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Author Topic: Rachmaninov or Rachmaninoff?  (Read 7075 times)
nataliethepianist
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« on: March 19, 2011, 02:10:59 AM »

Personally, I spell it "Rachmaninoff", but I know others spell it differently. Just out of curiousity, how do you spell, I would like to see which one is more popular of a spelling!
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thinkgreenlovepiano
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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 03:18:17 AM »

Well Rachmaninoff spelt it Rachmaninoff... so I go with that Smiley

Although if I'm typing fast online, sometimes I might use "Rachmaninov"without realizing. Either way, we know who we're talking about! My Firefox spell check underlines Rachmaninov though =/
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invictious
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 03:41:55 AM »

This is interest as it was noticed above, RachmaninoV spelt it Rachmaninoff himself. In Cyrillic, his name is spelled Рахманинов.

See that little B thing at the end? It is read as a 'V' sound. For that reason, I spell his name as Rachmaninov.

It is same for Prokofiev and other really.

What is more annoying is people using alternative spellings like Stravinskij or Shostakowitsch or even Cajkovskij as opposed to Stravinsky or Shostakovich or Tchaikovsky respectively. This makes it quite difficult to search online or asking the people at the counter if they have a certain work by a certain composer for sale. Of course, searing on the forums is quite difficult also.

As to some people who spell his same Tchaikowsky (Чайковский) again see that little B thing before the C? It also reads as a 'v'. I don't understand how people can replace the spelling of the composers' names with a 'w' instead of a 'v', as it should sound!

Perhaps someone could enlighten me?
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ongaku_oniko
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 03:51:10 AM »

Rachmaninoff is definitely used more often.

The Celebration Series 2001 edition used Rachmaninoff for the grade 10 piece.

And They CAN'T be wrong... Tongue
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thinkgreenlovepiano
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 03:53:52 AM »

Rachmaninoff is definitely used more often.

The Celebration Series 2001 edition used Rachmaninoff for the grade 10 piece.

And They CAN'T be wrong... Tongue

 Roll Eyes One of their pieces had a typo... they forgot an accidental. well the 2008 one anyway. Tongue

Quote
This is interest as it was noticed above, RachmaninoV spelt it Rachmaninoff himself. In Cyrillic, his name is spelled Рахманинов.

See that little B thing at the end? It is read as a 'V' sound. For that reason, I spell his name as Rachmaninov.As to some people who spell his same Tchaikowsky (Чайковский) again see that little B thing before the C? It also reads as a 'v'. I don't understand how people can replace the spelling of the composers' names with a 'w' instead of a 'v', as it should sound!

 Well I thought the "ов" is pronounced more like an "off", because it's at the  end of a word... (ok now I know its called final devoicing, thanks (: ) Are there exceptions to that rule? I'm just curious, because I'm not Russian Tongue

There is no perfect transliteration system I guess. Maybe its just easier to type Stravinskij the same way one would type it on a Russian keyboard?? Instead of changing spellings all the time?

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ongaku_oniko
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2011, 04:12:29 AM »

You know, I capitalized CAN'T for a reason Smiley Maybe I should have said CAN'T.


Stravinsky, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev.

Those are the right ways to spell their name with the English alphabet.

Why?

Because I said so Tongue
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 07:40:51 AM »

The variation in spelling occurs in Russian transliterations because of a linguistic trait common in Slavic languages (and others) called final consonant devoicing. Rachmaninoff's (I use this spelling) name may end with a letter that directly transliterates to V in the Cyrillic alphabet, but V is devoiced at the end of a word to F. Similarly, Z devoices to S and B devoices to P at the end of Russian words, to name other examples. It is interesting to note that with many other Russian composers and performers, the transliteration of their name is directly done, as opposed to taking into account final consonant devoicing, and some examples are Nikolai Petrov, Mily Balakirev, Edison Denisov, and many, many others. Rachmaninoff perhaps used this spelling because he knew English. And, if you are already confused, this only is the tip of the iceberg as far as other transliteration anomalies. There are probably thousands of ways to validly spell these Russian composers/performer's names.
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invictious
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 08:13:42 AM »

The variation in spelling occurs in Russian transliterations because of a linguistic trait common in Slavic languages (and others) called final consonant devoicing. Rachmaninoff's (I use this spelling) name may end with a letter that directly transliterates to V in the Cyrillic alphabet, but V is devoiced at the end of a word to F. Similarly, Z devoices to S and B devoices to P at the end of Russian words, to name other examples. It is interesting to note that with many other Russian composers and performers, the transliteration of their name is directly done, as opposed to taking into account final consonant devoicing, and some examples are Nikolai Petrov, Mily Balakirev, Edison Denisov, and many, many others. Rachmaninoff perhaps used this spelling because he knew English. And, if you are already confused, this only is the tip of the iceberg as far as other transliteration anomalies. There are probably thousands of ways to validly spell these Russian composers/performer's names.

Which is what makes doing research so frustratingly difficult, especially if someone uses a rather obscure version of spelling, such as Cjaijkowskij or something along those lines.
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2011, 07:00:11 PM »

Which is what makes doing research so frustratingly difficult, especially if someone uses a rather obscure version of spelling, such as Cjaijkowskij or something along those lines.

