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PEDAGOGICAL WORKS POR PIANO BY SAMUEL ADLER

by
MEI-YUKTANG, B.A., M.M.
A DISSERTATION
IN
FINE ARTS (MUSIC)
Submitted to the Graduate Faculty
of Texas Tech University in
Partial Fulfillment of
the Requirements for
the Degree of
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
Approved

August, 2003

Copyright 2003, Mei-Yuk Tang

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to those individuals who so kindly


assisted me in the preparation of this study. My special thanks are extended to Dr. Lora
Deahl w^ho patiently guided me through the preparation of this dissertation. Her
encouragement, enthusiasm, and knowledge made fmishing this dissertation possible.
She also provided excellent assistance in proofreading the entire document. The advice
of Dr. Jason Sifford and Dr. Matthew Santa regarding the pedagogica! aspects and
compositional techniques of Adler's works was invaluable. I also wish to extend my
gratitude to Dr. Wayne Hobbs, Dr. Daniel Nathan, and Dr. John Stinespring for serving
on my committee and for their guidance and support. My particular thanks are offered to
Dr. Samuel Adler who graciously answered my questions and to Mrs. Suzanne Tapp who
assisted me with my English on Chapter III. Grateful acknowledgement is also given to
the Graduate School of Texas Tech University for granting me a Summer
Dissertation/Thesis Research Award. Finally, I want to thank my family members in
Hong Kong for their unfailing encouragement, patience, support, and understanding!

11

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ii

ABSTRACT

iv

LIST OF TABLES

vi

CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION

II. BIOGRAPHY

15

III. COMPOSITIONAL TECHNIQUES

29

JV. PEDAGOGICAL ASPECTS

71

V. A COMPARISON OF PEDAGOGICAL WORKS FOR


PIANO BY BARTK, KABALEVSKY, AND ADLER

99

VL CONCLUSION

118

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

122

APPENDIX
A. ANALYSIS TABLES FOR GiL4i)C/5/

127

B. ANALYSIS TABLES FOR GRADUSII

161

C ANALYSIS TABLES FOR Gif^Z)f/5///

207

D. ANALYSIS TABLES FOR THE SENSEOF TOUCH

247

E. AGRADEDLIST0FADLER'SGi?^i)[/5AND
THE SENSE OF TOUCH

264

111

ABSTRACT

Many new musical styles evolved during the twentieth century. The disjunct
melodies, harsh dissonances, and irregular time-signatures, phrasings, rhythms, and
notations featured in much music of the twentieth century were foreign to those
accustomed to the tonai harmonies of the major-minor system. Consequently, new
techniques and guidelines to performing and teaching this repertoire were in great
demand.
Samuel Adler is a prolific composer whose works include operas, symphonies,
concertos, chamber music, vocal music, and piano music. Adler wrote the Gradus and
The Sense of Touch to pr vide young students with a solid theoretical and technical
introduction to the performance of contemporary music.
The purpose of this study is three-fold: to analyze the pedagogica! piano pieces of
Samuel Adler in terms of their musical and pedagogical content; to compare these
compositions with the works of important twentieth-century piano pedagogues, Bartk
and Kabalevsky; and to propose Adler's works as worthy additions to the pedagogical
canon.
The study of Adler's Gmdus set (1971 and 1981) and The Sense of Touch (1983)
shows that these sixty-eight pieces are short in length but neh in musical content. The
flowing melodies, driving rhythms, coloristic sound effects, and clarity of texture of
Adler's piano pieces are appealing to students. They are recommended by music
scholars, piano teachers, and pedagogues. A comparison of Adler's coUections with Bla

IV

Bartk's Mikrokosmos (1926, 32-39) and Dmitri Kabalevsky's Pieces far Children, Op.
27 (1937-38) and Twenty-Four Little Pieces, Op. 39 (1943) shows that each has its own
function. Nevertheless, Adler introduces a greater number of innovative twentiethcentury techniques than either Kabalevsky or Bartk.
Adler's Gradus and The Sense of Touch are valuable teaching materials. They
contain a diversity of contemporary styles and systems. At the same time, these works
exemplify Adler's expressive and eclectic compositional style. They are instructive
piano works of high quality that deserve a wider circulation among piano teachers and
students.

LIST OF TABLES

A.l. Gmdus I, No. 1

128

A.2. GmdusI,No.2

130

A.3. GmdusI,No.3

132

A.4. Gmdus I, No. 4

133

A.5. GmdusI,No.5

135

A.6. GmdusI,No.6

137

A.7. GmdusI,No.l

139

A.8. GmdusI,No.8

141

A.9. Gmdus I, No. 9

142

AIO. GmdusI,No.

10

144

A.11. Gmdus I, No. n

145

A. 12. Gmdus I, No. 12

146

A.13. GmdusI,No.

13

147

A. 14. Gra(/Ms/,No. 14

148

A.15. GmdusI,No.

15

150

A. 16. Gmdus I, No. 16

151

A17. GmdusI,No.

17

153

A. 18. GrarfM5/,No. 18

155

A.19. GmdusI,No.

19

157

A.20. GmdusI,No. 20

159

VI

B.l. Gmdus II, No. \

162

B.2. Gradus II, No. 2

164

B.3. Gradus II, No. 3

166

B.4. Gradus II, No. 4

168

B.5. Gradus II, No. 5

170

B.6. GradusII,No. 6

171

B.7. Gradus II, No. 7

173

B.8. GradusII,No. 8

175

B.9. Gradus II, No. 8A

177

B. 10. Gradus II, No. 8B

178

B.ll. Gradus II, No. 9

180

B.12. GraJw^//, No. 10

182

B.13. GradusII,No. 11

184

B.14. GradusII,No. 12

186

B.15. GradusII,No. 13

188

B.16. GradusII,No. 14

190

B.l7. Gradus II, No. 15

193

B.l8. GradusII,No. 16

196

B.l9. Gradus II, No. 17

198

B.20. GradusII,No. 18

201

B.21. Gradus II, No. 19

204

B.22. Gradus II, No. 20

205

VII

C I . Gradus III, No. \

208

C 2 . Gradus III, No. 2

210

C.3. Gradus III, No. 3

212

C.4. Gradus III, No. 4

214

C.5. Gradus III, No. 5

217

C.6. Gradus III, No. 6

219

C.7. Gradus III, No. 7

220

C.8. GradusIII,No. 8

222

C.9. Gradus III, No. 9

224

CIO. GraJM5///,No. 10

226

C U . GraafMi ///, No. 11

228

C.\2. GradusIII,No. 12

230

C.3. Gradus III, No. 13

232

C.14. GraflfM5///,No. 14

235

C15. Gradus III, No. 15

237

C16. GraJM5///,No. 16

239

C.n.

241

Gradus III, No. n

C18. GraJM5 ///, No. 18

243

C19. Gradus III, No. 19

244

C20. GradusIILNo. 20

246

vili

D.l. The Sense of Touch, No. l

248

D.2. The Sense of Touch, No. U

250

D.3. The Sense of Touch, No. Ili

252

D.4. The Sense of Touch, No. lY

254

D.5. The Sense ofTouch,No.V

256

D.6. The Sense of Touch, No. Wl

258

D.7. The Sense ofTouch,No. VII

260

D.8. The Sense of Touch, No. Ylll

262

E. 1. Reference Chart for Grading

266

E.2. Graded List of Gradus I

267

E.3. Graded List of GraJu^//

267

E.4. Graded List ofGraJw^///

267

E.5. GradeListof The Sense of Touch

268

ix

CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

Twentieth-century music stili challenges us today even though we are several


years into the twenty-first century. Most method and instruction books were developed
to deal with Western musical language datingfi-omthe last quarter of the seventeenth
century to the late nineteenth century. During this period, certain principles of tonality
govemed Western music. During the twentieth century, this standard system was
undermined by new musical developments. In Contemporary Music and the Pianist,
Alice Canaday states that ".. .traditional defnitions of the elements of music, viz.
'melody,' 'harmony,' 'rhythm,' and even the defmition of what is musical sound, are no
longer adequate. We need to broaden and re-define such musical concepts so that our
teaching, performing and listening can more accurately reflect the true state of music
today."' There is a need to redefine and to expand our musical concepts to adjust to
contemporary "musics."
Within the context of contemporary Western art music, a diversity of styles and
systems have emerged since the late nineteenth century. The music of our time is often
more difficult to understand than that of the previous centuries, even for professional
musicians. Since most of us are accustomed to the tonai sounds of the major-minor
system, our ears tend to reject the unfamiliar dissonant sounds of contemporary harmonic
' Alice Canaday, Contemporary Music and the Pianist: A Guidebook of Resources and Materials
(Port Washington, NY: Alfred Music, 1974; reprint, Tumbridge, VT: Trillenium Music, 1997), 5.

language. At the same time, the concept of musical sound has also changed. For
example, in contemporary piano literature, new sonorities are created by tapping or
knocking the piano's wooden or metal parts or by strumming or plucking the strings
inside the piano. Piano pieces explore the full range of the keyboard, and composers
exploit its percussive nature. Now sounds are created by the emphasis on single tones
(for example, points of sound in a pointillistic style), textures (changing texture abruptly),
sound masses (such as clusters), timbres (producing new sounds by using new techniques
with conventional Instruments), and different rhythmic constructs (applying rhythmic
displacement, metric modulation, etc.).^
Contemporary musical elements such as disjunct melodies, harsh dissonances,
irregular time-signatures and phrasings, unpredictable rhythms, and non-traditional
notations are difficult to comprehend and appreciate. Unfamiliarity with musical
elements that are not used in the common practice language of Western music is at the
root of these difficulties. In performing contemporary works for piano, EUen Thompson
points out that "the fingers must adjust to new shapes and combinations of notes, such as
clusters, quarta!, moda! or synthetic scale pattems, while the mind and eye must leam to
grasp widely-spaced groups of notes, intricate rhytlmis, changing meters, a maze of
accidentals, etc."^ Ways of leaming new techniques, gestures, symbols, and styles are

^ Ibid., 6-8.
^ Ellen R. Thompson, Teaching and Understanding Contemporary Piano Music (San Diego, CA:
KjosWest, 1976), 17.

required to perform and interpret new music. There is a great demand for guidelines to
understand the various styles and systems of contemporary musical literature.
Frequent, early exposure to contemporary music can remedy the present state of
ignorance about contemporary music. In IVhat to Listenfor in Music, Aaron Copland
argued that the reason why ".. .so many music lovers feel disoriented when they listen to
contemporary music [is that they] seem to accept with equanimity the notion that the
work of the present-day composer is not for them. Why? Because they 'Oust] don't
understand it.'"'* He suggested that "the key to the understanding of new music is
repeated hearings."^ One of the major reasons why the music of previous centuries is
well-received is that it is performed frequently. If contemporary compositions were
performed more often, they would become more accessible and familiar to ali. No one
denies the importance and greatness of our musical heritage. Nevertheless, we should
also be prepared to appreciate and treasure the music of our time.
It is easier to prepare young ears to comprehend contemporary musical literature
before they are conditioned exclusively to traditional harmony. Nonetheless, young
music students are often introduced to contemporary hterature very late in their musical
training if at ali. One reason could be that teachers are struggling to understand
contemporary musical elements themselves. These teachers need assistance in selecting
appropriate contemporary musical literature and training in how to use and teach it.

' Aaron Copland, What to Listenfor in Music (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.,
1957), 242.
' Ibid., 251.

Pedagogues such as Samuel Adler compose piano works to remedy this situation.
He aims to prepare piano students who are inexperienced in contemporary literature to
deal with the more common compositional techniques, styles, and systems of the
twentieth century. Adler's piano coWectons-Gradus I, II, III, and The Sense of Touchare intended to expose ".. .the ear as well as the fingers of the student to the demands of
the present and the immediate past."^ Each of these pieces ".. .utlizes a technique of
composition which has become common practice in the last half-century."^

Justification
The purpose of this study is three-fold: to analyze the pedagogical piano pieces of
Samuel Adler in terms of their compositional techniques and pedagogical aspects; to
compare these compositions with the works of important twentieth-century piano
pedagogues, Bartk and Kabalevsky; and to propose Adler's works as worthy additions
to the pedagogical canon.
Bradford Gowen, concert pianist and professor of piano at the University of
Maryland, describes Adler's piano music as of "exceptional quality, well worth the
o

attention of pianists seeking inventive and engaging additions to their repertoire." He


notes that "the clarity of texture, flow of melody, rhythmic vigor, satisfying construction,
and, perhaps most characteristically, the hearty emotional communication of ali of bis
* Samuel Adler, Gradus I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), Preface.
^ Ibid.
* Bradford Gowen, "Samuel Adler's Piano Music," The American Music Teacher 25, no. 3
(January 1976): 6.

best music, give to these piano works a distinction and an audience appeal not commonly
found in today's music."^ One may find the same qualities in Adler's pedagogical works,
which include the sixty pieces of the three-volume set, Gradus, and a later coUection of
eight pieces called The Sense of Touch. According to Gowen, these works are attractive,
brief, clear in intent, instrucfive, and are worthy of a wide circulation.
The pieces in Adler's Gradus and The Sense of Touch contain a diversity of
contemporary styles and systems. At the same time, these works summarize the eclectic
compositional style of Adler. Adler, in fact, has called himself the "happy eclectc."'
Contemporary musical elements include the use of lyrical, disjunct, angular, and static
melodies; motorie rhythms; dissonant harmonic practices; and homophonic or polyphonic
textures. These sixty-eight pieces are short in length but rich in musical content. The
author hopes that this study will establisb these pieces as important additions to the
teaching repertoire so that more people will benefit fi-om these works.
In spite of the fact that some of the current commercially available piano method
books include materials introducing contemporary music concepts, not ali of them are
popular among piano studios. For example, the Hai Lonard series, published in 19961999, introduces a few cluster chords, whole-tone pattems, and some modality. The
Music for Piano series, pubUshed in 1961 and revised in 1979 and 1994-1996, introduces
pentatonic, modal, and twelve-tone music. The reasons for this lack of popularity are

' Ibid., 8.
'" Nelson W. Hill, "The Sacred Choral Works of Samuel Adler: A Study and Interpretive
Analysis of Selected Compositions" (D.M.A. diss., University of Cincinnati 1999), 15.

varied. First, not ali piano teachers like to use method books. Second, it is possible that
these series may not have been advertised to enough piano teachers. Third, teachers may
not feel it necessary to introduce contemporary musical elements to elementary students.
As a result, most piano students have not been exposed to these more up-to-date piano
method books.
The pedagogical piano pieces of early twentieth-century composers Bartk and
Kabalevsky are stili commonly used to help fili the gap between music of the past and the
present, especially the Mikrokosmos of Bartk. During the latter half of the twentieth
century, composers such as David Diamond," Ross Lee Finney,'^ and Barbara Pentland'^
have written individuai contemporary short piano pieces or collections of piano pieces.
Adler's works are among those that aim to introduce piano students to contemporary
music.
Adler's piano collections Gradus and The Sense of Touch exhibit a greater variety
of contemporary styles and systems than the other available contemporary piano
collections. For example, aleatorie music, twelve-tone music, and pieces that explore the
inside of the piano are included. Anita and Louis Gordon suggest that ''Gradus is an
extremely useful source, both for teaching the techniques necessary to play twenteth-

' ' David Diamond's piano collection Then and Now, published in 1966 by Southern Music,
contains eleven pieces and most are atonal.
'^ Ross Lee Finney's 32 Piano Games, published in 1969 by Henmar Press, contains
contemporary piano pieces firom easy to moderately difficult.
'^ Barbara Pentland's three books of Music ofNow, published in 1970 by the Waterloo Music,
introduce some contemporary musical elements.

century music, and as a brief and simple theoretical introduction to modem music."'''
Lynn Freeman Olson, composer and piano pedagogue, comments that The Sense of
Touch deals with both the technical skills and the compositional devices of contemporary
music and emphasizes physical skills and tactile awareness.'^
The first two volumes of Gradus were published in 1971 and the third volume
appeared in 1981. Each volume of the Gradus contains twenty pieces.'^ The third
volume was composed in response to requests by teachers for works that would bridge
the gap between the first and second volumes. The difficulty ranges from the lateelementary level to the late-intermediate and early-advanced levels. Each piece uses at
least one twentieth-century compositional technique. For example. No. 5 of Gradus I and
No. 3 of Gradus II feature parallel movement in fourths and fifths. There are twelve-tone
pieces in Nos. 8a-l 1 oi Gradus //and Nos. 16-17 of Gradus III. Nos. 4, 7, and 14 of
Gradus I and four pieces in Gradus //make use of church modes. No. 8 of Gradus III is
written on octatonic collections. In the notes, Adler briefly discusses the compositional
devices used and occasionally provides suggestions for studying these pieces. The Sense
of Touch (1983) was commissioned by the piano journal Clavier. It contains eight short
pieces also introducing the young pianist to techniques used in twentieth-century music.

'" Anita and Louis Gordon, "Contemporary Music for Pianists," The Piano Quarterly 80 (Winter
1972-73): 28.
'^ Lynn Freeman Olson, ''Commissioned by Clavier," Clavier 23 (March 1984): 19-21.
'* If Nos. 8 and 8a are included, there are 22 pieces in Gradus IL Nevertheless, these two pieces
are not counted because No. 8 is the matrix table of the twelve-tone row and No. 8a is a preliminary
exercise that notates the pitches of the tone row.

For example. No. 1 of The Sense of Touch explores the full range of the keyboard on a
single pitch class. No. 2 features pandiatonicism and contrapuntai technique. No. 8
includes ostinati, clusters, and bi-tonality.
The titles, Gradus and The Sense of Touch, refer to important pedagogical works
of the eighteenth century. Muzio Clementi's Gradus ad Parnassum (1817) is a collection
of one hundred pieces that represents a summary of the composer's "keyboard
creativity." The many exercises included in this collection may have been intended as
preparatory material for the compositions included in the set (for example, preludes and
1 -7

canons).

Franfois Couperin's influential treatise L'Art de toucher le clavecin (The Art

of Playing [Touching] the Harpsichord, 1717) and C P. E. Bach's Versuch iiber die
wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen (Essay on the True Art of Playing Keyboard
Instruments, part 1 [1743] and part 2 [1762]) discuss the styles and performance practices
1 S

of eighteenth-century France and Germany.

Likewise, Adler's Gradus and The Sense

of Touch offer preparatory pieces and instructive information conceming performance


practice, but of the twentieth century. Adler's titles suggest a connection with the
pedagogical purposes of the present and the past.
In the Preface of the first two volumes of Gradus, Adler clearly states the
intention of these pieces: ".. .it is evident that a good number of today's performing
musicians are not well prepared to deal with even a few of the simplest compositional
techniques. The present two volumes attempi to remedy this condition by exposing the
'^ Stewart Gordon, A History of Keyboard Literature (New York: Schirmer Books, 1996): 202.
'^ Ibid., 71 and 85.

ear as well as the fingers of the student to the demands of the present and the immediate
past."

Although the situation may have improved since the publication of the work,

Gradus and The Sense of Touch continue to be useful and important vehicles for
introducing twentieth-century music to piano students.
There are six chapters in this dissertation. Chapter 1 provides introductory
material stating the justification, review of related research, methodology and materials,
and delimitations of this study. Chapter II focuses on the personal history, teaching
philosophy, and philosophy of music of Samuel Adler. Chapter III discusses the
compositional techniques exhibited in Adler's pieces. Chapter IV examines the
pedagogical aspects of Adler's compositions and provides suggestions on how Adler's
works could be integrated into more traditional courses of study. Chapter V compares
pedagogical works by three twentieth-century composers: Samuel Adler's Gradus and
The Sense of Touch, Bla Bartk's Mikrokosmos, and Dmitry Kabalevsky's Pieces for
Children, Op. 27 and Op. 39. Chapter VI concludes the study. Appendices at the back of
the dissertation contain information about each of the sixty-eight pieces studied and a
graded list of ali the pieces.
Although thorough studies have been made of Bartk's Mikrokosmos and
Kabalevsky's Pieces for Children, there is virtually no research on Adler's Gradus and
The Sense of Touch. The author believes that a thorough analysis of these sixty-eight
pieces would reveal the distinctiveness of Samuel Adler's piano music and enable both

Samuel Adler, Gradus I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), Preface.

teachers and students to have a better understanding of bis pedagogical and compositional
techniques and of contemporary music. It is hoped that this study will achieve what
Adler states in the Preface of Gradus: "The aim of these books is not to bring about the
acceptance or rejection of any system, but rather to widen musical acquaintance and to
stimulate the wish to consider more deeply a style, a notational system, or a musical
philosophy."^^

Review of Related Research


In order to uncover existing essential research related to the Gradus and The
Sense of Touch by Samuel Adler, Pieces for Children by Kabalevsky, and Mikrokosmos
by Bartk, many research methodologies were applied. The research process included:
(a) researching different documents, articles, books on twentieth-century/contemporary
music; (b) searching through the Dissertation Abstracts Online and Dissertation
Abstracts published by University Microfilms, Incorporated, a listing of intemationally
published subject-related dissertations and theses;^' and (e) exploring different computerassisted research databases such as Worldcat, RILN, RILM, ERIC, and EducationAbs.
Results from searching in Dissertation Abstracts Online revealed that there were
seven dissertations related to Samuel Adler's solo vocal works, chamber music, organ
music, and operas. There is no specific research on Adler's Gradus and The Sense of
Touch. The only existing publications on the subject of this dissertation are three journal
^Ibid.
^' Dissertation Abstracts Online and Dissertation Abstracts, published by University Microfilms,
Incorporated, also provide abstracts for documents written after 1982.

10

articles, the Preface and Notes in the piano score of Gradus, and the brief notes in the
score of The Sense of Touch. The two journal articles about Gradus only provide an
overview for the first two volumes of the set and do not cover the third volume of the
Gradus, which was written ten years after the first two volumes. The journal article
about The Sense of Touch only gives a brief remark on the collection and provides a short
discussion of the piece No. 8.
Research on other books on twentieth-century/contemporary music shows that a
few other sources contain some information on Gradus I and / / Alice Canaday's
Contemporary Music and the Pianist: A Guidebook of Resources and Materials suggests
Gradus I and / / as contemporary pedagogical works. Ellen R. Thompson's Teaching and
Understanding Contemporary Piano Music identifies briefly several contemporary
musical elements found in selected pieces in Gradus I and //. Although Carole
Thibodeaux's "Performance Analysis: A System for Increasing in Piano Students an
Awareness of Stylistic Interpretation as Applied to Selected Twentieth Century Piano
Music" analyzes two pieces from GradusNo. 16, Gradus I and No. 17, Gradus IIno
other reference is given to any of Adler's other works.
Nevertheless, there are numerous documents available on the piano music,
pedagogical contributions, and compositional techniques of Bartk and Kabalevsky, and

^^ Alice Canaday's Contemporary Music and the Pianist: A Guidebook of Resources and
Materials (Tumbridge, VT: Trillenium Music, 1997); Ellen R. Thompson's Teaching and Understanding
Contemporary Piano Music (San Diego, CA: Kjos West, 1976); Carole, Thibodeaux, "Performance
Analysis: A System for Increasing in Piano Students an Awareness of Stylistic Interpretation as Applied to
Selected Twentieth Century Piano Music" (Ph. D. diss., University of Oklahoma, 1976), 175-179 and 264269.

11

the musical elements, compositional techniques, and pedagogical ideas of the twentieth
century. Many of these are listed in the selective bibliography as functional resources.
This dissertation has provided an opportunity to study Adler's Gradus and The
Sense of Touch. The author of this study believes that the thorough study of these piano
works will serve as a guide for piano teachers and students to appreciate Adler's piano
music and as a useful source for leaming about contemporary music.

Methodology and Materials


A thorough analysis of Adler's sixty-eight pieces was conducted to identify the
twentieth-century music concepts and compositional techniques that were used. Located
in the appendices are discussions of each of the studied pieces, which bring to light three
important aspects: compositional techniques, pedagogical elements, and practice
suggestions. The pedagogical elements concentrate on a discussion of technical skills,
rather than restating the contemporary compositional techniques covered in the previous
category in the table. The practice suggestions provide ideas on how to prepare students
with warm-up exercises related to the technical skills required in the pieces, how to
practice or study specific rhythmic pattems or figurations, and how to introduce new
elements such as modal scales and different intervals. Such discussions will help readers
to better understand Adler's pieces and to prepare them to study the pieces. A graded list
of ali sixty-eight pieces is presented in the Appendix E to serve as a general reference
guide for studying the pieces.

12

Adler's pieces were compared to pieces in Bla Bartk's Mikrokosmos and


Dmitry Kabalevsky's Pieces for Children, Op. 27 and Op. 39. The result reveals the
similarities and differences among the selected works of these three composers. This
study also provides suggestions for incorporating the pedagogical pieces of Adler into
traditional courses of piano music and proposes Adler's pieces as worthy additions to the
standard pedagogical canon.

Delimitations
For the purpose of this study, the term "contemporary music" refers to serious
Westem art music that has been composed from the late nineteenth century to the present.
Since Adler's Gradus I, II, III, and The Sense of Touch were composed during the early
1970s and 1980s, the contemporary compositional techniques covered are limited to
those that emerged from the late nineteenth century up to the early 1980s. The discussion
in Chapter III, "Compositional Techniques," focuses on some of the major characteristics
exhibited in contemporary music which are illustrated in Adler's piano pieces. Chapter
rV, "Pedagogical Aspects," concentrates on exploring the teaching elements of Adler's
pieces. In Chapter V, a comparison is conducted of Adler's Gradus and The Sense of
Touch, Kabalevsky's Op. 27 and Op. 39, and the first four books of Bartk's
Mikrokosmos. The last two books of Mikrokosmos are excluded from the comparison
because they are on a more advanced level than the other selected works discussed in this
chapter. The category called "Pedagogical Elements" in the analysis tables of the

13

appendices specifically discusses technical skills such as muscular relaxation and wrist
flexibility in each of the sixty-eight pieces.

Conclusion
Samuel Adler is a prolific composer, experienced teacher, and conductor. He
plays a significant role in the contemporary musical scene, particularly in the United
States. The author hopes that this study will establisb Adler's pieces as worthy additions
to the current pedagogical canon. At the same time, this study will serve as a leaming
guide to Adler's Gradus and The Sense of Touch and may inspire piano students to take a
more serious interest in contemporary music. Like Adler, the author also hopes that
"...the awakened student and teacher, having begun bere, will continue to explore the
complex and diverse music which has been created in our century."

" Samuel Adler, Gradus (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), Preface.

14

CHAPTER II
BIOGRAPHY'

Early Years
Samuel Hans Adler was bom in Mannheim, Germany, on March 4, 1928. He was
brought up in a musical family. His first musical influence was bis father, Hugo Chaim
Adler. Hugo Adler was a cantor and the most important composer of the American
Reformed Jewish synagogues in the twentieth century. Hugo Adler studied briefly with
his Mannheim neighbor, Ernst Toch, but was largely self-taught.^ Hugo Adler was also a
biblical scholar and he composed numerous large cantatas. Samuel Adler's mother was a
mezzo-soprano and a pianist. She was able to accompany herself at the piano and sang
songs by Brabms, Reger, Pfitzner, and Mahler.
Samuel Adler's musical experiences began at an early age. He was a boy soprano
in the synagogue choir. At the age of five, he began to leam the recorder, using the
solfeggio system taught to ali Mannheim children. With the help of his grandfather, who
was a violinisi, Adler leamed to read music. At the age of six, Adler heard his first opera.
At age seven, Adler began daily violin lessons with Albert Levy, the former

' The biographical information is drawn from two major resources: Nelson W. Hill, "The Sacred
Choral Works of Samuel Adler: A Study and Interpretive Analysis of Selected Compositions" (D.M.A.
thesis. University of Cincinnati, 1999); and Joan Dawson Lucas, "The Operas of Samuel Adler: An
Analytcal Study" (Ph.D. diss., Louisiana State University, 1978).
^ Ernst Toch was later a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and professor at UCLA. See Nelson W.
Hill, "The Sacred Choral Works of Samuel Adler: A Study and Interpretive Analysis of Selected
Compositions" (D.M.A. thesis, University of Cincinnati, 1999), 1.

15

concertmaster of the locai Pfalz Orchestra. At the same time, he began taking piano
lessons from his father but did not really practice. Adler regrets this rebellion against his
father. When Adler was ten, his family moved to America and settled in Worcester,
Massachusetts, where his father became cantor and musical director of Tempie EmanuEl.
Adler began to compose music some time after he arrived in America. His first
attempts were songs. Adler recalled that he persuaded his sister, Marianne, to "interpret"
the songs. Soon after realizing his son's interest in composition, his father sent Adler to
Boston every week to study theory, harmony, counterpoint, and form with Herbert
Fromm. At age 12, Adler started his first composition lessons with Fromm; they
established a lifelong friendship. Adler stated that Fromm had a great impact on his early
compositions, especially on his religious music.^ During the same period, Adler also
took violin lessons with Maurice Diamond, a former member of the New York
Philharmonic who was living in Worcester. Adler recalled that he would play violin
sonatas and other pieces for two hours daily accompanied by his father on the piano. By

^ Nelson W. Hill, "The Sacred Choral Works of Samuel Adler: A Study and Interpretive Analysis
of Selected Compositions" (D.M.A. thesis, University of Cincinnati, 1999), 2.
" Joan Dawson Lucas, "The Operas of Samuel Adler: An Analytical Study" (Ph.D. diss.,
Louisiana State University, 1978), 12.
^ Hill, 2.
Lucas, 13.

16

the time Adler went to college, they had read through ali the violin literature he could
afford to borrow from libraries or to buy with the money he eamed as a soda jerk.^
Adler had excellent opportunities to enrich his musical training during his high
school years in Worcester. He took part in school ensembles as a French hom player in
the band, violinist in the orchestra, and singer in the choms. Adler also served as the
assistant conductor for the high school orchestra. During his high school years and his
first two years at Boston University, Adler and seven friends met every Saturday evening
at Adler's home to play chamber music. The group consisted of four violinists, one
violisi, two cellists, and a pianist. Each group member made arrangemenls of orchestrai
pieces for the group. Under the slrong encouragement of his high school teacher, Albert
W. Wassell, Adler also composed, arranged, and orchestrated works for the different
ensemble groups at school. In addition to his high school courses, Adler also took three
years of theory and two years of music history. By the time Adler was eighteen, he was
quite an accomplished musician.

College Life
After high school, Adler received a full scholarship to major in composition at
Boston University. He studied musicology with Kart Geiringer and Paul Pisk and violin
with Wolf Wolfinsohn. Hugo Norden was his composition teacher. Adler thought at that

' Ibid.

17

time that Norden was "not the greatest influence."^ Norden was a contrapuntalist who
wanted his students to "leam the craf of composition, i.e., counterpoint in the strici and
old sense." Adler wishes that he had taken full advantage of Norden as his teacher.
During this period, with the encouragement and help of Robert King, founder of the
publication Music for Brass and theory professor at Boston University, Adler wrote
pieces for brass instiiments and published several of them. Adler now considers these
early works unsatisfactory and regrets that they are stili being performed.'
Besides composition, Adler showed interest in organizing and conducting during
his Boston years. Because Adler and some other music students were not satisfied with
how the orchestra, choms, and chamber ensemble at school were led, he organized the
Inter-Collegiate Symphony Orchestra. Adler conducted the orchestra, which performed
in the Boston area every six weeks. A choms and a chamber group were also formed.
Although Adler states that these were "very exciting" opportunities, the school
disapproved of these outside performing groups." Consequently, Adler was suspended
from school on three occasions. Eventually, the issue was settled and Adler graduated
from Boston University with his Bachelor of Music degree in 1948.
In the fall of 1948, Adler entered Harvard University and he received his Master
of Arts degree in 1950. During his Harvard years, he took composition lessons with
'Ibid., 15.
'Ibid.
"Hill, 4.
" Lucas, 16.

18

Walter Piston, Randall Thompson, and Paul Hindemith and studied musicology with
Archibald T. Davison and Arthur Tillman Marritt. Of the three composition teachers,
Adler was influenced most by Paul Hindemith. As a visiting professor from Yale
University, Hindemith presented his Norton lectures in residence at Harvard for one year.
Adler described Hindemith as "a tremendous teachervery exacting. He made his
students write in [Hindemith's] own style."'^ Adler had two lessons a week from
Hindemith for a year. He states that it was hard at the beginning to understand the
master, but after he had dose contact with Hindemith, it "took many years to shake the
actual Hindemith sound."'^ Adler has been thankful for Hindemith's teaching technique
and style.
Adler characterizes his relationship with Walter Piston, the other composition
teacher at Harvard, as a "cool one, but a very good one. Piston was not the kind of man
you could know very well."''' The friendship between the two became much closer after
Adler graduated. Adler claims that Piston was a very tmstworthy and good friend.
Although Adler studied with Randall Thompson for one year, he was not greatly
influenced by Thompson. Adler thought that "Thompson did not particularly like my
music. There was never very much of a relationship, although I respected the man and
stili do."'^

'^ Ibid., 18.


'^Ibid.
'^Ibid.
''ibid., 19.

19

In the summers of 1949 and 1950, Alder participated in the Tanglewood Music
Festival. He studied conducting with Serge Koussevitzky and composition with Aaron
Copland. Adler claimed that Copland "was the greatest teacher and had the greatest
influence on me."'^ Adler also stated that Copland helped him get out of the heavy
17

influence of Hindemith.

Adler has high regards for Copland.

I leamed more from Copland in those two summers than from other teachers with whom l spent
more time. Copland had a marvelous way of putting his finger on just what the problem was in
every passage. If I can teach a little bit like that, I feel I would be a success as a teacher. Copland
was a great teacher and a beautiful person.

Careers
After graduating from Harvard in 1950, Adler joined the US Army and was sent
to Germany. He organized the Seventh Army Symphony Orchestra and conducted more
than 75 concerts in Germany and Austria. The Department of Psychological Warfare of
the United States recognized that these concerts were effective in developing cultural
relationships among the United States, Germany, and Austria. Adler was awarded the
Army Medal of Honor for his musical services. He was subsequently selected to conduci
concerts and operas and to lecture extensively throughout Europe and the United States.
In 1953, Adler took a position as the Music Director at Tempie Emanu-El in
Dallas, Texas. He remained in this position until 1966. From 1954 to 1958 he worked as

" Hill, 6.
"ibid., 10.
'^ Lucas, 19.

20

the music director of the Dallas Lyric Theater. In 1957, he was hired as professor of
composition at North Texas State University. He remained there until 1966. In 1966,
Adler became professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music and was named
chairman of the Composition Department in 1974. In 1984, he was made a Mentor of the
University of Rochester. In 1994, Adler retired from the Eastman School of Music and
became Professor Emeritus there. Since then he has taught at Ithaca College, the
University of Cincinnati, Bowling Green State University, the University of Missouri
(Kansas City), and the University of Utah. He has been a guest composer, clinician, and
conductor at over 300 universities and colleges worldwide. Adler has also taught at
major music festivals such as Tanglewood, Aspen, Brevard, and Bowdoin, as well as
others in Austria, France, Germany, Israel, Korea, Poland, Spain, and South America. He
is currently on the faculty of The Juilliard School of Music in New York City.'^

Honors, Commissions, and Others


Adler has received numerous commissions and prestigious awards and honors
including grants from the Rockefeller (1965) and Ford (1966-71) foundations, a
Koussevitzky Foundation commission (1983), the 1983 ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award
for his book, The Study of Orchestration, a Guggenheim Fellowship (1984-5), the MTNA
Award for Composer of the Year (1988-1989), the designated Phi Beta Kappa Scholar
Award (1988-1989), the Eastman School's Eisenhard Award for Distinguished Teaching

" Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, Inc., Composers Bureau: Samuel Adler, December 2002,
<http://www.sai-national.org/phil/composers/sadler.html> (20 February 2002).

21

(1989), an award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1990),
the Charies Ives Award, the Lillian Fairchild Award, the Composer of the Year Award by
the American Guild of Organists (1991), a Special Citation by the American Foundation
of Music Clubs (2001), a number of teaching awards, and several honorary doctorates (a
Doctor of Music degree from Southem Methodist University, a Doctor of Fine Arts
degree from Wake Foresi University, a Doctor of Music degree from St. Mary's College,
fridiana, and a Doctor of Music degree from Saint Louis Conservatory).^"
Adler has also been honored intemationally. During his second trip to Chile, in
1993, he was elected to the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts "for his outstanding
contibution to the world of music as a composer."^' In 1999, he was elected to the
Akademie der Kuenste in Germany for distinguished service to music.^^
Many orchestras, chamber ensembles, colleges, music schools, magazines, and
other organizations, including intemational groups, have commissioned Adler to
compose works for them. Some recent commissions include: the New York Chamber
Symphony Orchestra {Show an Affirming Flame for Orchestra), the American String
Quartet {Piano Quintet, 2000),^" the Beaufort Ensemble {Scherzo Schmerzo, 2000),^^ the

^"Ibid.
^' Ibid.
^^Ibid.
^^ This work was commissioned by the New York Chamber Symphony Orchestra in memory of
the victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001. It was premiered by the New York Chamber Symphony
and conducted by Gerard Schwarz at the Alice Tully Hall of New York City on November 3, 2001.

