Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Thanks to George for the following:

As anyone who has seen a score of a Mahler Symphony knows, the music is simply littered with German directives. In the interest of finally enlightening musicians as to what the composer really means, someone wrote the following glossary of all common phrases (this was anonymously posted on the Chicago Symphony musician's bulletin board recently):

Langsam = Slowly

Schleppend = Slowly

Dampfer auf = Slowly

Mit Dampfer = Slowly

Allmahlich in das Hauptzeitmass ubergehen = do not look at conductor

Im Anfang sehr gemaechlich = in intense inner torment

Alle Betonunger sehr zart = with more intense inner torment

Getheilt = out of tune

Von hier an sehr allmaehlicher aber stetiger Steigerung bis zum
Zeichen = From this point on, the spit valves should be emptied with
ever-increasing emotion

Hier ist ein frisches belebtes Zeitmass eingetreten = Slowly

Hapttempto = Slowly

Noch ein wenig bechleunigend = slowing down with a sense of speeding up

immer noch zuruckhaltend = with steadily decreasing competence

sehr gemaechlich = With indescribably horrific inner torment

Etwas bewegter, aber immer noch ruhig = Somewhat louder, though more
inaudible than before

Gemaechlich = Intermission

Ganz unmerklich etwas zuruckhaltend = Slowly

Etwas gemaechlicher als zuvor = Slowly

Zurueckhaltend = Gesundheit

Von hier ab unmerklich breiter werden = As if wild animals were
gnawing on your liver

Ohne cresc. = Without toothpaste

Immer noch zurueckhaltend = slowly

Allmaehlich etwas lebhafter = Screaming in agony

Ohne Nachschlag = Without milk

Kraeftig bewegt = Slowly

Alle = Second violins tacet

Mit dem Holze zu streichen = like a hole in the head

mit Parodie = Viola solo

sehr einfach und schlicht = Slowly

Daempfer ab = eyes closed

Den ersten Ton scharf herausgegeben = Do not play until buzzer sounds

Am Griffbrett = As if in tune

Aeusserst zart aber ausdrucksvoll = Radiantly joyful despite the itching

Wieder zurueckhaltend = Increasingly decreasing

Noch breiter als vorher = Better late than never

Nicht eilen - No eels

Allmaelich (unmerklich) etwas zuruckhaltend - Much faster (slower)
than conductor

Lang gestrichen = Heads Up

Lang gezogen = Heads down

Die ^ werden allmaehlich staerker und staerker bis zum fp = In the event
of a water landing, your seat cushion can be used as flotation device

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If only I had this wonderful glossary during my German A Levels...

From what I can remember from it, these are pretty good translations :D