You won't see any of those obscure spellings in most cases, unless you are doing research in a language that isn't English. In English, Tchaikovsky is probably used about 95% of the time. In Germany, though, for example, you'll see Tschajkowskij or something similar.
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richard black
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« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2011, 08:44:25 PM »

All this illustrates is that there is very little agreement on how to interpret the letters in the Roman alphabet, and even the ones in the Cyrillic alphabet are often ambiguous. If you want to find a much better-applied alphabet you have to look to the smaller languages. The Georgian alphabet is perfect: it has a unique sound every letter and a unique letter for every sound. Therefore, literacy in Georgia is effectively 100%: if you know the alphabet, you can spell any word.
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2011, 09:09:49 PM »

All this illustrates is that there is very little agreement on how to interpret the letters in the Roman alphabet, and even the ones in the Cyrillic alphabet are often ambiguous. If you want to find a much better-applied alphabet you have to look to the smaller languages. The Georgian alphabet is perfect: it has a unique sound every letter and a unique letter for every sound. Therefore, literacy in Georgia is effectively 100%: if you know the alphabet, you can spell any word.

Unfortunately, people aren't exactly going crazy over Giya Kancheli or his other Georgian brethren.
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rachfan
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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2011, 09:51:40 PM »

I'm an American and have been cheerfully arguing the Rachmaninoff-Rachmaninov issue with my British friends for years.  Where Rachmaninoff (the spelling I use) lived in the U.S. for many years and knew both Russian and English as well as the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets, the fact is and remains that he signed his name "Rachmaninoff".  So I conclude that it was his clear preference as well. 
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john11inc
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2011, 07:03:01 PM »

It really doesn't matter; both are considered acceptable.  The standard accepted rules of English phonetic adaptations of Slavic languages changed throughout the 20th century, hence the confusion.  Earlier in the 20th century, "Rachmaninoff" would have been the correct, whereas "Rachmaninov" is now considered preferred, from a purely technical perspective.  But either is completely fine.  In much the same way, who we now know as Shostakovich used to be Shostakowitch and so forth.  For some reason, the original spelling of Rachmaninov stuck, though.
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2011, 10:57:20 PM »

In much the same way, who we now know as Shostakovich used to be Shostakowitch and so forth.

The only reason why Shostakovich used to be Schostakowitsch (or similar) was because of different transliteration conventions in certain languages like German, like I explained earlier. Also, Shostakovich himself used the Sch- transliteration, I believe. (which is where the DSCH motive comes from).
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jollisg
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2011, 07:14:51 PM »

I always hear "Rachmaninov" here in Sweden, so I spell it like that when i write on a swedish website. But on english/american/whatever websites, I spell it "Rachmaninoff", because that's how everyone spells it like.
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Derek
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« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2011, 01:05:42 PM »

My preferred spelling is Rockmanonoff. Because it says Rockman on off. Like this picture:

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floydcramerfan
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« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2011, 04:44:18 PM »

This cracked me up.
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nataliethepianist
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« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2011, 06:21:39 AM »

Good one!
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floydcramerfan
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« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2011, 04:06:57 PM »

Well, he does seriously rock.  Can you say that about classical composers?
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pianoplayjl
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2011, 03:45:56 AM »

I think 'Rachmaninov' is the Russian version and 'Rachmaninoff' is the English version.
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retrouvailles
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« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2011, 04:09:28 AM »

I think 'Rachmaninov' is the Russian version and 'Rachmaninoff' is the English version.

Read my original post if there is any more debate. It pretty much answers the original poster's question.

The variation in spelling occurs in Russian transliterations because of a linguistic trait common in Slavic languages (and others) called final consonant devoicing. Rachmaninoff's (I use this spelling) name may end with a letter that directly transliterates to V in the Cyrillic alphabet, but V is devoiced at the end of a word to F. Similarly, Z devoices to S and B devoices to P at the end of Russian words, to name other examples. It is interesting to note that with many other Russian composers and performers, the transliteration of their name is directly done, as opposed to taking into account final consonant devoicing, and some examples are Nikolai Petrov, Mily Balakirev, Edison Denisov, and many, many others. Rachmaninoff perhaps used this spelling because he knew English. And, if you are already confused, this only is the tip of the iceberg as far as other transliteration anomalies. There are probably thousands of ways to validly spell these Russian composers/performer's names.

Point being, there are many accepted spellings of his name. Really, if you want to nitpick, Rachmaninoff is the best spelling because that is what he himself used when he wrote in English. Or, if you want to nitpick even further, "Рахманинов" (the Russian) is the best acceptable spelling.
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pytheamateur
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« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2011, 12:53:15 AM »

Which is what makes doing research so frustratingly difficult, especially if someone uses a rather obscure version of spelling, such as Cjaijkowskij or something along those lines.

Yes "w" in German sounds like a "v" in English.  Also, "w" is pronounced like "v" in Polish, I think, so, in Szymanowski and Moszkowski, the last two syllables actually rythm with the last two in Tchaikovsky. "Cjaijkowskij" might be the Polish spelling as well.


Also, another variant for Rachmaninov is Rakhmaninov, which, although much rarer, is quoted in the Oxford Dictionary of Music.
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« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2011, 05:35:05 AM »

I've seen both used equally. However, more formally (like CDs, itunes and recordings) I see Rachmaninov more and for more informal references, (facebook, this forum, etc.) I see Rachmaninoff more often. Though I think that most programs for concerts I've been to use Rachmaninoff.
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« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2011, 01:52:52 PM »

i love both their stuff so much! they compose actually quite similar to each other! Tongue
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