22

Dallas Symphony Orchestra {Lux Perpetua for Organ and Orchestra, 1998),^^ the
Friends of Today's Music for the Music Teachers Association of Califomia {Concerto
No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra, 1997),^^ and the keyboard magazine Clavier {The Sense
of Touch, 1981).^^
In addition to composing, Adler has conducted many major symphony orchestras
in numerous concerts in the United States and other countries. In 1970, he conducted the
Vierma Symphony Orchestra in a recording for the Decca Recording Company, with
Eugene List as the soloist. They performed a work by Louis Moreau Gottschalk that was
orchesfrated and arranged by Adler. In 1972, Adler conducted the Berlin Symphony with
List as the soloist on a performance for Tumabout Records. They performed the
Gottschalk work and Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F and Rhapsody in Blue.

Composer and Educator


Adler is a prolific composer, teacher, lecturer, and conductor. His catalog
contains 400 published works in ali media: 5 operas, 6 symphonies, 8 concerti, 8 string
quartets, 4 oratorios, and numerous other musical compositions such as orchesfral music,
^* It was written for the American String Quartet and was premiered at the Aspen Music Festival
in the summer of 2002.
^' It was commissioned by the Beaufort Ensemble and was premiered in Berlin, Germany in
August of 2001.
^* This work was commissioned and first performed by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra with
Wayne Poster as the organist and Andrew Litton as the conductor on February 12, 1999.
" This second piano concerto was commissioned by Friends of Today's Music for the Music
Teachers Association of Califomia for their lOOth anniversary in 1997.
^* The Sense of Touch was commissioned by Clavier in 1981.

23

chamber music, vocal music, and piano music. The publishers of his compositions
include: Theodore Presser Company, Oxford University Press, G. Schirmer, Cari
Fischer, E.C. Schirmer, Peters Edition, Ludwig Music, Southem Music Publishers, and
Transcontinental Music Publishers. These works have been performed in the United
States and abroad. Adler's music has been recorded on Albany, CRI, Crystal, Gasparo,
RCA, and Vanguard.
Adler is not only a great composer, but he also takes educating future musicians
as his mission. He has published three books and numerous articles in major joumals,
magazines, and reference books, both in this country and abroad.^^

Although Adler has

a busy schedule, he remains active in teaching and composing. To him, teaching


enhances his creative life. "Teaching isn't draining; it tums me on. It doesn't inhibit
creativity; it inspires me."

Teaching Philosophy
Because Adler takes educating future musicians seriously, he has high standards
for college music education. He feels that universities play a significant role in preparing
future composers and musicians. He makes an analogy comparing the universities of
today with the churches and the aristocracy of the past. Adler believes that "the
university is the 'officiai guardian' of the composer, as the church and the aristocracy

^' Adler's three books: Choral Conducting, Sight-Singing, and The Study of Orchestration.
^ Hill, 8-9.

24

were in previous ages."^' Since universities and colleges are important places for training
the future music teachers, future composers, and professional musicians, Adler has
concems about the current college music curricula. He comments that too many music
schools in the United States have curricula in the first two years which "are often like
kindergarten rather than college courses."^^
Adler emphasizes that universities should raise the requirements of music theory
and music history for ali music students to provide better preparation for music
professionals. He thinks that to achieve this goal, the entrance requirements should also
be raised. Adler points out that the basic facts~for example, biographies and outputs of
composers, and facts about the timesshould be leamed by college music students
themselves, not taught by professors in classes. He also thinks that every new music
student should have acquired a basic knowledge of harmony (at least through the
dominant seventh chord and inversions), a certain level of proficiency in keyboard
harmony, and sight-singing skills when they start the program.^^ Before this goal can be
reached, Adler thinks that the early education of future musicians in the basics of music
theory and history should be in greater deplb.^"*

^' Lucas, 28.


^^ Samuel Adler, "Problems of Teaching Composition in Our Colleges Today," American Music
Teacher 13:2 (1963), 19.
" Ibid.
^'Ibid.

25

Adler also argues that most current music curricula are irrelevant to the needs of
students. He suggests that a more creative and student-oriented approach to education
which allows more participation in analysis, performance, evaluating, and teaching
should replace the more common "spoon-feeding" type of education.^^ Adler beHeves
that students in composition should be competent in the techniques of the past before they
decide whether or not to use them. "Students should leam that ali forms of music must
be considered valid until [students] are able to reject them by knowledgeable
consideration rather than because of an abysmal ignorance of the 'main stream' of
music."^^ Adler suggests that composition students should prepare themselves by
establishing a foundation in the classics, by being open-minded to new repertoire
appearing in recent decades, and by having a well-rounded knowledge of traditional
harmonies and melodie skills.
Adler has considered the advancement of contemporary music seriously. He
especially puts emphasis on the pedagogical level. For example, Adler's solo piano
collections Gradus I, II, III, and The Sense of Touch aim to expose ".. .the ear as well as
the fingers of the student to the demands of the present and the immediate past."

Each

of these pieces ".. .utilizes a technique of composition which has become common

" Samuel Adler, "The CMP Institutes and Curriculum Changes," Music Educators Journal 55
(September 1968): 36-84.
^* Adler, "Problems of Teaching Compositions," 19.
"Ibid.
'* Samuel Adler, Gradus I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), Preface.

26

practice in the last half-century."'''' One other aim of these Adler's pieces is "...to widen
musical acquaintance and to stimulate the wish to consider more deeply a style, a
notational system, or a musical philosophy."''" Adler also has been active in exposing
more people to contemporary music by participating in workshops and projects and by
writing and pubHshing articles and books. He enjoys spending time teaching, lecturing,
and conducting his music in order to introduce new music to different audiences.

Philosophy of Music
Although there is a variety of styles in Adler's compositions, his main goal is not
to emphasize compositional technique. Communication is the primary intent of Adler's
music. "If I am successful at ali in my music, I would like it to be a sucessfiil
fransmission of feelings from me to a performer to an audience."'" Adler argues that the
aesthetic value and the communicative quality of music should be the main focus. "It is
the convincing quality of the music resulting from any technique that validates the use
thereof. Too much emphasis is placed upon the technical aspect of contemporary music
and not enough on its communicative and aesthetic impact."" To Adler, the musical
content and the aesthetic value are more important than the other aspects of music. Even

39

Ibid.

^''Ibid.
"' James McCray, "An Interview with Samuel Adler," ChoralJournal 18, no. 9 (1978): 16.
"^ Charles B. Fowler, "American Composer Sketches: Samuel Adler," Music Educators Journal
53 (March 1967): 41.

27

for a performer, the technical aspect of a composition should be secondary to the


importance of the musical enjoyment of the work. Adler suggests that "technical
considerations should always be secondary to the musical content and the joy these
exercises are designed to give to performer and listener."''^

Conclusion
This chapter provides us with information on Adler's background, philosophies,
and pedagogical ideas. His early education in music and the musical experiences of his
youth laid a solid foundation for Adler's musical development. His parents and teachers
also had a great impact on Adler's musical life. Adler's musical experiences reveal that
early and Constant exposure to music was of paramount importance in his musical
development. HopefuUy this information will help us to understand Adler's Gradus and
The Sense of Touch and will awaken in us a curiosity about the complex and diverse
music of our time.

"^ Samuel Adler, Gradus I, Preface.

28

CHAPTER ni
COMPOSITIONAL TECHNIQUES
Certainly not ali the myriad styles and systems can be included and in order to keep the
music reasonably uniform, many inherent complexities have been simplified. But it is my hope
that the awakened student and teacher, having begun bere, will continue to explore the complex
and diverse music which has been created in our century.
S. A. '

Adler is a prolific composer. He uses a wide variety of compositional techniques


and modifies them according to his personal style and taste. "To heck with certain
techniques, I used them all."'^ Adler considers compositional techniques as a way to
achieve a specific goal. That is, "techniques should be used to express the emotional and
personal...too much is made out of techniqueit's just a tool. Let's hsten to the music;
let's bear it right from your own conviction."^ In his Gradus and The Sense of Touch,
Adler incorporates his own style with different contemporary compositional techniques.
The sixty-eight pieces of the Gradus and The Sense of Touch represent most of
the contemporary compositional techniques that emerged during the first three quarters of
the twentieth century. Not only are these works useful as an introduction to
contemporary music, but they also summarize Adler's eclectic compositional style.
Adler's melodies may be lyrical, angular and disjunct, or static. The texture of his pieces
may be homophonic or contrapuntai or may contain passages that shift rapidly between
' Samuel Adler, Gradus I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), Preface.
^ Nelson W. Hill, "The Sacred Choral Works of Samuel Adler: A Study and Interpretive Analysis
of Selected Compositions" (D.M.A. thesis. University of Cincinnati, 1999), 2.
^Ibid.

29

open and closed voicing. His harmonic language is diverse: modal, pentatonic,
pandiatonic, whole tone, and octatonic. He also uses twelve-tone technique. Overall,
there is a tendency toward deviation from functional harmony and toward less restriction
in dissonance. Aleatorie techniques are also found in his works. Motorie rhythm and
rhythmic vitahty are cmcial in Adler's compositions. Adler's eclectic approach to
composition makes variety an inherent feature of his style. This eclecticism makes Adler
an ideal composer for a contemporary pedagogical survey.
The categories examined in this chapter are largely based on the discussions
featured in Stefan Kostka's Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music and
Ellen Thompson's Teaching and Understanding Contemporary Piano Music. The
discussion concenfrates on the foUowing categories: melody, harmony, tonality, rhythm,
form, texture, new notational procedures, and new timbres. The contemporary
compositional techniques highlighted in each category include: aleatorie procedures,
bitonality, canon, changing meters, irregular rhythm, mirror writing, modes,
octatonicism, pandiatonicism, parallelism, clusters, twelve-tone techniques, expanded
notational systems, and the use of innovative piano sonorities. A discussion of ali the
details and devices in contemporary music is beyond the scope of this study. The
following discussion will therefore focus on some of the major characteristics exhibited
in contemporary music that are illustrated in Adler's piano pieces. The appendices

' Stefan Kostka, Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music (Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1989).
' Ellen R. Thompson, Teaching and Understanding Contemporary Piano Music (San Diego, CA:
KjosWest, 1976).

30

provide a more detailed discussion on compositional techniques used in each of the sixtyeight pieces.

Melody
Although contemporary composers make use of new approaches in composing
melodies, as well as in other categories, many of these occur within the context of
traditional practices. Nevertheless, contemporary melodies exemplify themselves by
their characteristic sounds and distinguish themselves from their predecessors.
In general, melodie organization in contemporary music does not seem as
apparent at the surface level as that of previous eras. The qualities of predictability,
symmefry, and regularity are also found to a lesser degree than in conventional
melodies. In addition, the rhythmic stracture of many contemporary melodies departs
distinctively from that of the earlier periods. Unconventional rhythm and more rhythmic
variety commonly occur in many twentieth-century melodies. Other features of
contemporary melodies include more expression marks, more chromaticism, and fewer
harmonic implications than traditional melodies.
In contrast to classic-romantic melodies, the style of contemporary melodies is not
vocal in character. They can encompass a wider range, contain more leaps, and possess
more angular or disjunct contours. Limited range melodies are also commonly found.
Ellen Thompson describes the pitch characteristics of contemporary melody as including

'' Kostka, 78-

31

".. .extended range, limited range (tuming around within a very small compass of notes),
exploitation of extremely high and low registers, angular and disjointed lines caused by
numerous wide and dissonant leaps (sevenths, ninths, tritones), and successive skips in
the same direction often outlining non-tertial chords (consecutive leaps of fourths and
fifths)."^
Nevertheless, some contemporary composers recali the "simplicity and gently
undulating" qualities of medieval plainchants, reproducing these traits in plainsong-like
melodies. In addition, contemporary melodies sometimes use scales or systems which
are outside the major-minor system such as modal scales, pentatonic scales, whole-tone
scales, octatonic scales, chromatic scales, and twelve-tone rows.

Extended Range
The range of contemporary melodies may encompass two or more octaves and
extend from the bass clef to the treble clef. For example, in No. 3 of Gradus II, the
melody rises from the bass clef to the treble to cover a range of more than three octaves.
In No. 11 of the same volume, the melody almost extends to a three-octave range. Also,
in No. 6 of The Sense of Touch, the arpeggiated melody covers a range of more than two
octaves.

' Thompson, 43.


* Ibid., 42.

32

Limited Range
Most of the pieces of Gradus I use a five-finger or shifting five-finger position.
The melodie activity in each band is limited in most cases to a fifth. In No. 10, twelve
chromatic notes are introduced within a span of a seventh with both hands in the treble
clef.

Extreme and Full Registers of the Keyboard


Although No. 1 of The Sense of Touch makes use of only one pitch class, C, the
two hands shift among the low, middle, and high registers of the keyboard. The last
piece in Gradus I, No. 20, applies shifting-five-finger positions in different registers of
the keyboard. In No. 8B of Gradus II, the notes are distributed ali over the keyboard.
The two hands sometimes go in the same direction to the same register; at other times,
they move in contrary motion to reach the extremes of the keyboard. In No. 11 of
Gradus III, there are measures in which the two hands reach the extremes of the keyboard
and are six octaves apart.

Angular and Disjointed Lines


In No. 11 of Gradus II, the right band begins with an angular and disjointed
melody including intervals of a titone, minor second, and augmented fifth. fri No. 8 of
Gradus III, while the left-hand ostinato contains a skip of tritone, the right-hand melody
includes a downward minor seventh.

33

Successive Skips
In conventional melodie writing, skips are often preceded by stepwise motion and
a change of direction usually foUows a large skip. In contemporary melodies, however,
successive skips are common. For example, in No. 6 of Gradus III, notes move in
consecutive fifths in the same direction to suggest quintal chords. The first piece of The
Sense of Touch is derived from the pitch class C. Wide skips of two octaves and even
four octaves (in m. 17) altemate between hands.

Modal Scales
Several pieces in Gradus I use church modes. No. 4 (mm. 5-8) and No. 14 in
Gradus / employ the Phrygian mode;^ No. 4 (mm. 1-4 and mm. 9-12) features the
AeoUan mode. The Locrian mode is introduced in No. 7. The second piece of Gradus II
infroduces four church modes: the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and Aeohan.

Pentatonic Scale
No. 10 of Gradus I uses the AeoUan mode on D and pentatonic scale on C-sharp
simultaneously. The first four measures speli out the first five notes of the C-sharp
pentatonic scale in the left band. In No. 20 of Gradus III, mm. 6-12, the left-hand line
emphasizes the E-flat minor pentatonic scale.

' E-Phrygian and F-Phrygian, respectively.

34

Whole-Tone Scale
In Gradus I, No. 3 is based on a whole-tone scale on D. The dissonant major
ninths throughout the piece and the abmpt ending, with the final note on the eighth-note
F-sharp, reveal the twentieth-century flavor of this piece.

Octatonic Scale
No. 8 of Gradus III is based on the octatonic collection C#-Eb(D#)-E-F#-G-ABb-C that is used in the ostinato pattems, the melodie line, and the coda. The collection
shifts in m. 14 to a new ostinato based on D-Eb-F-F#-G#-A-B-C. In No. 20 of Gradus
III, mm. 1-5 of the A section contain a left-hand octatonic collection E-F-G-G#-A#-BC#-D against a five-note ostinato figure.

Twelve-Tone and Serial Writing


Adler demonstrates how the twelve-tone serial technique can be used to create
different styles in Nos. 8-11 of Gradus II, and Nos. 16-17 of Gradus IH. The twelve-tone
row is used melodically and harmonically in No. 16 of Gradus III. The other twelve-tone
pieces range in style from jagged and pointillistic to contrapuntai, dissonant, or
consonant.

Harmony
From the seventeenth century to the decline of the tonai system in the late
nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the system of triadic major-minor tonality had

35

been the primary organizing force in Westem music, hi the early tonai era, the primary
triads of the tonic, subdominant, and dominant were emphasized in the harmonic and
melodie aspects, and the secondary triads were favored for color and variety. Chromatic
chords functioned primarily as decoration and embellishment.'" During the nineteenth
century, chromatic harmony became increasingly significant, leading to a predominance
of nondiatonic tones over diatonic tones. The common use of ali twelve tones of the
chromatic scale disguised the diatonic foundation of the music and made tonality more
and more ambiguous to Hsteners."
By the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, composers expanded the use
of tertian sonorities to an even greater extent. Chords with ninths, elevenths, and
thirteenths became popular and were even constmcted on scale degrees other than the
dominant. Instead of providing any harmonic function, the primary function of these
chords was to provide color. Composers in this period showed a declining interest in
fraditional tonai harmony. "Evaded cadences and irregular resolution of dissonant chords
produced long, unbroken passages which meandered from key to key or dissolved ali
sense of key. Functional harmony gave way to non-functional, where harmonic color and
emotive whim govemed the choice of chords."'^ Ellen Thompson describes the changes
occurring in the harmonic language of this period by noting that "successions of

Thompson, 79.
" Koskta, 1-15.
"Ibid., 194.

36

unrelated chords, parallelism, consonant use of previously considered dissonances, and


chords with both major and minor thirds became normative."'^
In the twentieth century, composers are free to determine their own mles and they
share no common harmonic language. Traditional procedures or practices such as
principles of voice-leading and harmonic progression are stili available, but some
important conventions of tonai harmony have become options rather than mles.
Consequently, ali kinds of parallel motion and the free treatment of dissonance (without
resolution) are acceptable. On the other band, while much contemporary music is
basically tertian, non-tertian stmctures such as chords built from seconds, fourths, fifths,
and combinations of different intervals are also used. At the same time, stacked-third
chords beyond the seventh, chords with added notes (usually seconds or sixths, less
commonly fourths), and chords with split chord members (commonly split thirds but also
including split roots, fifths, and sevenths) provide new tertian sonorities.''' In addition,
harmonic procedures such as polychords/bichords and serial chords also emerge in
contemporary music.'^
According to Kostka, contemporary composers show less interest in the vertical
dimension in music. Although traditional harmonic progression continues to exist in
some contemporary music such as different kinds of popular music and a small

'^ Thompson, 80.


'"Kostka, 47-115.
'^ Thompson, 79-96.

37

percentage of "classical" music, ".. .a good deal of twentieth-century music is not


harmonic in conception."'^ While composers have become more interested in linear
counterpoint, the simultaneous sounding of chords seems to be a result of the "relatively
uncontroUed relationships between independent lines."''

Tertian Chords
Adler often uses traditional major and minor triads, but they are not organized in
standard harmonic progressions. No. 9 of Gra</M5 / outlines the C-major triad in the right
band. It establishes C as the tonai center primarily by means of reiteration and formai
placement. The last two measures of both pieces suggest FV-V-I cadences but seem
coincidental rather than harmonically planned.
In the notes to Gradus I, Adler further states ".. .triads foUow one another without
apparent directional reason and are sounded simultaneously merely because the composer
1 R

likes the sound."

No. 19 of Gradus I features successions of parallel major and minor

triads in different keys to illustrate parallelism, mirror harmony, and bi-tonality. No. 20
includes bi-chords and ostinatos in triadic pattems. fri No. 19 of Gradus III, the right
band line contains parallel successions of root-position major and minor triads. In No. 6
of The Sense of Touch, both triads and sevenths are used. These chords are not used in

'* Kostka, 107.


"ibid., 115.
'^ Adler, Gradus I, Notes.

38

the traditional harmonic sense. Instead, many of them are selected purely for their
coloristic effects.

Non-Tertian Chords
In No. 16 of Gradus I, combinations of major and minor seconds are used to form
clusters. No. 8 of The Sense of Touch features tone clusters altemating between hands
and hands together. Also, the clusters are used as accompaniment against a melody that
altemates between the hands. Clusters are also used in No. 3 and No. 6 of Gradus II and
No. 4 of Gradus III. The arpeggios of No. 6 of Gradus III suggest quintal chords.
The tone row of No. 17 in Gradus III also outlines a quintal sonority (A-E-B) at
the beginning of its order. In No. 5 of The Sense of Touch, the opening and the ending
contain quintal sonorities made of augmented as well as perfect fifths. In mm. 16-17, two
layers of quintal chords are presented in the two hands.

Melodie Doubling/Parallelism
The ancient practice of melodie doubling in fourths or fifths can be traced back to
tenth-century organum. Beginning in the sixteenth century, however, it became a
violaton of contrapuntai convention to use parallel movement in fifths and octaves.
According to Kostka, parallel fifths and octaves, more than any other consonant intervals,
have an implication of a breakdown of counterpoint and provide relatively independent

39

musical lines.'^ This is one reason why the use of these parallel intervals was avoided.
In addition, parallel fourths were regarded as inherently unstable intervals which required
resolution to thirds. Contemporary composers often ignore such mles, freely using
parallel melodie doubling in seconds, fifths, and octaves in their compositions.^'^
In No. 5 of Gradus I, Adler uses parallel movement entirely in fourths and fifths.
The pitches are derived from two five-note scales: C major in the right band and F
(featuring B-natural and B-flat) in the left band. Similar procedures are found in Gradus
IL In No. 3, mm. 16-19, the right-hand pattern is in parallel fourths and No. 7 features
parallelism in sevenths and fifths. No. 5 is a free canon featuring parallel motion in fifths
in the middle section.

Polychords
Polychords are formed when two or more chords are combined, but spatially
separated, into a more complex sonority. According to Kostka, to perceive such a
sonority, ".. .the individuai sonorities that make up the polychord must be separated by
some means such as register or timbre."^' It is possible that more than one harmonic
analysis can be applied to a sonority, particulariy with mixed-interval chords. Different
arrangements of the same chord notes can resemble different chords-secundal, tertian, or

" Kostka, 90.


^"Thompson, 92.
^' Kostka, 68.

40

quartal. In most cases, the best analytical approach can be achieved by paying dose
attention to the context and the voicing of the music.'^^
In No. 6 of The Sense of Touch, polychords are featured in the middle section. In
Gradus I, No. 15, the two hands feature sustained tones successively outlining two
different chords from two different keys sounding simultaneously.^^ Polychordal texture
appears also in No. 13 of Gradus III. This elude explores sound color by featuring
parallel first-inversion triads from different keys sounding simultaneously.

Serial Chords
Ellen Thompson defines serial chords as chords ".. .derived from the sectioning of
a twelve-tone row into various size groups of tones."^'' Besides the prime row, other
permutations of the row such as the inversion, retrograde, and retrograde inversion may
be sectioned for building chords. In No. 16 of Gradus III, examples of serial chords are
foimd.

Neotonalitv and Atonahty


Regarding tonality, Kostka claims that "serious" Westem music mostly has been
either neotonal or atonai after the first decades of the twentieth cenhary." fristead of

^^ Ibid., 70.
^^ Adler, Notes.
^"Thompson, 100.
^^ Kostka, 115.

41

employing the dominant-seventh-tonic progression, neotonal music establishes tonality


through devices such as pedal point and ostinato, accent (metric, agogic, or dynamic),
and formai placement. Polytonality, atonality, and pandiatonicism are also important
developments in twentieth-century harmonic praetice.^^

Neotonalitv
Kostka categorizes neotonality into two types: tertian neo-tonality and non-tertian
neotonality. While tertian neotonality primarily uses tertian chords, nontertian
neotonality often avoids the use of them, except maybe during cadences. A combination
of these two types is also possible.'^'
Tertian Neotonality. In No. 9 of Gradus I, the right-hand outlines the C-major
triad. In the last two measures, the left-hand F to G to the unison C suggests IV-V-I
cadence, clearly establishing C as the tonai center.
In No. 19 of Gradus III, the right band line contains parallel successions of rootposition major and minor triads. In the middle section, the left band ostinato establishes
E as the tonai center while the right band continues with parallel major and minor triads.
Nontertian Neotonalitv. Pedal point is a more common twentieth-century
technique used to establisb a tonai center. In No. 1 of Gradus I, although there is no
conventional harmonic progression to establisb C as the tonai center, the pedal tone and

^^ Ibid., 108-115.
"ibid., 109-110.

42

the formai placement of C (C appears as the beginning and ending note of the melody)
clearly identify it as the tonic. No. 7 of the same book features a tonic pedal on the notes
B and F-sharp as well as dominant pedal on the notes F-sharp and C-sharp. hi No. 1 of
Gradus II, the two-note pedal point~the octave C contracting to a single note G~
establishes C as the tonai center. Also, the octave C-to-G pedal point emphasizes the
dominant and tonic degrees of C major.

Polytonality
Kostka defines polytonality as ".. .the simultaneous use of two or more aurally
distinguishable tonai centers...."

When only two tonai centers occur, bitonality is the

generally accepted term used. In No. 10 of Gradus I, Adler combines two


"incompatible" scales together.

While the right band uses the D-Aeolian scale, the left

band uses the C-sharp pentatonic scale. In No. 12 of the same book, the C-major right
band line is set in parallel motion against the A-flat-minor left-hand line. No. 1 of
Gradus III also uses bi-tonality. The opening ten measures feature a G-sharp minor
right-hand melody against a G pedal point. In No. 19 of the same book, the A section
contains a pentatonic scale in the left band against broken-chord parallel major triads in
different keys in the right band.

^* Ibid., 110.
^' Adler, Notes.

43

Pandiatonicism
The term pandiatonicism^'^ refers to a musical style in the eariy twentieth century
that originated as a reaction against chromaticism. hi this style, the tones of a particular
diatonic scale are used. However, traditional harmonic progressions and dissonance
treatments are avoided. It is generally neotonal and may be tertian or nontertian.^' In
No. 2 of Gradus I, notes from the C-major scale are used in a mirror format. The
reiteration of C, the application of the full C-major scale (though divided between the two
hands), and formai placement establisb C as the tonai center.
Gradus II, No. 4 represents a pandiatonic piece. As Adler explains in the notes,
"It is quite diatonic even though most of the chromatic notes are utilized. Notice that it
does not establisb a traditional 'key' but polarizes toward a note which we cali the 'tonai
center.'"

The nght band brings in the opening theme on the note A which serves as the

dominant to the tonic D. The left band imitates the theme for a measure down a fifth and
ends on the dominant of D-flat. Then it continues with the tonic D-flat in the next phrase.
The last four measures feature A as the tonic final. While the left band includes a long
pedal tone on A, the right band also settles on A. The last six measures demonstrate well
the pandiatonic style.

^^ Nicolas Slonimsky used this term in his book Music Since 1900 (New York: Norton, 1937;
6* ed., New York: Scribner, 2001).
^'Kostka, 114.
^^ Samuel Alder, Gradus II (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), Notes.

44

No. 2 of The Sense of Touch is a neotonal piece that applies pandiatonic


technique. The two contrapuntai lines use the notes from the G major scale. Each phrase
emphasizes the subdominant C, the dominant D, and/or the tonic G at the beginning,
within the piece, and at the ending. Nevertheless, they do not follow the mles of
fraditional harmonic progression and dissonance treatment. The last four measures
reiterate the dominant D and the tonic G. The ending concludes with a second inversion
G-major-seventh chord.

Atonality
Although the term "atonality" has been controversial, it commonly refers to the
avoidance of a tonai center. There are two types of atonai music: non-serial
atonality/free atonality and serial atonality. Deliberate avoidance of tonality is the vital
characteristic of non-serial tonai music. It stays away from using the melodie and
harmonic pattems that are applied in the establishment of tonality in tonai music. In
addition, use of ali notes of the chromatic scale, unresolved dissonances, a predominance
of mixed-interval chords, ambiguous organization, and ambiguous metric organization
are some of the other characteristics found in non-serial atonai music.
Serial atonality confrasts with the non-serial in the area of pitch organization.
Amold Schoenberg developed twelve-tone serial technique in the 1920s. While the
classical serialism of Schoenberg is based upon a tone row of twelve notes, some

"Kostka, 183-205.

45

composers use varying numbers of tones. Samuel Adler introduces Schoenberg's


classical twelve-tone system in his Gradus pieces and he explains the system as follows:
Basically it was an attempi to bring order into non-tonal music. Twelve-tone music is a system of
composition in which the twelve chiomatic tones are considered equally important and are related
one to another rather than to any one centrai note. Serial technique is the organization or
serialization of the twelve chromatic notes (or more recently, any number of notes) in a specific
order (row) and working with them in such an ordered fashion.''''

There are four basic forms of a serial tone row. The prime row is the originai order of
notes while the inversion is the mirror permutation of the prime row. The retrograde
represents the reverse order of the prime row and the retrograde inversion reverses the
order of the inversion. The tone row ".. .can be used starting on any one of the twelve
chromatic notes and in these four permutations of the row. No note may be repeated until
ali the other notes bave been used."^^ Composers including Schoenberg and Adler have
freely used octave transpositions and immediate repeats of the same note or a series of
notes as many times as desired.^^ While most serial works use tone rows of twelve pitch
classes, compositions with tone rows other than twelve also occur. In addition, besides
the strici application of the twelve-tone mles, rotation of sets or parts of the set and
reordering of rows are other options that have been explored in serial compositions.

'" Adler, Gradus II, Notes.


^'Ibid.

^Mbid.
" Kostka, 286-290.

46

According to Kostka, serialism as a movement declined in the 1960s. Composers


became more interested in other elements and techniques such as timbre and texture,
improvisation, minimalism, and even tonality. Although some composers stili use serial
techniques, non-serial atonality/free atonahty is more commonly used. Nevertheless,
after its dechne as a compositional technique, serialism significantly influenced later
styles.^^
Non-Serial Atonality/Free Atonality. In No. 5 of Gradus III, the consecutive
thirds use ali twelve tones but in a non-serial way. There is no tonai center suggested but
a famihar C-major sonority ends the piece. Iti No. 11 of the same book is another
example of non-serial atonai technique. It features many chromatic notes and no tonai
center is established. In the same book, although No. 15 employs inner and outer pedal
tones, no tonai center is suggested.
In No. 8 of The Sense of Touch, the first five measures present an aggregate.
While the different clusters altemating between the hands in the first measure contain
eleven pitch classes, the missing B-flat is introduced in m. 5 and completes the aggregate.
The last three measures reiterate the F-sharp-seventh chords in the left band against the
five-note clusters in the right band.
Serial Atonality. Both Gradus II and Gradus LLL contain pieces that exhibit
twelve-tone writing technique. In Nos. 8-11 of Gradus II, the prime row consists of: FD-Ab-Eb-A-F#-Bb-B-E-C#-G-C. No. 8 provides the twelve-tone matrix. In No. 8a, the

^* Ibid., 289-290.

47

prime row and 112 are used as the melodie notes in a jagged and pointillistic style. No.
8b also features the pointillistic style, where notes from PI and RIIO skip ali over the
keyboard. ft is important particulariy in the pointillistic style to observe rests and
articulations in order to highlight the random character of the piece.
In No. 9, the various permutations of the tone row supply pitch material for the
melody and accompaniment texture. The first six notes of R7 form a repetitious pedal
accompaniment in the opening measures. No. 10 is an example of how serial technique
lends itself well to disjunct melody. No. 11 uses the different permutations in a
confrapuntal style. Some parts of the melody occupy a range of almost three octaves.
In Gradus III, No. 16 uses a row with many chromatic half steps: A-Bb-B-F#-ED#-C-Ab-G-D-C#-E. The tone row is used vertically and horizontally. No. 17ofthe
same book is built on a tone row that sounds more consonant than the one in No. 16. The
tone row (A-E-B-Ab-C-Eb-G-F#-F-D-Bb-C#) contains a quintal sonority within its
opening three notes. The row also outlines the A-flat-major triad and the B-flat-major
triad. Arpeggiated pattems and notes altemating between hands are the major pattems
featured.

Rhythm
Relatively speaking, the surface rhythm in most tonai pieces is easier to
understand and more straightforward than that of many contemporary compositions.
Kostka claims that the focus of many contemporary compositions ".. .is on rhythm at

48

least as much as on pitch, and the surface rhythms are frequently varied and complex." ^^
Although syncopation, cross-rhythms, hemiola, and occasionally irregular meters are
found in Westem music before the twentieth century, these rhythmic practices along with
other devices such as changing meters and shifted accents are further developed in
contemporary music, contributing to a higher degree of rhythmic complexity.
On the other band, some contemporary composers show interest in ancient
rhythmic practices and write music that seems to lack a perceivable metric organization.
Kostka uses the term "ametric" to describe this style.'"^ He explains that music notated
without a time signature is not necessarily ametric. On the contrary, some music written
with a time signature may sound ametric to the listeners because of its improvisatory and
free style.'*'
One of the main difficulties of rhythmic analysis is the necessity to distinguish
between the written rhythm and the perceived rhythm. At the same time, it is particularly
common in contemporary music to find that heard rhythm contradicts with written
rhythm. This kind of contradiction results from listeners' perceptions.''^ Kostka explains
that "the listener perceives the beat type (simple or compound) by listening to the way the
beat divides (into twos or threes); the meter type is conveyed by the characteristic pattem
of accents. These accents can be of any type, but dynamic and agogic accents are most
''ibid., 120.
""Ibid., 130.
"ibid, 130-131.
"^ Ibid., 122-123.

49

commonly used to express the meter. "''^ Nevertheless, composers may write music so
that it is hard to perceive the notated beat type or meter type or both. In order to get a
better understanding of contemporary rhythm or rhythm in general, Kostka suggests
considering the perceived rhythm as the tme rhythm.''''
Motorie rhythm and rhythmic vitality play an important role in Adler's
compositions. Adler admits that he loves the "pul of the line."^^ The following
discussion focuses on some of the techniques of contemporary rhythm demonstrated in
Adler's pieces. The specific techniques include syncopation, changing meters, nonfraditional time signature/asymmetrical meter, polyrhythm/cross rhythm, polymeter,
ametric rhythm, and ostinato and pedal point.

Syncopation
Syncopation is defined as ".. .when a rhythmic event such as an accent occurs at
an unexpected moment or when a rhythmic event fails to occur when expected."

In

most cases, rests and tied-notes contribute to the syncopated rhythm. In No. 1 of Gradus
II, after the two-note pedal tone firmly establishes a 4 meter in the left band, syncopation
is introduced in m. 8. Instead of a strong first beat, the composer inserts a quarter-note
rest. Similar syncopated effects occur because of the tied-notes on the first beat of the
"'ibid., 121.
*' Ibid., 122-123.
"^ Hill, 16.
'^ Kostka, 122.

50

next two measures. In addition, the fortissimo in m. 8 shifts the regular metric accent to
the normally weaker second beat. In the first measure of No. 10 of Gradus II, the eighthnote rest leads to a syncopated accent on the second half of the third beat. A similar
situation occurs on the second beat of m. 10. In No. 16 of Gradus III, rests, tied-notes,
and dynamic markings create a syncopated effect throughout. In No. 1 of The Sense of
Touch, the many eighth-note rests increase the rhythmic complexity in this single-pitchclass piece.

Changing Meter
Changing meter is a technique used very frequently in Westem contemporary
music. Composers provide rhythmic variety and unpredictability through shifting or
altemating time signatures. Changing meter, mixed meter, variable meter, and
multimeter are ali terms referring to the same technique. Changing meter can be
achieved by syncopation or shifted accents or by inserting different meter signatures.''^
Adler changes meters in many of his pieces: Gradus I, Nos. 7, 8, 9, 15, 17,18,
and 20; Gradus II, Nos. 7, 10, 18, and 20; Gradus III, Nos. 1, 4, 13, 14, 16, and 17; and
The Sense of Touch, Nos. 4, 6, and 7. Both traditional time signatures (4, 4, 4, and t) and
non-traditional ones (s, s, and 4) are featured. Some pieces shift every few measures
while others change meters more frequently. Although No. 17 of Gradus I uses different
meters at every measure, the meters are arranged in pattems. Each of the three sixmeasure phrases, 6 + 6 + 6, contains two sub-phrases. Each of the three sub-phrases
"^ Ibid., 124.

51

altemates meters at every measure. Nevertheless, the distribution of the different meters
stays the same, except at m. 6 and m. 18. In Gradus II,al'l

dual meter indicates the

altemation between groupings of three notes and groupings of two notes throughout most
of the piece. In Gradus III, the eighth notes in No. 6 are grouped both in 3 + 3 and 2 + 2
+ 2. The composer uses a 4 time signature with a s time signature in parentheses next to it
to indicate the altemation between the compound and simple meters. The opening four
measures of No. 6 of The Sense of Touch illustrate the hemiola effect by altemating
between s and 4.

Non-Traditional Time Signature/Asymmetrical Meter


Contemporary composers include new and unpredictable rhythmic pattems in
their compositions, often arranging the beats into asymmetric groups. As a result, nontraditional time signatures or asymmetrical meters are used. Instead of using 2, 3, 4, 6, 9,
or 12 as the top numbers, non-traditional time signatures carry numbers such as 1, 5, 7, 8,
10, and 11 as the top values of the time signattires."^ fri addition, asymmetric divisions of
beats appear in traditional meters. Composers may change a regular 3 + 3 + 3 grouping
of a conventional 8 into an uneven 4 + 2 + 3 division by inserting a non-traditional time
signature with 4 + 2 + 3 as the top value.

"^ Ibid., 124.


"'Ibid., 125.

52

In Gradus I, nontraditional time signatures such as 4 in No. 4, i in No. 9, l in No.


11,8 and 4 in No. 17, and i and l in No. 18 are used. In Gradus II, No. 10 contains i and
No. 18 includes 8 subdivided into 3 + 3 + 2. In No. 20, l and 8 altemate with conventional
meters. Gradus IH, No. 17 uses non-traditional meters such as i and i6. hi this piece, the
fraditional 8 measures feature rhythmic groupings both in two and three sixteenths. The
Sense of Touch, No. 4 uses 8 in combination with traditional time signatures.
The third section of No. 18 of Gradus //contains irregular divisions within the
measures. In m. 27, a melody stated in quarter notes and half notes is pitted against an
irregular eighth-note grouping of 3 + 3 + 2 in the left band.

