weiwei, this posting was a mistake - you have already said it is not this...]

It really could be programme notes...?

weiwei wrote:

Lesley McLachlan wrote:

BTW from what I understand, traditional Chinese music does have its own notation, musical scale, etc, but converting it to Western notation would be a job for a music specialist, I imagine.I think Western notation is used for non-traditional music.


I did some research and found out that traditional Chinese music has its own pitches, modes and scales. I played in a Chinese orchestra when I was in high school, but we used Western notations then.

Lesley McLachlan wrote:
Otherwise, 'music(al) notes' could just be 'programme notes' for a concert, or a recording sleeve etc. This seems more likely perhaps? That was my first thought.


Nah, I really think it is the musical scores the client is talking about....


Here is an example of some programme notes:
http://72.14.207.104/search?q=cache:9KqGk6-W-ZEJ:www.oup.co.uk/music/repprom/gerhard/prognotes/%20music%20programme%20notes&hl=en


[Edited at 2006-01-08 20:59]


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