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Mood variations : for piano

by Michael Hannan (1991)

Audio Sample

Performance by Jeanell Carrigan from the CD little variation

little variation


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A little variation / Jeanell Carrigan, piano.

Library shelf no. CD 2427 [Available for loan]

Mood variations


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Mood variations : for solo piano / Michael Hannan.

Library shelf no. 786.2/HAN 8 [Not for loan]

Work Overview

Mood Variations is a three-movement piece with each movement constituting a different mood. There are some similarities between the construction of the first two movements, but the third is quite contrasting in its approach.
Movement I uses repetitive devices to conjure up a wistful but also somewhat ecstatic mood. It has an ABA form with similar material used in both A and B sections. In the first A Section a nine-note left-hand ostinato outlining a three-tone chord is used to accompany a four-bar melody based on a pentatonic scale {E flat, F flat, G flat, A flat, B flat}. The pitch sequence of this melody is repeated four times using slightly different rhythms each time. In the B section one of the tones of the four-tone ostinato is changed and the melodic material is freer in construction. Two tones {C flat & D flat} are added to the pentatonic scale. The third section is a repeat of the first section.
Movement II uses the low end of the piano to create a dark mysterious even oppressive mood. Like Movement I it uses left-hand ostinati to accompany the right-hand melodic material. The difference is that in this movement the one-bar patterns change slightly after every fourth bar and the melodic material is through-composed. The melody has a cross-rhythmic relationship to the ostinato and it loosely develops the chromatic motif {A flat, B flat, B natural, A natural} stated at the outset.
Movement III demonstrates a playful mood in its polytonal juxtapositions of ideas derived from Nicolas Slonimsky's Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns, a book which has influenced a generation of jazz improvisers when John Coltrane stressed its importance. The movement offers a mind-bending challenge to performers used to playing normal scales with standard fingering.

Work Details

Year: 1991

Instrumentation: Piano.

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Medium — AMEB Grade 7


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