Polymeter
The term polymeter refers to ".. .the simultaneous use of two or more aurally
distinguishable time signatures."^*^ Because of obvious performance difficulties,
polymeters are found only rarely in piano music. They occur more frequently in
orchestrai scores. Polymeters can be notated in three ways: using the same time
signature but using rhythmic displacement, using different time signatures with coincided
barlines, or using different time signatures with non-coincided barlines. The last type
may be the most common.^'

'" Ibid., 126.


^' Ibid., 126-127.

53

Polymeter is implied in some measures of Adler's pieces. In No. 18 of Gradus II,


an imphcation of polymeter occurs in the third section starting from mm. 27. The eighthnote divisions in the left band suggest a non-traditional 3 + 3 + 2 grouping which is
placed against an implied 4 meter in the right band. Likewise, in No. 6 of The Sense of
Touch, mm. 19, 20, 29, and 30 involve polymeter. hi ali these measures, the right band is
in 4 while the left band is actually in the compound duple meter of 8.

Cross Rbythm/Polyrhythm
The New Harvard Dictionary of Music defines cross rhythm or polyrhythm as the
simultaneous use of different rhythmic pattems such as three notes against four, or of
duple and triple subdivisions of the beat.^^ In general, rhythmic variety introduced as a
special effect is the main feature of this technique. In No. 13 of Gradus I, a threeagainst-two rhythmic pattem appears in the second half of the piece. The triplets in the
right band are set against the duplets in the left band. Gradus III, No. 12 also features
cross rhythm. There are pattems of three-against-two, five-against-two, four againstthree (second half of m. 8), and five-against-three (m. 12). The other piece in this book
that involves cross rhythm is No. 16. Triplet-against-duplet pattems occur throughout the
middle section of the piece.

52

New Harvard Dictionary of Music, rev. ed., s.v. "Polyrhythm.'

54

Ametric
According to Kostka, ".. .some music seems to exhibit no perceivable metric
organization, a style we will refer to as ametric."^^ In No. 2 of Gradus II, the dual
meters, free style, and the irregular phrases create an ametric effect. The composer also
suggests that ".. .no down-beats are emphasized."^'' In No. 13 of the same book, instead
of using a time signature, the exact time span of each unit is set as one second or a
metronome setting of 60. No. 19 of the same book, no time signature or barline is
presented. Although suggestive rhythmic pattems are notated, performers are given a
wide choice determining not only the pitches but also how they should be executed in
time.

Ostinato
The term ostinato refers to a short recurring rhythmic and pitch pattem that
usually is used as an accompaniment figure. It is a conventional device that has been
used frequently in contemporary music. An ostinato often serves as a rhythmic "pedal
point." No. 14 of Gradus /uses an undulating ostinato built of fifths and fourths as an
accompaniment. Gradus ILI, No. 8 features two ostinato figures based on octatonic
collections. Ostinato is employed in No. 19, and a quintuplet ostinato occurs throughout
No. 20.

"Kostka, 130.
^* Adler, Gradus IL, Notes.

55

Form
Although ali of the formai stmctures and procedures of the past continue to be
used in contemporary music, the function of tonality as an organizing force shows less
influence upon form than in the previous centuries. Older forms such as the sonata form
that involve a confliet of tonahties have become less influential on many contemporary
composers. In addition, the dechne of tonality at the end of nineteenth century
coincidentally led to the avoidance of tonai centricity in atonai styles. Composers began
to write music based "on" a key instead of "in" a key. In serial music, the tone row
became the organizing factor.^^ Some musical forms such as canon, fugue, variations,
and temary form, in which tonality plays a much less significant role, can be applied to a
wider variety of styles. As a result, they tend to be favored in contemporary music.^^
While musical form in tonai music is determined primarily by tonahty and theme,
eonfrast of tonalities is a sfronger force than contrast of themes. The weakening of
tonality as an organizing factor has therefore resulted in an increasing significance of
thematic eonfrast, but Kostka has noticed that themes play a minor role in many
contemporary compositions.^^ Instead, musical elements other than tonality and themes
rhythm, dynamics, register, tempo, texture, and timbre-have become more important in
formai stmcture and are used to outline sections of larger compositions.

"Thompson, 153-154.
^'Kostka, 144-145.
"ibid., 159.

56

At the same time, contemporary composers tend to write concise motives, and the
themes are rarely repeated literally. The return of an idea is often varied or compressed.
Likewise, shortened forms and new elements are used to hold larger forms together. The
sti^ctures of contemporary compositions are often less balanced than those of the past,
and asymmetric and irregular phrases are commonly found.^^ Some may be considered
to be modifications of traditional forms; others may appear to be unique. The following
discussion is based on some of the forms that are demonstrated in Adler's pieces. For the
convenience of this discussion, jazz is discussed bere although it is a musical style rather
than a form.

Asymmetric and Irregular Phrases


According to Ellen Thompson, the most dramatic change in contemporary music
apart from the dissolution of tonality is in the area of rhythm and meter. Asymmetric
meters and changing meters produce asymmetric and irregular phrases. Instead of
balanced four-, eight-, or sixteen-measure phrases, composers hke to write three-, five-,
or seven-measure phrases. The phrase stmctures have become more unpredictable.^
Most of the pieces of Gradus I feature irregular phrases. The three phrases which
make up No. 2 are four, five, and eight measures long, ali starting with the same material.
In No. 5, the 4 + 3 + 4 + 3 stmcture shows a balance within the irregularity. In Nos. 8, 9,
and 17, the phrases are formed by three-measure groups except for the last phrase of No.

^* Thompson., 153-154.
Thompson, 154.

57

9, which consists of four measures. No. 18 of the same book features a symmetrical 5 +
5 + 4 + 5 + 5 phrase stmcture.

Cadences
In music, cadences function as breathing points at the end of phrases and signal
the termination of motion, either temporary or permanent. They occur more irregularly
and unpredictably in contemporary music than in the music of the tonai period.
Nevertheless, clearly defined cadences or modified dominant-tonic cadences stili exist in
some contemporary music. In No. 9 of Gradus I in the last two measures, the movement
of the left band from F to G to C recalls a IV^-V-I cadence and establishes C as the tonai
center.
On the other band, cadences in atonai styles are harder to define. According to
Ellen Thompson, "Atonai cadences are more ambiguous and harder to anticipate aurally.
So tempo, texture and dynamics must assume a greater responsibihty to compensate for
the absence of a gravitational point."^ In No. 6 of Gradus II, sudden changes of texture
and dynamics aimounce the conclusion of the piece. No. 10 in the same book uses
sudden changes of meter, texture, and dynamics to define the ending.

*" Ibid., 160.

58

Contrapuntai Forms^'
Many contemporary composers show particular interest in contrapuntai
techniques such as canon, fugue, inversion, and imitation.^^ Counterpoint is one of the
most common devices used in contemporary music. There are many examples of
counterpoint in Adler's collections. He thinks that "contrapuntai music is the greatest of
ali time. Counterpoint is what I love in music. It is a stmggle, a catharsis."*"^
In Gradus I, No. 6 is a canon at the octave with strici imitation. As Adler states in
the notes, "The novel feature is that intervals formerly called 'dissonant' and requiring
resolution now do not necessarily resolve."^'' In Gradus II, two contrapuntai pieces are
found. No. 4 is a confrapuntal pastorale and No. 11 is an invention based on a twelvetone row. In both of these pieces, imitative entries are featured at the begirming. Gradus
III, No. 2 is a canon that does not use strici imitation throughout. Mirror writing occurs
in mm. 4 and 7. No. 14 in the same book features mirror writing and counterpoint. Each
of the two voices has its own rhythm. Subtle imitation is employed. In No. 2 of The
Sense of Touch, the two lines are in free confrapuntal style.

*' For the purpose of this study, "contrapuntai forms" in this section refers to musical forms that
make use of contrapuntai devices, for example, fiigues or canons.
*^ Thompson., 163.
" Ibid.
*" Adler, Gradus L, Notes.

59

Other Forms
Other traditional forms such as binary and temary forms are used in Adler's
collections. In addition, some pieces are in free form.
Binary Form. Binary form is often used in short pieces, movements, or sections
of some larger works. The basic stmcture can be represented by AA' or AB. According
to Kostka, there is not much change in binary forms in contemporary music as compared
to those used in the past. The most obvious difference occurs in the rare use of the
traditional tonai schemes: the tonic to dominant/mediant relationship in the first half and
the retum from the dominant/mediant to the tonic in the second half.^^ Pieces that
employ binary form in Adler's collections include: Nos. 1, 3, 13, and 16 of Gradus I;
Nos. 5, 6, 12, and 19 of Gradus II; Nos. 5, 8, 10, and 20 of Gradus III; and Nos. 3, 6, and
8 of The Sense of Touch. They do not recali the traditional tonai schemes of binary form
in tonai music. The two sections are differentiated by changes in rhythmic pattem or
melodie material.
Temary Form. Temary form refers to works based on an ABA format. In tonai
music, generally some kind of balance is displayed between the two A sections, yet this
kind of balance is often absent in contemporary temary forms. The retum of the A
section may recali just one or two measures of the opening A section.

Examples of

temary form used in Adler's pieces include No. 4 of Gradus I; Nos. 2, 4,14, and 18 of
Gradus II; and Nos. 3, 9, and 19 of Gradus III.
" Kostka, 145-146.
** Ibid., 146-147.

60

Free Form. Stmctures that are freely constmcted without conforming to any
traditional form are considered to be free form.''^ Examples of free form include No. 20
of Gradus I; Nos. 1, 13, and 20 of Gradus II; Nos. 1, 4, 7, and 15 of Gradus III; and No.
7 of The Sense of Touch.
Others. Pieces that contain sections but do not recali any traditional forms may be
considered sectional forms. In No 2 of Gradus I, the three irregular phrases of four, five,
and eight measures start with the same material. No. 17 of Gradus II contains four paired
sectionsthe first and third sections use similar material while the second and fourth
sections are similar. The sections are unified by timbre and texture.
Adler also includes one piece that exhibits jazz rhythm. Jazz began to influence
Westem music in the 1920s. It originated in New Orleans and was brought to New York
City. It then spread to other major cities throughout the United States. The primary
elements of jazz include syncopation, 'blues' notes, tonic with added sixth, chromatic
passing and auxiliary chords, coimterpoint and improvisation. In No. 18 of Gradus II,
some syncopated jazz rhythms are employed.

Texture
Texture in music is referred to as ".. .the relationships between the parts (or
voices) at any moment in a composition; it especially concems the relationships between
rhythms and contours, but it is also concemed with aspects such as spacing and

*^ Thompson, 164.

61

dynamics."^^ Traditional textures continue to be important in contemporary music. They


are generally categorized into three types: monophonic, homophonic, and
polyphonic/contrapuntal. Of these three types, many contemporary composers tend to
favor polyphonic textures using various contrapuntai procedures. At the same time,
texture plays an important role in determining the form in many contemporary
compositions.^^ The following discussion includes categories on contemporary
polyphony, various contrapuntai procedures, widely spaced sonorities and use of extreme
registers, pointillism, and fragmentation.^

Dissonant Countemoint
Contemporary polyphonic works use dissonance freely. Conventional mles
involving the use of only consonant intervals on strong beats bave become optional.
Instead, any interval can be prominent. According to Ellen Thompson, this kind of
texttire is called "dissonant counterpoint" and it has become idiomatic in confrapuntal
forms.
The canon at the octave in Gradus I No. 6 contains dissonant intervals. Likewise,
the contrapuntai style of No. 4 of Gradus //includes strong dissonance. No. 2 of The
Sense of Touch features two contrapuntai lines with dissonant intervals.

Kostka, 231.
^'Ibid., 246-251.
Thompson, 135.

62

Contrapuntai Procedures
Contemporary composers also use inversion, imitation, canon, diminution,
augmentation, and invertible counterpoint. In addition, the relatively recent contrapuntai
technique of mirror writing" is commonly used in contemporary compositions.^^ The
discussion that follows is focused on the techniques found in Alder's pieces.
Inversion. friversion occurs in the opening two measures in No. 1 of Gradus I.
No. 18 of the same book contains a right-hand line that is the inversion of the left-hand
line in some measures. Inversion is also found in No. 14 of Gradus LIL The right band
enters m. 3 in an inversion of the opening four notes of the left band.
Imitation. The opening of the twelve-tone piece in No. 11 of Gradus II features
the left-hand voice imitating the right-hand voice, hi No. 14 of Gradus III, the right-hand
imitates the left-hand during the final statement of the theme in the last section.
Canon. Gradus L, No. 6 is a canon at the octave with strici imitation. No. 5 of
Gradus II features a free canon with motives constmcted from parallel fifths and on fifths
confracting to thirds. Gradus ILI, No. 2 is a canon that contains some mirror writing.
Diminution. In No. 12 of Gradus III, the opening right-hand motive involves
quarter notes. This motive occurs in diminution later in the piece with eighth-note
quintuplets in the right band and also is inverted in the left-hand.
Mirror Writing. There are several pieces that feature two voices that are
reflections of themselves. No. 2 of Gradus I uses mirror writing throughout, except at the
^' Adler defines "mirror writing" as "an inversion of one voice by another" in the Notes of No. 2
of Gradus 1.
Thompson, 138.

63

end. The opening two measures of No. 11 of the same book involve mirror writing.
Other pieces in Gradus I that include mirror writing are Nos. 17 and 18. In No. 10 of
Gradus III, the two parts with the grace-notes are mostly mirrors of each other. In the
same book. No. 15 features mirror writing in the moving parts of the two hands along
with the long-held pedal tones.

Widely Spaced Sonorities and Extreme Registers


It is usually possible to reduce the different parts in a piece of tonai music into
four parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass). The range of the overall span of these parts is
often within five octaves. Nevertheless, in contemporary music, the range is extended.
In the case of piano music, the full range of the keyboard may be explored. The hands
may be placed at the exfremes of the keyboard. The empty middle register creates a
unique sonority. The pedal may be used to sustain notes, and the hands are free to play
different notes covering a full range at the keyboard.
In Gradus II, No. 8b, the two hands are placed in the very low and/or very high
registers of the keyboard; occasionally the middle register is left empty. The last five
measures of No. 9 in the same book also cover a broad range. Sustained successive notes
are added layer upon layer. The notes are widely spaced. In Gradus III, No. 3, textures
altemate between the homophonic texture and the "texture melody" type. While the
former features a melody against an accompaniment, the latter refers to adding one note

" Ibid., 147.

64

at a time in layers and holding the notes until the end. The "texture melody" section is
widely spaced. In Nos. 11 and 15 in the same book, sections where the hands are far
apart altemate with sections with the hands dose together. Nevertheless, they vary
greatly in character. No. 11 is a fast moving elude while No. 15 features pedal points and
has a more meditative quality.

Pointillism and Fragmentation


The term pointillism originated from a technique used by some French painters in
the nineteenth century that represented scenes by means of dots of color rather than lines.
When pointillistic style is applied to music, composers use rests and wide leaps to isolate
the sounds into "points." It is a compositional device that composers of twelve-tone
music often use. In Gradus II, No. 8a, tones from the tone row are placed in different
registers. Wide leaps occur throughout this preliminary exercise. In No. 8b of the same
book, rests and wide leaps signal the pointillistic style.

Innovations in Piano Technique


Contemporary composers have created and explored new sonorities and timbres
by using fraditional instmments in unique ways as well as by creating new instmments.
Some "found" objects such as glass crystals or tuned glasses have also been ttimed into
musical instmments. Performers today need to leam new techniques to manipulate
fraditional instmments in unconventional ways. Performers may also be called upon to

65

tap on their instmments or on some other surface, to whistle, or to make a wide variety of
vocal sounds.^"*
New notational symbols have been created to represent these new techniques and
sounds.^^ The following discussion is limited to the new symbols and techniques found
in Adler's piano pieces.

New Notational Procedures


To represent innovative effects, contemporary composers have developed new
symbols. In Gradus I, No. 16 contains thick black and white rectangles in measures 9
and 10, to indicate ".. .that within the given range as many notes as possible on black and
white keys should be stmck simultaneously."^^ In No. 4 of Gradus III and No. 8 of The
Sense of Touch, the symbols of the cluster instmct the performers to ".. .hit as many notes
as possible with the entire band approximately where the cluster in placed on the staff."
In No. 17 of Gradus II and No. 18 of Gradus III symbols such as an "x" on the stems and
triangle noteheads guide performers to play inside and outside piano to create new
sonorities.

''* Kostka, 232.


" For more information on new techniques and new notational procedures and symbols, read
Marjory Irvin's article "A New Look for New Sounds, " Clavier (Aprii 1973) and Doris Leland Harrel's
D.M.A thesis "New Techniques in Twentieth Century Solo Piano Music: An Expansion of Pianistic
Resourcesfi-omCowell to the Present," (D.M.A. thesis. University of Texas at Austin, 1976).
'* Adler, Gradus I, Notes.
" Ibid., Gradus LLL, No. 4.

66

Aleatorie Music
In the second half of the twentieth century, composers began to relinquish control
over their compositions, giving more creative responsibihty to the performers.
Performers are given the freedom to make decisions that shape the dynamics, textual
aspects, temporal aspects, and performance of a musical piece. One example of this is
allowing performers to improvise or to choose from an arrangement of suggested pattems
at given points in the piece. The composer may assign a time limit to this activity.
Explanations or instmctions are usually provided with the music.
Adler also uses aleatorie techniques. He thinks that they are "perfectly logicai
and necessary in many cases and have their place."'^ Nevertheless, he believes that some
limits should be imposed. "As far as l'm concemed, anytime I use an aleatorie device it's
because I want a different performance each time, within certain limits of course, because
they have to be set...I think chance is written into a work."^^
Nos. 13, 16, and 19 of Gradus II are examples of aleatorie music. In No. 13,
there are no solid bar-lines or time signatures. Instead of measures, the notes are put into
units. The exact time span of one unit or beat is indicated by the composer. Adler states
in the notes that "the eye, in other words, decides where the note is to be stmck within the
time span of each unit."^ In No. 16, tmncated measures from the previous two pieces
are arranged across two pages. Performers are free to choose the order in which they
'^ Hill, 17.
Ibid.
^^ Adler, Gradus II, Notes.

67

play the fragments. The composer's instmction states that ".. .any fragment can follow
any other fragment; if possible, no fragment should be played twice. The order in which
the fragments are presented bere is not to be foUowed...."
In No. 19, the notation only gives an approximate idea of the pitches and rhythm.
The notes are notated on an unconventional 17-line staff. No bar-hnes or time signatures
are indicated. Adler explains that "the location of the note is to be judged by each
performer and the music page is a chart to guide the performer's musical gestures. Each
time it is performed, this exercise should sound totally different.. ."^' The composer even
suggests the option of playing the piece upside down after trying it right side up.

New Timbres
hmovative effects on the piano include clusters, plucking the strings inside the
piano, using percussion mallets or marimba sticks to play on the strings inside the piano,
or inserting objects on or between the strings to alter the piano's timbre.^^ Both No. 17 of
Gradus II and No. 18 of Gradus III require performers to play on the keyboard and also
to explore the insides of the piano. An "x" on the stems or a small cross over the notes
indicates that the strings inside the piano should be plucked. Specially shaped note-heads
are used to indicate when the keys should be depressed without sounding. In addition,
glissandi are employed at the keyboard as well as inside the piano on the sfrings.

^' Ibid.
*^ Kostka, 240.

68

Clusters have become a common device in contemporary music. There are


typically three types of clusters: diatonic (white keys), pentatonic (black keys), and
chromatic.

They may be played with the hands, arms, or a board.^" hi No. 16 of

Gradus I and No. 4 of Gradus II, the entire band is used to produce clusters. hi No. 8 of
The Sense of Touch, the black rectangular-sbaped cluster symbols cali for the use of the
forearms to produce full tone clusters of black and white keys.

Conclusion
Although contemporary composers make use of new approaches in composing,
many of the changes occur within the context of traditional practices. Nevertheless, new
sounds and the diverse systems and styles of contemporary music have brought
challenges to piano students and piano teachers in performing and teaching contemporary
piano literature. It is necessary for us to broaden and redefine our musical concepts.
Adler demonsfrates his eclectic compositional approach in the Gradus and The
Sense of Touch. Not only do these sixty-eight pieces exhibit the compositional
techniques commonly used during the first three quarters of the twentieth century, but
they also serve as useful tools to infroduce and familiarize pianists with contemporary
compositions. For pedagogical purposes and "to keep the music reasonably uniform,"
Adler has simplified "many inherent complexities" of contemporary music in these

'Mbid.
In the case of Ives' second piano sonata, a board is used for the clusters.

69

pieces. ^ This makes these pieces more accessible to the students. At the same time,
students will be introduced to new techniques, gestures, symbols, and styles in
contemporary literature.
This chapter highlights many contemporary compositional techniques and
illustrates them with Adler's pieces. Techniques discussed include aleatorie technique,
bitonality, canon, changing meters, irregular rhythm, mirror writing, modes,
pandiatonicism, parallelism, twelve-tone techniques, clusters, expanded notational
systems, and the use of innovative piano sonorities. Readers will develop a better
understanding of contemporary music in light of Adler's pieces.

^^ Adler, Gradus I, Preface.

70

CHAPTER IV
PEDAGOGICAL ASPECTS

Adler's Gradus I, II, and /// and The Sense of Touch were composed for
pedagogical purposes. In the Preface to each volume of Gradus, Adler cleariy states his
didactic intentions in composing these pieces. He also hopes that these works will
stimulate both teachers and students to explore contemporary music' Adler provides in
the Notes brief comments about the compositional devices used in Gradus and
occasionally makes suggestions on how to study these pieces. The Gradus pieces can be
used not only as brief and simple theoretical introductions to contemporary music, but
they can also be considered as helpful tools to teach the techniques necessary to play
twentieth-century music. The subtitle of The Sense of Touch, "Eight Short Pieces
Introducing the Young Pianists to Techniques Used in Twentieth-Century Music," clearly
states Adler's intent of using these pieces to prepare piano students for contemporary
piano techniques.^ The title implies an emphasis on "physical skills and tactile
awareness."" "Techniques" bere refers to both the technical skills and the compositional
devices.

' Samuel Adler, Gradus I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), Preface.
^ Anita and Louis Gordon, "Contemporary Music for Pianists," The Piano Quarterly 80 (Winter
1972-73): 28.
^ Samuel Adler, The Sense of Touch (Bryn Mawr, PA: Theodore Presser, 1983).
" Lynn Freeman Olson, "Commissioned by Clavier," Clavier 23 (March 1984): 19-21.

71

The pieces in Gradus and The Sense of Touch are not necessarily arranged in
progressive order. For example, Nos. 6 and 7 in Gradus I are technically more
challenging than Nos. 8-12. No. 6 not only contains different articulations in the hands,
but also contrasting touches (legato and staccato) between the hands. No. 7 involves
sfretches of the left band caused by sustaining notes with the fifth finger and playing
additional lines on top. In the left band, a stretch of a sixth appears between the fifth and
the second fingers and a stretch of a fifth occurs between the fifth and third fingers.
Moreover, even though Adler intended the pieces of Gradus Ulto fit between those of
the first two volumes, some of the pieces in Gradus III {for example. No. 16) are
technically or musically more demanding than those in Gradus IL When assigning these
pieces, teachers should consider the readiness of students and should provide appropriate
preparatory exercises. A graded list of ali sixty-eight pieces is found in the Appendix E
at the end of this dissertation.
This chapter concentrates on the pedagogical aspects involved in teaching Gradus
L, LL, LLL, and The Sense of Touch. The Gradus set is discussed in terms of three
categories: technical aspects, reading skills, and introduction of new elements. The first
category-technical aspects-focuses on teaching the smaller muscles (the fingers) and the
larger muscles (the hands and arms) to execute different touches and different pattems of
notes. Suggestions for preparation exercises are provided. The second category-reading
skills-deals with teaching students to execute different rhythmic pattems, changing
meters, numerous accidentals, and widely-spaced notation. Activities that teach students
how to practice these reading skills are suggested. The third category-introduction of

72

new elements-discusses the innovative musical elements that emerged in the twentieth
century.
The pieces in The Sense of Touch are discussed in terms of two categories. The
category of technical skills remains the same as in the Gradus set. Because of the content
of the pieces, the categories of reading skills and introduction of new elements are
combined. Practice suggestions and preparation exercises are also provided. Before the
conclusion, suggestions on how to integrate the Adler pieces into traditional piano
methods are listed. For detailed discussions on the compositional techniques,
pedagogical elements, and practice suggestions of each of the sixty-eight pieces, see the
appendices. Unless explicitly stated, the comments and suggestions found in this
discussion are explicitly those of the author.

Gradus L
AH twenty pieces in the first volume of Gradus are brief in lengththe shortest is
four measures (No. 11) and the longest occupies less than a page. Adler successfiilly
illustrates some of the most common twentieth-century keyboard skills and compositional
techniques in a concise and simple way. The pieces are numbered and do not possess
titles. Nevertheless, tempo marking in each piece tells the character of the piece. Most
of the pieces involve a five-finger position, shifted five-finger position (Nos. 19 and 20),
or extended five-finger position that includes thumb crossings (Nos. 2, 6, and the right
band of No. 7). These positions enable students to familiarize themselves with segments
of the modal scales, the whole-tone scale, and the major-minor scales. Five-finger pieces

73

such as Nos. 1, 11, and 13 can also be used as exercises for transposition. Some piecesNos. 7, 14, and 16-involve band stretches (a fifth to an octave). In this volume, the two
hands are positioned a second to less than two octaves apart. Most of the pieces are in
two-part texture except for No. 7, which is in three-part texture.

Technical Skills
Technical skills that are covered in this first volume inelude: (a) legato and
staccato touches, (b) executing clusters, (e) projection of counterpoint, (d) holding long
notes while playing additional lines on top or below within one band, and (e) shifting
band positions.
Legato and Staccato Touches. Many pieces in this volume (Nos. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12,
13,18, and 19) require smooth legato melodie lines. Students should use weight transfer
to produce the legato line by transferring weight from finger to finger without any
detached finger movements until the end of the phrase.^ In addition, the arm should line
up behind the playing finger to produce richer tones. In some loud passages, for example
in Nos. 2, 5, and 18, rotational motions of the band and faster key speed are also required
to produce loud richer tones.
In this twenty-piece set, five pieces (No. 6, 9, 10, 11, and 20) prominently feature
staccato touches. Students are required to use flexible wrists for the upward, bouncing
staccati. In addition, they need to use different key speeds to produce different dynamics.

^ Weight transfer refers to transferring weight from finger to finger in one motion, rather than with
a detached finger movement. It is useful in producing legato tones.

74

For example, a faster key speed should be used for the forte staccati in Nos. 9 and 11
while a light bouncing motion should be used for the piano staccati in No. 6.
Adler challenges students by requiring different articulations between the hands.
In Nos. 2 and 17, the staccati are executed at the same time in both hands. However, in
Nos. 3, 6, 10, 14, and 20, the two hands play different touches at the same time. For
example, in No. 3, a repeated eighth-note figure in staccato appears in the left band at m.
6, in the right band at m. 7, and the right band again at m. 9. Each time it occurs, the
other band plays confrasting legato notes. The necessity for independent technical
confrol of the hands makes this piece technically challenging.
Teachers may create warm-up exercises using staccato and legato touches in fivefinger pattems. The same exercises may be played differently. First, the same
articulations may be assigned to the hands with same dynamics. Second, the same
articulations in the hands may be played with different dynamics in the hands. Third,
different articulations may be required between the hands with same dynamics. Fourth,
different articulations and different dynamics may be assigned between the hands. These
exercises are useful for preparing students for the skills that they will need to master
these pieces.
Executing Clusters. One of the twentieth-century piano techniques covered in the
first volume is the execution of clusters. No. 16 contains staccato and tenuto clusters. fri
playing clusters, students are encouraged to develop large muscle control and a rapid
bouncing or ricochet technique. Students also leam that key speed plays a significant
role in producing clusters in a wide range of dynamics-,^,/?;?, and ppp.

75

Teachers may create warm-up exercises by using the fists with the palms down,
hitting keys randomly ali over the keyboard. The hands may be in contrary motion or
parallel motion. Different dynamics may also be assigned. These exercises prepare the
students to use flexible wrists and large muscle control in the required bouncing or
ricochet technique that they will encounter later in the pieces. At the same time, they
leam that a faster key speed produces a louder tone while a slower key speed produces a
softer tone.
Projection of Countemoint. No. 6 in this book is a canon involving different
articulations in the hands. Students leam how to use their hands independently in
projecting the different voices. Teacher may create warm-up exercises in simple fivefinger pattems in different registers. Different dynamics and different touches, such as
legato or staccato touches, may be assigned to the hands and then switched. The two
hands may take tums playing the five-finger pattems with articulations. For example, the
right band can start with a five-finger pattem in legato and then the left can repeat the
pattem in a lower register with the same or a different dynamic. These exercises prepare
students to play hands independently and to voice properly.
Playing Sustained Notes with Additional Notes in the Same Hand. Nos. 1 and 15
require the hands to hold long notes and to play additional notes at the same time.
Muscular relaxation is important while holding sustained notes and playing additional
notes simultaneously. Wrist flexibility and correct positioning of the arm behind the
playing finger are necessary to maintain muscular relaxation.

76

Teachers may create warm-up exercises introducing held notes and moving notes
in the same hand. First, hold a note with the thumb while playing the next note with the
second finger. Release the second finger. Second, hold a note with the thumb while
playing the next two notes one after the other with the second and third fingers. Release
the second and third fingers. Third, hold a note with the thumb while playing the next
three notes with the second, third, and fourth fingers. Release the second, third, and
fourth fingers. Fourth, hold a note with the thumb while playing the next four notes with
the second, third, fourth, and fifth fingers. Release the second, third, fourth, and fifth
fingers. The hand should be lifting upward during the releasing motion. These exercises
can be played hands alone or hands together. The sustained note may be held by the
thumb or the fifth finger as in the pieces. Students will develop muscular relaxation
through flexible wrists, motions of the arm lining up behind the playing finger, and the
lifting motion.
Shifting Hand Positions. Nos. 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, and 20 contain shifting hand
positions. While Nos. 15 and 17 involve small hand shifts of a second, Nos. 14,16, 19
and 20 use larger hand shifts. The band shifts not only physically exercise the larger
muscles, but they also challenge the eyes and minds because they involve more
accidentals and wider ranges of notes.
Teachers may do hand-shift drills with students. For example, students can be
asked to play different major, minor, augmented, and diminished triads in different
registers. Then ask students to notate the triads. This exercise helps students familiarize
themselves with hand shifting, note reading, and different registers of sound.

77

Reading Skills
Reading Changing Meters. Nos. 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 20 contain one
common characteristic of contemporary music-changing meters. Teachers may create
activities to help students master this skill. Clapping, walking, dancing, and/or
conducting subgroupings in twos and threes in different rhythmic pattems or in different
meters are ways to familiarize students with the changes in rhythmic pattems and meters.
Reading Cross Rhythm. No. 13 features cross rhythm or polyrhythm, which
refers to the simultaneous use of different rhythmic pattems such as three notes against
four or two notes against three.^ In the second half of the piece, the triplets in the right
hand are set against the duplets in the left hand. Teachers may prepare students by asking
them to clap or tap the pattems before they play the notes. First, clap the triplets several
times. Do the same with the duplets using the same pulse. Second, repeatedly tap the
triplets at m. 5 with the right hand and the duplets at m. 5 with the left hand. Do this
hands separately first, then hands together. Third, play m. 5 at the keyboard repeatedly,
hands separately and then hands together. Fourth, repeat steps one to three with the other
cross-rhythmic measures. Fifth, play the cross-rbythmic measures (mm. 5-8) together.

Introducing New Elements


In addition to developing specific keyboard skills, Adler also broadens students'
concepts of tonality by introducing pieces that establisb tonai centers in non-conventional
ways. histead of using traditional dominant-tonic cadences, tonai centers are established

' New Harvard Dictionary of Music, rev. ed., s.v. "Polyrhythm."

78

through pedal points, ostinati, accents (metric, agogic, or dynamic), or formai placement.
Other new elements include non-fraditional major and minor systems, parallelism,
contrapuntai devices, mirror writing, and irregular phrases.
Establishing Tonai Centers in Non-Conventional Ways. Teachers may point out
the new elements in each piece and discuss how they are different from fraditional
musical elements. For example, explain to students that there are different ways to
establisb tonality. First, listen to the C-pedal point throughout piece No. 1. Second,
examine and listen to the Cs occurring at key positions at the beginning and endings of
phrases and to ali the notes derived from the C-major scale in No. 2. Third, play a
fraditional dominant-tonic cadence and compare it with the elements in steps one and
two. Teachers may also infroduce students' ears to new sonorities by playing Nos. 15
and 16. In No. 15, triads from different keys sound simultaneously. Teachers may
suggest that students try out other triads and play them in the same manner as those in
No. 15. In No. 16 clusters are introduced. Students may be encouraged to experiment
with different kinds of clusters, for example, clusters played with the entire band, clusters
played with the whole forearm, and three- or four-note clusters.
Non-Traditional Major and Minor Systems. Nos. 3, 4, 7, 10, and 14 are written in
non-traditional major and minor systems. No. 3 uses the whole tone scale with D as the
fiindamental. No. 10 features the pentatonic scale on C-sharp in the left hand, while the
right hand contains a line written in D-Aeolian. Other pieces featuring the medieval
modes are No 4 (Aeolian and Phrygian), No. 7 (Locrian and Phrygian), and No. 14
(Phrygian). Teachers may ask students to construct whole-tone, pentatonic, and modal

79

scales starting on different pitches and registers. Have the students notate the scales after
they play them.
Parallelism. Another common feature of twentieth-century music included in
Gradus L is parallelism. No. 5 is a piece that consists entirely of parallel fifths and
fourths. Teachers may suggest that the students explore parallelism with other intervals
such as seconds and sevenths. Ear-training can be used in leaming the intervals. For
example, play a note and ask the students to sing different notes above it at different
intervals. Then teli them the name of the bottom note and ask them to notate the note that
they have just sung.
Contrapuntai Devices. Contemporary composers not only create new musical
sounds, but they also like to use old musical devices. Contrapuntai devices are
commonly found in contemporary music. Nos. 1 and 6 in Gradus L make use of melodie
inversion, free imitation, and canon. Teachers may discuss points of imitation and other
confrapuntal devices with students. Students may be encouraged to write their own short
tunes and then to invert them.
Mirror Writing. Nos. 2, 15, 17, 18 and 19 involve mirror writing. This
compositional technique is commonly found in contemporary music. Teachers may play
one voice and ask students to play a mirror of it.
frregular Phrases. Although contemporary music also contains regular 4-measure
phrase groups, irregular phrases are used frequently. No. 2 contains three irregular
phrases, 4 + 5 + 8. No. 17 features 3-measure phrases but the meter changes at every
1

measure; every phrase starts with i, changes to 4, and concludes with either 4 or 4.

80

Teachers may sing and conduci the pieces phrase by phrase to experience the irregularity.
Then phrases may be compared to find out the similarities and differences between them.
For example, in No. 2, every phrase starts with the same material.

Gradus II
Like the first volume, the pieces in Book II are numbered rather than titled but
tempo markings indicate characters of the pieces. Most of the pieces are longer than
those in the first volume. Ahhougb there are stili short pieces (for example. No. 8b
contains only 10 measures and is only half a page long), the length of most of the pieces
is a page and the longest (No. 18) is more than two pages. In Book II, the pieces cover a
much broader range of notes. For example, in the first section of No. 18, the two hands
play four octaves apart. Fvirthermore, the range of the melodies is extended. No. 11
contains a passage at m. 21 in which the melody encompasses three octaves.

Technical Skills
Compared to Gradus I, few new technical and reading skills are introduced in
Gradus //but differences are found starting from the first piece. The two-part writing
used extensively in Gra JM5 / becomes fiiller and more complicated. In addition, the
technical demands of the pieces are greater. The following discussion focuses on: (a)
larger hand span, (b) double-note technique, (e) hand independence, (d) reading cross
rhythms, and (e) reading widely-spaced notes.

81

Larger Hand Spans. In Gradus I, most of the pieces are in five-finger or extended
five-finger hand positions. hi Gradus II, hand sfretches occur more frequently. No. 1
features an ostinato in both hands that includes an octave contracting to a single note.
The octaves demand power and the single notes in between the octaves provide moments
for the hands to relax.
Teachers may create warm-up exercises by using the ostinato pattem of the octave
contracting to a single note. Play the first-measure left-hand ostinato pattem repeatedly.
Use a small drop-lift motion to play the octave moving to the single note. Maintain
muscular relaxation after each stroke. Repeat the pattem in the right hand.
Double-Note Technique. Most of the pieces in Gradus II use double-note
technique, ranging from doubl thirds (Nos. 14 and 16) to parallel fifths (No. 5), sevenths
(No. 7), and octaves (No. 1). It is common to find three- or four-note chords. Since there
are octaves and other hand stretches required in this volume, students need to be
cautioned to maintain muscular relaxation during these stretches. Use flexible wrists and
drop-Uft motions to help to release hand tension. Teachers may prepare students with
warm-up exercises. For example, play parallel fifths up and down the keyboard for one
octave. Use a drop-lift motion for each chord. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout.
Do the same exercise with parallel sevenths and octaves.
hidependence of Hands. Like Gradus I, there are several pieces in Gradus //in
homophonic texture. Different types of melody against an accompaniment are usually
featured. For example. No. 2 contains a melody in the right hand, while Nos. 9 and 12
feature left-hand melodies. Sometimes the melody is passed from one hand to another, as

82

in Nos. 14 and 16. Students leam to project the melodies in different hands. The two
contrapuntai pieces included in this volume are more complicated than those in Book I.
According to Adler's notes. No. 4 is a contrapuntai pandiatonic pastorale.^ No. 11 is
another piece using contrapuntai technique. Teachers may prepare students with fivefinger pattems. First, play five-finger pattems leading from the left band to the right
hand. Start from the bottom of the keyboard and move octave by octave (starting on the
A's) to the upper register. Reverse the pattem coming downward. Play crescendo when
going upward and diminuendo when coming down. Practice both legato and staccato
touches. Use weight fransfer to maintain legato tones and drop-lift bouncing motions for
staccato touch.

