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I'm having trouble with the following translation - both Google Translate and this site seem to give a translation of the footnote circled in red to English with some awkward grammar:

enter image description here From Symphony No. 2 ("Resurrection") by Austrian composer Gustav Mahler

German text:

Anmerkung für das Studium: Die 2. Bässe nicht eine Octave höher, sonst würde die vom Autor intendierte Wirkung ausbleiben; es kommt durchaus nicht darauf an, diese tiefen Töne zu hören, sondern durch diese Schreibart sollen nur die tiefen Bässe verhindert werden, etwa das obere B zu „nehmen”, und so die obere Note zu verstärken.

"Best" English translation:

Note for the study: The 2nd bass not an octave higher, otherwise intended by the author effect would fail; it is not at all important to hear those low notes, but only the deep bass to be prevented by this style of writing, "take" as the upper B♭ to, and thus to strengthen the upper note.

Granted, I do understand the basic meaning of what the composer wrote in that footnote, but I'm still a little confused by the grammar as translated to English. Is there a better (i.e. more grammatically correct in English) translation for this passage?

closed as off-topic by Carsten S, c.p., Robert, Hubert Schölnast, IQV May 18 '18 at 5:54

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "German Language SE is for specific questions of general interest and to help you learn and understand. Thus, requests for proofreading, spell checking or translations of individual texts are not a good fit here. If you can, please narrow down your question to a single specific source of concern. See this post on Meta for more information." – Carsten S, c.p., Robert, Hubert Schölnast
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Yes, for any non-trivial text one can do better than a machine translation. – Carsten S May 17 '18 at 18:56
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    In German that dot after the number converts it into a ordinal; hence the editor doesn't mean two bassi, but the second bassi, i.e. the lower ones. If you know some music, you'll deduce what Mahler wants ;) Don't take me wrong, I'd love to answer this question, but it is off-topic. You can always edit it, so that it is transformed into a question visitors could learn from (instead of asking for a translation). – c.p. May 17 '18 at 19:57
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    I know this text very well. I am singing in a famous choir (Wiener Singakademie), and we perform this symphony in 9 days: konzerthaus.at/konzert/eventid/54975 And I am singing 2<sup>nd</sup> bass in this choir. This note is the lowest note ever written for singers in classical music. You can't play this note on a cheap 5-octave-keyboard, because it is left of the lowest key on such a keyboard. But when you will be in Vienna in 9 days and listen to our concert, you definitely will hear us singing this low note. Because we can. – Hubert Schölnast May 18 '18 at 5:54
  • @HubertSchölnast Auch ich habe das Werk gesungen (jedoch den oberen Bass). Ich bin neugierig und wollte dich was fragen: wo steht ihr auf? Wir sind erst (glaube ich) am Satz „mit Flügeln, die ich mir errungen...“ aufgestanden – vorher alles im Sitzen gesungen. – c.p. May 18 '18 at 9:18
  • Wir haben das zuletzt im Jänner 2017 in Istanbul gesungen, da sind wir schon vor dem ersten Einsatz (Screenshot in der Frage) aufgestanden. Für den Auftritt in 8 Tagen werden wir erst am Donnerstag die erste Probe haben, da ist noch nichts fixiert. Wir haben diesmal für die 2. Mahler nur eine einzige normale Probe und dann die Generalprobe 4 Stunden vor dem Konzert, weil wir derzeit sehr mit den Carmina Burana und einem neuen Werk (The Bells von Fazıl Say aus 2014, komponiert als Begleitwerk zu den Carmina Burana) beschäftigt sind: konzerthaus.at/konzert/eventid/55017 – Hubert Schölnast May 19 '18 at 5:46
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Is there a better (i.e. more grammatically correct in English) translation for this passage?

Not really with the literal word translation as used in your translation IMHO.


My translation to english would be:

Note for the study: The two basses not an octave higher, otherwise the effect intended by the author would be defeated; it is not at all important to hear those low notes, but only the deep bass should be prevented by this style of writing, like to "take" the upper B♭ to, and thus amplifying the upper note.

I can't guarantee, that this is really the best translation, especially not since I am not an expert in the music composing field.


Anyways, you should take note of, and read this meta post before asking for proofreading translations.

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