After all these years of having teachers tell me to imagine orchestral timbres in order to create a specific type of sound, with this research paper I have had the chance to experiment with this idea, and I can verify that this imaginative process can indeed be made more concrete. I have even been able to hear how a piece of music can be made to sound as if it was composed much later than it actually was—simply by changing its instrumentation.

            With this experiment, I have become more aware of the timbres and characteristics of orchestral instruments and how to write for them. While I tried to keep these qualities in mind when creating my transcriptions, during the recording process we still discovered unplayable excerpts that needed to be modified with the help of the performers involved. In other cases, I decided to keep these awkward excerpts in order to create a sense of instability and so that I could try to reproduce them at the piano, too.

          The intensive analysis carried out on both the orchestral and piano duo versions of the first movement of the Symphonic Dances was very important for this research project. Discovering how Rachmaninoff distributed orchestral materials across two pianos had a direct impact on how I then created my orchestral transcriptions of the Variations for solo piano, especially as related to the relationship between instrumentation and the distribution of theme and accompaniment material. Interestingly, though surely a result of this analysis process, there are some similarities between my orchestral transcriptions and Rachmaninoff's piano duo version of the Symphonic Variations.


           As mentioned in the introduction to this research paper, throughout music history one finds a large number of transcriptions within several composers' outputs. Most of them were written as piano reductions of orchestral pieces in order to make them more accessible to a larger audience without the difficulty of employing a large orchestra. Some of the most famous transcriptions however were made by Ravel, in whose orchestral arrangements one can hear that he had already had symphonic textures and timbres in mind whilst composing the piano works on which they were based. This demonstrates how important it is to imagine other instruments, voices, and timbres in order to enrich our performances: not only when trying to create smaller variations of colour, dynamic balance, pedal use, and articulation, but also when conceiving of completely different interpretations of a given piece of music—something that is rarely heard or encouraged nowadays in concerts or in the training of musicians.