Reading Skills
Reading Cross Rhythms and Syncopation. Rhythmic pattems in the pieces of
Gradus IL are more complex than in Gradus I. Nos. 15, 16, and 20 contain cross rhythms
or polyrhythms (three notes against two in Nos. 15 and 16 and three notes against eight in
No. 20). Nos. 8b, 10, and 18 involve syncopation. Nos. 7, 10, and 20 contain randomly
changing meters. To practice syncopation, teacher may excerpt the measures with
syncopated pattems. First, the teacher and students clap together with a regular pulse.
Second, the teacher continues clapping the pulse while students enter with the syncopated
rhythmic pattem. Third, students tap the pulse in one hand and tap the syncopated
pattem in the other hand. This helps students to master the rhythm before they leam the
' Samuel Adler, "No. 4, Notes," Gradus I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).

83

notes. Refer to the section about reading cross rhythms in Gradus l for practice
suggestions on cross rhythms.
Reading Scattered Notes. Nos. 8b features widely-spaced intervals. This twelvetone piece is in a pointillistic style, which favors sparse notation and thin textures. The
eyes have to read notes that are scattered in exfreme ranges. The teacher may ask the
students to play the tone row several times to familiarize their ears with its sound. The
teacher then can ask the students to play each of the pitches in the row in extreme
registers of the piano as in No. 8a. Students should leam the notes measure by measure.

Infroduction of New Elements


New compositional techniques are introduced in Gradus LL. These include
twelve-tone writing, pandiatonicism, spacial notation, aleatorie writing, and exploration
of the insides of the piano.
Twelve-Tone Writing. Nos. 8-11 are a systematic infroduction of twelve-tone
technique. No. 8 provides the matrix square of the tone row: F-D-Ab-Eb-A-F#-Bb-B-EC#-G-C. The tone row contains three tritones: D-Ab, Eb-A, and C#-G. Other intervals
included are: major 6th (F-D, A-F#, and E-C#), perfect 5th (Ab-Eb), diminished 4th (F#Bb), minor 2nd (Bb-B), and perfect 4th (B-E and G-C). Although the consonant intervals
(major 6th, perfect 5th, and perfect 4th) altemate with the dissonant intervals in the row
(tritones, diminished 4th, and minor 2nd), the overall aural effect is dissonant. Teachers
may discuss with students the intervals in the tone row.

84

No. 8a is a prehminary exercise that states the row in whole notes, except for the
last two notes. No. 8b uses the row in a pointillistic style. Adler illustrates how the
different permutations of the row can be arranged into a melody and accompaniment
texture in No. 9, in which the right hand uses part of the row as the pedal
Q

accompaniment. Students should soften the accompaniment to bring out the melody.
No. 10 is a twelve-tone piece that uses the same row as Nos. 8-8b. It changes
meter in every measure, except for m. 2. Teachers may ask students to clap, walk, dance,
and/or conduci subgroupings in twos and threes, different rhythmic pattems, or different
meters. These are useful ways to prepare students to play different rhythmic pattems and
changing meters that they encounter in the piece. No. 11 uses the row in a contrapuntai
fashion. Teachers may point out the theme and identify the different permutations of the
tone row.
Aleatorie Technique and Non-Traditional Notational Systems. Nos. 13,16, and
19 exhibit aleatorie technique. No. 13 and No. 19 also introduce students to nontraditional notational systems. There are no barlines in both pieces. fri No. 13, instead of
using soHd barlines, the notes are grouped into units. The time span of each unit is one
second. In No. 19, the notation only gives an approximate idea of the pitches and
rhythm. The pattems of the figurations and the rhythmic pattems make this piece one of
the most difficult pieces of the sixty-eight pieces that were examined. In No. 16,
tmncated measures from the previous two pieces are arranged across two pages.
Performers are free to choose the order in which they play the fragments. In ali three
' Ibid., "No. 9, Notes."

85

pieces, perfomiers participate in deciding what to play during the performance. Pattems
or figurations used in these aleatorie pieces are quite difficult. Students should practice
the individuai pattems or figurations one by one.
New Timbres. No. 17 is the only piece in the first two volumes which explores
the insides of the piano. New timbres are produced by plucking and stmmming the
strings inside the piano. In addition, new symbols are used to notate these sounds, such
as the symbol "x" on the stems and the use of triangular note-heads. Students are
introduced to new techniques for playing inside the piano. When assigning this piece,
teachers need to be aware of the height of the student. The student should be tali enough
to be able to reach inside the piano. It is helpful to identify the strings that have to be
plucked inside the piano by gently affixing temporary removable labels to the strings.

Gradus LLL

Unlike Gradus I and //, ali twenty pieces in Gradus III have titles. Some titles are
descriptive, for example the tite for No. 1, "Evocative Questions." The pieces in Book
III are mostly one page long. The longest piece is No. 15, which contains forty-one
measures. The pieces in this volume also explore the full range of the keyboard. For
example, No. 11 features passages which cover the low, middle, and high registers of the
keyboard.

86

Technical Skills
The level of difficulty of these pieces is similar to those in Gradus IL Although
Adler states in the Preface that the difficulty level of the pieces in this volume falls in
between the first two volumes, there are several pieces that are more difficult to play than
those in Gradus IL For example. No. 11 and No. 16 are more technically and musically
demanding than any of the pieces in Book IL
Extensive Hand Stretches. One of the major technical problems in this volume
involves the extensive hand sfretches. The pianist is asked to hold long notes while
playing additional notes above or below the held notes. Nine of the twenty pieces
involve stretches of sixths, sevenths, and/or octaves. No. 15 is one such piece. If
students have problems playing the stretches, these pieces should not be assigned.
Students need to maintain muscular relaxation during the sfretches and the held-note
passages by using drop-lift motions and weight transfer.
Different Textures. In Gradus LLL, different textures are found. No. 3 features
two kinds of melodies: the traditional homophonic type and Adler's so-called "texture
melody."^ The "texture melody" (mm. 9-13 and mm. 20-24) refers to adding one note at
a time to layers of the melodie notes. Once played, each of these notes is held until the
end of the melody. No. 8 features an ostinato accompaniment with a melody moving
from the right hand to the left hand in the second half of the piece. Nos. 2 and 14 feature
contrapuntai independent lines. No. 8 uses counterpoint in the two voices. These
different textures require independence of the two hands to bring out the individuai

' Samuel Adler, "No. 3, Notes," Gradus III {New York: Oxford University Press, 1971).

87

voices or the appropriate voicing. Students may use five-finger pattems as warm-up
exercises to experiment with maintaining different voicings between the hands.
Technical Studies. There are many etude-like pieces in this volume. No. 5 is a
study in consecutive thirds. Adler altemates some of the thirds between the hands. This
facilitates the execution of the thirds. To execute consecutive thirds in the same hand,
students need to use weight transfer and drop-lift motions. The arpeggios of No. 6 of
Gradus III suggest quintal chords. This piece is an exercise in consecutive fifths.
Flexibility in the vmsts is important in maintaining muscular relaxation for executing the
arpeggiated consecutive fifths. No. 7 is an elude in contrary motion. Students should
practice these passages with weight transfer, rotational movement, and flexible wrists.
No. 9 infroduces consecutive first-inversion chords. Students must leam to voice the top
notes of the lines. Although there is no pedal marking, pedal should be used to connect
the chords. Change the pedal frequently to avoid blurring. No. 10 is an elude in gracenotes. Students should leam to use rotational motions in the execution of the grace notes.
No. 11 is an exercise that features quick changes of hand position. The rapid shifts of
hand position are good exercises for band-eye coordination.

Reading Skills
Reading Widelv-Spaced Chords. No. 3 features some wide intervals that result
from widely-spaced chords. The chord consists of eight notes that are distributed
between the two hands in three layers. The bottom layer contains three notes forming a
fourth above a ninth. The three notes in the middle layer build a stack of two sevenths.

88

The top layer presents a tenth. The eyes have to spot these notes across a wide range.
Teachers may ask students to rescore traditional root-position, first-inversion, and second
inversion triads into widely-spaced chords to explore their unique sonorities.
Reading Accidentals. The pieces in Gradus III contain more accidentals than in
the previous two books. Sbarps, flats, and naturals occur frequently in almost ali the
pieces. These accidentals result from atonality, bitonality, clusters, octatony, polychords,
and twelve-tone writing. They challenge the minds and the eyes. The following
activities may prepare students for frequent occurrence of accidentals. First, ask students
to write out pairs of notes with accidentals. Have them play the notes. Analyze the
interval. Ask them to revmte the notes enharmonically and play them again.

Infroduction of New Elements


New Scales. No. 8 is the first octatonic piece in the collection. In this piece, the
ostinato in the left band in the first half of the piece contains the octatonic collection CC#-Eb (D#)-E-F#-G-A-Bb-C. A new ostinato based on another octatonic collection DEb-F-F#-G#-A-B-C-D appears in m.l4. The A section of No. 20, mm. 1-5, contains a
left-hand octatonic collection E-F-G-G#-A#-B-C#-D-E against a five-note ostinato
figure. Two other pieces, Nos. 3 and 14, contain fragments of octatonic scales in their
opening sections. Since octatonic scales altemate whole and half steps, listening to this
arrangement of the pitches helps students familiarize themselves with the notes.
Teachers may ask students to constmct and then notate octatonic scales starting on
different notes.

89

New Timbres. Two pieces in Book 111 explore the coloristic sounds of the piano.
No. 13 features a polychordal texture. This elude explores sound color by using parallel
first-inversion triads from different keys sounding simultaneously. Flexibility in the
wrists is cmcial in maintaining muscular relaxation for executing the parallel triads. No.
18 contains passages played inside and outside the piano. Like No. 17 in Gradus II,
students who perform this piece have to be tali enough to be able to reach inside the
piano and to play at the keyboard at the same time. No. 18 in Gradus III is more
challenging than No. 17 in Gradus IL II includes stmmming on a number of strings,
instead of just one string as in No. 17 of Gradus LL. Strings that have to be plucked need
to be carefuUy marked in a way that does not damage the hammers or strings of the
keyboard.'
Twelve-Tone Writing. The two twelve-tone pieces included in Gradus LLL are
more difficult than those in Gradus LL Adler uses two different tone rows in No. 16 and
No. 17 and the pieces are quite different. The tone row of No. 16 (A-B -B-F -E-D -CA^-G-D-C*-F) is more chromatic and sounds more dissonant than the one in No. 17. No.
16 is one of the most difficult of the sixty-eight pieces. Polyrhythms (two against three)
and syncopations contribute to the complexity of the rhythm. The relatively chromatic
tone row and the complex rhythmic pattems make this piece sound intense.
No. 17, built on the tone row A-E-B-Ab-C-E-Eb-G-F#-F-D-Bb-C#, contains a
quintal sonority in its opening three notes. This row sounds more consonant and tonai
because it contains A-flat-major and B-flat-major triads. The arpeggiated pattems, the
' For example, gently affix temporary removable labels to the strings to identify the strings that
have to be plucked.

90

Constant rhythmic pattems, and the tonai elements of the tone row contribute to the more
relaxing effect of this piece. Analyzing the intervals and familiarizing students with the
sounds of each row facilitate leaming. Leam the rhythm by clapping the rhythmic
pattems of each hand separately first. Then tap the rhythm on the top of a table with the
hands together phrase by phrase. Finally play the pattems at the keyboard.

The Sense of Touch


Like the Gradus pieces, each of the eight pieces in this collection features one
twentieth-century compositional technique. Adler assigns only Roman numerals to the
pieces. The length of the pieces ranges from one to two pages. Most of the pieces
involve sfretches of sixths and sevenths. Tenths appear in the last two measures of No.
V. Students who cannot reach the tenths can distribute them between the hands.

Techical Skills
The techniques included in The Sense of Touch are about the same as in the
Gradus set. Hand shifts, independence of the hands, different textures, and legato and
staccato touches are also featured in this collection. Although a few elements such as
pandiatonicism and polychords appear in some of the Gradus pieces, these elements will
be discussed for first time in Ibis section.
Rapid Finger Movement. No. 1 features repeated notes and quick shifts. Students
need to use rapid strokes for the loud single-note staccati. Students should practice
silently at the keyboard to familiarize themselves with the shifts. The repeated notes and

91

the abmpt changes of hand position require quick finger attacks and rapid key releases.
The rests contribute to the difficulty of the piece. They fall in different places and are
rather unpredictable. Teachers may create different warm-up exercises by using the rapid
repeated strokes, the abmpt changes of hand position, and the different rhythmic pattems.
Tap the rhythmic pattems and the staccato touches on the top of a table away from the
keyboard before playing at the keyboard.
Independence of Hands. No. II is written in pandiatonic style. In this style, tones
of a diatonic scale are used. However, traditional harmonic progressions and dissonance
freatments do not govem chord or melodie movement." This piece features the diatonic
notes of the G major scale. Students need to use weight transfer in the legato lines. The
two confrapuntal lines require independent treatment from the hands. Teachers may
discuss with students the difference between a G-major piece and a G-pandiatonic piece.
Rotational Motions. No. Ili requires rotational motions for the hands for the
written-out trills and widespread figurations. Teachers may single out the written-out trill
pattems and the widespread figurations and use them as preparatory exercises. Flexible
wrists, rotational movements, and lining up the arm with the playing finger help to
maintain muscular relaxation.
Reading Changing Meter. No. IV features changing meters. Clapping the rhythm
before playing the notes helps students to leam the changing meters. Tapping,

" Stefan Kostka, Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music (Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1989): 114.

92

conducting, walking the subgroupings in twos and threes is also useful for leaming the
different rhytlimic pattems.
Voicing. No. VII is an exercise in voicing. The right hand plays the
accompaniment and the melody at the top while the left hand provides an additional
accompanimental line below. The vertical treatment of the melody and accompaniment
and the horizontal treatnent of the top melodie line are the two major techniques
involved. Flexibility of the wrists and lining up the larger muscles behind the playing
fingers are cmcial in handling the layers of lines. Practice voicing by dropping weight on
the melodie notes without unwanted accents. In addition, use rotational movement in the
right hand to bring out the top melodie notes over the altemating-note accompaniment at
the bottom.
Rapid Bounce-Off Motions. No. VIII features clusters in the same hand and in
altemating hands. In the middle section of the piece, the melody shifts from the left to
the right hand. Bring out the melodie lines by lining up the wrists behind the playing
fingers and by softening the cluster accompaniment. Rapid bouncing motions are
required for executing the clusters. Teachers may create warm-up exercises from
pattems of staccato and non-legato clusters.

Reading Skills and Introduction of New Elements


Minimalistic Style. No. I is a piece in minimalistic style. This compositional
style uses the basic musical elements economically. For example, repetitive melodie.

93

rhythmic, and harmonic materials are common in this style. No. 1 consists entirely of the
pitch class C, covering four octaves of the keyboard.
Widely-Spaced Chords. In No. V, the widely spaced chords recali the "texture
melody" infroduced in some of the Gradus pieces. The eyes need to adjust to the widelyspaced chords. The scoring of the chords creates a special sonority for the ears. Pedal
use is required to blur the chords together. Teachers may encourage students to play
different wide-spaced chords to explore the sounds.
Polychords. No. VI features polychords. The long pedal marking indicates that
the composer may want a blurred effect. Suggest that students play different triads from
different keys simultaneously to familiarize themselves with polychordal sounds.
Remind students to relax by using drop-lift motions and maintaining flexibility in the
wrists. Teachers may create warm-up exercises by using different major, minor,
augmented, and diminished triads. Play the triads separately and simuhaneously to
explore the different sound effects.

Suggestions on Integrating the Adler Pieces into


Traditional Piano Methods
Modes and Other Scales
Explore modes and other scale systems with children right before or after they
start to leam the major and minor keys in traditional piano methods. For example,
introduce pieces in the Phrygian mode after students have played J. S. Bach's Minuet in
G from the Notebook ofAnna Magdalena or after they have leamed how to shift between
A major and A minor in Kabalevsky's "The Clown," No. 20, Op. 39. No. 4 (mm. 5-8)

94

and No. 14 in Gradus /both employ the Phrygian mode. Lei them listen to both scales
and discuss the differences between the different systems. Encourage them to transpose
part of the Adler pieces into different modes or major-minor keys. This is also the time
to infroduce octatonic or whole-tone pieces to the students. Play the different scales to
them and ask them if they can teli the difference. No. 3 in Gradus L uses the whole-tone
scale with D as the fundamental and No. 8 in Gradus LLL uses octatonic collections.

Non-Conventional Ways of Estabhshing Tonai Centers


Infroduce students to pieces that establisb tonai centers in non-conventional ways
after they have leamed about traditional dominant-tonic cadences or simplified versions
of this cadence. Clementi's Sonatina Op. 36, No. 1 is a piece that illusfrates traditional
dominant-tonic cadences. Contrast it with No. 1 of Gradus L, No. 1 of Gradus II, and No.
I of The Sense of Touch that establisb the tonai center C without using traditional
dominant-tonic cadences. The first two pieces feature C ostinatos or pedal points and the
third one uses only the pitch class C for the whole piece. Explain to students that there
are different ways to show tonality. Play the different pieces for them and discuss the
differences.

Changing Meters
Introduce pieces with changing meters to students after they have mastered the
basic concept of simple and compound time signatures. In Gradus I, Nos. 5, 7, 8, 9, 10,
15, 16, 17, 18, and 20 contain changing meters. Clap, tap, and verbahze different

95

rhythmic pattems and help them to put them together to form changing meters. After
these Adler pieces, teachers may introduce them to pieces with non-conventional time
signatures and changing meters from Bartk's Mikrokosmos. In Book III of
Mikrokosmos, non-conventional time signatures are used, for example, 8 in No. 82 and i
in No. 93. Nos. 77 and 82 contain changing meters.

Styles
Students should be exposed to a diversity of styles even in the early stages of their
study. For example, the lively rhythm and spirited melody of the Musette in D from J. S.
Bach's Notebook ofAnna Magdalena are similar to Adler's twelve-tone piece in No. 10
of Gradus IL Another important style is that of impressionism. Adler's "A Five Finger
Rumble" from No. 20 of Gradus ///resembles Debussy's Feux d'artifce (Fireworks),
from the Preludes, Book II. This Debussy piece is probably too hard for any student to
play, but Adler's piece helps the students to be aware of the existence of the style of
impressionism.

Techniques
Teachers may develop the articulative techniques of sttidents by introducing them
to pieces from Bartk's Mikrokosmos as well as Adler's collections. fri Book E of
Mikrokosmos, Nos. 38 and 39 involve staccato and legato playing. No. 39 contains
frequently altemating staccato and legato passages between the hands. No. 40 is the first
piece that involves a right-hand melody and a left-hand accompaniment. In Adler's

96

Gradus I, students are also challenged to execute different articulations in the two hands.
In Nos. 3, 6, and 7, there are places where the two hands are required to play different
touchesone hand in staccato and the other hand in legato. In No. 9 of Gradus II, Adler
writes a right-hand accompaniment with a left-hand melody based on a twelve-tone row.

Textures
When students start to leam J. S. Bach's Two-Part Inventions, they may be
infroduced to Adler's contrapuntai pieces. No. 2 of The Sense of Touch is a contrapuntai
piece featuring pandiatonicism. No. 2 of Gradus III is a canon with dissonance. No. 11
of Gradus II is a contrapimtal piece vratten in a twelve-tone row. In addition, students
may be introduced to Adler's "texture melody."'^ No. 3 of Gradus III contains a
homophonic texture and a multi-layer "texture melody." The widely-spaced chords of
the "texture melody" create a unique sonority.

Conclusion
For those of us who have been trained almost exclusively in tonai music, the
diverse musical styles and systems of twentieth-century compositions present significant
challenges. Early exposure to different musical styles and systems is cmcial in
developing a comprehensive musicianship before the ears, minds, and hands are confined
to certain pattems. This is why introducing young musicians to new and diverse musical
elements is very important.
" The "texture melody" (mm. 9-13 and mm. 20-24) refers to adding one note at a time to layers
of the melodie notes. Once played, each of these notes is held until the end of the melody.

97

The Gradus and The Sense of Touch consist of contemporary piano pieces for the
late elementary to eariy advanced student. They are suitable for both children and adults.
Adler's pieces not only prepare piano students for contemporary piano techniques such as
rapid shifts, quick finger movements, playing inside the piano, and aleatorie techniques,
but they also familiarize the ears with music that uses materials outside the traditional
major/minor system. Some of these pieces, particularly those in Gradus I, also provide
excellent exercises for sight-reading and transposition.
These brief and concise pieces are beneficiai to any piano student who wants to
familiarize herself or himself with twentieth-century musical styles. Piano teachers may
think about using pieces from Gradus and The Sense of Touch as a supplement to
fraditional piano method books. Il is hoped that the ideas shared in this chapter and in the
appendices will motivate and stimulate teachers and students to study Adler's works.

98

CHAPTER V
A COMPARISON OF PEDAGOGICAL WORKS FOR PIANO
BY BARTK, KABALEVSKY, AND ADLER
Every composer should give children not only a part of his talent and skill, but also a part
ofhisheart.
Kabalevsky

Bla Bartk's six books of Mikrokosmos (1926, 32-39) and Dmitri Kabalevsky's
Pieces for Children, Op. 27 (1937-38) and Twenty-Four Little Pieces, Op. 39 (1943) are
considered to be the most significant pedagogical works for piano written in the first half
of the twentieth century. Samuel Adler's three books of Gradus (1971-1981) and the
single volume. The Sense of Touch (1983) build and extend upon the foundation
established by Bartk and Kabalevsky.
Although they composed these works for different reasons, Bartk, Kabalevsky,
and Adler had clear didactic purposes in mind. Kabalevsky wrote teaching pieces for his
piano students due to the lack of satisfactory material available in Russia at the time.
Bartk began to compile the pieces of the Mikrokosmos in the 1930s in order to provide
an integrated approach to mastering the most fundamental to the most advanced piano
skills. Adler's collections, Gradus and The Sense of Touch, aim to expose and prepare
piano students for the demands of playing twentieth-century music.

' Dmitri Kabalevsky, "The Composer and Music for Children," Music Educators Journal 50
(Feb/Mar 1964): 49.

99

Backgrounds of the Three Composers. Their Teaching


Philosophies, and Their Works
Kabalevsky
Kabalevsky (1904-1987) was a Russian composer and teacher. Of the three
composers under discussion, he generally used more traditional materials and
compositional techniques. This probably resulted from the strici discipline of the
Communist system under which he worked. Soviet composers were pressured to avoid
y

ali forms of modemism. Another important concept drove Kabalevsky to choose to


write music in a more conventional way. Kabalevsky strongly beheved that "...one
understands and feels that art penetrates one's entire existence and is, in fact, an integrai
part of life. This very philosophy should guide everyone in the pursuit of making art
accessible to, and available for every individuai."^ Since Kabalevsky thought that art
should be created for everyone, he chose to write accessible music that incorporated
folksongs, a primarily diatonic style, traditional time signatures, and repetition of
rhythmic pattems.
Kabalevsky devoted his energies to writing music for children. "When I write for
children, I write by Gorky's philosophy'When you write for children, write just as you
do for adults, only better.'"^ He also believed that composers should bave a love for
children when they compose. "Every composer should give to children not only a part of
' Sister Barbara Rastatter, "A Comparison of the Styles of Bartk and Kabalevsky in Their Piano
Music for Children" (M.A. thesis, University of Northem lowa, 1972), 7.
^ Dmitri Kabalevsky, My Dear Friends (Moscow: Young Batallion Publishing, 1977).
' Ylda Novik, "KabalevskyJust Promoted to Second Year Music Teacher," American Music
Teacher 25 {\mdMy\916):
19.

100

his talent and skill, but also a part of his heart."' As a result, Kabalevsky composed
works that appealed to the abilities and interests of children. He considered musical
goals more important than technical ones. He often rewrote his music to fit the abilities
of his students. "If something in the piece bothers a number of students, I rewrite it to
eliminate difficulty."^
Kabalevsky's Op. 27 (1937-38) and Op. 39 (1943) exhibtt how the composer
achieved his teaching philosophy and pedagogical goal. Composed explicitly for his
piano students, these two collections contain pieces ranging from the elementary to
intermediate levels. Assigned descriptive titles, these pieces are imaginative, precise, and
full of pedagogical elements. Each of them deals with at least one technical problem, for
example, playing different dynamics in the two hands, executing different touches in the
two hands, or balancing the left-hand melody with the right-hand triadic accompaniment.
In these two collections, Kabalevsky focuses on developing basic piano
techniques, for example, phrasing, dynamics, and articulation.^ The twenty-four short
pieces in Op. 39 are arranged in order of difficulty. For example, the opening piece, "A
Little Tune," is in C major. Il includes a three-note right-hand line with an extended lefthand part in five-finger position below. Although there are only eight measures in this
piece, it deals with the techniques of phrasing, legato playing, and dynamics. Contrasting

' Kabalevsky, "The Composer and Music for Children," 49.


* Novik, 19.
'ibid., 21 and26.

101

touches in the two hands are featured in the next piece "Polka." The off-beat right-hand
line is staccato and the left-hand line is legato.
While the first sixteen pieces are of an elementary level, the rest of the pieces in
the book are on an intermediate level. The independent treatment of the two hands shows
that No. 16, "A Sad Tale," can be considered as a transition piece from the elementary
level to the early intermediate level. In this piece, different dynamics are assigned to the
two hands to emphasize the counterpoint. No. 19, "Prelude," is another early
intermediate piece. Il includes altemating legato and staccato touches in both hands. Il
also covers different minor scale pattems, for example, G minor, F minor, and C minor.
No. 20, "The Clown," confrasts the altemating legato-staccato right-hand melody with
the staccato left-hand accompaniment. Phrasing and different dynamics are also
emphasized. These last pieces in Op. 39 are more complicated than the early numbers in
this book.
The level of the pieces in Op. 27 falls mostly in the intermediate level.^ There are
thirty pieces in this opus. Ali of them are short and each piece varies in difficulty. Like
Op. 39, a different piano technique is addressed in each piece, for example, phrasing,
legato and staccato playing, and variable dynamics, but on a more challenging level.
"Playing Ball," "Toccatina," and "A Litte Joke" are popular selections included in many
piano collections for intermediate students.

' There are thirty pieces in Op. 27. Some publishers put the pieces of Op. 27 into two books and
omit some numbers. Schirmer is one of the publishers that publish the complete opus.
'Novik, 35.

102

Bartk
Bartk (1881-1945) was a Hungarian composer, ethnomusicologist, and pianist.
He invested a significant amount of time collecting and researching Hungarian peasant
music and folk music of other countries. He claimed that his findings about Hungarian
peasant music freed him from the rigid use of major and minor keys. "The outcome of
these studies was a decisive influence on my work, because it freed me from the
tyrannical era of the major and minor keys."' His works reflect the influences of folk
music: the modal and pentatonic scales that are frequently used in his works are
characteristic of Hungarian, Romanian, and some Slavic folk music.
Bartk wanted to help young pianists to have a better understanding of the music
of their generation and acquainted them with the simple non-romantic characteristics of
folk music." He achieved this goal in many of his works, but Mikrokosmos is his most
significant pedagogical work for piano. The first Mikrokosmos pieces were composed as
repertoire pieces for Bartk's own performances. In 1932, after seeing the German violin
pedagogue Erich Doflein's five-volume progressive collection in which Bartk
contributed some pieces that introduced simple folk music from different Eastem
European cultures, Bartk was inspired to compose a series of piano pieces graded from
the very easy to the most advanced. These pieces eventually were compiled into the
Mikrokosmos.

'" David Ewen, Composers Since 1900 (New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 1969), 35.
" Benjamin Suchoff, Guide to Bartk's Mikrokosmos (London: Boosey and Hawkes, 1971), 7.
'' New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., v. 2, s.v. "Bla Bartk" by Malcolm
Gillies.

103

The next year, in a response to his son Peter's request for piano lessons, he
composed many simple pieces.'^ In the years that followed, he composed more pieces of
different levels of difficulty. Because he felt that the standard piano literature failed to
provide an integrated approach to mastering fundamental piano skills (for example,
legato and staccato playing, note values and rhythmic pattems, and phrasing), Bartk
systematically designed his set to cover the entire range of piano study, from the most
fundamental to the most advanced." From 1933-1939, Bartk composed additional
pieces, and he published the six books of Mikrokosmos in 1939.
The 153 pieces in the six progressively graded volumes of Bartk's Mikrokosmos
cover almost every conceivable technical and musical problem, for example, coordination
of the two hands, encountered at the piano. The pieces are of vasi value because of thefr
systematic and inclusive presentation of both compositional techniques and keyboard
skills of the first third of the twentieth century.
In Book I, the pieces contain two voices. Bartk introduces some basic concepts
along with some imconventional ideas. He addresses legato playing, sbarps and flats,
dynamics, contrapuntai techniques (for example, canons), different note values,'^ timesignatures,'^ major-minor keys, modes,'^ and even bimodahty.'^

^ Ibid.
'' Mary Elizabeth Parker, "Bartk's Mikrokosmos: A Survey of Pedagogical and Compositional
Techniques" (D.M.A. diss. University of Texas at Austin, 1987), 13.
'^ Quarter notes, half notes, whole notes, dotted notes, and syncopated rhythms are included. No.
7 uses dotted notes and No. 9 features syncopation..
'* There are examples of regular duple and triple meters as well as unusual i and 2 meters. No. 12
contains both 2 and 2 meters.

104

ft is significant that Bartk wrote key signatures in unconventional ways. For


example, the F-sharp in the treble clef key signature of No. 8 is placed in the first space
of the staff instead of the standard location because the only F-sharp in the right-hand is a
fourth above the middle C. Bartk states that the relatively simple style of the pieces in
Book I makes them ideal ones for sight-reading and transposition.
Book II infroduces homophonic writing along with the contrapuntai writing found
previously in Book I. Like Book I, most of the pieces in Book II are in two voices, but
there are seven pieces that require each of the two hands to play two notes
simultaneously. The technical demands of the pieces are increased to include doublenote technique, confrasting touches in both hands, and left-hand trills. Nos. 38 and 39
involve staccato and legato playing. No. 39 contains frequently altemating staccato and
legato between the hands. No. 40 is the first piece that involves a right-hand melody and
a left-hand accompaniment. Nos. 41 and 45 are also in a homophonic style. No. 63
infroduces slow written-out left-hand trills. The trills are assigned to the fourth and fifth
fingers, which makes this a good exercise for the weak fingers.
Bartk also introduces ensemble playing in this book. Nos. 43, 44, 55, and 65 are
pieces for voice and piano and for piano four hands. The rhythmic aspect also becomes
more complex. Eighth notes, dotted quarter notes, and compound meters are found in
Nos. 41, 49, 51, 54, and 58. fri No. 55, Bartk uses a two-against-tbree polyrhythm.
Bartk feh that this eariy exposure to polyrhythms in an ensemble setting would benefit
"Nos. 3, 12, 14, 18, 23, 31, 32 are in Dorian mode; Nos. 7,28, 34 are in Phrygian mode; Nos. 15
and 33 are in Lydian; No. 11 is in Mixolydian mode; No. 5 is in Aeolian mode.
" No. 33 uses G-major right hand against a G-Lydian left hand.

105

students who encountered polyrhythms in their solo repertoire. The damper pedal is
introduced in No. 47. In addition to the modes used in Book 1, Bartk uses chromatic
scales in No. 54 and 64b and pentatonic scales in No. 61.
In Book III, the texture of the pieces becomes thicker. Double-note and threenote-chord playing are included in Nos. 69 and 73. Bartk also develops the left hand by
inverting the right-hand and the left- hand parts. The two parts are usually switched
about halfway through the piece. As a result, the two hands have the same opportunities
to practice different musical expressions and touches.'^ The reading aspect also increases
in difficuhy when Bartk introduces bitonality in Nos. 70 and 71. Two different key
signatures are used in No. 70. There is a five-sbarp key signature for the right hand, but
no sbarps or flats for the left hand. fri No. 71, F major and D minor are used in the right
hand and left band respectively. Non-conventional time signatures are used, for example,
8 in No. 82 and i in No. 93. Nos. 77 and 82 contain changing meters. Bartk increases
the difficulty level of Book III by using doubl notes and chords, developing the
independence of the hands, and using changing meters and irregular rhythmic groupings.
Book rV represents an even higher level of difficulty than the previous three
volumes. fri this book, Bartk finally introduces "thumb-under" or "cross-over"
fingerings. Bartk wanted students to master more basic techniques such as lining up the
wrists behind the fingers and staccato and legato touches first.^ No. 98 is the first piece

" Parker, 35-40.


^''Ibid., 40-41.

106

in the whole set to feature thumb-under fingerings. This technique is used frequently in
the rest of the pieces in the set.
In No. 99, unconventional key signatures with one fiat against two sbarps (E-flat
in the right hand and F-sharp and G sharp in the left hand) are included. No. 102 is a
piece that uses overtone harmonies. The overtone effect occurs when chords are
depressed silently while other chords are played. Tempo rubato is used for the first time,
and there are frequent meter changes. No. 103 introduces more unconventional concepts
and techniques: irregular rhythmic groupings (4 + 5 in ), unconventional time
3x2

signatures (8 at m. 7 representing three groups of two eighth notes), tempo changes


{Molto Allegro to Lento), a wide variety of dynamics, and key changes. Sostenuto pedal
is used in Nos. 107 and 109. Both Nos. 107 and 110 feature dissonant sounds, the former
piece featuring dissonant chords played a second apart. Nos. 113 and 115 are in
Bulgarian rhythm.^' They can be used as preparatory pieces for the last six pieces in
Book VI of the Mikrokosmos, Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm?^ Book IV contains old
techniques and concepts introduced in the first three books but at a more difficult level.
Clashing dissonances and Bulgarian rhythms are featured as new challenging elements.

^' Asymmetrical rhythms are one of the main characteristics of Bulgarian folk music. Bartk
began to record folksongs in Bulgaria in 1912 and he named these rhythms as 'Bulgarian' m 1938. Smilar
rhythms are also found in Greece, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, and the Caucasus.
The Bulgarian asymmetrical rhythms may be considered as combinations of duple and triple meters
grouping together to form heterometric pattems. Some of the most commonly used pattems found in
Bulgarian folk music are 2 +3 or 3 + 2 in 8, 2 + 2 + 3 or 3 + 2 + 2 in s, 3 + 2 + 3 or 2 + 3 + 3 in 8, etc. Other
commonly used meters include i6 and L See New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., v. 4,
s.v. "Bulgaria" by Donna A. Buchanan.
^' The meters of the six dances include: ' 1 ^ ' m No. 148, 'V in No. 149, ^8^ in No. 150, 'T in No.
151, ^'*^ in No. 152, and ^T in No. 15 3.

107

The pieces of the Mikrokosmos, "a little world of music," do indeed present a
microcosmic view of Bartk's musical language and style. The pedagogical intent of the
composer can be discemed from the progressive arrangement of the pieces.

Adler
Because many performers are not proficient in performing twentieth-century
music, Adler wrote the Gradus and The Sense of Touch, fri his collections, Adler writes
pieces in the avant-garde styles that emerged after the mid twentieth century. He states in
the Preface of the first two books of Gradus that "...it is my hope that the awakened
student and teacher, having begun bere, will continue to explore the complex and diverse
music which has been created in our century."^^ The purpose of the Gradus (1971-1981)
and The Sense of Touch (1983) is to introduce young pianists to twentieth-century
musical styles. Adler explains that "The aim of these books is not to bring about the
acceptance or rejection of any system, but rather to widen musical acquaintance and to
stimulate the wish to consider more deeply a style, a notational system, or a musical
philosophy."^"*
The sixty-eight pieces in the two Adler's collections explore the more common
compositional styles and piano techniques arising or in use in Westem European
Classical music during the first three quarters of the twentieth century. They include:
atonality, twelve-tone writing, mirror writing, clusters, modes, octatony, whole-tone

Samuel Adler, Gradus IL {New York: Oxford University Press, Inc., 1971), Preface.
'Mbid.

108

scales, pentatony, ostinato, changing meter, parallelism, pandiatonicism, exploring the


inside of the piano, aleatory music, and "spatial" notation.
The pieces range from the late elementary level to the eariy advanced level. Most
of the pieces are less than one page to one page in length. The third volume of the
Gradus was composed to fili the gap between the first two volumes. The Sense of Touch
was published in 1983 and was written with the same intention as the Gradus set. These
sixty-eight pieces concisely present some of the most commonly used twentieth-century
styles and systems. They are invaluable tools for introducing students and teachers to the
diverse styles and systems of twentieth-century Westem European Classical music.

