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In Spanish "atrilista" is an special orchestra musician. What is the equivalent in English language?

El músico atrilista solo toca lo que viene escrito en la partitura, el intérprete toma este nombre porque es capaz de dar su interpretación personal de una pieza.

Since I am very aware that there are strict rules for single-word-requests, to ensure my question is not closed as off-topic, I do hereby provide below a specific about the intended use of the word. I am including a sample sentence demonstrating how the word would be used:

The atrilista musician only plays what is written in the score, conversely, the interpreter takes this name because it is capable of giving their personal interpretation of a piece.

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    Can you expand on this meaning a bit please? Eg is there a "non-special" orchestra musician, and if so what's the difference? Do you change from a non-atrilista to an atrilista at the moment you get a job with the orchestra, or is it more of a slow process? – Max Williams Aug 3 '16 at 8:59
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    Please provide an English description of your Spanish term. – Lawrence Aug 3 '16 at 9:30
  • Welcome to English Language & Usage. You might not be aware that there are strict rules for single-word-requests: "To ensure your question is not closed as off-topic, please be specific about the intended use of the word. You must include a sample sentence demonstrating how the word would be used." You can add these details by clicking on the edit link. :-) – Chappo Aug 3 '16 at 9:49
  • Probably the term you want is "musician with an/the orchestra". – Hot Licks Aug 3 '16 at 11:53
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    @gral.pancho.villa The problem is that you've provided a term and its definition in a foreign language (foreign relative to English, that is), neither of which is comprehensible to those who don't understand the other language. So you can see where I'm coming from, consider a term blah whose definition is blaa blab blac in some foreign language. How do you determine what blah means when you understand neither blah nor blaa blab blac? A translation of (most of) the words in your Spanish definition would help. – Lawrence Aug 4 '16 at 4:04
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Google Translate's translation of the Spanish is

The atrilista musician plays only what is written in the score, the intérpete takes this name because it is able to give his personal interpretation of a piece.

Based on this, I don't think that atrilista is a special member at all: he's distinctly ordinary and would probably be a rank-and-file member of the orchestra — a player in the middle of the string section, for example.

An intérpete might be someone who can create a cadenza — he is a soloist.

However, as Max Williams has pointed out, it may be that the "personal interpretation" isn't a solo but rather extra expression, to bring the piece "to life" more effectively. To be a more expressive player, in other words.

If this is the case, then the atrilista could be described as a jobbing member of the orchestra. While this often means a casual (non-permanent) member, it can imply a more casual attitude, simply turning up and playing what's in front of him. Such a player will be a rank-and-file player in an orchestra.

  • This sounds plausible, but it may be that the "personal interpetation" isn't a solo but rather extra expression, to bring the piece "to life" more effectively. To be a more expressive player, in other words. – Max Williams Aug 3 '16 at 9:40
  • @Max Hm. You're right. I'll update the answer... – Andrew Leach Aug 3 '16 at 9:59
  • @AndrewLeach So, apparently there is an interpretation, even though there is no one-to-one translation for this word. In the end I believe that translating Atrilista as ORCHESTRAL MUSICIAN is a good approach. – gral.pancho.villa Aug 4 '16 at 3:36
  • From latin atrium, an Atril is actually a Lectern, a lectern utilized to hold a partiture or music sheet. Anyhow, at this point lecternist musician does not seems appealing. – gral.pancho.villa Aug 4 '16 at 3:58
  • We call such a lectern a music stand. And it's sounding more and more that rank-and-file is the adjective to use. – Andrew Leach Aug 4 '16 at 7:25
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The atrilista musician only plays what is written in the score.

The section player [or the section musician] only plays the notes on the page.

This is to distinguish from the soloist, or first chair musicians (or first stand musicians).

The section player is somewhere in the middle of the section.

(There's a third type, the back-of-the-section musician, who's only in the job for the paycheck.)

You could also say, "Ignacio is a notes-on-the-page kind of guy. Don't ask him to be creative."

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