© 2019

Music and Translation

New Mediations in the Digital Age

  • Expands the existing framework for understanding music and translation in relation to each other

  • Reviews and discusses the current state of research and practice in the areas of intersection between music and translation

  • Investigates the creative influence of translation on music


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting book series (PTTI)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Lucile Desblache
    Pages 1-13
  3. Music and Translation in a Global Context

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 15-15
    2. Lucile Desblache
      Pages 17-55
    3. Lucile Desblache
      Pages 57-100
  4. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-105
    2. Lucile Desblache
      Pages 107-166
    3. Lucile Desblache
      Pages 167-217
  5. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 265-268
    2. Lucile Desblache
      Pages 269-299
    3. Lucile Desblache
      Pages 301-342
    4. Lucile Desblache
      Pages 343-381
  6. Lucile Desblache
    Pages 383-386
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 387-407

About this book


This book explores how transformations and translations shape musical meanings, developments and the perception of music across cultures. Starting with the concept of music as multimodal text, the author understands translation as the process of transferring a text from one language – verbal or not – into another, interlingually, intralingually or intersemiotically, as well as the products that are derived from this process. She situates music and translation within their contemporary global context, examining the tensions between local and global, cosmopolitan and national, and universal and specific settings, to arrive at a celebration of the translational power of music and an in-depth study of how musical texts are translated. This book will be of interest to translation studies scholars who want to broaden their horizons, as well as to musicians and music scholars seeking to understand how cultural exchange and dissemination can be driven by translation.

Lucile Desblache is Professor of Translation and Transcultural Studies at the University of Roehampton, UK. She studied both musicology and comparative literature. This is reflected in her research interests which are twofold: the representation of the non-human in contemporary cultures on the one hand, and the translation of musical texts on the other. 


language literature media New Media borders cosmopolitanism Anglo-Saxon cultures transcreation adaptation mediation reception (un)translatability rhythm genre hermeneutics intersensorial transfer accessibility agency performativity intertextuality

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media, Culture and LanguageUniversity of RoehamptonLondonUK

About the authors

Lucile Desblache is Professor of Translation and Transcultural Studies at the University of Roehampton, UK. She studied both musicology and comparative literature. This is reflected in her research interests which are twofold: the representation of the non human in contemporary cultures on the one hand, and the translation of musical texts on the other. She is the founding editor of JoSTrans, the Journal of Specialised Translation, of which she was general editor 2004-2018, and the principal investigator of the network Translating Music.  

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Music and Translation
  • Book Subtitle New Mediations in the Digital Age
  • Authors Lucile Desblache
  • Series Title Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, London
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences Social Sciences (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-54964-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-71524-4
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-54965-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XXI, 407
  • Number of Illustrations 7 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Translation
    Translation Studies
    Language and Literature
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Music and Translation bridges the gap between the two fields in a truly authoritative manner and will for sure be a must-read for anyone interested either in Translation Studies or Musicology, or both.” (Mariacristina Petillo, The Journal of Specialised Translation, Issue 34, January, 2020)

“Music and Translation offers us a fascinating and groundbreaking journey through the intersections and commonalities between music and translation while challenging traditional and well-established concepts of these two hybrid fields central to humanity and beyond. … The book is a must-read for students and scholars of music and translation studies, as well as anyone interested in inclusive and diverse forms of creative dialogue and exchanges beyond artistic, cultural, social and species’ borders.” (Stefania Taviano, translation journal,, Vol. 22, 2020)

Music and Translation. New mediations in the digital age takes the reader on a journey through the largely unexplored world of music and translation. This truly interdisciplinary and fascinating study surveys and investigates the intricate interactions between the two fields, challenging limitative definitions of both. Hybridity is the inescapable state of a musical piece and hybridity is the defining feature of translation today. Moreover, translation shapes music and music has an impact on translation. Both are positive forces in our global world in that they build and mediate identity, playing a crucial role in our understanding of the cultures we live in and interact with today. Prof. Desblache demonstrates convincingly that the connections between Translation Studies and musicology merit much more in depth research than they have received to date. Her book is a treasure trove of information and research opportunities for anyone with an interest in music and/or translation.” (Professor Aline Remael, University of Antwerp, Belgium)

Music and Translation makes its debut at an opportune time, when translation is gaining traction and momentum in academia. Truly interdisciplinary in its approach, this monograph constitutes one of the first sustained, rigorous treatments of the topic, taking the reader on a fascinating journey into the intricacies and intersections of music and translation. Reading Lucile is to discover new ways of conceptualising translation and to marvel at her arresting and systematic display of ideas. Written in an accessible and elegant prose, the book, like its author, is innovative, inspiring, and ground-breaking in its exploration of music as an instrument of translation, particularly in relation to the natural world. Lucile has written a must-read primer for anyone interested in translation and music. Read this book – and learn from one of the best in our discipline.” (Professor Jorge Díaz-Cintas, University College London, UK)

“This book is highly original in bringing together two disciplines which are rarely explored in dialogue. Desblache writes fluently and with authority across both translation studies and music. The volume explores the global context of music and translation and it also sets out the need to engage further in the translation on musical texts in order to promote wider access to art, across cultures/borders. It lays out a theoretical framework for how music can be translated and can translate. The case study examples are rich in content, spanning creative activities, philosophical and psychological ways of engaging with music and translation in dialogue, as well as exploring these issues within the context of the nature world. The thrust of the book prompts inclusive and diverse human dialogue across diverse forms of creative and expressive exchange.” (Dr Helen Julia Minors, Kingston University, UK)