Similarities in Pedagogical Philosophies


Ali three pedagogues believe that beginning musical fraining at an early age is a
great advantage. They also believe that listening experiences are cmcial to musical
development. According to Kabalevsky, teachers should choose materials which help
students become musically literate, rather than only focusing on music theory and the
fundamentals of music. Kabalevsky defines musical literacy as musical culture, in which
musical grammar plays a less significant role.
Music literacy is receptiveness to music as a living, figurative art, bom of life and
inseparably bound up with it; a special 'feeling' for music, involving its percepton through the
emotions, and distinguishing of good music from bad; the ability to identify the nature of music on
hearing it, to perceive the connection between its nature and the nature of its performance; the
ability to bear unknown piece of music and say who composed it, provided that it is in a style
characteristic of the composer, and of those of his works with which the pupils are already
acquainted.^^

" Dmitii Kabalevsky, A Composer Writes About Music and Education (London: Jessica Kingsley
Publishers, 1988), 32.

109

Kabalevsky feels that during the first two years of musical education, listening
experiences are the most valuable experiences for children. Students develop the ability
to appreciate and understand high quality music from listening. They are able to
intemalize the styles of some composers and to identify a composer by listening to music
by that composer which they have never heard before.
Bartk and Adler believe that early exposure to music not written in major-minor
keys before the ears are attached to major-minor sonorities enables students to accept
new music. Adler thinks that "...it is vital to teach music by exposing people to it."

As

a result, Bartk and Adler use systems and scales other than the major and minor
pentatonic, whole-tone, modal, and octatonic for example. Adler even includes twelvetone music in his collections.

Comparison of Organization and Musical Styles


The following section discusses general differences between the organization of
the works and musical styles of the three composers in several categories: organization,
melody, tonai systems, harmony, rhythm, and texture. The pieces considered bere are
Kabalevsky's Op. 27 and Op. 39, the first four books of Bartk's Mikrokosmos, and
Adler's Gradus and The Sense of Touch. Since most of the works considered in this
chapter are pieces at the elementary and intermediate levels, the last two books of
Mikrokosmos are excluded.

'' Samuel Adler, "The Importance of Listening to Live Music," The Eastman Colloquium on
Teaching Music as a Liberal Art (CMS Report Number 10), 19.

110

Organization
The works of Kabalevsky and Adler are not as systematically arranged or as
comprehensive as Bartk's Mikrokosmos. The Mikrokosmos begins at the most
elementary level and proceeds to the most advanced, and technical ideas are introduced
systematically. ft differs from the pedagogical works of Kabalevsky and Adler in
additional ways. First, technical drills are provided in the appendices of Books I, II, III,
and rV. Second, beginning in Book II, ensemble music is introduced. However, Adler's
collections cover styles that are not included in the works of Kabalevsky and Bartk.

Melody
Both Kabalevsky and Bartk use folk song melodies. While Kabalevsky uses
Russian materials, Bartk's pieces show the influence of Hungarian and Eastem
European folksongs. Adler did not use much folk material in his pieces, but there are a
few exceptions. For example, in Nos. 14-16 of Gradus LL, the popular tunes "Yankee
Doodle" and "Three Blind Mice" are featured.
Kabalevsky's music is basically diatonic, flavored with touches of chromaticism
and modality. While the diatonic characteristics reflect Kabalevsky's preference for
using less adventurous musical materials, the chromaticism and modality show the
influence of Russian folk music. For example use of the Aeolian, Dorian, and Lydian
modes can be found in "Sonatina" of Kabalevsky's Op. 27. Bartk exploited a much
wider range of resources than Kabalevsky. The melodies of Bartk use a greater number
of modes. For example, in Book I, the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian; Mixolydian, and

111

Aeohan modes are used. He also used other scales including pentatonic, whole-tone,
octatonic, and synthetic scales. Adler's pieces show less emphasis on melodies. His
melodies exhibit both narrow and wide ranges and they are the least singable of the
melodies of the three composers. In addition to using modal, pentatonic, whole-tone, and
octatonic melodies, Adler included some twelve-tone melodies.
Ali three composers write pieces occupying a wide range at the keyboard.
Nevertheless, Adler's pieces require more quick physical motions and gestures to
facilitate the various rhythmic pattems, registrai shifts, dynamics shifts, and changes in
the musical texture than those of Kabalevsky and Bartk. For example, No. 1 of The
Sense of Touch makes use of only one pitch class, C, but the two hands shift among the
low, middle, and high registers of the keyboard.

Tonai Systems
Of the three, Kabalevsky used the major and minor keys more frequently. One
may find instances of modal or pentatonic pieces in Kabalevsky's pieces, but they are
considered to be isolated cases. By contrast, the majority of Bartk's pieces are modal or
pentatonic. Synthetic scales are also found in Bartk's pieces. Polytonality is rarely
found or only used occasionally in Kabalevsky's music; Bartk used it more frequently.
A bimodal piece is introduced as early as the Book I of the Mikrokosmos (No. 33, Gmajor against G-Lydian).^^ No. 62 in Book II of Mikrokosmos is a piece combining

" Ibid., 25.

112

segments of different octatonic scales.^** In No. 121 of Book IV of Mikrokosmos, Bartk


puts a whole-tone passage against a pentatonic passage.
Adler's pieces on the other hand, include examples of tonai works as well as of
twelve-tone pieces and non-serial atonai music. His tonai pieces never establisb tonality
in a conventional way. Non-conventional elements used to establisb tonai centers include
pedal points, ostinatos, accents, and formai placements. For example, in No. 1 of Gradus
LL, the left hand features an ostinato establishing C as the tonai center, while the right
hand wanders, landing on an octave C at the end. In his Materials and Techniques of
Twentieth-Century Music, Kostka categorizes this style as "neotonal."^^ Other works of
Adler are atonai, for example, the twelve-tone pieces and non-serial atonai pieces that
make use of ali twelve tones. Adler also uses other twentieth-century harmonic practices:
polytonality, atonality, and pandiatonicism.

Harmony
While Adler's and Bartk's pieces contain sonorities not found in traditional
harmony, Kabalevsky's pieces basically use tertian harmony.' Clusters are found in

^* Ibid., 104.
^' Stefan Kostka, Materials and Techniques of Twentieth-Century Music (Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1989), 115.
^^ Kabalevsky and Bartk use more non-tertian chords in other works not studied in this
dissertation. For example, Kabalevsky's Variations, Op. 40, contain quartal chords in its closing section of
the variation in A minor. No. VI of Bartk's Rumanian Folk Dances includes quartal chords. See Sister
Barbara Rastatter, "A Comparison of the Styles of Bartk and Kabalevsky in Their Piano Music for
Children" (M.A. thesis, University of Northem lowa, 1972), 54 and 57. In Book V of Mikrokosmos,
Bartk includes clusters in some of the pieces (Nos. 130 and 132 of Book V and No. 142 of Book VI), and
quartal harmony in No. 125 (m arpeggio) and No. 131 (in chords) of Book V, but the last two volumes of

113

No. 16 of Gradus I, No. 4 of Gradus II, and No. 8 of The Sense of Touch. No. 6 of
Gradus III suggests quintal chords in arpeggiated form. Clusters and quartal chords are
found in Bartk's Mikrokosmos. No. 107 of Book IV includes chords that are made of
pairs of seconds. No. 125 and No. 131 of Book V feature a quartal sonority.
Parallelism is another feature that is used in the works of ali three composers.
Kabalevsky and Bartk used parallel tertian chords in root position and second inversion,
as well as parallel seventh chords. For example, Kabalevsky uses parallel fifths in No. 9
of Op. 27. In No. 65 of Book II, Bartk doubles the left hand with the right hand an
octave apart in parallel perfect fifths. No. 120 in Book IV includes parallel root-position
triads. Adler's pieces exhibit freer and more frequent use of parallelism. In No. 3 of
Gradus II, mm. 16-19, the right-hand pattem is in parallel fourths. No. 7 in the same
book features parallelism in sevenths and fifths. No. 5 is a free canon featuring parallel
motion in fifths in the middle section.
Polychords are also found in Adler's pieces. The middle section of No. 6 of The
Sense of Touch features polychords. Other polychords can be found in No. 15 of Gradus
I and No. 13 of Gradus LLL.

Rhythm
There are more different and more complex rhythmic pattems in the pieces of
Bartk and Adler. Kabalevsky likes to use a great amount of repetition in bis rhythmic
pattems. Although ali three composers use syncopation in their pieces, unusual and
Mikrokosmos are not considered in this comparison chapter. See Benjamin Suchoff, Guide to Bartk's
Mikrokosmos (London: Boosey and Hawkes, 1971), 9.

114

irregular rhythms and metrical groupings appear frequently in the pieces of Bartk and
Adler, but not in those of Kabalevsky. Bartk and Adler frequently use changing meters
as well as non-traditional time signatures, for example, s, l, and 8. There is no example of
changing meter in Kabalevsky's pieces, and he uses more traditional time signatures, for
example, 4, 4, 4,8, and 8. hi the case of phrase constmetion, Kabalevsky uses more regular
two- or four-bar phrases, while Bartk and Adler include more irregular groupings in
their pieces. Even in the first volume of Mikrokosmos, Bartk uses irregular groupings of
4-1-2 4-3 measures. Although there are regular four-bar phrases in Adler's pieces, the
majority of the pieces contain irregular phrases. For example, in Book I of Adler's
Gradus, 4-1-5 + 8 measure groupings are used.

Texture
Kabalevsky's pieces are basically homophonic, but Bartk's and Adler's pieces
are both homophonic and polyphonic. Contrapuntai devices used in Bartk's pieces
include imitation (Nos. 10 and 30, Book I of Mikrokosmos), inversion (No. 79, Book III
of Mikrokosmos), diminution (No. 89, Book III of Mikrokosmos), stretto (No. 58, Book II
of Mikrokosmos), canon (No. 60, Book II and No. 94, Book III of Mikrokosmos), and
mirror writing (No. 72, Book III of Mikrokosmos). Adler uses mirror writing (Nos. 2, 17,
18 of Gradus L, and Nos. 10 and 15 of Gradus IIL), canon (No. 6 of Gradus L, No. 5 of
Gradus LL, and No. 2 of Gradus LLL), and inversion (No. 1 of Gradus L) in his pieces.

115

Innovation at the Piano


Adler's three books of Gradus and The Sense of Touch address innovative piano
techniques and compositional techniques that are not covered in the pieces of Kabalevsky
and Bartk. In Books II and III of Gradus, there are pieces that explore the insides of the
piano.

Aleatorie music is introduced in Book II of Gradus. Innovative notational

methods are explored, for example, the "spatial" notation of No. 13 of Gradus LL No. 19
of the same book features another innovative notational method: it uses a 17-line staff
and the pitches and rhythmic pattems serve only as a guide to the performer's musical
gestiares. Twelve-tone pieces are introduced in Gradus LL and ///. These techniques are
not introduced in any of Kabalevsky's or Bartk's pieces.

Conclusion
A comparison of selected compositions of three important twentieth-century
pedagogues shows that they explored most of the styles and techniques that were
important trends in Westem European Classical music during the first three quarters of
the twentieth century. Ali three pedagogues concemed themselves with writing music for
elementary-level students because they thought that early musical training was a great
advantage. They also believed that listening experiences played an important role in
musical development. They devoted their talent, time, and effort to writing musical
compositions that developed the abilities of students to understand contemporary music.

^' In No. 102, Book IV of Mikrokosmos, Bartk infroduces the overtone effect by depressing
chords silenty.

116

Of the three composers, Kabalevsky is the most accessible. His pieces will lead
anyone familiar with traditional major-minor harmonies and the regular rhythms of pretwentieth-century works to the more diverse sounds of twentieth-century music.
Although Bartk's Mikrokosmos is a very comprehensive and systematic set of works, it
lacks some of the innovative twentieth-century techniques that are introduced in Adler's
collections.
No single work covers ali the styles and systems of twentieth-century music.
Teachers are responsible for choosing appropriate materials to widen the musical
experiences of their students. Besides the pedagogical works of Kabalevsky and Bartk,
Adler's Gradus and The Sense of Touch are contemporary piano pieces of the highest
quality. They are worth studying along with the piano works of Kabalevsky and Bartk.

117

CHAPTER VI
CONCLUSION

Different musical styles and systems with new sounds and new elements
blossomed during the twentieth century. Musical elements such as disjunct melodies,
harsh dissonances, and irregular time-signatures and phrasings, unpredictable rhythms,
and non-fraditional notations rhythms, and notations were rarely found in the music of
previous centuries. The unfamiliar sounds were foreign to those accustomed to the tonai
sounds of the major-minor system. Consequently, new techniques and guidelines to
performing and teaching this repertoire were in great demand.
Repeated hearings are considered to be the key to the understanding of new
music' However, contemporary piano hterature is often introduced very late to students
or completely neglected in their musical training. This may be because teachers find it
difficuft to find appropriate teaching materials or because they themselves need help in
interpreting and teaching contemporary music. Pedagogues such as Samuel Adler
compose piano works to remedy this situation. Adler's Gradus and The Sense of Touch
not only provide a theoretical introduction to contemporary music, but they are also
helpfil tools for teaching the techniques necessary to play twentieth-century music.

' Aaron Copland, What to Listenfor in Music (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.,
1957), 251.
' Anita and Louis Gordon, "Contemporary Music for Pianists," The Piano Quarterly 80 (Winter
1972-73): 28.
' Lynn Freeman Olson, "Commissioned by Clavier," Clavier 23 (March 1984): 19-21.

118

The sixty-eight pieces in the three books of Gradus and the one volume The Sense
of Touch are valuable in different aspects. Technically, these pieces expose the fingers to
new shapes, combinations, and clusters of notes; to modal, whole-tone, or octatonic
pattems; and even to explorations inside of the piano, hitellectually, they introduce
students to changing meters, complex rhythms, widely-spaced groups of notes, and
frequently occurring accidentals. Aurally, they open the ears to new sonorities, nonfraditional harmonies, and greater numbers of dissonances. Visually, they challenge the
eyes with new notational systems and symbols, various intricate rhythmic pattems, and
widespread notes. Ali these prepare and familiarize students with the characteristics of
contemporary music.
The study of Adler's Gradus set and The Sense of Touch shows that these sixtyeight pieces are short in length but rich in musical content. The flowing melodies,
driving rhythms, coloristic sound effects, and clarity of texture of Adler's piano pieces
are appealing to students. They are recommended by music scholars, piano teachers, and
pedagogues. Bradford Gowen,"* Alice Canaday,^ Ellen Thompson,^ Anita and Louis
Gordon, ^ and Lynn Freeman Olson^ comment that Adler's piano music is not only a

" Bradford Gowen is a concert pianist and the professor of piano at the University of Maryland.
^ Alice Canaday is the author of Contemporary Music and the Pianist.
* Ellen Thompson is the author of Teaching and Understanding Contemporary Piano Music.
^ Anita and Louis Gordon are concert pianists, piano teachers, and pedagogues.
^ Lynn Freeman Olson is a composer and piano pedagogue.

119

useful source for teaching and introducing twentieth-century music, but also high quality
music that is well worth a wide circulation.^
A comparison of Adler's collections with Bla Bartk's first four books of
Mikrokosmos (1926, 32-39) and Dmifri Kabalevsky's Pieces for Children, Op. 27 (193738) and Twenty-Four Little Pieces, Op. 39 (1943) shows that each has its own function.
Kabalevsky believed that art should be created for everyone."' As a result, he chose to
write accessible music which incorporated folksongs and which featured a primarily
diatonic style, fraditional time signatures, and repetition of rhythmic pattems. At the
same time, Kabalevsky's pieces exhibit contemporary musical elements, for example,
parallelism and modal scales. Of the three composers, Kabalevsky is the most accessible
to students who have been exposed to more traditional musical elements.
Bartk systematically and inclusively presents both the compositional techniques
and keyboard skills of the first third of the twentieth-century in his books of the
Mikrokosmos. The one hundred fifty-tbree pieces in the six progressively graded
volumes of the Mikrokosmos cover almost every conceivable technical and musical
problem encountered at the piano. More dissonances occur in Bartk's pieces than in
Kabalevsky's. Instead of major-minor systems, Bartk favors modal, pentatonic, wholetone, and synthetic scales. Changing meters and irregular rhythmic pattems are also
frequently found.

' Bradford Gowen, "Samuel Adler's Piano Music," The American Music Teacher 25, no. 3
(January 1976): 6.
' Kabalevsky, My Dear Friends (Moscow: Young Batallion Publishing, 1977).

120

Adler introduces more innovative twentieth-century techniques than either


Kabalevsky or Bartk. The Gradus set and The Sense of Touch include pieces which use
aleatorie technique, twelve-tone technique, and new notational systems such as "spatial"
notation and a 17-line staff. However, unlike Bartk's Mikrokosmos, there are no
ensemble pieces in Adler's collections.
Through this study, the author concludes that Adler's Gradus set and The Sense of
Touch are valuable teaching materials. They contain a diversity of contemporary styles
and systems. At the same time, these works summarize Adler's expressive and eclectic
compositional style.' ' They are instmetive piano works of high quality that deserve a
wider circulation and are worthy additions to the pedagogical canon.

" Gowen, 6.

121

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123

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124

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126

APPENDIX A
ANALYSIS TABLES FOR GRADUSL

127

Table A.l. Gradus I, No. 1


Adler's Notes
"Harmonization by pedal tone, by inversion, and by the free
use of imitation. This simple exercise should also be
transposed, starting on D, F, G, and A.'
This piece contains two four-measure phrases.
Compositional
In the opening the left hand imitates the right hand in exact
Techniques
inversion.
The tonality of C is established both melodically and
harmonically. The melody emphasizes C in its formai
placement in the beginnings and endings of phrases. Also, the
reiteration of C and the contour of the line set C as the tonai
center. Harmonically, the C pedal point and the formai
placement designate the tonality of C.
In the last measure, the left hand ends on the dominant.
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation
Pedagogical
throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible
Elements
wrists, and weight transfer. Particularly during the long pedal
C, use weight transfer to play the remaining notes while
holding the thumb note without tension.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the long phrases
to allow for muscular relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer.' Use weight transfer to shape the legato
lines in both hands. Student should pay attention to the legato
touch and produce a calm and smooth tone.
Transposition. Follow the composer's suggestion to transpose
the piece into D, F, G, and A.

Weight fransfer refers to fransfemng weight from finger to finger m one motion, rather than a
detached finger movement. It is useful in producing legato tones.

128

Table A. 1. Continued.
Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Play five-finger scale in contrary motion and transpose the
pattem up or down sequentially by steps. Maintain
muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by using
drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight transfer.
2. Transpose the five-finger pattem to other keys such as D,
F, and G in contrary motion up and down the keyboard.
3. Repeat the five-finger scale with crescendo and
diminuendo.
Ear Training
1. Introduce the five-finger pattem in major and minor keys.
2. With the starting pitch on D (which is an appropriate pitch
for most students), ask students to sing the five-finger
pattem up and down. Compare the pattem in D major
with the pattem in D minor.
3. Ask students to notate five-finger pattem notes in different
keys on the board.
4. Have them play and sing the pattems in an appropriate
range, from D4 to D5.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the free use of imitation in this piece with
students.
2. Ask students to write a short piece with five-finger
pattems and imitation.

' Middle C is considered as C4. D4 is a step above C4. D5 is an octave above D4.

129

Table A.2. Gradus I, No. 2


'Mirror writing (an inversion of one voice by another) is here
Adler's Notes
strictly applied throughout except for the final cadence."
Compositional
The piece contains three irregular phrases, 4 + 5 + 8
Recurrences of the opening material mark the beginning of
Techniques
the new phrases.
Compare to the free use of imitation in No. 1, this piece
applies a strici mirror writing technique.
The regularity of the rhythmic pattem in this meter piece is
varied by the eighth-note rest in m. 8 and the quarter-note rest
before the ending. Il is interesting to note that dynamic
contrasts follow the appearances of rests, for example, in mm.
8 and 16.
Although this piece lacks a traditional sense of emphasizing
the dominant-tonic harmonic relationships, the piece places C
as the tonai center by presenting the entire C-major scale, and
by beginning and ending on C.
The right hand features the last half of the C major scale while
the left hand provides the first half of the C-major-scale.
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation
Pedagogical
throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible
Elements
wrists, and weight transfer.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions to define the
phrases and to allow for muscular relaxation.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Use the whole arm to support
the fingers in playing loud passages.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the legato lines
in both hands.
Fingerings
1. The confrary motion of hands calls for parallel fingenngs.
2. In m. 8 and m. 9 in the staccato repeated notes, the 2"
finger crosses over the thumb. These measures can be
considered as a preparation for the same manner in m. 15.

130

Table A.2. Continued.


Preparatory Exercise
1. Use m. 1 and m. 2 as a warm-up exercise for practicing
contrary motion and the written-out trill pattems by
playing m. 1 and m. 2 repetitively and transposing them
up or down sequentially by steps (see the following
example). ft trains the weaker fourth and fifth fingers of
the hands.

2. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by


using drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
transfer.
Rhythm. Clap, walk, or tap eighth-note units to get used to
the faster moving note values.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the mirror writing technique. (Mirror writing also
is featured in No. 17 and No. 18 of Gradus I.)
2. Ask students to use mirror writing in their compositions.

131

Table A.3. Gradus /, No. 3


Adler's Notes
"An early twentieth-century device: the whole tone scale, here
with D as the fundamental. The student should prepare his ear
by playing the entire scale first: D-E-F#-G#-A#-B#-D."
Compositional
There are two sections in this 10-measure piece.
Techniques
The first half (mm. 1-6) suggests a melody-accompaniment
texture. The second half (mm. 7-10) becomes more imitative
and contrapuntai.
The dissonant ninths at m. 3 and m. 5 and the abmpt ending,
with the final note on the eighth-note F-sharp, give the piece a
contemporary flavor.
Pedagogical
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the long phrases
Elements
to allow for muscular relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the legato lines
in both hands.
Voicing. Bring out the two different voices by shaping them
individually.
Practice Suggestions
Ear Training
1. Explain the whole tone scale.
2. Group students in pairs and have them altemate playing
whole-tone scales in different registers.
3. Ask them to sing, in an appropriate range, the scales.
4. Ask them to play and to notate whole-tone scales starting
with different pitches.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Play whole-tone five-finger scales in contrary motion.
2. Practice the whole-tone five-finger scale on C, C-sharp,
andD.
3. Repeat the scale with crescendo and diminuendo.
Rhythm.
1. Clap, walk, or tap the t rhythm.
2. Divide the students into two groups. Have one group
walk to an eight-note beat while the other group walks in
dotted quarters. Then switch.
3. Divide into two groups and have a group clap the rhythm
of one of the parts. Switch parts.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the whole-tone scale in the piece.
2. A.sk students to write melodies with whole tone scale.

132

Table A.4. Gradus I, No. 4


Adler's Notes
"Two medieval modes: measures 1-4 and 9-12 in the Aeolian
mode; measure 5-8 in the Phrygian mode on E.
Medieval modes can most readily be performed on the
piano by playing scales from one note to that note one octave
above, using only the white keys; these scales may then be
transposed to any note, keeping the same basic intervallic
relationships:
C to C (our major scale) lonian
D to D Dorian
E to E Phrygian (Phrygian on A: A-Bb-C-D-E-F-G-A)
F to F Lydian
G to G Mixolydian (Mixolydian on C: C-D-E-F#-G-A-B-C)
A to A Aeolian (our "naturai minor" scale) (Aeolian on E:
E-F#-G-A-B-C-D-E)
B to B Locrian"
Compositional
The piece consists of three sections. The A section (mm. 1-4)
is in Aeolian on E; the B section (mm. 5-8) is in Phrygian on
Techniques
E; and the A section retums at m. 9.
The B section features a more stepwise but detached melody
than those in both of the A sections. The forte dynamic also
differentiates the section.
Parallel sixth movement occurs in m. 7 and m. 8 in the B
section.
The piece features an irregular 4 meter with dissonant intervals
on the strong beats (in m. 1, a second on beat one and a
seventh on beat three).
The last left-hand note D leads to the concluding E of the right
hand.
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation
Pedagogical
throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible
Elements
wrists, and weight transfer.
Drop-Lift Motion
1. Use down-up motions in the long phrases to allow for
muscular relaxation.
2. The drop-lift motion makes execution of the tenuto notes
and the forte measures in the B section easier.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to shape the legato
lines.

133

Table A.4. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Review five-finger scales in major and minor keys.
2. Introduce the Phrygian and the Aeolian modes.
3. Place students in pairs and aftemate playing a one-octave
Phrygian scale in different registers.
4. Ask them to notate the scales.
5. Sing the scale together in an appropriate range.
6. Transpose the Phrygian scale to different pitches and
notate them.
7. Do the same activities with the Aeohan mode.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Play Phrygian-five-finger scale and Aeolian-five-finger
scale. Start the scales on E and transpose to various keys.
2. Practice the scales legato and with tenuto.
3. Repeat the five-finger scales with crescendo and
diminuendo.
Rhythm.
1. Clap, walk, or tap 2 + 3 and 3 + 2 eighth-note groupings to
get used to the irregular \ meter.
2. Divide the students into two groups. Have one group
clap, walk, or tap the right-hand rhythm and the other
group taps the left-hand rhythm.
3. Have each group tap the rhythm of the right-hand and lefthand parts. Switch parts.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the two modes used in the piece: Aeolian and
Phrygian.
2. Ask students to write melodies with either one of the
modes.

134

Table A.5. Gradus /, No. 5


Adler's Notes
"Parallelism (as in organum, fauxbourdon) has been a favorite
technique throughout music history, although, beginning in
the sixteenth century, parallel fifths and octaves were
prohibited. This particular restriction has been lifted in our
century: hence this piece, entirely in parallel fifths and
fourths. The students should be encouraged to add to his
practice of scales in the usuai parallel octaves, thirds, and
sixths, practice in parallel seconds, fourths, fifths, and
sevenths."
Compositional
The piece features two phrases, each with a 4 + 3 stmcture.
Techniques
There is a rhythmic displacement in m. 8 in the second phrase
when the opening material retums. The starting note C is
delayed by an eighth-note rest. By contrast, m. 9 begins with
an eighth-note anticipation.
The two parts form two five-finger scales: C major in the
right hand and F major (with a split fourth featuring B-natural
and B-flat) in the left hand.
Parallelism occurs not only at the conventional interval of the
sixth (m. 12), but also at the fourth and fifth.
Pedagogical
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation
throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible
Elements
wrists, and weight transfer.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-lift motion to execute the
staccato and tenuto notes.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the lines in
both hands.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Use the whole arm to support
the fingers in playing loud passages.
Key Speed and Different Touches
1. For loud dynamics, use fast key speeds. For softer
dynamics, reduce the key speed.
2. Use rapid drop-lift motions to execute the staccato
passages and use slower drop-lift motions for the soft
legato touches.

135

Table A.5. Continued.


Ear Training
1. Explain intervals of fifths. (No. 9, Gradus I and No. 5,
Gradus //include fifths also.)
Play
a note for the student and ask him/her to sing a fifth
2.
above or below the given pitch.
3. Play the interval of a fifth and ask students to sing the
upper or the lower note. Prepare them to be able to sing
either note.
4. Ask them to notate the different fifths on the board.
5. Repeat the above activities for the interval of a fourth.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Space the two hands a fifth apart.
2. Play ali white-key five-finger scales in parallel motion up
and down the keyboard for one octave. Maintain
muscular relaxation through the exercise by applying
drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight transfer.
3. Practice the exercise in two ways: one using legato and
the other using tenuto.
4. Repeat the above activity with the two hands a fourth
apart.
5. As the composer suggests, the students may practice
scales in parallel seconds, fourths, fifths, and sevenths.
Rhythm
Take the quarter note as the basic unit.
Clap the rhythm of mm. 1 -2 and mm. 8-9.
Divide the students into two groups. Altemate clapping
the mm. 1-2 and mm. 8-9 rhythms.
Ask the two groups to clap the two different rhythms
together. Then switch.
5. Repeat the above activities for mm. 3-4 and mm. 10-11
(beginning of the pick-up in m. 9).
Creative Activitv

1. Discuss the three intervals (fourth, fifth, and sixth) used m


the piece.
2 Ask students to write a short piece involving parallehsm.
3 Suggest that they start with fourths and fifths. They may
add other intervals such as seconds, thirds, sixths, and
sevenths.

136

Table A.6. Gradus I, No. 6


Adler's Notes
"A simple canon: strici imitation at the octave. The novel
feature is that intervals formerly called 'dissonant' and
requiring resolution now do not necessarily resolve."
The piece includes two sections and a codetta.
Compositional
Techniques
The A section comprises the first four measures in lonian
mode or C major. The motif puts its emphasis on the notes C
and G, which sound as the tonic/final and dominant/tenor in
this section.
The B section, from m. 5 to m. 8., comes in a major second
below the beginning of the A section. Il is in Lydian mode on
B-flat. The motif emphasizes its tonic/final and
dominant/tenor, B-flat and F respectively.
The forte in the B section emphasizes the differences between
the two sections.
The piece concludes with a three-measure codetta including
the descending C major scale in both hands. It retums to the
lonian mode or C major and ends on its final, the note C.
Intervals between parts on major beats include fourth, fifth,
sixth, seventh, octave, tenth, and eleventb.
Hand Span. The piece is in an extended five-finger position.
Pedagogical
Hand extension (m. 3) and thumb crossing (m. 9) are required.
Elements
Voicing. Bring out the contrapuntai nature of the piece by
shaping each part individually.
Muscular Relaxation
1. Emphasize muscular relaxation by maintaining a light
bouncing movement.
2. Use drop-lift motions for hands relaxation.
Drop-Lift Motion. For staccato playing, quick drop-hft
motions make the bouncing gesture easier.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Rhythm. Be aware of the rests.

137

Table A.6. Continued.


Ear-Training
1. Review the major and minor five-finger scales.
2. Introduce the Lydian mode on B-flat.
3. Ask students to sing, in an appropriate range, and play the
Lydian mode.
4. Notate the notes.
5. Transpose the Lydian mode and notate the notes.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice five-finger scales in C major and in the Lydian
mode, both legato and staccato.
2. Practice the hand extension in the right hand in m.3.
Repeat the measure in different octaves.
3. Repeat the five-finger scales with crescendo and
diminuendo.
4. Add different articulations (staccato against legato)
between the hands to prepare for the competing
articulations in the piece.
Different Articulations. Practice measure by measure for the
different articulations between the left hand and the right
hand.
Rhythm
1. Clap, walk, or tap eighth-note units to get used to the
faster moving note values.
2. Divide the students into two groups and altemate clapping
the rhythms of the two voices.
3. Altemate singing the two voices. Sing in an appropriate
range.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the major scale and the Lydian mode.
2. Ask students to write melodies using Lydian mode.
3. Suggest that they write an octave canon.

138

Table A.7. Gradus I, No. 7


Adler's Notes
"The Locrian mode, modulating for three measures to
Phrygian mode. To prepare for the sound of the Locrian
mode, play the scale on the white keys from B to B (see note
for No. 4). Another contemporary technique is that of the
ending which does not sound "final."
Compositional
There are three sections and a two-measure Introduction in
Techniques
this piece.
The two-measure Introduction and the A section (mm. 3-6) is
accompanied by the bass B pedal point in the Locrian mode
section.
The insertion of the meter announces the modulation from
Locrian to Phrygian.
The B section (mm. 7-9) modulates to the Phrygian mode and
marks with the bass F-sharp dominant pedal point.
In m. 10, the A section retums in a contract form in Locrian
mode and ends the piece with a meter measure.
The dissonant intervals on the sfrong beats (m. 3, a ninth on
the first beat, and a seventh on the third beat; m. 11, a seventh
on the third beat) mark the twentieth-century flavor of this
piece.
Hand Span. This piece requires an extended five-finger
Pedagogical
position, with thumb crossings in m. 9. The left hand contains
Elements
a seventh mm. 7 and 8 and many stretches between middle
fingers (m. 7).
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation
throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible
wrists, and weight transfer, particulariy during the long pedal
point.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the long phrases
to allow for muscular relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to shape the legato lines
in both hands.
Voicing. Bring out the top melody and soften the left-hand
accompaniment.
^

139

Table A.7. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear-Training
1. Review the Phrygian, Aeolian, lonian, and Lydian modes
by singing and playing.
2. Ask students to sing and play the Locrian mode.
3. Notate the notes.
4. Transpose the Locrian mode and notate the notes.
5. Sing the right-hand melodie line in an appropriate range.
Or transpose it down an octave for easier singing.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice a one-octave Locrian scale in legato, hands alone
and together.
2. Leam the fingerings: 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5.
3. Practice the left hand of the piece alone to get used to the
long pedal point.
4. Repeat the scale with crescendo and diminuendo.
5. Maintain muscular relaxation through the exercise by
applying drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
transfer.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss Locrian mode.
2. Ask students to write melodies using Locrian mode.
3. Suggest that they to try to add a left-hand accompaniment
by using a pedal point.

140

Table A.8. Gradus I, No. 8


Adler's Notes
"Irregular rhythm: the pattem of two 3/4 measures and one
2/4 measures gives the feeling of an unsettled waltz."
Compositional
The piece consists of four three-measure units.
Techniques
The right-hand melodie line contains notes emphasizing the D
major tonic triad.
The left-hand broken-chord accompaniment uses notes from
the dominant chord (A, C-sharp, and E).
At the ending, both the melody and accompaniment lines
conclude on the final, the note D.
The piece centers clearly on D. The last measure features a
kind of dominant-tonic relationship.
Pedagogical
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the phrases to
Elements
allow for muscular relaxation.
Flexible Wrists
1. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers to support
them.
2. The left-hand broken chords cali for a circular motion of
the wrist.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the legato lines
in both hands.
Voicing. Bring out the top melody and soften the left-hand
accompaniment.
Practice Suggestions
Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice D-major five-finger scale in the right hand and Amajor five-finger scale in the left hand.
2. Play hands together for the parallel fingerings.
3. Use mm. 1-3 five times as a warm-up exercise for the left
hand. Use circular motion of the wrist.
Rhythm. Intemalize the 3 + 3 + 2 irregular rhythm by
walking, tapping, or clapping the rhythm according to the lefthand line of the piece.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the waltz rhythm and the altemating meters in this
piece.
2. Ask students to write a short piece with melody against
accompaniment using a 3 + 3 + 2 rhythm.
3. Suggest them to use a different tonai center.

141

Table A.9. Gradus I, No. 9


Adler's Notes
"A happy tune using changing rhythmic pattems: make sure
that the 5/8 measures (especially 3, 9, and 15) do not linger
for six beats. Notice also the melodie emphasis on two
perfect fifthsthe dominant above (G) and the subdominant
below (F)'
The piece comprises three sections: ABA', in which the
Compositional
second A section retums at m. 13 with an extra measure and a
Techniques
varied ending.
Each section consists of a 3 + 3 phrase except for the last
phrase, which is 3 + 4.
The second half of each section repeats the first half with a
varied ending.
The skipping intervals in the A section (mm. 1-6) build the
melody around the tonic C triad. By contrast, the B section
(mm. 7-12) shapes a stepwise melodie hne around a F-fivefinger position with a B-natural.
In the last two measures, the left-hand F and G in m. 18 to the
unison C in m. 19 recalls the IV^-V-I cadence movement and
states clearly that C is the tonai center. Nevertheless, it is not
in any sense of the traditional V''-I progression.
The changing meter adds rhythmic complexity to the piece.
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation
Pedagogical
throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions and flexible
Elements
wrists.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-lift motions particularly for the
staccato and tenuto notes.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer for the legato notes in
m. 11 andm. 12.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Use the whole arm to support
the fingers in playing loud passages.
Kev Speed and Different Touches. For the/orte and
fortissimo dynamics, use a faster key speed.

142

Table A.9. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice five-finger scales in contrary motion with both
thumbs starting on middle C.
2. Play the scale hands together in staccato.
3. Repeat the five-finger scale with crescendo and
diminuendo.
Rhythm
1. Take the eighth note as the basic unit.
2. Clap the rhythm of mm. 1-3, feeling the 2 + 3, 2 + 2, and 3
+ 2 groupings.
3. Divide the students into two groups. Altemate clapping
the 2 + 3, 2 + 2, and 3 + 2 rhythms.
Ear Training
1. Review intervals of fifths. (See also No. 5, Gradus I, No.
5, Gradus II, and No. 6, Gradus III.)
2. Play a note for the student and ask him or her to sing a
fifth above or below.
3. Play the interval of a fifth and ask students to sing the
upper or the lower note. Prepare them to be able to sing
either note.
4. Ask them to notate the different fifths on the board.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the two intervals of a fifth used in the piece.
2. Ask students to write a short piece using the fifth above
and the fifth below.

