Week 6 - 8eLhlnklng lnsLrumenLs
ÞarL 1: WhaL lf?
MuS14 - 1uesday, lebruary 11
lnsLrumenLs and Lhelr approxlmaLe ages
• Þlano - ca. 200 years
• ClarlneL - ca. 300 years
• vlolln - ca. 300 years
• lluLe - ca. 700 years
1he Þlano
1he Þlano
Penry Cowell (1897-1963)
• Amerlcan composer, largely self-
• LncounLered planlsL Leo
CrnsLeln ln new ?ork ln 1916
– CrnsLeln was called a ºfuLurlsL"
composer, Lhough he composed
only for Lrad. lnsLrumenLs
– Plghly dlssonanL muslc sald Lo
make Schoenberg sound ºLame"
• ShorLly aûer, Cowell began Lo
experlmenL wlLh new sounds for
Lhe plano
1one ClusLers
• 1one clusLers - chords made up of many
consecuuve noLes
• Þerformed wlLh Lhe ßaL hand, ñsL, forearm,
eLc. - whaLever ls necessary Lo achleve Lhe
• 1hree Lypes of clusLers on Lhe plano:
Chromauc clusLers (black/whlLe keys), whlLe
key clusLers, black key clusLer
!"# !%&#' () *+,+-,+-, (1917)
• ºManaunaun was Lhe god of mouon, and long
before creauon, he senL forLh Lremendous
udes, whlch swepL Lo and fro Lhrough Lhe
unlverse, and rhyLhmlcally moved Lhe parucles
and maLerlals of whlch Lhe gods were laLer Lo
make Lhe suns and worlds." - !ohn varlan
• uses Lone clusLers exLenslvely
.#(/%+, 0+12 (1923)
• An Aeollan harp ls a harp played by Lhe wlnd
(aûer Aeolus, Lhe Creek god of Lhe wlnd)
• lnsplred many composers
– Chopln's LLude Cp. 23 no. 1
• Cowell's plece uses Lhe lnslde of Lhe plano
– SLrums across Lhe sLrlngs
– Polds down chords sllenLly whlle sLrummlng
– Also plucks sLrlngs occaslonally
!"# 3+,'"## (1923)
• A banshee ls an lrlsh female splrlL who walls
before someone ls abouL Lo dle
• 1o achleve slmllar eñecLs, Cowell uses
addluonal Lechnlques lnslde of Lhe plano
– 8ubblng a slngle sLrlng wlLh ñnger/ñngernall
– 8ubblng several sLrlngs wlLh Lhe full hand
– Creaung clusLers by sweeplng lnslde Lhe plano
– Þedal ls held Lhe whole ume
AlLerlng Lhe Sound of Lhe Þlano
• 4(15#2%+,( - addlng mechanlsm so LhaL Lhe
energy of playlng ! energy of hammer
• 1he -,+ 6(1&+ pedal - moved Lhe hammer
mechanlsm so LhaL only one sLrlng ls sLruck
• SomewhaL rarer plano ºsLops"
– 'bassoon sLop': lald a sLrlp of paper on Lhe sLrlngs
– 'luLe sLop': lald a sLrlp of felL on Lhe sLrlngs
– '1urklsh sLop': bassoon sLop + percusslve eñecLs
Þrepared plano
• 1erm colned by !ohn Cage
• lnvolves ºpreparlng" Lhe sLrlngs of Lhe plano
wlLh varlous ob[ecLs
– Screws, bolLs, rubber, erasers, penclls, rulers,
paper, [usL abouL anyLhlng
• AlLered Lhe sound ln varlous ways, noL always
exacLly reproduclble on dlñerenL planos
– Þercusslve vs. plLched, umbre changes, harmonlcs
lnsLead of full Lone, eLc.
7(,+5+' +,& 8,5#1/-&#' (1946-48)
• noL Cage's ñrsL 'prepared plano' plece, buL mosL
well known
• lnßuenced by lndlan phllosophy of Lhe elghL
permanenL emouons of Lhe 1+'+
• 16 shorL 'sonaLas' ln groups of 4, separaLed by
shorL lnLerludes
– MosL are ln a blnary (Lwo-parL) form, wlLh each parL
repeaLed once, as a reference Lo Lhe early 8aroque
keyboard sonaLas
• 43 noLes are prepared ln varlous ways
– 8olLs, rubber, plasuc, eLc.
9-#1( (1970) by PelmuL Lachenmann
• uses almosL excluslvely percusslve and
plucked Lechnlques, no Lradluonal plano
sound aL all
• 8eferences Lhe sound of
Lhe gulro, a scraped
percusslon lnsLrumenL
from Laun Amerlca
• vlrLuoslLy - refers Lo greaL Lechnlcal sklll (and
ßalr) ln performance
• vlrLuoso - one who ls vlrLuoslc
– Lxamples: nlccolo Þaganlnl (1782-1840) on vlolln,
lranz LlszL (1811-1886) on plano, eLc.
• Þlano eLudes - sLudles usually Lo lmprove
Lechnlcal sklll
• Llgeu's plano eLudes - very dlmculL pleces LhaL
exLend Lhe posslblllues of vlrLuoslc plano
– Some LhoughL Lo be so dlmculL LhaL Lhey could
only be performed by a player plano

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