Sheet Music: Score
Pi (Obstruction) : for toy piano / Andrián Pertout
by Andrián Pertout (2008)
Pi (Obstruction) for Schoenhut Concert Grand (Model 379, 37-key) was commissioned by American pianist Phyllis Chen and represents a Hommage à Conlon Nancarrow (1912-1997). The title is in reference to the I Ching, or 'Book of Changes' - originating in the Western Zhou Dynasty (1122-771 BC) - and highlights hexagram 12 (incorporating the trigrams of energy and space) from the 64 hexagrams of the oracle. In the tradition of American composer, pianist and theorist Henry Cowell (1897-1965) and his monumental publication of New Musical Resources (1930), the work explores a variety of compositional techniques developed during the twentieth century by American experimentalist composer Conlon Nancarrow and documented by Kyle Gann in The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (1995). The two possible transpositions of the whole-tone scale are adopted in juxtaposition as the basic pitch material, while the simple seven-limit frequencies ratios associated with this hexatonic scale form the basis for rhythmic development: unison (1/1), just major tone (9/8), just major third (5/4), septimal subdiminished fifth (7/5), just minor sixth (8/5), septimal subminor seventh (7/4), and octave (2/1). The compositional structure features tempo canons (or diminution canons, expressed as polyrhythmic ratios), as well as an isorhythm constructed from a talea (rhythmic series) of 16 notes (3+4+5+4=16, 4+5+6+5=20, 5+6+7+6=24, and 6+7+8+7=28) and a color (pitch series) of 12 notes (F4, B4, G4, C sharp 5, F4, B3, G3, C sharp 4, F3, B4, G4, and D sharp 4) - the form requiring four repeats of the melodic pattern and three repeats of the rhythmic pattern for a completion of the cycle (48 notes).
Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (28p. -- B4 (landscape))
Difficulty: Advanced — Professional
Duration: 5 mins, 46 sec.
Commissioned by Phyllis Chen.
First performance by Phyllis Chen — 20 Sep 09. Performance at the 11th Annual World Music Festival: Chicago, Preston-Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL, USA
Composer's no.: 401.
Includes programme notes and performance notes.
The composer cites as influences on this work: Henry Cowell (1897-1965) and his monumental publication of New Musical Resources (1930) ; Kyle Gann's The Music of Conlon Nancarrow (1995) ; I Ching, or ‘Book of Changes’ ; Tempo canons ; Isorhythm.
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