Aspects of Translating Musical Instruments inForeign Travellers Through the Romanian Principalities, I-X Series of Volumes


  • Eduard Rusu, PhD “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University Iași ROMANIA



music, musical instruments, translation, literary sources, Romanian Principalities


Whether we are talking about those written directly in Romanian, or whether we are referring to those translated into the same language, the narrative sources are the main source of documentation in the process of reconstructing any aspect related to our past. Regarding music and all the elements related to it, the category of sources we refer to is the most important source of information, even if, in relation to other aspects, music is relatively little “present” within these writings. Therefore, trying to correctly and accurately determine the described musical instruments, as well as the related terminology, is important, but also difficult. On the occasion of a more extensive work (i.e. doctoral thesis) I noticed, especially in the category of sources referred to here, a series of mistranslated musical instruments which makes it difficult or even far from understanding and creating a more accurate picture of the musical atmosphere of past centuries. All these aspects draw our attention first of all by resorting to comparing the translations with the original version after which they were made, but also by comparing the descriptions regarding music related to Romania with those referring to Romaniansʼ neighbors or those with which we have come into consistent contact with throughout history. Therefore, in the following, we propose to analyze the main cases of mistranslations identified by us, a comparison with the original alternatives of the texts after which they were made, but also a framing of the historical context, without which the proper understanding risks would not be fully achieved.