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33 Tears
(for Sansan)
solo piano

(2011)

 

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(The score of this piece may be purchased from Sheet Music Plus)

I composed this simple piano piece as a short memorial for my late wife, Sansan Chien. Because her “English” name, Sansan, sounds like the number 33 in Mandarin Chinese, I decided to compose this piece based on the number 3 as well as various multiples of it. So, for example, prominent intervals include thirds, sixths, ninths, twelfths and tritones (which are made of 3 major seconds). Also, notes often appear in groups of 3 (or multiples of 3), create patterns of three beats (or multiples of 3 beats), or use dotted note values (which create groupings of 3). Structurally, phrases include 33 beats and the larger formal sections are based on those phrases. Finally, though tempo flexibility is encouraged, the two primary tempos used are 66 and 99 beats per minute which, of course, are multiples of 33. Not all of these relationships are immediately obvious during the music's performance, but because she loved sudoku, numbers and puzzles in general, I feel that Sansan would have appreciated this puzzle aspect. It therefore seems appropriate if the music isn't too quick to reveal all of its secrets.

(duration ca. 4 minutes)