KudoZ home » German to English » Art/Literary

Urmotiv

English translation: primal motif

Advertisement

Login or register (free and only takes a few minutes) to participate in this question.

You will also have access to many other tools and opportunities designed for those who have language-related jobs
(or are passionate about them). Participation is free and the site has a strict confidentiality policy.
GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:Urmotiv
English translation:primal motif
Entered by: Chris Rowson
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

06:22 Nov 13, 2003
German to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary
German term or phrase: Urmotiv
"Es entstand 1825/26, und zwar erst nach op. 132; aber mit diesem und op. 130 bezieht es sich in seiner Motivbildung auf eine gemeinsame Keimzelle, ein viertöniges „Urmotiv“, das sich in allen dreien nachweisen lässt (mehrere hundert Skizzenseiten haben sich erhalten, auf denen diese Zusammenhänge zu studieren sind)."

"... so erklingt hier eine Fuge am Anfang. In ihrem Thema lassen sich zwar zwei gegenläufige Halbtonschritte als Elemente des „Urmotivs“ erkennen, aber anders als bei barocken Fugenthemen handelt es sich nicht um eine „abstrakte“ Tonfolge, sondern eine überaus expressive Gestalt."

I find this one more than a little tricky. I remember that as a young English music student with virtually no knowledge of German, I as familiar with the term “Urtext” and its approximate significance, but I don´t think I would have been prepared for “Urmotiv”. And this text, which is to accompany a CD is not really directed at specialist music students.

So how can “Urmotiv” be rendered for English-speaking (particularly BE) buyers of CDs of Beethoven string quartets?
Chris Rowson
Local time: 10:33
primal motif
Explanation:
Seems a tad more common - please note that source #2, despite being a .de page, contains a translation by an English native speaker.
Selected response from:

Steffen Walter
Germany
Local time: 10:33
Grading comment
Thanks everyone! I think "primal motif" catches it really well - it´s just four notes, a "common kernel" from which many themes in three substantial works are formed.

"Seminal motif" and "underlying motif" were the alternative options I considered.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

Advertisement


Summary of answers provided
4recurrent motif
Mario Marcolin
4seminal motifntext
2 +1underlying motif
farolingo
3primal motif
Steffen Walter
2 +1s.b.
Aniello Scognamiglio
3Urmotif
writeaway


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
seminal motif


Explanation:
Does that work for you?


    Reference: http://www.google.de/search?hl=de&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=semina...
ntext
United States
Local time: 03:33
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish, Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 2954
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
s.b.


Explanation:
*leitmotiv* or *theme*???

not a real suggestion (could be wrong here) but perhaps in hint.
*leitmotiv* and *theme* are often used with music, films, etc.
Many google examples:

... the Lebewohl theme throughout the 1st movement foreshadow the technique of Leitmotiv. ... and friend who was renowned for her interpretation of Beethoven's music. ...
www.kingsbarn.freeserve.co.uk/sonatas.html

... Is this the beginnings of *leitmotiv*? ... Mozart combined recitative and melody, story advancement and emotion ... the once strict divisions between music and drama ...
www.music.gla.ac.uk/~tfowler/essays/Mozart.html

Aniello Scognamiglio
Germany
Local time: 10:33
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 922

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Lori Dendy-Molz: leitmotif or leitmotiv works well here, I think
4 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
primal motif


Explanation:
Seems a tad more common - please note that source #2, despite being a .de page, contains a translation by an English native speaker.


    Reference: http://wagner-nsw.org.au/reviews/symposium/speakers.html
    Reference: http://home.t-online.de/home/mbasting/ebio1.htm
Steffen Walter
Germany
Local time: 10:33
Native speaker of: Native in GermanGerman
PRO pts in pair: 11874
Grading comment
Thanks everyone! I think "primal motif" catches it really well - it´s just four notes, a "common kernel" from which many themes in three substantial works are formed.

"Seminal motif" and "underlying motif" were the alternative options I considered.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Maureen Holm, J.D., LL.M.: don't get 'primal' with a Beethoven string piece, maybe Stravinsky's Rite
3 days14 hrs
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
Urmotif


Explanation:
It seems to be used like Leitmotiv, ie kept in the original German. If/when you do decide to use a translation, I'd suggest keeping the German term with the English in ( ).

A in the major mode followed by thematic
block B in the minor mode. Thus in purely modal terms each rotation revisits the idea of major collapsing to minor, the Urmotif of the entire symphony. Rotation 4 brings us to the
telos or structural goal of the movement: the reconciliation or synthesis of these two the-
matic blocks. Each of the
rst three rotations begins in the tonic E and ends off-tonic. The last rotation begins off-tonic and is the only
one to conclude in the tonic key.
mahlerarchives.net/archives/darcy.pdf

AmadeusOnline.net - Guide Analitiche - [ Translate this page ]
... esclusivamente agli armonici degli archi divisi, che lo ripartiscono su sette ottave: intorno ad esso i legni cominciano a disegnare l'Urmotif [il motivo ...
www.amadeusonline.net/ guideanalitiche.php?File=mahler_sinf1.htm - 26k - Cached - Similar pages

=== === ============= ==== === === == == = == == === == == == == ...
... Italy F. The search for an Urmotif G. Examination of individual motives V. Dramatic Structure A. Development of the libretto - comparisons of historical fact ...
www.societymusictheory.org/mto/issues/ mto.93.0.2/mto.93.0.2.dis - 22k



    Reference: http://mahlerarchives.net/archives/darcy.pdf
writeaway
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 1175
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
recurrent motif


Explanation:
The text talks about the Urmotif as some "expressive Gestalt", implying that it is no a motif in the usual sense. It reminds me of this:
" The emerging melody is treated in variation-form in a piano interlude. Another recurrent motif is the river. It meanders in and out of the music of my song-cycle as it does in the Border landscape"
http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/nov98/MZCD100.html

Mario Marcolin
Sweden
Local time: 10:33
Native speaker of: Native in SwedishSwedish, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 198
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 2/5Answerer confidence 2/5 peer agreement (net): +1
underlying motif


Explanation:
I don't think it would be 'leitmotif', as this would imply it was the dominant theme, and surely it would be this term in the source text anyway...

'Underlying motif' could work, as in the following sources:

"The First Concerto has 'plague' music as its underlying motif, and includes references to the Scottish explorer Maccaber, originator of the Danse macabre in Paris. Six miniatures from Liebermann's Album for the Young are included by way of an encore."
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/details/66966.asp

"Pachelbel's organ fugues and ricercares reflect the growing interest of Baroque musicians in the learned world of dialogue and formal elaboration, and their tendency to underline the theatrical aspect of the musical discourse through the development of a single underlying motif, the "subject" — at a time when, following the work of Descartes, the focus was on the complexity of the "thinking subject."
http://www.hoasm.org/VIB/Pachelbel.html

although, I'm not 100% sure of its suitability here...hope it helps



farolingo
Local time: 09:33
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in pair: 91

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mario Marcolin
16 mins
  -> thanks :)
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)




Return to KudoZ list


KudoZ™ translation help
The KudoZ network provides a framework for translators and others to assist each other with translations or explanations of terms and short phrases.



See also:



Term search
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search