Travelling Songs: On Popular Music Transfer and Translation


  • Isabelle Marc Universidad Complutense de Madrid. University of Leeds



popular music, popular music transfers, translation, translation theories, isomorphism, alterity


Even though a song is created in a specific national or communitarian context, which determines to various degrees its production and reception processes, once it is recorded, reproduced and disseminated, especially via the global music market, it travels and wanders through time and place, thus becoming a transcultural product. The fruits of these transfers are what I call a “travelling song” and, by extension, “travelling music”. In this article, I will argue that travelling songs are dramatically transformed by their new contexts of reception. Focusing on alterity and diversity over sameness and isomorphism, the main objective of this work is to provide a general typology of music transfers that draws on translation and cultural transfer theories. Such musical transfers can be categorized in four ways: a) cultural reception; b) musical reprise; c) translation and adaptation; d) stylistic emulation. Such as distinction will lead the discussion to insights into how music transfers relate to such concepts as fidelity, authorship and creativity within a polycentric dynamic.

Author Biography

Isabelle Marc, Universidad Complutense de Madrid. University of Leeds

Lecturer in the Department of French



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