The narrating voice in Rimsky-Korsakov's Shekherazade

Kawabata, Maiko (2000). The narrating voice in Rimsky-Korsakov's Shekherazade. Women and Music, 4 pp. 18–39.


In the well-known legend of 1,001 Arabian nights, a young woman is empowered and saved by her extraordinary narrating voice. In his Šeherazada, op. 35, Rimskij-Korsakov captures the quality of protagonist's storytelling in his lavish orchestral suite by casting a solo violin in the role of narrator and by organizing musical time in support of her need to avoid narrative closure. Questions concerning how instrumental music can tell stories are discussed.

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