à géométrie variable

English translation: for variable ensembles

GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:à géométrie variable
English translation:for variable ensembles
Entered by: kashew

21:55 May 9, 2013
French to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Music / blurb on record jacket
French term or phrase: à géométrie variable
What it means is that Mozart wrote scores for either a full orchestra or a string quartet. Is there a neat way of saying this? A literal translation would not work.

Négligée pendant l’ère romantique, réduite à des partitions de chambre avec pianoforte par la mode baroque, cette trilogie viennoise, s’est souvent réduite au seul (KV.415,) sous les doigts de Clara Haskil, Serkin,, A-B.Michelangeli, Perahia, Schiff, Pirès.… Mozart avait inventé dès 1781 les partitions à ‘géométrie variable’ convenant au public entourant l’Empereur autrichien comme au privé. Les Pražák se sont mis au service d’une étonnante styliste tchèque, héritière d’Ivan Moravec, pour prouver cette très actuelle polyvalence
ormiston
Local time: 21:31
for variable ensembles
Explanation:
* http://www.atmaclassique.com/Fr/Albums/AlbumInfo.aspx?AlbumI...

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Note added at 11 heures (2013-05-10 09:25:16 GMT)
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or differing ensembles or numbers of players.
See "effectif" in French.
Selected response from:

kashew
France
Local time: 21:31
Grading comment
the emphasis is on the number of players rather than the score, and with the audience in mind I opted for this. Thank you.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +2variable-geometry
philgoddard
5for variable ensembles
kashew
4multi-faceted scores
Kévin Bernier
2versatile or adaptable/adjustable
Wolf Draeger
2variable cast/changing cast/varying ensemble number
JM González
2variable orchestration
Simon Charass


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
multi-faceted scores


Explanation:
Just a suggestion. It seems to fit the idea of "multi-task" but in a more elegant musical way.

Kévin Bernier
France
Local time: 21:31
Native speaker of: Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
variable cast/changing cast/varying ensemble number


Explanation:
If 'géométrie' refers to the changing number of performers:

Perhaps a less literal translation like 'cast,' as referring to the performers involved, may work: changing cast/variable cast.

'Varying ensemble number' would be more true to the source text.

- new student



JM González
United States
Local time: 13:31
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish, Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  writeaway: an orchestra cast? I always thought that 'partions' were scores.......
2 hrs
  -> Yes, I undestood them as scores as well. However, variable geometry is referring to the fact that the score could be performed by either a full orchestra or a quartet, in other words, a variable number of performers.

neutral  kashew: "Varying ensembles" is correct.
10 hrs
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
variable-geometry


Explanation:
I think a literal translation works perfectly. A variable-geometry aircraft has two different configurations, and so does the music. I assume the quotation marks are the author's, implying their awareness that it's an unusual use of the phrase.

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Note added at 7 hrs (2013-05-10 05:27:45 GMT)
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The phrase is also used in the context of a two-speed European Union.

philgoddard
United States
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Daryo: yes, an option not to be discarded, "variable-geometry" is widespread enough to be readily understandable (btw some have three flight configurations)
42 mins

agree  Clive Phillips: Normally applied to the sweep of an aircraft's wings but used here figuratively.
2 hrs

neutral  kashew: Due to the reasoning I think one could show the quotation marks. See here without quotes: http://hughsroom.com/2012/11/helmut-lipsky/
3 hrs
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10 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
for variable ensembles


Explanation:
* http://www.atmaclassique.com/Fr/Albums/AlbumInfo.aspx?AlbumI...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 11 heures (2013-05-10 09:25:16 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

or differing ensembles or numbers of players.
See "effectif" in French.

kashew
France
Local time: 21:31
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 16
Grading comment
the emphasis is on the number of players rather than the score, and with the audience in mind I opted for this. Thank you.
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1 day 3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
variable orchestration


Explanation:
I am not a musician, but this is what it makes me think of.

Simon Charass
Canada
Local time: 15:31
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in FrenchFrench
PRO pts in category: 4
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1 day 13 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5
versatile or adaptable/adjustable


Explanation:
I'm not sure if a score can be versatile (as opposed to a composer), and adaptable/adjustable might imply more than the author meant, but here you are anyway.

Mozart avait inventé dès 1781 les partitions à ‘géométrie variable’ convenant au public entourant l’Empereur autrichien comme au privé

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Note added at 1 jour13 heures (2013-05-11 11:32:23 GMT)
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Please ignore French sentence above; I forgot to delete it.

Example sentence(s):
  • From 1781 onwards, Mozart composed versatile scores equally suited to public performances in honour of the Austrian Emperor and private renditions.
  • From 1781 onwards, Mozart composed scores adaptable to public performances in honour of the Austrian Emperor and private renditions.
Wolf Draeger
South Africa
Local time: 22:31
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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