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Étude
for solo piano
(2013)

 

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I composed this étude for Michael Tsalka as a sort of warm up for myself in terms of compositional thinking. Because he enjoys playing early keyboards and was encouraging me to compose for the fortepiano, I decided to use the quiet finger techniques of 18th-century keyboard music as a starting point. That changed my focus from the development of modern pianistic technique to other musical parameters, such as harmony, rhythm and phrasing. While these have always been worthy pianistic techniques, they aren’t necessarily the first aspect of piano playing one thinks of when discussing piano études. The result is that this short piece is more subtle and less flashy than a typical étude. My hope, though, is that if one listens carefully, either as a player or audience member, the various metric, harmonic and phrasing ambiguities that arise within the otherwise gentle and steady flow of eighth-notes will become a simple and delightful étude for the musical mind.

(duration ca. 4 minutes)