Three Etudes for Piano
Instrumentation: solo piano
I. With Intensity
II. Slow, Morphing
*winner of the 2020 National Federation of Music Clubs Marion Richter award*
*3rd place in the 2020 National Association of Composers/USA Young Composers Competition*
This project arose after studying Ligeti’s first book of piano etudes. I was struck by the rhythmic concepts he explores and the relentless eighth notes often found in the etudes. For my etudes, I utilized techniques of polymeters and polyrhythm abundant in Ligeti’s writing.
Etude I is loosely based on Ligeti’s Desordre, as the two hands start together but eventually end up playing in different meters simultaneously. Additionally, I use only 2nds and 7ths in the right hand, and only 3rds and 6ths in the left hand, until these two switch after the climax in the middle.
Etude II begins with a plain 4/4 feel, but the pulse is soon obscured through use of polymeters of 3s, 5s, and 7s going over barlines and strong beats. It provides a smooth, amorphous feel to contrast with the constant eighth notes found in Etudes I and III.
While I have heard that my jazz background tends to come through naturally in my composition, Etude III (Evan(s)escence) is the most conscious I have ever been of trying to mix my knowledge of jazz piano with my craft as a composer. During the Spring of 2019, I transcribed a Bill Evans solo on the tune "What is this Thing Called Love?" This etude emerged from that solo, as the main theme (heard right at the beginning) is identical to the solo break for Evans’ solo. The entire etude follows the chord progression of that tune, though the meter has been changed to 12/8, and the key cycles through major-third motion. I got the idea of the constant ostinato from studying Ligeti’s Fanfares.
Completed: August 2019