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Pi (Obstruction) : for two vibraphones

by Andrián Pertout (2008)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work
This sample is from the Solo toy piano version of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Phyllis Chen from the CD A borboleta

This sample is of the Solo toy piano version of this work

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A borboleta


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A borboleta / music composed by Andrián Pertout.

Version: This product features the Solo toy piano version of this work

Library shelf no. CD 2341 [Available for loan]

Display all products featuring this work (4 more)  

Work Overview

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).

Work Details

Year: 2008

Instrumentation: 2 vibraphones.

Duration: 6 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional.

Written for: Eugene Ughetti, Peter Neville

Commission note: Arranged for vibraphone for Australian percussionists Eugene Ughetti and Peter Neville

First performance: by Peter Neville, Kaylie Melville — 3 Oct 13. Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne

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.

Performances of this work

18 Sep 18: Teatro Galileo, Neopercusión’s XIX edition of ‘Ritmo Vital,’ Madrid, Spain. Featuring Juanjo Guillén, Rafa Gálvez.

15 Jul 18: Conservatorio Profesional de Xàbia, II European Meeting of Contemporary Percussion, Xàbia, Alacante, Spain

29 Oct 13: South Melbourne Town Hall, Melbourne. Featuring Peter Neville, Kaylie Melville.

3 Oct 13: Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne. Featuring Kaylie Melville, Peter Neville.

24 Nov 12: Rainy Days 2012 Festival de Musique Nouvelle, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Luxembourg. Featuring Phyllis Chen.

12 Jun 11: Extensible Toy Piano Festival, Bargemusic, Brooklyn, New York, USA. Featuring Phyllis Chen.

24 Mar 11: Barbès, Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York, USA. Featuring Phyllis Chen.

8 May 10: Gary Snyder/Project Space, 2010 Look & Listen Festival, New York, NY, USA. Featuring Phyllis Chen.

1 Dec 09: PianoForte Studios, Chicago, IL, USA. Featuring Phyllis Chen.

20 Sep 09: Performance at the 11th Annual World Music Festival: Chicago, Preston-Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL, USA. Featuring Phyllis Chen.

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