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Instrumentation: solo piano

The idea here was to take a twelve-note, all-interval chord, and present it in ways that would allow the listener and performer to savour the quality of different intervallic combinations. I believed that by applying transformations to the chord and developing some kind of process to enable to me to do that I would generate some interesting and unusual stacks of intervals, and a musical language would emerge that would be unique to both the chord and the method of composition I was using.

The introductory section presents my starting chord in unaltered form. From there I began a loose process of combining transformations of the original chord in a way that gradually increased the number of minor-second intervals present within them. The tremolo idea used at the beginning appears throughout, serving the purpose of holding the material in a static format to allow it to be properly investigated aurally. A pianist can’t, of course, play and hold an entire keyboard-spanning chord at once, so the remainder of the material is the product of my attempt to devise creative compositional solutions to incompatibility between my musical aims and the limitations of the instrument.

Though I had some kind of long-range goal in mind (I planned to make my way towards a chord that had minor-second intervals spaced at the intervals of the original chord), I found that I quickly exhausted the formal and motivic ideas I had and resorted largely to composing intuitively. It was upon completion of this piece that I realised unequivocally that my understanding of form was lacking, and I began work immediately to improve this weakness in my skillset. Very quickly, I discovered just how much is improved by leaving behind the ‘I’ll figure it out as I go’ approach. I now start work almost always at the formal planning stage, which yields greater complexity and means more energy is available to dedicate to detail. See MONO for how I returned to my ideas for this piece to avenge my wrongdoing.


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