b Riding East: Étude-Tableaux No. 4

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Étude-Tableaux No. 4

I finally finished my next work in the set of Études-Tableaux piano pieces I'm composing and performing, modeled after Rachmaninoff's own sets. Here I continue my study in polytonality, except this time use whole tone scales throughout. It seems whenever anyone uses whole tones it must be a reference to Debussy? In this case, no, although Debussy's works are often present in my mind. Instead I was attempting to manage the perception of time, noting that whole tone scales float somewhat. The absence of semitones creates challenges of harmonic structure and progression, the motion towards a goal perhaps. Yet that was the point of using the whole tone scales -- avoiding the progress towards a given "goal". I do use ambitus to suggest soft modulations. The piece opens with both whole tone scales together before moving in and out of diatonic harmonies that eventually and finally resolve to the implied theme in A-minor.

I recorded the piece at my home here in Fairview, Wyoming on a Yamaha S400 piano. It snowed again last night.


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