143

Table A. 10. Gradus L^ o. 10


Adler's Notes
"Two 'incompatible' scales used simultaneously: Aeolian on D
(right band) and Pentatonic, or 5-note scale, on C# (left hand: C#D#-F#-G#-A#). Measure 8 is an exception for reasons of climax."
Compositional
There are three four-measure units in this piece.
Techniques
The first four measures speli out the first five notes of the D
Aeolian scale in the right hand and the C-sharp pentatonic scale in
the left hand.
Twelve chromatic notes are introduced within a span of a seventh
with both hands in the treble clef.
The right hand and left hand altemate notes and rests.
In this arrangement, the ten notes from the two different scales fili
the chromatic space from C-sharp to A-sharp.
In m. 8, the left hand reaches the climatic point and reiterates the
note B, which is outside the C-sharp pentatonic scale.
The piece concludes not on the final, but on the left-hand long note
D-sharp. This D-sharp confrasts with the last right-hand D-natural.
Pedagogical Elements
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the
piece by using drop-lift motions and flexible wrists.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-lift motion for the staccato notes.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers to
support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer for the legato notes in m. 5
and m. 7.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Use the whole arm to support the
fingers for the fortissimo.
Key Speed and Different Touches
1. Relax muscle before and after each note. For the fortissimo
dynamics, use a faster key speed.
2. Use rapid drop-lift motion for the staccato touch.
Preparatory Exercise. Repeat mm. 1-4 five times as a warm-up
Practice Suggestions
exercise to get used to the altemation between the hands.
Ear Training
1. Review the Aeolian mode (Aeolian mode is featured also in No.
4, Gradus I) and infroduce the pentatonic scale.
2. Sing the Aeolian scale and the pentatonic scale together in an
appropriate range.
3. Group the students into pairs. Transpose the Aeolian scale and
pentatonic scale on different keys. Then notate the notes.
Altemate the two activities.
Creative Activitv
1. Suggest that students write melodies by using the pentatonic
scale and Aeolian scale or some other modal scales.
Ask them to write simple accompaniment for their melodies by
usmg different scales from those used in their melodies.
3. Have them to arrange the two parts similar to those in No. 10.

144

Table A.l 1. Gradus L No. 11


Adler's Notes
"Irregular accents in a 7/4 context: transpose this exercise to
as many different keys as possible."
Compositional
This short piece starts with the left hand mirroring the right
Techniques
hand. The imitation breaks up at the fifth beat of the second
measure.
In the first two measures, the accents fall on the first and fifth
beats. The accents shift in the third measure, retuming to the
originai pattem in the last measure.
The last three notes suggest the tonic/final and dominant/tenor
of the A Aeolian mode. The piece concludes with its final A.
Pedagogical
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation
Elements
throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions and flexible
wrists.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-lift motion for the staccato notes.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the plaving fingers
to support them.
Key Speed and Different Touches
1. Relax muscle before and after each note. For the forte
dynamic, use a faster key speed.
2. Use rapid drop-lift motion for staccato touches.
Rhythm. Study the irregular accents before playing the notes.
Practice Suggestions Preparatory Exercise
1. Repeat m. 1 five times as a warm-up exercise to get used
to the irregular l meter and the accents.
2. Practice m. 3 for the shifting accents.
3. Put accents on different beats of m. 3 for practicing the
shift of accents.
Transposition. Although the piece is with irregular accents
and irregular l meter, the simple constmetion of the lines
makes it appropriate for transposition to many other keys
easily.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the mirror writing in mm. 1 -2. (Mirror writing is
also found in No. 2, Gradus I.)
2. Suggest that students write a short piece with mirror
writing and irregular accents.

145

Table A. 12. Gradus I, No. 12


Adler's Notes
"The motion is parallel but the two hands function separately,
each in a different key."
Compositional
This piece is composed with bitonality: the C major rightTechniques
hand line versus the A-flat minor left-hand line.
There are four four-measure phrases (mm. 1-4, mm. 5-8, mm.
9-12, and mm. 13-16): AA'BB'.
The two lines are in parallel movement.
The beginning of the first two phrases outlines the triadic
chords of C in the right hand and A-flat minor in the left hand.
Pedagogical
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation
Elements
throughout the piece by using drop-hft motions, flexible
wrists, and weight transfer.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the long phrases
to allow for muscular relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the legato
lines.
Rhythm. Feelintwohalf notes for this 2 meter.
Practice Suggestions Preparatory Exercise
1. Play legato five-finger scales.
2. Practice both the major and minor five-finger pattems in
different keys.
3. Repeat the five-finger scales with crescendo and
diminuendo.
4. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by
using drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
transfer.
Ear Training
1. Review five-finger pattems in major and minor keys.
2. Group the students in pairs and altemate playing the major
and minor five-finger scales.
3. After playing the scale, ask the students to notate the
scales.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss parallel motion.
2. Ask students to write a short piece with parallel motion
similar to that used in No. 12.
3. Suggest that they use other combination of major and
minor keys such as F major and A minor, eie.

146

Table A.13. Gradus I, No. 13


Adler's Notes
"To emphasize further the independence of the hands, here is a
study of two against three. Transpose this one to many keys: and
notice that contemporary music often requires five against seven, or
eleven against thirteen, and other complicated combinations."
Compositional
This piece consists of two four-measure groups.
Techniques
In the first four measures, the eighth-note right-hand line opposes
the quarter-note left-hand pattem in piano.
Rhythmic activity increases at m. 5 and the dynamic level increases
to mezzo forte. The ascending and descending five-finger scale
notes enter again but with eighth-note pattems in the left hand
versus eighth-note friplets in the right hand.
The eighth notes tied over the bar-line at mm. 6 and 7 intensify the
rhythmic challenge.
The piece ends with the right hand on the tonic C but the left hand
on E.
Pedagogical Elements
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the
piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
fransfer.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the long phrases to
allow for muscular relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the vwists behind the playing fingers to
support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to shape the legato lines.
Practice Suggestions
Rhythm
1. Practice the rhythm alone before adding the notes.
2. Take the quarter note as the basic unit.
3. Tap eighth-note triplets with the left hand and eighth-note
duplets with the right hand.
4. Practice hands alone first, then do hands together.
5. Altemate clapping or tapping triplets and duplets between the
hands.
6. Finally play the measures as they are written.
Ear Training
1. Review five-finger pattems in major and minor keys.
2. Group the students in pairs and altemate playing the major and
minor five-finger scales.
3. After playing the scale, ask the students to notate the scales.
Transposition. The composer suggests that students franspose this
exercise to different keys.
Creative Activitv
1. Discuss different cross rhythms.
2. Ask students to write short passages including cross rhythms.

147

Table A. 14. Gradus I, No. 14


Adler's Notes
"Phrygian tune; accompaniment by an ostinato (recurring
figure)."
Compositional
This piece is in F-Phrygian.
Techniques
The piece contains a two-measure Introduction and three
sections: ABA'.
The two hands altemate the melody and ostinato
accompaniment.
The melody is always marked with a louder dynamic level
than the ostinato accompaniment.
A two-measure ostinato figure leads to the A section (mm. 36). The left-hand melody enters at m. 3. The stepwise
melodie line in the left hand is based on B-flat minor. Grace
notes occur occasionally.
In the B section (mm. 7-10) the melodie line switches to the
righi hand. In this section, the ostinato accompaniment is
built on E-flats and B-flats.
The opening melody retums in altered form in m. 11. The
right-hand ostinato is transposed.
The last section has a three-measure extension corresponding
to the opening Introduction.
The term rit. in m. 15 is introduced first time in this book.
The piece begins and ends in F. Nevertheless, the right hand
B-flat in the last measure leaves the listener with a sense of
tonality ambiguity.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The ostinato figure calls for the extension of
Elements
hands. Keep wrists flexible and follow the movement of
fingers.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the long phrases
to allow for muscular relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the legato
lines.
Voicing
1. Be aware of the switching of the melody and ostinato
between hands.
2. Balance the two lines by bringing out more of the melody.
Dynamics. Follow the expressive dynamic markings of
crescendo and diminuto to shape the lines.

148

Table A.14. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Use the ostinato pattem as a warm-up exercise.
2. Practice m. 3 five times to get used to the execution of the
grace notes.
3. Practice five-finger scales with crescendo and diminuto.
4. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by
keeping the wrists flexible.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the intervals used in the ostinato figure and the
contour of the melodie line.
2. Ask students to write different ostinati by using different
combinations of intervals.
3. Group students in pairs and have them improvise on each
other's ostinato figures.

149

Table A.15. Gradus L'Mo. 15


Adler's Notes
"The non-melodie piece is standard in our day: this one capitalizes
on the effect of sounding simultaneously two friads (from two
different keys)."
Compositional
The first two-measure group contains the basic idea of this piece.
Techniques
Each two-measure phrase presents two friads from two different
keys sounding simultaneously. The first measure has D major friad
in the right hand and D minor in the left hand.
Changing meters occur almost in every measure, except at m. 7.
Both hands are set in dose five-finger positions, moving up or
down by intervals of a second or a third. Touches of legato and
staccato are combined.
The dynamic level changes every two measures, following the
change of chords.
The constantly sounding of two different keys (polychords)
simultaneously is a twentieth-century innovation.
Pedagogical Elements
Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the
piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
fransfer. Particularly during the long-held notes, use weight
fransfer to play the remaining notes while hold the long notes
without tension.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions to allow for muscular
relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers to
support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to shape the lines in both
hands.
Preparatory Exercise
Practice Suggestions
1. Play legato broken major and minor friads in confrary motion.
2. Repeat the whole exercise, holding down notes as in No. 15.
Ear Training
1. Discuss the major and minor friads.
2. Ask students to play and then sing different triads. Focus on
parallel major and minor triads to help students become aware
of the raising and lowering of the thirds.
3. Ask students to notate the friads.
4. Play one note and ask student to build a friad on top. Then
notate the friad and franspose the triad into different registers.
5. Play a friad and ask sfridents to sing any one of the three notes.
Then notate the friad and franspose the friad into different
registers.
Creative Activitv
1. Discuss the friads in this piece.
2. Ask sttidents to write a short piece with different friads
sounding simultaneously.
^

150

Table A. 16. Gradus L No. 16


Adler's Notes
"Processing from No. 15 in the technique of sound for
sound's sake, we experiment with cluster sounds: this means
that many neighboring notes are clustered together and
sounded together to give a fascinating effect. This technique
was originated in the 1920's by the American composer
Henry Cowell. In measures 9 and 10, the symbols indicate
that within the given range as many notes as possible on black
and white keys should be stmck simultaneously. For instance
(measure 9) the right hand should first cover ali notes from F
to high F#, the left hand, from D to Eb; in measure 10, long
clusters should be played at the outer ends of the piano."
Compositional
There is a 4 + 4 + 2 phrase stmcture in this piece.
Techniques^
The first section contains two-measure phrases (mm. 1-4).
Like No. 15, in the first measure, notes are layered one on top
of another. The layered notes are performed as clusters in
m. 2.
The second section (mm. 5-8) is derived from the single
sustained successive notes of the first section.
The last two measures conclude the piece with very soft
clusters.
The piece represents the aural and visual aspects of music.
The single-note layered line contrast in texture with the thick
black cluster chords in sound and visual appearance.
The different dynamic levels also suggest the division of the
stmcture.
The quarter-note rest at beat one of m. 3 creates an effect of
sudden dynamic change from the fortissimo cluster-chords of
m. 2 to total silence.
The quarter-note rest also announces the change to a 4 meter at
m. 3 for just one measure. The i meter is resumed at the next
measure through the rest of the piece.
At m. 9, the second to the last measure, the notation of black
rectangle boxes for quarter-note cluster chords contrast again
aurally and visually with the white rectangle boxes for the
half-note cluster chords.
The piece is atonal.

' Carole, Thibodeaux, "Performance Analysis: A System for Increasing m Piano Students an
Awareness of Stylistic Interpretation as Applied to Selected Twentieth Century Piano Music, (Ph.D. diss.,
University of Oklahoma, 1976), 175-179.

151

Table A. 16. Continued.


Pedagogical

Elements

Practice Suggestions

Muscular Relaxation. Maintain mii^nilnrrplaYatiAn

throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible


wrists, and weight transfer. Particulariy during the long-held
notes, use weight transfer to play the remaining notes while
hold the long notes without tension.
Drop-Lift Motion
1. Use down-up motions to allow for muscular relaxation.
2. Drop-lift motion is also important for the clusters.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wri.sts behind the playinp finper?

to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the lines in
both hands.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Involve larger muscle
movement. Use forearm drops for the execution of clusters
and rapid bouncing motions for the staccato clusters.
Key Speed and Different Touches
1. For the forte and fortissimo dynamics, use a faster key
speed. Sink into the keys slowly for the pp and ppp.
2. Use rapid drop-lift motion for the staccato touch while use
weight transfer for the soft legato touch.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Play legato five-finger scales in contrary motion in
random keys, for example, G-minor, F-major, A-minor,
etc.
2. Repeat the whole exercise holding down notes as in
No. 16.
3. Block the five-finger scale as clusters and practice with
rapid bouncing motions.
Ear Training
1. Introduce clusters.
2. Ask students to explore clusters ali over the keyboard.
3. Ask students to notate the clusters.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss clusters used in this piece.
2. Ask students to write their own clusters.
3. Have them improvise melodies with their clusters.
4. Use the clusters in the right hand or the left hand.

152

Table A.17. Gradus I, No.


Adler's Notes
Compositional
Tecliniques

\7
"Mirror writing with shifting metric pattems."
The overall form is ABA: A- -mm. 1-6; B-mm. 7-12;
A-mm. 13-18.
The constantly shifting meters (including four different
meters) create different rhythmic units.
The rhythmic interest is further increased by the placement of
accents.
Each of the three six-measure phrases contains two subphrases. The meter altemates between l, 4, and 4 throughout
the piece.
The only exception is that the last measure of the two A
sections (m. 6 and m. 18) contain 4 meters rather than 4
meters.
The two- and three-eighth-note units are the fundamental
metrical units.
The mirror image (based on the short two- and three- eighthnote rhythmic units) is applied throughout the piece with the
two voices an octave apart.
While the two A sections feature D major five-finger
positions in the both hands, the B section contrasts the right
hand E major five-finger position with the left hand C wholetone five-finger position.
The frequent dissonant intervals on the strong metrical
positions (C in the left hand and B in the right hand) result in
a more dissonant B section.
The ending concludes with the right hand note D. The last
left hand quarter-note rest impUes its unison with the right
hand note D.

153

Table A.17. Continued.


Pedagogical

Elements

Practice Suggestions

Muscular Relaxation. Maintain muscular relaxation


throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible
wrists, and weight transfer.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions. particularly in the
two-note slurs and staccato notes, to allow for muscular
relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the legato
lines.
Fingerings. The contrary motion of the hands calls for
parallel fingerings.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Play m. 1 and m. 2 five times as a warm-up exercise for
getting used to the two-note slurs, the rhythmic pattems,
and the placement of accents.
2. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by
using drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
transfer.
Rhythm
1. Clap or tap the 3 + 2 rhythm of m. 1 five times.
2. Repeat the above activfty for m. 2 and m. 3 respectively.
3. Combine and clap or tap the rhythm of mm. 1-3.
Creative Activity
1. Review the mirror-writing technique. (Mirror writing also
is featured in No. 2 and No. 18 of Gradus I.)
2. Ask students to write a short piece using mirror writing.

154

Table A. 18. Gradus I, No. 18


'A gigue-like piece; technically, the same as No. 17."
Adler's Notes
Although No. 18 also features mirror writing and changing
Compositional
meters, its long legato lines differ from the fragmented
Techniques
rhythmic motifs used in no. 17.
With the Da Capo repeat, the piece is in AA'BAA' form.
There are two five-measure phrases in the A sections (mm. 15 and mm. 6-10) and two two-measure phrases (mm. 11-12
and mm. 13-14) in the B section.
The piece contrasts two medieval modes in the two hands:
the C lonian in the right hand and the F Lydian in the left
hand.
The quarter-note eighth-note rhythmic unit serves as the basic
metrical unit in the regular i meter throughout the piece.
The two-voice texture in the A sections reduces to a singleUne melody passing from the left hand to the right hand in the
B section.
In the last two measures, the lower voice moves from F to G
and to the unison C resembles the rV^-V7-I cadence
movement and states clearly that C is the tonai center.
Nevertheless, it is not in any sense of the traditional V -I
progression. ft occurs coincidentally within the mirror writing
texture.
_^___
Muscular
Relaxation.
Maintain
muscular relaxation
Pedagogical
throughout the piece by using drop-lift motions, flexible
Elements
wrists, and weight transfer.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-hft motions for the long phrases.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the legato lines
in both hands.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Use the whole arm to support
the fingers for the forte.
Key Speed and Different Touches. For loud dynamics, drop
faster onto the key. For softer dynamics, reduce the key
SDGCG.

Rhythm. Practice the rhythm alone before adding the notes.

155

Table A. 18. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice five-finger scales in contrary motion.
2. Play hands together in legato.
3. Add dynamics, for example, using mezzo forte, forte, and
crescendo.
4. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by
using drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
transfer.
Rhythm
1. Clap the rhythm of mm. 1 -2 to feel the different rhythmic
groups.
2. Divide the students into two groups. Altemate clapping
the different meters.
3. Repeat steps one and two for mm. 4-5.
Creative Activity
1. Review and compare the mirror-writing techniques used
in No. 2 and No. 17 in this book.
2. Ask students to write a short piece using mirror-writing
technique.

156

Table A.19. Gradus I, No. 19


Adler's Notes
"This is an example of parallelism, mirror harmony, and some
bi-tonality. The last chord can be explained as the tonic chord
with its subdominant as the bass."
Compositional
This piece is composed in a two-part form with extension.
Techniques
The A section (mm. 1-12) contains three four-measure
phrases with parallel and mirror chordal movement in the two
hands.
The B section (mm. 13-18 with mm. 19-22 as extension)
contains a melody against accompaniment texture. The right
hand uses quarter-note parallel triads in two descending
movements while the left hand accompanies it using triads in
long notes.
The piece ends with a long D major triad in the right hand and
the subdominant G in the left hand.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. This piece requires a stretch of a seventh in both
Elements
hands such as in m. 7. Use pedal to connect the chords.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the parallel
movement to allow for muscular relaxation.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the legato lines
and make the parallel motion easier.
Voicing. Voice the top notes help to reduce the muscle
tension in playing the chords.
Fingerings. Substituting fingers are suggested occasionally
within the same chord such as in m. 3 and m. 7.
Pedaling. Pedal marking is used from the beginning.

157

Table A.19. Continued.


Preparatory Exercise
1. Play legato hands together with major and minor triads in
contrary motion.
2. Use pedal and change it after each chord.
3. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by
using drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
transfer.
Ear Training
1. Review the major and minor triads. (The major and minor
triads are introduced in No. 15, Gradus /.)
2. Ask students to play and then sing different triads. Focus
on parallel major and minor triads to help students become
aware of the raising and lowering of the thirds.
3. Ask students to notate the triads.
4. Play one note and ask student to build a triad on top.
Then notate the triad and transpose the triad into different
registers.
5. Play a triad and ask students to sing any one of the three
notes. Then notate the triad and transpose the triad into
different registers.
6. Group the students into pairs and ask them to play
different triads simuhaneously in parallel motion.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the parallelism, mirror harmony, and bi-tonality
used in this piece. (Parallelism is also featured in No. 5 of
this book.)
2. Put stiadents into groups and assign each group one of the
compositional techniques mentioned above.
3. Ask them to share their pieces and combine the pieces to
form a new work.

158

Table A.20. Gradus I, No. 20


Adler's Notes
"In this final exercise of the first set many of the techniques of
the previous studies are summarized, adding the random use
of major triads. (The triads follow one another without
apparent directional reason and are sounded simultaneously
merely because the composer likes the sound.)"
The divisions of the piece can be analyzed according to the
Compositional
different applications of the techniques.
Techniques
Changing meter, canon, parallelism, ostinato pattems, and
bitonality are used.
There are a variety of meters.
Rests add complexity to the rhythm.
Various dynamic levels are used.
Different melodie pattems are included, but the triadic figure
is prominent. Triadic figures are used both vertically and
horizontally. Often the triads are set a third apart.
Imitation technique is featured at the opening. The right band
enters with a triadic figure in eighth notes on C and the figure
is aftemated with the left hand in different keys.
Blocked triads are introduced at m. 3. The triads from
different tonalities suggest parallelism and mirror writing.
The piece ends with blocked triads in both hands; a
diminished triad in the left hand is pitted against a major triad
in the right hand.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions, particularly for the
Pedagogical
staccato chords and notes, to allow for muscular relaxation.
Elements
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the lines.
Voicing. Voice the top notes help to reduce the muscle
tension in playing the chords.
Kev Speed and Different Touches
1. For loud dynamics, drop faster onto the key. For softer
dynamics, reduce the key speed.
2. Use rapid drop-lift motion to the staccato touch while use
weight fransfer for the legato passages.

159

Table A.20. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Play staccato hands together with major and minor triads
in contrary motion.
2. Play legato and staccato five-finger scales in contrary
motion up and down the keyboard for one octave.
3. Add crescendo and diminuendo to the above two
exercises.
4. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by
using drop-lift motions, flexible wrists, and weight
transfer.
Ear Training
1. Review the major and minor triads.
2. Ask students to play and then sing different triads. Focus
on parallel major and minor triads to help students become
aware of the raising and lowering of the thirds.
3. Ask students to notate the triads.
4. Play one note and ask student to build a triad on top.
Then notate the triad and transpose the triad into different
registers.
5. Play a triad and ask students to sing any one of the three
notes. Then notate the triad and transpose the triad into
different registers.
6. Group students into pairs and ask them to play different
triads simuhaneously in parallel motion.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the compositional techniques used in this piece.
2. Divide the students into groups and bave each group write
a piece based on one of the different compositional
techniques used.
3. Ask them to share their pieces and combine the pieces to
form a new work.

160

APPENDIX B
ANALYSIS TABLES FOR GRADUSII

161

Table B.l. Gradus II, No. 1


Adler's Notes
'A simple march over a pedal-point of two notes."
Compositional
The ostinato figure in the left hand unifies the whole piece, ft stays
Techniques
on the same notes, C and G, except in the last three measures. The
right hand uses fransposed versions of the same ostinato.
The left-hand pedal-point figure hints at a tonic-dominant
relationship between C and G, while the right hand wanders around
and lands on octave C at the end.
The figure in the right hand explores almost ali the twelve
chromatic notes. Throughout the piece, octaves altemate with
single notes separated by a perfect fourth/perfect fifth except in
mm. 8-10 in the right hand, where the octaves are eliminated and
the interval becomes an augmented fourth.
The A and the E-flat at mm. 8-10 form a fritone interval. The note
A (pitch class 9) is also the inversion of the note E-flat (pitch class
3).
The notes A and E-flat are significantly related to the note C that
the pedal-point figure is built on. While the note E-flat is a minor
third up from C, the note A is a minor third down from C. These
measures are set off with/ort^/wo to emphasize this passage.
The two-note pedal tone in the left hand firmly establishes a A
meter. By m. 8, the rest on beat one and the dynamic accent on beat
two may be heard as insertion of a different meter in the right hand.
As a result, a 4 in the left hand against a 4 in the right hand (entering
at the second beat of the 4 in the left hand) may be perceived.
Syncopation occurs in m. 8. While listeners expect something to
sound on beat one, the composer inserts a quarter-note rest to fai!
the expectation. Similar syncopated effect happen in the tied-notes
on the first beat of the next two measures. In the same measure, the
occurrence offortissimo shifts the regular metric accent on the
sfrong beat to the weaker beat on beat two.

162

Table B.l. Continued.


Pedagogical Elements

Practice Suggestions

Hand Span. This piece requires a minimum sfretch of an octave.


Even in those with sufficient hand size, care must be taken to keep
the muscle relaxed before and after playing the octaves.
Confraction and Extension of the Hands. The pedal-point figure is
an exercise for extending and contracting the hands. The single
note falling between octaves encourages the hands to relax after the
octave sfretch.
Hand Relaxation
1 Emphasize muscular relaxation and hand confraction before and
after playing the octaves.
2. The frequent/orte snd fortissimo passages sfress the muscle and
tendons of the hands. Use a drop-lift motion to execute the
octave-to-single-note pattem particularly in the forte and
fortissimo passages (for example in mm. 11-14 in the right
hand).
Voicing
1. Voicing to the top note of the octaves minimizes sfress on the
hands, particularly during the forte d.nd fortissimo passages.
2. Play the right hand louder than the left hand. (For example, at
m. 2, the right hand is marked/ort and the left hand mezzo
forte)
Preparatory Exercise
1. Isolate practice of mm. 2-5 for staccato and mm.22-23 for
legato. Release the notes early in legato passages to reduce
tensions in the hands.
2. Play the ostinato pattem on C-G four times and proceed
similarly up a step each time for one octave and then do
descending.
3. The pattem is played both staccato and legato.
4. 'When the hands get used to the pattem and the different
touches, assign different articulations between hands as those in
mm. 11-12 and mm. 19-20.
5. Start with hands alone practice. Proceed to hands together
practice in small sections.
6. Begin with a slower tempo and gradually move the tempo up.
Steadv Pulse. March while the teacher or another sfrident plays the
left hand to intemalize the steadiness of the pulse.
Creative Activitv
1. Assist students in creating their own ostinato figures based on
the octave-to-single-note pattem.
2. Group sfridents in pairs. Take ttims improvising over the
ostinato.

163

Table B.2. Gradus IL No. 2


Adler's Notes
"Another pedal-point harmonization, to create a piece of an
entirely different character. There is also an element of
polymodality present. Be sure that no down-beats are
emphasized."
Compositional
This piece is in ABA form.
Techniques
In the A section (mm. 1-15), the C# in the left hand suggests
E-Dorian while the right hand suggests E-Aeolian. A pedal
point on E appears throughout section A.
In the B section (mm. 16-23), the note B-flat in the left hand
hints at D-Aeolian and the right hand implies F-Lydian. The
pedal point changes to D for the entire B section.
When the A section (mm. 24-35) retums, the E-Dorian is
shifted to the right hand and the left hand shifts to E-Aeolian.
The time signature altemates between and , except in m. 17
(remaining in 4), mm. 20-21 (t changes to 4), and m. 22 where
the 4 " 4 reverses to 4 " 4 continues to the end of the piece.
The contrasting moods of No. 1 and No. 2 demonstrate well
Adler's flexibility in using the same compositional device.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. A stretch of seventh is required.
Elements
Fingering. No fingerings are provided. The teacher may
assist students with proper fingerings. For example, in the left
hand, while the fifth finger is holding the long note E (or D),
and the second finger plays the note C# (or Bb during the D
pedal point), the thumb migrates freely under the second
finger to play the note B (or A during the D pedal point)
below the note of the second finger or the note D (or C during
the D pedal point) above the note of the second finger note.
Voicing. Bring out the right-hand line and play the left hand
softer according to the given dynamic markings.
Weight Transfer. Produce a relaxed legato tone by using
weight transfer.
Drop-Lift Motion. Include down-up motions in phrasings:
Drop at the beginning of phrases and lift at the end of phrases.
This enables the production of a gentle legato tone and
beautifully shaped phrases.
Pedaling. Although there is no pedal marking, use the pedal
to beautify the sound. Discuss with students when to change
pedalat least once at every measure. Train the ear to be the
guide.

164

Table B.2. Continued.


Practice Suggestions
I Rhythm
1. Feel the motion of the melodie line and the freedom of the
rhythm by singing the melody, drawing the melodie
contour line, and stepping according to the rhythmic
pattem.
2. Sing the melody again and add dynamics.
Ear Training. Introduce the Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, and
Aeohan modes one at a time:
1. Play the mode for the student several times.
2. Sing the mode together.
3. Guide the students to figure out the location of the whole
tones and the half tones in the modes.
4. Compare it with a more familiar scale such as D minor, E
minor, A minor, and E major.
5. Ask the student to play the mode on the keyboard starting
with various pitches.
6. Put students in pairs and have them play the modes for
each other.
7. Ask students to notate the notes on a staff.
8. Combine the singing and playing together.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Repeat the first five measures as a warm-up exercise to
practice weight transfer. Use the same pattem in both
hands. Practice hands alone first, then hands together.
2. Transpose them up or down sequentially by scale step.
3. Play the pattem again with pedal. Practice the timing of
the pedal change. Change the pedal on the beat at every
measure.
Creative Activity
1. Group stiidents into pairs. Provide a pedal-point figure
similar to the one in No. 2. Have the students take tums
playing the pedal-point part and an improvised part.
2. Have students choose a mode. Take tums improvising a
single-note right hand melody.

165

Table B.3. Gradus II, No. 3


Adler's Notes
"An exuberant combination of clusters, parallel motion ideas, and
large keyboard range."
Compositional
The piece consists of three sections in the form of AAB Coda.
Techniques
Section A is from mm. 1-8. ft is repeated in mm. 8-15.
Section B contains mm. 16-19. A codetta concludes the piece
from mm. 20-24.
The melodie fourths of the opening are inverted in mm. 5-6,
13-14, and in the last two measures.
A textual change occurs in m. 16 and it announces the
beginning of the B section. The right-hand is in parallel
fourths.
The piece is mostly in , except at mm. 16-19, where the meter
changes to i.
Pedagogical
Combination of Staccato and Legato. The piece altemates
Elements
staccato and legato playing. A bouncing lifting motion of the
wrists is necessary for the staccato touches. Weight transfer is
important in performing the legato lines.
Rapid Shifts
1. Locate the quick shifts, for example, in the right hand at
the second half of m. 2 and in the left hand from mm. 2-3.
2. Practice the shift alone away from the keyboard on the lid
of the piano or silently on the keyboard to get used to the
shift.
3. Block out the pattems per measure on the keyboard.
Fingerings. Pian fingering abead with students, particularly in
the chord clusters of mm. 1-2; and in the widespread pattems
of mm. 3-4. Clusters can be played with non-adjacent fingers.

166

Table B.3. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Discuss clusters of m. 1 and the parallel motion of m. 16
with the students.
2. Ask them to locate the clusters and the parallel motion in
the piece.
Encourage them to make some new clusters, and explore
parallel motion with them.
4. Suggest them to play the clusters in different registers.
5. Ask them to notate the clusters.
Tempo. Start with a slower tempo (half-note = 50 or quarter
note = 100), and gradually work up to the suggested "as fast
as possible" tempo by the composer (half-note = 100).
Rhythm. Group students in pairs. Altemate playing the notes
as written and clapping or counting the rhythm. The teacher
may play the notes as written while the students clap, count,
or/and walk the rhythm.
Note Leaming
1. Figure out the notes of the cluster chords. Examine the
treble ledger-line notes at mm. 3-4.
2. Block the notes and play them in different octaves.
3. Point out the repetitions, such as the repeat of the A
section at mm. 8-15.
Creative Activity
1. Create clusters and play them ali over the keyboard.
2. Play the clusters to various rhythmic pattems.

167

Table B.4. Gradus II, No. 4


Adler's Notes
"This contrapuntai pastorale is reminiscent of the style of Paul
Hindemith. ft is quite diatonic even though most of the
chromatic notes are utilized. Notice that it does not establisb
a traditional 'key' but polarizes toward a note which we cali
the 'tonai center.' Thus, despite strong dissonance, there is a
naturai closing feeling in the cadences. When performing it,
be sure to feel toward what note a certain phrase 'pulls' so
that the changes in tonai center will make sense to the listener.
This kind of organization has been called pandiatonicism, i.e.,
the use of the diatonic scale as basic tonai material, without
harmonic restrictions inherent in the classical (Haydn,
Mozart) diatonic style."
Compositional
The stmcture of the piece is marked by the recurrence of the
Techniques
motif.
The piece is basically a contrapuntai work in two voices.
The first section (mm. 1-8) features quasi-imitative passages.
The right hand brings in the opening theme on the note A that
serves as the dominant to the tonic D. The left hand imttates
the theme down a fifth for a measure and ends on the
dominant of D-flat. It continues with a new theme at the
upbeat to m. 5 on the tonic D-flat. This new theme is treated
in imitation.
The second section begins at m. 9 with a modified version of
the theme in the left hand in transposition. The right hand
brings in material based on the theme in the accompaniment
part. There is no recali of the second theme from the first
section.
The third section repeats the opening theme in the right hand
in m. 18. The second theme is transposed and modified in m.
22. The left hand provides a contrapuntai line as
accompaniment.
The codetta begins with the theme in the right hand at m. 28.
The last four measures feature the long pedal tone on A and
the right hand also settles on A.
The piece remains in the middle register for most of the time.
The two hands are only a second apart at m. 18, but the gap
between the hands becomes wider and wider. At the end, the
left hand holds a long A2 and the right hand holds the octave
A4 and A5.' This provides a contrasting effect to the
beginning and ending, visually and aurally.
' Al represents the pitch A at the lowest register of the keyboard. A2 is an octave above Al. C4
is middle C.

168

Table B.4. Continued.


Pedagogical
Elements

Practice Suggestions

Hand Span
1. There are chords in thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, sevenths,
and octaves. Do not assign this piece if hand size is a
problem.
2. Even for larger hands, keep the hands relaxed. For
example, use drop-lift motions and flexible wrists to
maintain relaxation.
Voicing. Bring out the two independent lines by shaping the
two parts separately.
Weight Transfer. Follow the direction of the lines and shape
the lines by using weight transfer.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should line up behind the fingers to
support them.
Fingerings. No fingerings are provided. Pian fingerings with
students. Different shapes and sizes of hands may require
different sets of fingerings.
Ear Training
1. Play short rhythmic pattems found in this piece and ask
students to repeat the pattems by clapping or verbalizing
(for example ta-ta-ta, etc).
2. Play any short melodie pattems in a five-finger range and
ask students to repeat them at the keyboard. Then bave
the students to transpose them in different keys.
3. Play one of the two imitative melodie lines and ask the
student to play the other line. In group lessons, divide
students into two groups and bave each group play one of
the lines. Have them sing the lines if possible.
Note Leaming
1. Divide the piece into four-bar phrases.
2. Leam the notes hands separately.
3. Block the notes.
Other Literature
1. Practice some pieces from J. S. Bach's Two-Part
Inventions to explore more two-part contrapuntai pieces.
2. fri Gradus III, No. 14 is another piece written in
counterpoint.
3. Some other easy contrapuntai pieces recommended are,
for example, Alee Rowley's Five Miniature Preludes and
Fugues.
Creative Activity. Ask students to write short motifs and
extend them into short pieces using different contrapuntai
devices such as canonie imitation and inversion.

169

Table B.5. Gradus II, No. 5


Adler's Notes

Compositional
Techniques

Pedagogical Elements

"A parallel motion free canon based on fifths and on fifths


confracting to thirds."
This piece contains four four-measure groups.
The first and third groups feature the free canon and the second and
fourth groups highlight the parallel fifths.
No tonai center is suggested.
DrOD-Lift Motion. Execute twn-nnte slurs (the fiftbs rnntrnr-tina tn

thirds) with drop-lift motions. Also, use the drop-lift motion for the
three-note and four-note slurs.

Practice Suggestions

Flexible Wrists. The passages in parallel fifths at mm S-V and mm

13-15 require flexible wrist motions. Line up the wrists behind the
playing fingers to support them. Hands should remain relaxed
without any stiffhess at ali times.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to shape the lines,
particularly during the parallel fifths.
Pedaling. Although there are no pedal markings. use quarter- or
half-pedals for the parallel fifth passages to connect the notes.
Change the pedal on every beat.
Preparatory Exercise on Slurs
1. Practice m. 1 to get used to the drop-lift motion one hand at a
time. Pay attention to the release of tension after the drop
motion. The lift motion should be done by lifting from the
forearm and following through with the wrist.
2. Transpose the pattem to many different notes.
Preparatory Exercise on Parallel Fifths
1. Practice the parallel fifths at mm. 6-7 to get used to the drop-lift
motion, weight fransfer, and the fingerings with the right hand
alone.
2. Practice m. 5. for the parallel fifths with the left hand alone.
3. It is less sfretchy to finger the fifths using 1-5 exclusively or
altemating 1-4 and 1-5.
4. Transpose the pattem to various key levels.
Ear Training
1. Review the interval of a fifth. (No. 5, Gradus I also includes
fifths.)
2. Play a note to the students and ask them to sing the note a fifth
above or below.
3. Play the interval of a fifth and ask the students to sing the upper
or the lower note. Prepare each sfrident to be able to sing either
note.
Creative Activity
1. Give the students a motive or have them write their own.
2. Ask them to write a canon with the motive. May assign
different interval to the students. For example, canon at a third,
a fifth, or an octave.

170

Table B.6. Gradus II, No. 6


Adler's Notes
"Reminds one of the 'primitive' sounds found in some
peasant dances popularized by Bla Bartk. Note that the
cluster F, Gb, G-natural, Ab, A-natural, Bb, loses its dissonant
quality by repetition."
Compositional
This piece contains four 4-measure groups with a 2-measure
introduction and a 5-measure codetta at the end.
Techniques
The left hand F-G-A triplet cluster and the right hand Bb-AbGb triplet cluster serve as the basic pattem throughout the
piece.
This piece is an elude for the weak fourth and fifth fingers and
features the 4"^ 3'^, and 2"*^ fingers of both hands in contrary
motion.
Circular Motion
Pedagogical
1. Play the triplet figures as three-note slurs. Use circular
Elements
motion to execute the triplet cluster.
2. Drop on the fifth finger for the long melodie notes. Relax
the muscle before continuing the rapidly repeating triplet
figures.
Flexible Wrists. Keep the wrists flexible to support the rapid
movement of the 4-3-2 fingers. This is also important for the
fortissimo passages.
Relaxation
1. Hands should remain relaxed at ali times.
2. Relax immediately after playing the long notes with the
fifth fingers.
3. The intervals between the fifth finger and the tiiplet figure
sometimes get quite large, such as in the first half of both
m. 8 and m. 10. Substitute 3-2-1 for 4-3-2 whenever it is
appropriate. Or use 3-2-1 throughout instead of the
suggested 4-3-2.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer in the rapid repetition
ofthe triplet
figures.
^

171

Table B.6. Continued.


Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice the first two measures five times to get used to
the drop-lift motion, weight transfer, wrist flexibility, and
rapid movement. This exercise also prepares the ears for
the clusters.
2. Start with putting the left hand an octave lower for a more
comfortable position. Later go to the position as written.
3. Start slowly and increase the tempo.
4. Do hands together to coordinate the contrary motion
passages.
5. Add interest to the exercise by altering the rhythm: using
dotted rhythm. For example, instead of having ali tripletseighth notes, change the triplets-eigbths into dottedeighth-sixteenth-eighth flgure.
Ear Training
1. Explore the clusters in block form.
2. Play the clusters up and down the keyboard.
3. Do the clusters in spread out form in contrary motion as
similar to those in No. 6.
Creative Activity
1. Group the students in pairs. Ask them to come up with
their own three- or four-note clusters.
2. Each pair should take tums playing thefr clusters in a
"conversational" manner. They should also try sounding
the clusters simultaneously while exploring the full range
ofthe keyboard.

172

Table B.7. Gradus II, No. 1


Adler's Notes
"Parallelism again; this time the intervals are sevenths and
fifths."
Compositional
This piece contains four five-measure phrases and ends with a
Techniques
four-measure coda.
In the first phrase, the right hand brings in the melody in
parallel sevenths. In the second phrase at m. 6, the opening
material is repeated but the left hand provides an
accompaniment in parallel sevenths. In the third phrase (m.
11), the melody is recalled in the left hand in single notes
while the right hand introduces a counter-melody in parallel
fifths. The fourth phrase starts at m. 16 with the right-hand
repeating the counter-melody and the left hand bringing back
the parallel sevenths.
The movement sounds very dissonant.
The frequent altemation of 4 and meters appears throughout
the piece.
There is no tonic-dominant relationship but the melody
suggests C as the tonai center.
Hand Span. If the student cannot reach a seventh
Pedagogical
comfortably, do not assign this piece.
Elements
Voicing
1. Voicing to the top melody note minimizes stress on the
hands, particularly during the parallel sevenths.
2. Bring out the melody and play the accompaniment softer.
Hand Relaxation. Emphasize muscular relaxation by
maintaining a light bouncing movement.
Drop-Lift Motion. For staccato playing, use a quick drop-lift
motion. Be sure to start at the key surface, not in the air.
Flexible Wrists. The parallel motion chords require flexible
wrist motions.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the lines,
particulariy during the parallel motion passages.
Rhythm. Prepare students for the aftemating meters by
clapping the rhythm. Practice the notes at a later stage.
Pedaling. Use the pedal whenever there is a need for the
connection between chords. Change the pedal at every beat.

173

Table B.7. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Repeat m. 1, m. 11, and m. 16, five times each, as warmup exercises.
2. Practice the exercises both staccato and legato. Use the
pedal with the legato practice.
3. Begin with a slower tempo and gradually increase the
tempo as the hands get used to the movement.
Rhythm
1. Study the rhythm ofmm. 1-5.
2. Clap, count, or/and walk the rhythm several times.
3. Conduci the first five measures while the teacher plays.
Ear Training
1. Review the interval of the fifth and introduce the interval
ofthe seventh.
2. Play a note for the student and ask him/her to sing the note
a fifth above or below. Do the same exercise with the
sevenths.
3. Play the interval of a fifth/seventh and ask students to sing
the upper or the lower note. Prepare them to be able to
sing either note.
Creative Activity
1. Ask students to write some short pieces using the intervals
of fifths and sevenths.
2. Use devices such as canon and imitation.

174

Table B.8. Gradus IL No. 8


Adler's Notes
"8-11. Exercises eight through eleven introduce the student to
the twelve-tone and serial technique. This important
influential technique was originated by Amold Schnberg.
Basically it was an attempi to bring order into non-tonal
music. Twelve-tone music is a system of composition in
which the twelve chromatic tones are considered equally
important and are related one to another rather than to any one
centrai note. Serial technique is the organization or
serialization ofthe twelve chromatic notes (or more recently,
any number of notes) in a specific order (row) and working
with them in such an ordered fashion.
A row square has been provided before number eight. If
read from left to right it will give one the originai or prime
order ofthe notes. When read from top to bottom the
inversion ofthe originai will resuft; from right to left, the
retrograde (or backward motion); from bottom to top, the
retrograde inversion. The mles ofthe use ofthe row are that
it can be used starting on any one ofthe twelve chromatic
notes and in these four permutations ofthe row. No note
may be repeated until ali the other notes have been used, but
octave transpositions are allowed as are immediate repeats of
the same note as many times as desired and, to some extent,
changing-notes such as E, D, E, and then continuing the row.
These seem strici and limiting mles, but they are no more
binding to a composer than any ofthe mles in traditional
harmony and counterpoint, and systems bave helped
composers create a tremendously diverse repertoire of
music."
Compositional
No. 8 provides the twelve-tone square used in pieces 8A to
Techniques
11.2
The prime row consists ofi F-D-Ab-Eb-A-F#-Bb-B-E-C#-GC.
The tone row contains three tritones: D-Ab, Eb-A, and C#-G.
Other intervals included are: major 6th (F-D, A-F#, and EC#), perfect 5th (Ab-Eb), diminished 4th (F#-Bb), minor 2nd
(Bb-B), and perfect 4th (B-E and G-C). Although the
consonant intervals (major 6th, perfect 5th, and perfect 4th)
altemate with the dissonant intervals in the row (tritones,
diminished 4th, and minor 2nd), the overall am-al effect is
dissonant.
^ There are different ways of labeling the mafrix. In his book Post-Tonal Harmony, Sfraus
suggests labeling the mafrix by using pitch-class integers. For example, since the prime row in this piece

175

Table B.8. Continued.


Pedagogical

Elements

Practice Suggestions

Pian a series of lessons to introduce twelve-tone pieces.


During the first lesson, introduce and discuss the basic ideas
of twelve-tone technique.
Have the students play the prime row several times to get
familiar with the sound.
Have students take tums in playing the four permutations of
the row and notate them.
Study one permutation at one time. Review old concepts and
introduce new ones during the following lessons.
Creative Activity
1. Ask the students to create their own tone rows.
2. Start with tone rows consisting of just two notes, working
gradually up to twelve in the fiture lessons.
3. Add rhythm to the rows.
4. Ask them to play their rows.
5. Discuss ways of altering the row, for example, through
octave transposition.
6. Work out the four permutations for each row.
7. Ask them to write a short piece with their rows.

starts with F and the pitch-class integer of F is 5, the prime row is labeled as P5. Under this labeling, C is
PO, C#isPl,etc.

176

Table B.9. Gradus II, No. SA


Adler's Notes
"Jagged and pointillistic melodies are often characteristic of this
style; therefore, a preliminary exercise has been provided. Ali notes
are of equal length. It is suggested that the student begin to practice
this very slowly and then accelerate stili keeping the notes equal in
duration. In order to add interest each note may be given a different
dynamic."
Compositional
No. SA states the twelve notes of PI and of 112. The twelfth note
Techniques
(C) is both the last note of PI and the first note of 112.
Adler explains how to use or practice this exercise. The idea is to
get familiar with the tone row and its permutations.
Pedagogical Elements
Eye-Hand Coordination
1. Use eyes to spot the notes first. The hands should respond
immediately to find the notes.
2. Because ofthe scattered location ofthe notes, the piece may
also be used as an exercise for sight-reading or eye-hand coordination.
Reading Exercise
1. Write exercises with notes scattered around the staff.
2. Ask student to spot them as fast as possible at the keyboard.
3. Put students in pairs or small groups.
4. Altemate between playing and notating a wide range of notes
scattered over the entire keyboard.
5. Repeat steps two to four with the notes written in No. Sa.
Practice Suggestions
Note Leaming
1. Follow Adler's suggestions about leaming the notes.
2. Assign different dynamics to each note. This not only increases
the interest ofthe exercise, but also prepares students for the
constantly changing dynamics in No. SE.
3. Play the notes in pairs in dotted rhythms. For example, play
short-long pairs. Then reverse the rhythm into long-short pairs.
4. After mastering step 2, add one note at a time to make them
into exercises of three-note groups and four-note groups.
5. Suggested rhythmic groupings are: short-long-short, longshort-long, etc.
Ear Training
1. Write the tone row on the board.
2. Play the twelve notes in pairs randomly and ask students to
identify the intervals visually.
3. Repeat step two. Ask students to identify the intervals aurally.
Creative Activity. Repeat the activities suggested under Table B.S.

177

Table B.IO. Gradus II, No. 8B


Adler's Notes
"This is a little scherzo using the full range ofthe keyboard in
the Anton Webem pointillistic technique. Notice the silence
or rest used as a rhythmic device."
Compositional
The piece is constmcted in ABA' form: PI is used for the A
Techniques
section,^ and RIIO for the B section. PI retums in the A'
section.
Although PI retums at m. 8, the placement ofthe notes and
rhythm is different. Rests are used as a rhythmic device.
They create a syncopation effect and combine with other notevalues to form inconsistent rhythmic pattems.
The constantly changing dynamics, the inconsistent rhythmic
pattems, the fast tempo, and the scattered notes ali contribute
to the difficulty ofthe piece.
Rhythm. Identify the variety ofthe different rhythmic
Pedagogical
pattemshow different and similar they are. For example,
Elements
compare the second halves ofmm. 1, 2, and 5.
Frequent Shifts. Prepare the shifting from one note to another
by reading abead.
Key Speed and Different Touches
1. Relax muscle before and after each dynamic. For loud
dynamics, drop faster onto the key. For softer dynamics,
reduce the key speed.
2. Use rapid drop-lift motions to the staccato touches and use
slower drop-lift motions for the soft legato touches.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Use the whole arm to support
the fingers in playing loud passages.
^

' PI is the first row reading from left to right in the mafrix on No.

178

Table B.IO. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Play the prime row within an octave range and ask
students to identify the intervals.
2. Group the students in pairs and bave them take tums
playing the prime row in different octaves.
Rhythm
1. Take the eighth note as the basic unit.
2. Divide every 4-beat measure into two halves.
3. Clap or tap the rhythm as written.
4. Add dynamics in clapping or tapping.
Preparatory Exercise
Practice slowly, two measures at a lime.
Repeat each note or pairs of notes five times to get used to
the touch and dynamics.
3. After mastering the measures in a slower tempo, gradually
play up to tempo.
Note Leaming
1. Help students to identify the rows. Ask them to check
their findings with Adler's indications.
2. Discuss with students how the same notes from the same
tone row could be presented in different ways by using
octave transposition. Enharmonic renotation can also
make the notes look different in the score.
3. Repeat the steps suggested in the Preparatory Exercise,
except practice the measures in larger units-mm. 1-4,
mm. 5-7, and mm. 8-10.

179

Table B.l 1. Gradus II, No. 9


Adler's Notes
"Part ofthe row is a pedal accompaniment to a slow melody.
The repeating notes establisb a kind of polarity, so that one
note may sound like a tonic."
Compositional
This piece is more legato contrasting with the staccato touches
Techniques
in No. 8B.
Different permutations ofthe row are used than in No. 8B. In
terms of usage of materials, this one gets more complicated
involving the prime row, the retrograde, and the retrograde
inversion.
The first half ofthe piece features a melody-accompaniment
texture.
The second half ofthe piece, from m. 10 to the end,
introduces a special kind of melody that Adler calls a "texture
melody" in No. 3, Gradus III. Notes are stacked up layer
upon layer. A tbree-clef staff is introduced.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The largest stretch in this piece is a seventh at m.
6. Hands should be able to comfortably reach a seventh in
Elements
order to produce a relaxed legato tone.
Voicing. Bring out the melody and soften the
accompaniment. The dynamic markings reinforce the
difference between the two different parts.
Weight Transfer. Follow the direction ofthe lines and shape
the lines by using weight transfer, particular for the two-note
accompaniment right hand.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Fingerings. Since no fingerings are provided, pian fingerings
with students. The different shapes and sizes of hands may
require different sets of fingerings. Use thumb to project
tenor melody.
Contraction and Extension of Hands. Both the right-hand
accompaniment and the left-hand melody cali for extending
and contracting ofthe hands. hi the right hand, drop weight
lightly to produce the pianissimo and maintain relaxation of
the muscle. In the left hand, keep a flexible wrist and use
weight transfer for the melody.
Pedaling. Use pedal from m. 10 to the end to aid the legato
and also for beautifving the sound. Use half- or quarter-pedal.

180

Table B.ll. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Use m. 1 as a warm-up exercise. Repeat the pattem five
times to get used to weight transfer and contraction and
extension ofthe hand.
2. Use the first four left-hand melodie notes as a warm-up
exercise for the left hand. Repeat the first four notes to
practice flexible wrist, weight transfer, and contraction
and extension of hand.
Ear Training
1. Play P6, P7, P11, R6, R7, and RI 1 since they are the
permutation rows used in this piece.
2. Put students in pairs and have them to play these rows for
each other.
Creative Activitv
1. Ask students to use the tone rows that they create in No. 8.
2. Guide them to constmct their own matrix.
3. Ask them to pick three rows to write another short piece.
4. Suggest that they do something similar to No. 9: use the
row to constmct the melody or set part ofthe row in the
accompaniment.

181

Table B. 12. GradusILNo. IO


Adler's Notes

Compositional
Techniques

Pedagogical Elements

"A twelve-tone piece with shifting meters. Keep the eighth-note


Constant."
The piece can be divided into three sections, ali of which begin in a
4 meter (m. 1, m. 6, and m. 11). The opening figure, the foureighth-note unit, retums every time with the 4 meter.
This is a rather challenging piece: the Constant shifting meters, the
frequentiy changing of rhythmic pattems, the shifting of registers,
the different articulation and touches, and the rather fast tempo ali
confribute to the difficulty ofthe piece.
At the same time, the above elements make this a fun piece to play.
The meters changes at every measure except m. 2. The meter shifts
between 4, i, 4, l, i, and 4.
The piece uses more permutations; besides prime row, it also uses
inversion, refrograde, and retrograde inversion.
Hand Span. The last two chords in this piece require a left-hand
three-note chord involving a sixth, and a right-hand four-note chord
including a seventh. Hands should be able to comfortably reach
these intervals. Otherwise, do not assign this piece.
Rhythm. Identify the different rhythmic pattems and the changing
meters. The eighth-note rests confribute to the syncopation and
make the rhythm more challenging.
Rapid Shifts. Prepare the shifts from one register to another,
particularly in the left hand, by reading ahead.
Kev Speed and Different Touches
1. Relax muscle before and after each dynamic change. For loud
dynamics, drop faster onto the key. For softer dynamics,
reduce the key speed.
2. Use rapid drop-lift motions for the loud staccato touches and
use slower drop-lift motions for the soft legato touches.
Lareer Muscle Involvement. Line up the arm behind the playing
fingers to support them.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe fingers
to support them.
Drop-Lift Motion. The tenuto and staccato touches cali for drop-lift
motions.
Confraction and Extension of Hands. There are moments of hand
confraction (for example, in the second half of m. 1 and m. 2) and
moments of arm involvement (m. 3). Maintain the relaxation ofthe
muscle by following the direction ofthe notes.

182

Table B. 12. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Play the rows used in this piece: PIO, 17,111, RI, RI2, and
RI5.
2. Group students in pairs and make them take tums playing the
different permutations to get used to the sound.
3. Identify the intervals used in the different permutations.
Rhythm
1. Take the eighth note as the basic unit.
2. Clap or tap the rhythm. Leam the rhythm by groups of eighthnote units: at m. 1, the four eighth-note groups; at m. 3, the two
three eighth-note groups; at m. 5, the three eighth-note groups;
and at m. 7, the two three-eighth-note groups.
3. Add dynamics in clapping or tapping.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Make a short warm-up exercise from the confrary motion
movement at m. 1 by playing m. 1 and transposing it up or
down sequentially by steps (see the example below). Put a
fourth in the right hand and a sixth in the left hand (do without
accidentals).

^t-'J^J

^^e!e?

acziM

Piano

5^

2. For practice purposes, do both staccato and legato.


Note Leaming
1. Block the notes every half measure.
2. Add dynamics to practice changing the key speed.
Creative Activitv
1. Review the constmetion of row squares.
2. Ask them to pick three or more rows to write a piece combining
confrary motion, sfretch of hands, arm involvement, and
changing meters.

183

Table B.13. Gradus ILNo. 11


Adler's Notes

Compositional
Techniques

Pedagogical Elements

"An invention or short confrapuntal piece based largely on the


refrograde of the row. Quite a few deviations from the row are
perpetrated. The student should be encouraged to spot these. If
possible, analyze the entire piece numerically."
The piece starts with a quasi-fugato-like opening using RI as the
theme.
At m. 4, the left hand answers the right hand theme using R2.
There is no retum ofthe theme until m. 23 when the right hand
brings in the RI theme. This time the RI theme is accompanied by
R12 in the left hand.
The overall rhythmic pattem is either in groups of two or groups of
four. The only exception is m. 26: a left-hand eighth-note friplet
against a right-hand four-sixteenth figure.
The two confrapuntal lines explore a broad range ofthe keyboard.
Hand Span. The piece calls for different levels of hand sfretches
from a fifth to a seventh. The opening theme includes intervals of a
seventh, a sixth, a fifth, and a fourth. Also, the right-hand threenote chord includes a seventh at m. 27 and a seventh in the left hand
at m. 25. This piece may not be assigned if hand size is a problem.
Voicing. Bring out the balance between the two confrapuntal lines
by shaping the individuai voices.
Weight Transfer. Follow the direction ofthe lines and shape the
lines by using weight fransfer.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the fingers to support
them.
Fingerings. Pian and discuss the fingerings with students,
particularly for the wide skips, disjunct intervals, and repeated
notes. The different shapes and sizes of hands may require different
set of fingerings.
Confraction and Extension of Hands. The disiunct lines involve
extension and confraction ofthe hands. Maintain muscular
relaxation by applying weight fransfer, flexible wrists, and drop-lift
motions.

184

Table B.13. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Review ali the deviations from the refrograde of the row since
No. 11 is based mostly on RI.
2. Group students in pairs and have them take tums playing the
different deviations to get familiar with the sound.
Rhythm
1. Divide students into groups.
2. One group claps the right-hand rhythm and the other group
does the left hand. Switch the parts.
3. Practice the three-against-four pattem at m. 26.
4. Have students do the following individually:
a. Set a pulse and clap in three for several times. Then
clap in four for several times.
b. Tap both rhythmic groups on the table with the group
of four in the right hand and group of three in the left
hand.
e. Each hand should tap its rhythmic group for many
times till the tapping becomes secure.
d. Tap the two different groups together.
e. Then play the three-against-four at the keyboard.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Repeat m. 4 and m. 5 of the right-hand as a warm-up exercise
for the right hand to get familiar with the sfretching of hands.
2. Repeat m. 8 ofthe left-hand line, leaving out the last sixteenth
note, to form an exercise for the left hand.
Note Leaming
1. Block notes in groups of two or four.
2. Practice as written the notes in groups of four or six. Hands
should form naturai gestures according to the shape ofthe
melodie pattems.
3. Later, practice phrase by phrase.
Other Literature
1. Practice some pieces from J. S. Bach's Two-Part Inventions to
explore more two-part confrapuntal pieces.
2. Also, Gradus II, No. 4 and Gradus ///, No. 14 are pieces written
in counterpoint.
3. Other easy confrapuntal pieces recommended are, for example.
Alee Rowley's Five Miniature Preludes and Fugues.
4. Guide students to discuss the differences between different
confrapuntal pieces such as how they sound or how different
the rhj^hm is.
Creative Activitv
1. Review the constmetion of the row square.
2. Ask students to write a passage based largely on the prime row
or any one ofthe permutations.

185

Table B.14. Gradus II, No. 12


Adler's Notes
' A non-tonal waltz melody accompanied by clusters. Ali
twelve tones are used, but not serially. The repetition ofthe
C-natural at the end makes the note function as a tonic final."
Compositional
This piece is in two sections with a two-measure Introduction
Techniques
and a four-measure extension at the end.
The first section starts at m. 3. The left hand begins the
melody on C.
The second section (mm. 12-18) transposes the first phrase of
the first section a half step down. There is no recali ofthe
second half ofthe first section.
This piece features a non-tonal melody. It contains both
conjunct and disjunct lines. Some parts are chromatic while
some parts are diatonic.
The ending repeats the note C within sections of F-sharp and
C-sharp. The tritone interval that formed by C and F-sharp is
emphasized and it challenges the repetition ofthe note C as
the tonic.
Il can be considered as a non-serial atonal piece. At the same
time, Adler states in the notes that the ending repeats the C
several times to suggest it as the tonai final.
Pedagogical
Voicing. Bring out the melody and soften the cluster
Elements
accompaniment. The d5miamic markings reinforce these
differences.
Weight Transfer
1. Use weight transfer to shape the left-hand melody and
produce a legato tone.
2. Follow the contour ofthe line to shape the phrases.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe
fingers to support them.
Fingerings
1. Fingerings are only provided for the two sets of right-hand
clusters and for the starting note ofthe long legato lefthand melody. Pian the rest with students.
2. An aftemative fingering for the second cluster F-G-A-B in
the right hand is 1-2-3-4. ft may be easier to play than the
suggested 1-3-4-5.
Contraction and Extension of Hands. The left-hand melodie
line features the contraction and extension ofthe hands. The
intervals range from a second to a seventh. Maintain
relaxation of muscle to produce a warm legato tone.

186

Table B.14. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Repeat mm. 3-5 ofthe left-hand line five times, taking C
up to C-sharp and leaving out the last two notes at m. 5, as
a warm-up exercise for the left hand.
2. Make mm. 7-8 a hand-extension exercise for the left hand.
Transpose the pattem up or down sequentially by steps.
3. Play the right hand cluster up and down the keyboard in
different octaves. Maintain a light drop-lift movement.
Creative Activity
1. Divide students into two groups.
2. Have one group create a simple cluster accompaniment
pattem.
3. Have the other group improvise a legato melodie line.
4. Switch the activity.

187

Table B.15. Gradus II, No. 13


Adler's Notes
"Spacial (or spatial) notation is a kind of reaction to the
complicated notational systems that pit, for example, 13 notes in
one hand to be played against 15 notes in the other ali in the span
of one beat. The composer gives the exact time span of one unit
or beat (in this case, set the metronome on 60). Ali notes with
lines after them are held until the termination of that line while ali
others are of a short duration played where they are spacially
placed within the unit; two or more cue notes [four 16' notes] are
to be played as fast as possible. The eye, in other words, decides
where the note is to be stmck within the time span of each unit.
The student may practice this study by beginning with a lower
metronome setting and working up to 60."
Compositional
There are no time signatures or solid bar-lines.
Techniques
Dotted lines separate notes in terms of units.
AH notes are played according to the approximate durations
suggested by the composer.
The duration ofthe notes is dependent on the number of notes
in each unit, not by the note values.
Weight Transfer
Pedagogical
1. Use weight transfer to shape lines.
Elements
2. Follow the contour of the line to shape the phrases.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Fingerings
1. Discuss fingerings with students for the wide jumps,
particularly for legato pattems such as the right-hand
figure at unit 28.
2. Regroup the left band and the right hand for an easier
execution ofthe pattems. Put strong fingers on loud
notes.
Kev Speed. Relax muscle before and after each dynamic
change. For loud dynamics, increase the key speed. For
softer dynamics, reduce the key speed.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Use the whole arm to support
the fingers in playing loud passages.

188

Table B.15. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Practice slowly and gradually play up to the suggested tempo.


Divide the piece into sections according to the note pattems or
figures. For example, practice the first seven units.
Practice the hands separately until they bave mastered the
movement and notes.
Practice each gesture repetitively.
Put hands together measure by measure. Then practice in
large phrases later.
Use damper pedal at units 17,18, and 20.
Divide up notes between hands even when not notated, for
example at units 21, 22, and 31-34. Use sostenuto pedal at
units 30 and 34 to free the hands to play the divided-up notes.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Use figures or pattems from the piece as a warm-up
exercise. For example, repeat the right-hand figure at
units 9 to 10 five times as an exercise. Play it at different
speeds and dynamics.
2. Vary the pattem using dotted rhythms in order to promote
familiarity with the notes.
Creative Activity. Discuss the kind of notation used in this
piece with students. Ask them to write a short piece in this
notational system.

189

Table B.16. Gradus II, No. 14


Adler's Notes
"14., 15., 16. These three should always be performed
together, for the first two pieces were written to illustrate a
technique in number sixteen. There is a group of composers
today who wish to add a new dimension to music by
establishing a much freer communication with performer.
The performer is given choices and actually creates a new
piece, govemed by a set of guidelines rather than precise
notes, rhythms, and dynamics. The form is that of a mobile
which, although it has set parts, is never viewed (or in this
case, never heard) exactly the same way twice.
Here we bave three familiar folk songs with unorthodox
harmonizations. These should be mastered separately. Then,
in number sixteen, any fragment can follow any other
fragment; if possible, no fragment should be played twice.
The order in which the fragments are presented here is not to
be followed (if was determined by chance). Remember
'aleatory,' which is what this technique is called, comes from
a word meaning 'depending on chance,' and associated with
the throwing of dice."
Compositional
There are three four-measure phrases in this piece.
Techniques
In first and third phrases, the folk tune "Yankee Doodle"
appears in the right hand. The left-hand accompaniment in
phrase one is a static two-note pedal figure while the
accompaniment in the third phrase is a scale-like passage
combined with some skipping intervals.
The folk tune moves to the left hand in the second phrase
mostly in parallel doubl thirds. The right hand provides a
counter melody also mostly in parallel thirds. Interesting
syncopation occurs in m. 5.
The left-hand accompaniments in the first and third phrases
create fresh dissonances within the familiar diatonic tune.
The ending pits the octave C against the octave C-sharp in sff,
assuring the twentieth-century character of this piece.

190

Table B.16. Continued.


Pedagogical
Elements

Hand Span. This piece calls for stretches of an octave, a


seventh, a sixth, and a fifth. Hand size should be considered
before assigning this work. Hands should be able to
comfortably reach the above intervals to avoid muscle
tension.
Voicing
1. Bring out the melody and soften the accompaniment.
2. Bring out the top notes ofthe parallel thirds to shape the
phrase.
3. Voicing to the top note minimizes the stress on hands and
makes the double-third movement easier.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-lift motions to release muscle
tension. The motion may be considered in a larger content
covering groups of notes rather than individuai notes. For
example, in the opening measure, the first four notes should
be in one drop-lift gesture.
Weight Transfer
1. Use weight transfer to shape lines and to produce a
smoother line.
2. Follow the contour ofthe line to shape the phrases.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe
fingers to support them, particularly for the double-third
passages.
Fingerings. Discuss fingerings with students, particularly for
the double-third passages and the descending scale-like lefthand accompaniment in the third phrase. For example, at the
begirming of m. 5, use 2-4 moving down to 1-3 in the right
hand and 2-4 going up to 3-5 in the left hand for the doubl
thirds. For the descending passage in m. 9, use 1-2-3-4 and
then cross the thumb to repeat the 1-2-3-4 fingering.
Key Speed. For loud dynamics, drop faster onto the key. For
softer dynamics, reduce the key speed.
Larger Muscle Involvement. Use the whole arm to support
the fingers in playing loud passages.

191

Table B.16. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Review the intervals of seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths,
sixths, sevenths, and octaves.
2. Play a note to the student and ask them to sing a note
above or below to form any ofthe above intervals.
3. Play different intervals and ask students to sing the upper
or the lower note. Prepare them to be able to sing either
note.
4. Ask students to notate the intervals after they sing them.
Preparatory Exercise on Parallel Thirds
1. Practice hands separately for the parallel thirds at m. 5 to
get used to the drop-lift motion, weight transfer, wrist
movement, and the fingerings.
2. Repeat the measure many times until the students master
the movement.
Creative Activity
1. Give a short familiar tune to the students or have them
pick out their own.
2. Ask them to write an accompaniment by using a two-note
pedal, or some other ostinato pattem, or create on their
own.

192

Table B.l7. Gradus II, No. 15


Adler's Notes
"14., 15., 16. These three should always be performed
together, for the first two pieces were written to illustrate a
technique in number sixteen. There is a group of composers
today who wish to add a new dimension to music by
establishing a much freer communication with performer.
The performer is given choices and actually creates a new
piece, govemed by a set of guidelines rather than precise
notes, rhythms, and dynamics. The form is that of a mobile
which, although it has set parts, is never viewed (or in this
case, never heard) exactly the same way twice.
Here we bave three familiar folk songs with unorthodox
harmonizations. These should be mastered separately. Then,
in number sixteen, any fragment can follow any other
fragment; if possible, no fragment should be played twice.
The order in which the fragments are presented here is not to
be followed (if was determined by chance). Remember
'aleatory,' which is what this technique is called, comes from
a word meaning 'depending on chance,' and associated with
the throwing of dice."
Compositional
This piece features "Three Blind Mice" in the first half and
Techniques
"Are You Sleeping?" in the second half. They are treated in
canonie style.
The left hand starts the "Three Blind Mice" at m. 1. The right
hand enters at m. 3 two octaves higher with the melody.
The two melodies overlap at m. 9. The left hand brings in
"Are You Sleeping?" at m. 9 while the right hand finishes the
first tune.
In the second half, the right hand transposes the second tune
an augmented octave higher two measures after the left-hand
introduces the second tune.
The result is a dissonant but interesting one.

193

Table B.l7. Continued.


Pedagogical

Elements

Hand Span. Similar to No. 14, this piece calls for stretches of
an octave, a seventh, a sixth, and a fifth. Hand size should be
considered before assigning this work. Hands should be able
to comfortably reach the above intervals to avoid muscle
tension during the parallel seventh passages at m. 5 for the left
hand and m. 7 for the right hand.
Voicing
1. Balance the two canonie voices by shaping them
separately.
2. Bring out the top notes ofthe doubl notes to shape the
phrase.
3. Voicing the top note minimizes the stress on the hands.
Drop-Lift Motion
1. Use drop-lift motion to release the tension of muscle.
2. Do the drop-lift motion in a larger unit, not on individuai
notes.
Weight Transfer
1. Use weight transfer during the legato passages.
2. Follow the contour ofthe line to shape the phrases.
Flexible Wrists. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them, particularly for the double-note passages.
Rhythm. At mm. 5-8, the altemating rhythmic pattems
between the dotted-eighth-sixteenth and the triplet, and the
triplet and the two-eighth-note unit (m. 8) increase the
difficulty of this piece.

194

Table B.l7. Continued.


Ear Training. Repeat the exercise suggested in No. 14.
Review the intervals of seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths,
sixths, sevenths, and octaves.
2. Play a note to the student and ask them to sing a note
above or below to form any ofthe above intervals.
Play different intervals and ask students to sing the upper
or the lower note. Prepare them to be able to sing either
note.
4. Pick a round and ask students to sing and play it.
Preparatory Exercise on Parallel Sevenths
1. Practice hands separately for the parallel sevenths at m. 5
for the left hand and m. 7 for the right hand to get used to
the drop-lift motion, weight transfer, and wrist movement.
2. Repeat the measure many times until the students master
the parallel movement.
Rhythm. At mm. 5-8, practice the altemating rhythmic
pattems between the dotted-eighth-sixteenth and the triplet,
and the triplet and the two-eighth-note unit (m. 8). Another
option is to play the dotted-eighth-sixteenth as quarter-eighth
in triplet.
1. Take the quarter note as the basic unit.
2. Clap or tap rhythmic pattems switching between groups of
three subdivisions and groups of four subdivisions in a
quarter-note unit (one-two-three, one-two-three-four, onetwo three, etc).
3. Repeat steps one and two for the altemating rhythmic
pattems between the triplet and the two-eighth-note unit at
m. 8.
4. Finally play the measures as they are written.
Creative Activity
1. Give a short tune to the students or bave them pick out
their own.
2. Ask them to write a round or canon from the tune.
Suggest them to write the tune for either the right hand or
the left hand first. The other hand enters two measures
later with the tune one or two octaves higher. Both hands
continue the melody until it finishes.
3. Have them sing the round or the canon.

195

Table B.l8. Gradus II, No. 16


Adler's Notes
"14., 15., 16. These three should always be performed
together, for the first two pieces were written to illustrate a
technique in number sixteen. There is a group of composers
today who wish to add a new dimension to music by
establishing a much freer communication with performer.
The performer is given choices and actually creates a new
piece, govemed by a set of guidelines rather than precise
notes, rhythms, and dynamics. The form is that of a mobile
which, although it has set parts, is never viewed (or in this
case, never heard) exactly the same way twice.
Here we have three familiar folk songs with unorthodox
harmonizations. These should be mastered separately. Then,
in number sixteen, any fragment can follow any other
fragment; if possible, no fragment should be played twice.
The order in which the fragments are presented here is not to
be followed (if was determined by chance). Remember
'aleatory,' which is what this technique is called, comes from
a word meaning 'depending on chance,' and associated with
the throwing of dice."
Compositional
Introduce the "aleatory" idea.
Techniques
Performers are free to play the fragments from No. 14 and No.
15 in any order. The order may be different every time it is
played.
Pedagogical
Following Adler's suggestion, students should have mastered
Elements
the previous two pieces by the time they play No. 16.
Review the suggestions in No. 14 and No. 15.
Remind students to read or prepare ahead in their minds for
the playing ofthe next fragment.

196

Table B.l8. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Select two familiar tunes and cut them into fragments.
2. Ask students to play the fragments randomly.
3. Put students into pairs and altemate playing the fragments.
Other Literature'*
1. There are some other aleatorie piano pieces for
introducion or further study of this style.
2. Elementary level:
Adventures in Time and Space, Voi. L, "Needles
and Haystacks" by Lyim Freeman Olson
The Little Avant-Garde: A Piano Methodfor PreSchoolers by Stephen Covello
3. Intermediate level:
Gradus LL, No. 13, and No. 19.
32 Piano Games, XXVIII ("Mountains") by Ross
Lee Finney
32 Piano Games, XXX ("Mobile") by Ross Lee
Firmey
4. Advanced level:
Horizons, Book 2, "If ' by S. Dolin
Creative Activity
1. Ask students to select some ofthe pieces that they
composed earlier (preferably those pieces that are similar
to the style of No. 14 and No. 15).
2. Group students into pairs.
3. Ask them to cut their compositions into fragments and
altemate playing the fragments randomly.

" Ellen R. Thompson, Teaching and Understanding Contemporary Piano Music (San Diego, CA:
KjosWest, 1976), 181.

197

Table B.l9. Gradus II, No. 17


Adler's Notes
"The inside ofthe piano has come in for frequent and
diversified usage during this century. This study uses the
piano strings in a manner similar to violin pizzicato. A note
marked with an X [x at the stem of a note] is to be plucked
inside the piano. T is the sign for a number of strings played
by either the right or left hand. V or is the symbol standing
for the lowest possible strings or tones on the piano while A or
means the highest possible. Use the sustaining pedal
extensively for notes, glissandi, and clusters."
Compositional
There are four sections in this piece.
Techniques
The first section, mm. 1-5, and third section, mm. 12-18,
feature a canonie imitation between the left-hand playing on
the keyboard and the right hand plucking strings inside the
piano. Need to use pedal.
The second section, from mm. 6-11, and the last section, from
mm. 19-23 contain plucked-string-low-pedal tones and
arpeggiated figurations on the keyboard. The second section
concludes with glissandi in contrary motion stmmmed the
strings inside the piano by the two hands while the fourth
section ends with the low-pedal tone against an upward
glissando stmmmed by the right hand inside the piano.^
Infroduce new notational symbols.^
There is no tonai center suggested.

' Carole, Thibodeaux, "Performance Analysis: A System for Increasing in Piano Students an
Awareness of Stylistic Interpretation as Applied to Selected Twentieth Century Piano Music" (Ph.D. diss..
University of Oklahoma, 1976), 264-269.
^ For more information on new notational symbols, see Doris Leland Harrel's "New Techniques in
Twentieth Cenfrory Solo Piano Music: An Expansion of Pianistic Resources from Cowell to the Present,"
(D.M.A. thesis, University of Texas, Austin, 1976); and Marjory Irvin's article "A New Look for New
Sounds" C/avier (Aprii 1973): 15-18.

198

Table B.l9. Continued.


Pedagogical Elements

Practice Suggestions

In order to perform this piece, the students need to be tali enough to


reach the pedal and pluck the sfrings inside the piano at the same
time.
Relaxation of Muscle. Drop weight when plucking the strinps and
release the tension in muscle afterwards. Also, maintain muscular
relaxation during the glissando measures.
Weight Transfer. Applv weight fransfer for maintaining legato over
the wide ranging figurations at mm. 6, 8, 9, and 20.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe fingers
to support them, particularly for the large range figurafron at mm. 6,
8, 9, and 20.
Fingerings. Discuss fingerings with the students. particularlv for
mm. 6, 8, and 20.
Pedaling. Use the pedal to sustain notes, beautifv the sound, and
free the hands to play wide ranging figurations such as in m. 6 and
m. 8.
Use only grand pianos for performing this piece since they allow
the stmmming of sfrings inside the piano, without the hindrance of
the cross strings as in the upright pianos. Cross bars put in the
wrong places can make sfring glissandi and plucking an
impossibility.
Mark the sfrings that are to be plucked.
Dividing into Fragments. Practice the different figurations and
pattems separately.
1. Practice mm. 1 -5 to get used to altemately playing inside the
piano and on the keyboard.
2. Practice the right-hand figuration at m. 6 by incorporating
weight fransfer, flexible wrist, and drop-lift motion. Divide the
pattems between the hands. Do the same thing for the other
legato figurations at mm. 8, 9, and 20.
Fingerings. Suggest two options for fingerings at mm. 6, 9, 8, and
20.
1. The passage may be distributed between the hands. For
example, at m. 6 and m. 9, the right hand takes the first three
notes, the left hand play the next two notes, and the right hand
takes the last two notes (to avoid the left hand to go up too
high). The same kind of distribution may be applied to the
figuration at m. 8.
2. Or shift hand position to accommodate the figuration. For
example, at m. 6, use 5-3-1-1-3-5-3 fingerings. At m. 8, use 53-1-1-3-5 fingerings. Atm. 9, use 1-3-5-5-3-1-3 in the left
hand. For m. 20, both hands use 5-3-1-1-3-5 fingerings.

199

Table B.l9. Continued.


Practice Suggestions
(Continued)

Other Literature^
1. There are some other piano pieces which explore the
inside ofthe piano:
Advanced level:
"Aeolian Harp," Piano Music by Henry Cowell
"The Banshee," Piano Music by Henry Cowell
"Tiger," Piano Music by Henry Cowell
Fantasy Op. 7(5 by Alan Hovbaness
2. There are some other piano pieces using new notational
symbols:
Elementary level:
Adventures in Time and Space, Voi. I, "As You
Like II!" by Mary Mageau
The Little Avant-Garde: A Piano Methodfor PreSchoolers by Stephen Covello
Intermediate level:
Gradus LL, No. 13, and No. 19 by Samuel Adler
32 Piano Games, I ("Middle, Bottom and Top")
by Ross Lee Finney
32 Piano Games, XXIX ("Windows") by Ross
Lee Finney
Scnes d Enfants, "Cris dans la Rue" by Frederic
Mompou
Advanced level:
Piano Music, "The Tides of Manaunaun" by
Henry Cowell
Creative Activity. Ask students to write a piece incorporating
plucked strings inside the piano as well as notes played on the
keyboard. Ask them also to notate the notes on the score
using the new notational symbols.

Thompson, 177-183.
200

Table B.20. Gradus II, No. 18


Adler's Notes
"Modem dance rhythms are certainly part of our
contemporary language. In this exercise some jazz rhythms
and some ideas from rock music have been incorporated."
Compositional
The piece consists of three sections with irregular phrases.
Techniques
The first section contains of two phrases (mm. 1-7 and mm. 815) and features syncopation dotted rhythms in unison. The
second phrase starts at m. 8 and repeats the first phrase with a
little modification; it ends with an extension at m. 15.
The second section begins at m. 16 and features a repeatednote melody in the right hand. The melody is repeated at m.
20 with a different left-hand accompaniment. Changing
meters are featured.
The third section starts at m. 27. It consists of a
melody/accompaniment texture. The left band features some
third-inversion seventh chords as the accompaniment. Also,
polymeter is implied in this section. While the same number
of eighth-notes occur in the non-traditional time signature 1
meter and the common 1 meter, a regular 4 + 4 division in the
right hand is used against the irregular division 3 + 3 + 2 in
the left hand. The rhythm in this section is perceived as
The piece ends with a three-measure codetta that recalls the
syncopated dotted rhythm ofthe first section.
The last chord in the left hand in the ending is a C major
chord with added sixth.
Although no tonai center is established in a traditional sense,
the formai placement ofthe note Cat the beginning and
ending-suggests ft as the tonic final.

201

Table B.20. Continued.


Pedagogical
Elements

Hand Span
1. The piece calls for hand stretches of sixths, sevenths, and
octaves. While mm. 37-46 calls for octaves in the right
hand, mm. 6-7 and 13-15 also contain wide stretches.
2. The left-hand chordal accompaniment spans a sixth.
Consider hand size when assigning this piece.
Rhythm
1. Each section comes with different rhythmic pattems and
problems. Leam the rhythm section by section.
2. Study the changing meters in section two.
3. In the third section, there are asymmetrical rhythmic
groupings ofthe left-hand chords. Practice hands alone
until the rhythm in each hand is mastered.
Drop-Lift Motion
1. Students should leam to drop weight from the forearm for
the fortissimo octave melody section. Teachers should
remind the students to relax the hand by lifting after the
drop.
2. Use drop-lift motions during the two-note slurs in the first
section and the repeated notes in the second section.
Weight Transfer. Follow the direction ofthe lines and shape
the lines by using weight transfer, particularly for the long
melodie right-hand line in the third section.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe
fingers to support them.
Contraction and Extension of Hands. The piece involves
extension and contraction ofthe hands. Maintain muscular
relaxation by applying weight transfer, flexible wrists, and
drop-lift motions.

202

Table B.20. Continued.


Ear Training
1. Play the phrases in each section and have the students sing
along.
2. Work on a simplified version first by dividing the phrases
into smaller fragments and removing the syncopation.
3. Later sing the fragments in rhythm as they are written.
4. Divide students into two groups and ask them to sing the
originai and simplified versions altematively.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Modify the second half of m. 2 and the first half of m. 3 as
a warm-up exercise for the two-note slurs and the updown movement of hands. Practice hands separately and
then hands together.
2. Use mm. 16-18 as a repeated note exercise. Follow the
eighth-note rhythmic grouping 3-1-3+2, 3 + 3 + 2, 2-1-3
+ 3 to prepare students for these measures. Practice hands
separately and then hands together.
3. Do octave exercises (preparing for mm. 37-46) by moving
in quarter notes and one step up a time for one octave.
Then do the descending. Practice hands separately and
then hands together. Use drop-lift motion.
Rhythm. Practice the rhythm in sections: mm. 1-15, mm. 1626, and mm. 27-46.
1. In the first section, clap and count the rhythm in
fragments. Practice the different placements ofthe
syncopated pattems.
2. In the second section, focus on the changing meters.
Practice clapping the different rhythmic groupings (for
examples, 3 + 3 + 2 and 2 + 2 + 2).
3. In the third section, discuss the implied polymeter. Tap
the rhythm hands separately first. Practice the 2 + 2 + 2 +
2 in the right-hand and the 3 + 3 + 2 in the left hand.
Combine the two hands together after each hand has
mastered the rhythm.
Note Leaming
1. Block the notes into groups.
2. Point out the similarity or repetition of the phrases.
Creative Activity. Discuss jazz elements (such as syncopation
and tonic with added sixth) with students and ask them write
some tunes or short passages incorporating the jazz elements.

203

Table B.21. Gradus IL No. 19


Adler's Notes
"Here a wide choice is left to the performer. The location ofthe
note is to be judged by each performer and the music page is a chart
to guide the performers musical gestures. Each time it is
performed, this exercise should sound totally different; after having
played it through one way, the performer can tum the page around
and play it upside down (in that case the accidentals may or may
not cover the notes for which they were intended). Mark that the
skips or steps between notes are visual and not exact according to
our five-line staff. This system was used by Earle Brown and
others; the next step from this is graph notation."
Compositional
This piece is aleatorie. The notation provides just an approximate
Techniques
idea ofthe pitch and rhythm. The performer determines the
execution ofthe music. A seventeen-line staff is used.
There are no signs or bar-lines.
The different rhythmic pattems are only suggestive ofthe rhythm.
There are suggestions of different rhythmic pattems, different hand
gestures, and different textures.
There are confrapuntal, linear, and homophonic textures.
It covers a broad range ofthe keyboard.
Pedagogical Elements Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer for legato tone in the wideranging thirty-second note figurations.
Flexible Wrists
1. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe fingers to support
them, particularly for the wide-ranging thirty-second-note
figurations.
2. Allow flexibility in the wide skips.
Fingerings
1. Discuss and pian fingerings with students. Different hand size
and hand shape may cali for different fingerings.
2. The figurations in thirty-second notes cover a wide range of
notes. Divide them between the two hands.
Pedaling
1. Use the pedal to sustain notes, to beautify the sound, and to free
the hands to play wide-ranging figurations.
2. Change pedal frequently to avoid blurred sound.
Master each figuration separately before putting them together.
Practice Suggestions
Practice slowly first.
Feel free to "tum the page upside down to play it" as suggested by
the composer.
Creative Activity. Ask students to write their own figurations and
notate them by using the kind of staff that used in No. 19. Play the
figurations in the way instiacted in the notes of No. 19.

204

Table B.22. Gradus II, No. 20


Adler's Notes
"Here is a scherzo summary of many techniques; to be viewed
and performed for fun."
Compositional
The piece consists of two sections and a codetta.
Techniques
The first section (mm. 1-11) features musical textures such as
ostinati (the opening two measures), clusters (mm. 3-4),
leaping passages (mm. 3-4), whole-tone passages (the left
hand at m. 5), and passages in octaves (m. 7 and m. 11).
The second section (mm. 12-25) is more complex. For
example, it features quarter-note triplets against eight
sixteenth notes at m. 12 and m. 13 and four sixteenths against
three triplets at m. 14.
The codetta, mm. 26-30, uses the largest intervals (within the
same hand) featured in the Gradus, minor ninths and minor
tenths.
The codetta also explores the extremes ofthe keyboard. At
mm. 27-28, the two hands are spaced wide apart and occupy
the top and bottom registers.
Hand Span. There are not only octave passages (m. 7 and m.
Pedagogical
11) but also stretches of minor ninths and minor tenth, (mm.
Elements
27-28). Consider hand size when assigning this piece.
Rhythm
1. Different rhythmic pattems and changing meters increase
the complexity ofthe piece. .
2. Leam the rhythm by identifying the basic pulse and basic
unit. For example, from mm. 16 to 30, set the basic pulse
and then take the eighth note as the basic unit.
Drop-Lift Motion
1. Drop weight particularly for the j^measures.
2. Use drop-lift motions during the octave passages and with
the clusters.
Weight Transfer. Follow the direction ofthe lines and shape
the lines by using weight fransfer, particulariy for the rapid
scalar passages.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe
fingers to support them.
Contraction a^H Extension of Hands. The piece involves
extension and contraction ofthe hands. Maintain muscular
relaxation by applying weight fransfer, flexible wrists, and
drop-lift motions.

205

Table B.22. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Rhythm. Practice the three-against-four (m. 14) and the threeagainst-eight (mm. 12-13) pattems.
1. Divide students into groups.
2. Have one group clap the right-hand line rhythm while the
other group claps the one in the left hand. Swttch the
parts.
3. Practice the three-against-four pattem at m. 14.
4. Have each student do the following individually:
a. Set a pulse and clap in triplets for several beats.
Then clap in sixteenths for several beats.
b. Tap both rhythmic groups on the table with the
group of four in the righi hand and the group of
three in the left hand.
e. Each hand should tap its rhythmic group many
times until the tapping becomes secure.
d. Tap the two different groups together.
e. Then play the three-against-four at the keyboard.
f. Repeat steps one to nine for the three-against-eight
pattem (mm. 12-13).
Practice the measures with changing meters.
1. Take the eighth note as the basic unit.
2. From mm. 16-30, practice the aftemating rhythmic
pattems between the measures.
3. Clap or tap rhythmic pattems.
4. Finally play the measures as they are written.
Note Leaming
1. Block the notes into groups.
2. Point out the similarity or repetition ofthe phrases.
Creative Activity. Ask students to pick two to three
compositional techniques that they have leamed in this book
and combine the techniques (ostinato, parallel passages, and
clusters) in writing a new piece.
^

206

APPENDIX C
ANALYSIS TABLES FOR GRADUS III

207

Table C I . Gradus III No. \. "Evocative Questions"


Adler's Notes
"Bitonality and a few meter changes. Also, the problem of a
melody against two-part rather static harmony."
Compositional
The piece contains four sections. The left hand always in a
Techniques
different key against the right hand melody.
The first section (mm. 1-10) contains the G-sharp minor righthand melodie line against the E-minor left-hand
accompaniment.
The second section (mm. 11-21) features the A minor righthand melodie line.
The third section (mm. 22-28) contains transitional measures.
The fourth section (mm. 29-36) features the G-sharp minor
right-hand melodie line.
Harmonic dissonances are featured, for example, the minor
second in the first beat of m. 1, the minor ninth in the first
beat of m. 8, and the augmented octave in the third beat of m.
8.
Simple triple meter dominates the piece, occasionally
intermpted by a bar of simple duple or quadmple meter.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. This piece includes stretches of sevenths.
Elements
Weight Transfer. Legato touch is predominant in this piece.
Use weight transfer to produce long smooth legato phrases
and to shape the lines.
Voicing. Bring out the right-hand melody. Dynamic
markingSj^rte in the right hand and mezzo forte in the left
hand at m.29, remind the students to bring out the right-hand
melodie line when the A section comes back at the end.
Tempo. Be attentive to dynamics and to ali marks of tempo
modification such as rit, molto rit., and a tempo.

208

Table C I . Continued.
Practice Suggestions

Ear-Training
1. Introduce bitonality by having the student play the melody
while the teacher or another student plays the
accompaniment. Then switch the parts.
2. Divide students into two groups. Altemate in singing the
tune and playing the accompaniment.
Voicing
1. The melody should be brought out and should be in
balance with the two-part accompaniment.
2. One way to make students aware of this is to experiment
with different dynamics: a soft melody with a loud
accompaniment and vice versa.
Note Leaming
1. Identify the tonai areas and locate the cross relationships.
Play some short five-finger drills on G-sharp minor and A
minor. These are the keys used in the right-hand melodie
line.
2. Block the notes phrase by phrase, for example, mm. 1-5,
to get familiar with the notes and pattems. Repeat them in
different octaves.
Rubato. Introduce or review the idea ofrwflto. Discuss how
the students can altemate the rhythm or tempo by accelerating
or diminishing the tempo. Practice m. 27 to the last measure
for rit., molto rit., and a tempo.
Rhythm. Practice the changing meters by following the steps
below:
1. Ask students to locate ali changing meters.
2. Clap and count each meter separately several times.
Altemate the meters in different ways and clap them
again. For example, clap three duple-meter measures
followed by four triple-meter measures.
3. Finally, clap the rhythm exactly as written on the page.
Altemately, one student can clap the rhythm while the
other plays the tune.
Creative Activity
1. Suggest that students write simple short melody and
accompaniment passages. Use different keys for the two
different parts.
Divide
the students into pair and bave them play their
2.
passages to each other. Or altemate the students to play
the melody and accompaniment.
Transpose the passages into different keys.

209

Table C.2. Gradus III, No. 2. "Strange Imitation"


Adler's Notes
"A strange canon that goes in and out of strici imitation.
Some 'imitation' is simply mirror writing, as in measures 4
and 7. The student should label each type of imitation in this
short piece."
Compositional
The piece consists of four four-measure phrases in the form
AA'BA'.
Techniques
The intervals of canonie imitation are always highly
dissonant. For example, the beginning notes ofthe righi hand
and left hand are a diminished octave apart at m. 1 and m. 5, a
major ninth apart at m. 9, and a diminished seventh apart at m.
13.
The interval of a second is prominent melodically. For
example, the opening right-hand notes C and D are major
second apart. The seconds are also grouped together to form
larger units such as the descending pattem at m. 3 and m. 10
and the stepwise pattem at m. 7 and m.l5.
The quasi-canonic passages are at mm. 1-2, 5-6, 9,11, and 1314 and the mirror-writing passages are at mm. 4 and 7.
The two voices in the quasi-canonic passages are separated
mostly by diminished octaves. Exceptions occur at m. 9,
where the voices are a major ninth apart; at m. 11, where the
voices are a major sixth apart; and at m. 13, where the voices
are a diminished seventh apart.
The meter is alla breve but mm. 4,10, and 12 feature simple
triple meter.
The piece is atonal. No tonai center is firmly established.
Staccato Touch
Pedagogical
1. Heavy staccato touch in the A sections contrasts with the
Elements
piano staccato touch in the B section.
2. For the forte staccato, use a faster key speed; use a light
bouncing motion for the piano staccato.
Flexible Wrists. Flexible wrists are necessary for the upward,
bouncing staccato touches.
Motion of Hands. Parallel and confrary motions are included.
The quasi-canonic passages employ parallel motion while the
mirror writing measures (m. 4 and m. 7) cali for confrary
motion.
Weight Transfer. Although the majority ofthe measures
feature staccato touch, some legato playing is called for at m.
7 and m. 15. Use weight fransfer in performing the legato
lines.
^
^

210

Table C.2. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear-Training
1. Point out the contrapuntai two-voice texture of this piece.
2. Divide the two voices between the teacher and student or
between students.
3. Altemate playing and/or singing the voices.
Note Leaming
1. Block the notes every two measures according to the
phrases and play them in different octaves.
2. Label the points of imttation and help students to
recognize and understand the relationship ofthe pattems.
For example, discuss the range ofthe notes, the intervals
between the two voices, and the relationship between the
two voices (if they are in parallel motion or contrary).
Preparatory Exercise
1. Play different five-finger scales in staccato.
2. Practice short rhythm drills: use quarter notes and
altemate duple meter and triple meter.
Creative Activity. Suggest that students write short passages
including points of imitation and some canonie passages. The
two voices may be a second apart or a diminished octave apart
as those in No. 2.

211

Table C.3. Gradus IH No. 3. "Strange Textures"


Adler's Notes
"Two kinds of melodies. The traditional type with
accompaniment (measure 1 to 8) and what we may cali
'texture melody,' 9 to 13 and 20 to 24."
Compositional
The melody-against-accompaniment type occurs in the first
Techniques
and third sections, mm. 1-8 and mm. 14-19 respectively. The
"texture melody" (mm. 9-13 and mm. 20-24) refers to adding
one note at a time to layers ofthe melodie notes, holding
those notes till the end ofthe melody.
The first section contains octatonic collection: C#-Eb-E-F#G-A-Bb-C, plus extra notes D sai m. 3 and F at m. 6.
Dissonant intervals ofthe tritone (mm. 9-10 in the right hand),
augmented sixth (m. 9 in the left hand), and minor second
(m.l4 in the left hand) are employed.
The piece is in simple triple except for the duple measures at
mm. 10 and 22.

Pedagogical
Elements

The last four-measure "texture melody" section contains notes


from a B-flat thirteentb chord with the thirteenth in the bass.
Besides ali the members ofthe thirteentb chord, it includes the
split fifths (F and F#) and the aftered eleventh (E-natural).
Syncopation occurs at mm. 1, 2, and 18.
Hand Span. This piece includes stretches of sevenths.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to produce smooth
legato lines and to shape the long phrases.
Voicing. Bring out the melody. In the melody-againstaccompaniment sections, the right-hand melodie line is
marked with louder dynamic markings than the left-hand
accompaniment. The markings remind students to balance the
melody and the accompaniment.
Key Speed. During the "texture melody" sections, use a
slower key speed in order to produce a non-percussive, soft
but rich tones.
Broad Range. The piece involves a broad range ofthe
keyboard from G2 to C7.
Rhythm. Syncopation appears at mm. 2, 3, and 18.
Pedaling. Use of pedal is important in the "texture melody"
sections. It sustains the long notes throughout and creates
different tone colors. Use the pedal at mm. 20-24 even
though no pedal marking is indicated.
Various Dynamics. Different dynamics are included. For
example, mm. 1-8 involve different dynamics for the two
hands and the sharp dynamic contrast at m. 13 in which the
sforzando is preceded and followed hy piano and pianissimo.

212

Table C.3. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear-Training
1. Explain the octatonic scale. Familiarize students with the
constmetion and sound ofthe scale. (Another piece that
features octatonic scale is No. 8, Gradus III.)
2. Ask students to play the scale in different registers and to
sing the scale.
3. Have the students constmct octatonic scales on C, C#, and
D and ask them to notate them.
Note Leaming
1. Play some octatonic scales and play them to different
registers. As the students leam the octatonic scales, it
becomes easier for them to recognize the notes and
pattems, to locate and bear dissonances such as the
opening minor second in the left hand and the augmented
sixth in the left hand at m. 9, and to recognize the notes
both visually and aurally.
2. Block the notes phrase by phrase.
Tone Control and Kev Speed. Students may find the
appropriate kind of tone color by experimenting with different
key speeds. Key speed is not to be confiised with tempo.
1. Drop more slowly into the keys to produce a soft but rich
tone.
2. Use a faster keystroke to produce a loud and full tone.
Pedaling. The pedal marking is used more often in Book III
than in the other books ofthe Gradus. Have students
experimenting the effects of using or without the pedal.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Ask students to constmct octatonic scales. Beginning on
different notes.
2. Play the octatonic scales with different key speeds to
explore different tone colors.
3. Practice pedaling by playing the octatonic scale with
pedal. Change the pedal on every note. Then depress the
pedal for the whole scale, exploring the sound.
Rhythm. Practice the syncopation at mm. 2, 3, 18. Take the
eighth note as the basic unit at the beginning and then feel the
syncopated by considering quarter beat.
Creative Activity. Suggest that students write short passages
including octatonic scales and "texture melodies."

213

Table C.4. Gradus IH, No. 4. "Comic Answers'


Adler's Notes
"Clusters and sevenths answer a rather happy melody built
mostly on thirds."
Compositional
The piece features a single-note melodie figure against an
Techniques
accompaniment pattem that consists of clusters and sevenths.
The piece contains five sections:
First section: mm. 1-6, G major;
Second section: mm. 7-13, C major;
Third section: mm. 14-18, F major;
Transitional measures: mm. 19-22;
Fourth section: mm. 23-28, G major.
The melodie figure is mostly built on thirds and it is confined
to mostly the upper register.
By contrast, the clusters and the sevenths are distributed
among different registers (for example, low register in mm. 12 and a very high register in m. 13) and are divided between
the hands.
The melody and the accompaniment seem to battle each other
constantly in establishing and demolishing some kind of
tonality. Every time the right-hand melodie figure suggests a
tonality, the left-hand accompaniment answers with clusters
or sevenths that destroy any key sense. For example, the
melodie figure at mm. 1-6 suggests the first five scale degrees
of G major. The left hand interrupts the melodie figure with
clusters or sevenths that are foreign to G major. This kind
situation occurs repeatedly in the other sections.
There are instances of changing meter.
Octave displacement occurs in m. 6, m. 14, and m. 15.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. This piece features stretches of sevenths.
Elements
Staccato Touch. A bouncing motion ofthe wrist is necessary
for executing the staccato passages in this piece.
Cluster. Adler instmcts to use the entire hand to hit as many
notes as possible for the cluster in this piece.' Use the arm
muscle to support the hands when executing the clusters.
Drop-Lift Motion. In order to produce the sff effect, students
need to leam how to drop the weight ofthe band with the
support from the arm and the back ofthe body. A speedy
stroke is also cmcial.
Relaxation. Relaxation of hands is necessary especially after
the loud opening left-hand clusters and sevenths.

Samuel Adler, No. 4, Gradus III (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981).

214

Table C.4. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training. The clusters and the sevenths are widely


featured in this piece.
Explore cluster chords and seventh chords in different
registers ofthe piano.
2. Ask students to write and play different cluster and
seventh chords.
3. Discuss the kinds of sevenths used in the piece.
Block notes ofthe single-note melodie motif. For example,
play the D-D-B-C-C-A-B-G right-hand figure at m. 3 and m.
4 simultaneously. The result is another interesting cluster
sound.
Note Leaming
1. Leam the right-hand melody by blocking the notes in
clusters. For example, block the melodie notes D-B-C-AG at m. 3 and m. 4 and play it in different octaves.
2. Pick up five-note cluster and play it in different registers.
3. Figure out whether the sevenths are major or minor in
mm. 4, 6, 9, 16, 19, and 21.
Rhythm. Changing meters contribute to the complexity ofthe
rhythm, particularly from mm. 10-16.
1. Take eighth note as the basic unit. Clap 3 + 3 eighth notes
for 8, four eighth notes for s, 2 + 2 + 2 eighth notes for l,
and 3 + 2 eighth notes for s.
2. Clap the rh)^hm again and feel the different rhythmic
pattems beat according to the grouping of each different
meter. For example, clap the s in 3 + 3 and 3 + 2 or 2 + 3
fori.
Conducting.
1. Ask students to conduci the different meters.
2. Combine the meters randomly.
3. Conduci mm. 10-16 as written.

215

Table C.4. Continued.


Practice Suggestions
(Continued)

Preparatory Exercise
1. Create light staccato drills by playing ali white-key fivefinger scales.
2. Pick any tone cluster and play it in different registers.
3. Play short cluster chords sff to experiment with the key
speed. Be sure to relax the muscle after each chord.
Insert small rests after each cluster to ensure that
relaxation takes place.
4. Create short rhythm drills by altemating s, , i, i, i, and s
meters. Do this drill with clapping, verbalizing (such as
saying ta-ta-ta-ta, etc), or walking (change direction with
every meter change).
Creative Activitv.
1. Ask students to create their own pieces by using
"question-answer" formats.
2. Suggest the students to write a simple melody and use
clusters and sevenths as the accompaniment. Altemately,
the teacher can provide a cluster accompaniment and
encourage students to improvise a simple melodie line.

216

Table C.5. Gradus III, No. 5. "Hand Over Hand"


Adler's Notes
"This is really an exercise in consecutive thirds, some dose
together, others rather far apart."
Compositional
This elude features consecutive thirds, short and long slurs,
Techniques
quick shifts of hands, and overlapping hand positions.
This is an atonal piece in which ali twelve tones are used but
not in a serial way. No tonai center is suggested but a C
major triad concludes the piece.
The piece contains two sections and a codetta:
First section: mm. 1-9, the second phrase repeats the
first phrase with one measure extension;
Second section: mm. 10-16;
Codetta: mm. 17-20.
Pedagogical
Hand Extension and Shifts. Although this is a consecutive
Elements
thirds elude, rapid band shifts occur in the right hand at mm.
3-4 and mm. 7-8. Use the pedal to connect the notes when
needed. Avoid stretching the hand to "reach" for notes; use
the arm to move from one position to another.
Playing Consecutive Thirds. Maintain a relaxed arch to
reduce tension in the hands.
Overlapping Hand Position. The aftemating pattem ofthe
thirds between the two hands requires hand over band motion.
Hand Motions. Various arrangements ofthe thirds cali for
different motions or gestures ofthe hands.
1. Thirds that aftemate between the hands (mm. 1-8,10-11,
14, and 16-19) require quick and upward motions ofthe
hands and wrists.
2. The downward consecutive thirds (for example, mm. 1-9)
are grouped in one down-up motion.
3. The contrary motion thirds at m. 15 require small
rotational movements ofthe wrists/hands.
Drop-Lift Motion. There are slur pattems in of various
lengths. Drop on the first chord of each slur and lift on the
last chord ofthe slur.
Voicing. Bring out the top note ofthe thirds in order to bring
out the melody and to reduce tension in the hands.

217

Table C.5. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Review the interval ofthe third.
2. Play a note for the student and ask him/her to sing a third
above or below the given note.
3. Play the interval of a third and ask students to sing the
upper or the lower note. Prepare them to be able to sing
either note.
4. Ask the students to notate different kinds of thirds on the
board.
5. Repeat the above activities for reviewing intervals of
fourths, fifths, and sixths.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice the different slur pattems and rhythmic pattems
on top of a table or the lid ofthe piano first before playing
them on the keyboard, particularly for the syncopated
pattem in the section B at mm. 10-11.
2. Practice the altemating thirds in mm. 1-8 on top of a table
or the lid ofthe piano first and then play them on the
keyboard.
3. Practice m. 15 hands alone and away from keyboard on
top of a table or the lid ofthe piano first. Remind the
students to use a small rotational movement ofthe
wrists/hands. As students master the rotational
movement, practice m. 15 at the keyboard and hands
together.
4. Practice downward three-note slur consecutive thirds (for
example, m. 1, last three eighth notes) away from the
keyboard on top of a table or the lid ofthe piano, hands
separately and hands together. It is easier to do them with
the same fingering in each hand.
Rapid Shifts. Practice the shifts silently before attempting to
play the notes at the keyboard.
Creative Activity
1. Ask students to use thirds to create some passages
involving altemating thirds between hands and some
passages including consecutive thirds in the same hand.
2. Ask students to write some other passages to explore the
possibility of using other intervals such as consecutive
sixths.

218

Table C.6. Gradus III, No. 6. "Mostly Fifths (Perfect at thatV


Adler's Notes
"A study based on consecutive fifths, which of late are becoming
very popular again, forming chords in pieces by a school of
composers we might name the writers of a "new beauty" in sound."
Compositional
Arpeggiated quintal chords are featured throughout.
Techniques
Although the note E occurs at the beginning and the E-major triad
occurs at the end ofthe piece, they do not suggest any tonality;
there is no further emphasis on E, except for the E-major friad
arpeggiation that begins at the pick up to m. 4.
At the end, the open fifth sonority is emphasized. The addition of
the third, G-sharp, seems like an after thought.
Parallel motion between the two hands is prominent throughout the
piece with a few confrary motion pattems.
Simple triple as well as compound duple meters are featured.
Pedagogical Elements
Hand Motion. Pivot from to note and keep the hand as compact as
possible. Discourage sfretching ofthe hand to avoid tension in
hands.
Kev speed and Tone Confrol. Use different kev speeds to achieve
desired tone color and dynamics. For example, fast keysfrokes
produce louder tones and slower keysfrokes produce softer tones.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to produce long smooth
legato lines. Shape the lines to make the long phrases more
interesting.
Flexible Wrists. The wrist and forearm should follow the direction
ofthe notes and line up behind the playing finger.
Pedaling. Students may apply quarter- or half-pedal to beautifv and
sustain the line.
Practice Suggestions
Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice the consecutive fifth pattems away from the keyboard
on top of a table or the lid ofthe piano first. As the hands
master the movements, play the pattems on the keyboard.
Practice hands alone first before putting the hands together.
2. Create rhythm drills by clapping, walking, or verbalizing the
3 + 3 and 2 + 2 + 2 rhythmic groupings.
Conducting
1. Practice conducting measures of simple triple and compound
duple.
2. Altemate the pattems randomly.
3. Conduci No. 6 as written while the teacher plays it.
Note Leaming. Leam the notes in pattems of fifths. Recognize ali
the fifths and block out each pair of fifths. For example, at m. 1,
block the first two notes, E and B, and then block the second and
third notes, B and F-sharp.
Creative Activity. Encourage students to write their own
consecutive fifth pieces. Different types of fifths-perfect fifths,
augmented fifths, and diminished fifths-may be used. Different
kinds of rhythmic pattems may be used.

219

Table C.7. Gradus III, No. 7. "Opposite Motion"


Adler's Notes
"Simply a study in opposite motion, but also incorporating
some bitonality as well as motion in the same direction."
Compositional
This technical exercise features fast sixteenth notes in
Techniques
contrary motion and parallel motion.
There is no tonai center but bitonality occurs throughout.
The piece contains four sections. In the first section, mm. 111, the upper line is in D-Dorian against a different tonality at
the bottom. The second section, mm. 12-16, suggests the Fminor upper line against a different tonality below. The third
section, mm. 17-21 brings back the first four measures ofthe
first section with an extension. In the fourth section, mm. 2230, the upper line is the inversion ofthe upper line ofthe first
section. From mm. 24-30, the upper line suggests F minor
while the bottom line is in a different key.
Mm. 22-25 are almost the enharmonic version ofthe
beginning first four measures, except for the note C. The rest
ofthe bottom line uses some new material and ends with three
G-flats.
The two hands are sometimes dose and sometimes far apart
but no quick shifts are required.
Pedagogical
Contraction and Extension of Hands. Intervals of sixths and
Elements
sevenths, chromatic pattems, and ftill octave scale passages
cali for hand extension and contraction.
Fingerings. No fingerings are provided. Discuss fingerings
with students for this fast moving elude.
Hand Motion. The scale-like pattems and the skipping
pattems require flexible wrist motions and rotational motions
ofthe hands.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the lines.
Larger Muscle Involvement. The piece is mostly ali forte.
Support from the arms and the body are cmcial in executing
the jfast and loud passages.

220

Table C.7. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice short drills on different five-finger scales in
contrary motion and parallel motion. Start at a slow
tempo and gradually speed up. Make certain that the
wrists are flexible and that they line up behind the fingers.
2. Repeat the drills with different dynamics such as
crescendo, diminuendo, forte, piano, subito forte, or
piano.
3. Practice passages in broken sixths and sevenths (mm. 1415) with rotational motion. Doubl the right hand pattem
with the left hand. Do them ali over the keyboard and in
confrary and parallel motions.
Ear Training
1. Explain the meaning ofthe term "enharmonic."
2. Ask students to play each black note ofthe keyboard and
notate them in at least two different ways.
Note Leaming
1. Play every four notes as a group and block them.
2. Repeat every group several times and do them in different
octaves before practicing the next group.
Fingerings. Experiment with different fingerings and choose
the most efficient set of fingerings.
Creative Activity
1. Write two-line short etude-like passages combining two or
three ofthe foUowings: contrary motion, parallel motion,
rotation motion, scale passages, and/or broken intervals on
sixths or sevenths.
2. In addition, use different keys for each line and provide
some rhythmic variety, for example, dotted rhythms.

221

Table C.8. Gradus III, No. 8. 'A Little Ostinato"


Adler's Notes
"This little piece is self-evident. First, the ostinato is in the
left hand, then in the right, only to 'break up' for the coda."
Compositional
This piece contains two sections and a codetta:
Techniques
First section: mm. 1-13, ostinato in the left hand;
Second section: mm. 14-27, ostinato in the right hand;
Codetta: mm. 27-33
The piece is based on the octatonic collection C-C#-Eb(D#)E-F#-G-A-Bb-C that is used in the ostinato pattems, the
melodie line, and the coda. The collection shifts in m. 14 with
a new ostinato based on D-Eb-F-F#-G#-A-B-C.
The octatonic collections are used as unordered reference
collections.
There are some notes that do not fit into the octatonic scale
the D and G# in the first section and the F and B-flat in the
second section.
Descending half-step pattems are prominent as melodie
elements. See for example, the left-hand line G-F#-F at mm.
25-26, the left-hand line Eb-D-C# at mm. 26-27, and the lefthand octaves F#-F-E at mm. 28-31.
The last three measures feature an ambiguous tonality in three
layers of notes. The ending chord involves the octave E in the
bottom layer, the appoggiatura A-flat moving to G in the
middle layer, and a trill pattem between notes C and B which
finally settles on C The triad E-G-B suggests E minor while
the triad C-E-G implies C major.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The ending features left-hand octaves.
Elements
Voicing. Since the ostinato switches between the hands, both
hands bave a chance to play the melody and the ostinato.
Bring out the melody and keep the ostinato in the background.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to shape the lines and
produce the legato phrases.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use down-up motions in the long phrases
to allow for relaxation in the muscle.
Flexible Wrists. The wrists should line up behind the fingers
to support them. Particularly in the repeating ostinato
pattems, keep the wrists flexible to follow the motion ofthe
fingers.
Pedaling. Use quarter-pedal to enrich the sound. Lei the ear
guide the pedal changes.

222

Table C.8. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Explain the octatonic scale. Familiarize students with the
constmetion and sound ofthe scale. (Another piece that
features octatonic scale is No. 3, Gradus III.)
2. Ask students to play the scale in different registers and to
sing the scale.
3. Ask students to notate the octatonic scale on the board.
4. Ask students to notate the scale enharmonically.
Note Leaming
1. Write out and play octatonic scales starting on C, C#, and
D.
2. Figure out which scale contains the notes ofthe melodie
line, the left-hand ostinato, and the right-hand ostinato.
3. Discuss the intervals used in the melodie line.
4. Block each ostinato pattem and play it in different
octaves.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Drill the left-hand ostinato and the right-hand ostinato.
Make sure that the wrist supports the fingers by lining up
behind them.
2. Play the ostinato figures in dotted rhythms to familiarize
the pattems.
Creative Activity. Create different ostinato pattems using the
octatonic collection. Add a melodie line. Add dynamic
markings.

223

Table C.9. Gradus III, No. 9. "A Chorale"


Adler's Notes
"A chorale harmonized by some note against note linear
counterpoint. It also contains quite a few examples of
'fauxbourdon,' meaning consecutive chords in first inversion.
This litfle piece is in ABA form."
Compositional
There are three sections in this piece:
Techniques
First section: mm. 1-8;
Second section: mm. 9-12;
Third section: mm. 13-18
The first and the third sections use "fauxbourdon."
The opening sonority in m. 16 should remind students ofthe
"fifths chord" in No. 6, Gradus III.
The last three measures display a first inversion B-flat major
triad with an added E-flat. The distribution ofthe pitches
covers a range of more than four octaves. It results in a
transparent sonority and weakens the identity ofthe B-flat
major triad.
No tonai center is suggested. The major and minor triads are
chosen for their sound effect rather than for harmonic reasons.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The piece uses fourths, fifths, sixths, and octaves
Elements
in the same hand.
Doubl Notes. Maintain a relaxed arch in the band to reduce
tension and to enhance movement.
Flexible Wrists. The wrists should follow the movement of
the fingers to ensure tone quality and support the fingers.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to produce legato
phrases and to shape the lines.
Voicing. Bring out the melody and balance it with the
supported harmony.
Fingerings. No fingerings are assigned. Pian fingerings with
the students.
Pedaling
1. Use light pedal to enrich the tone.
2. Discuss with students how frequently the pedal should be
changed.
3. Lei the ears judge when to change pedal.
^ According to the New Harvard Music Dictionary, Fauxbourdon was a 15*-century French
compositional technique. It was used in short pieces or sections in longer works. In this technique, the
upper voice (a cantus priusfactus usually sacred) is notated an octave higher than ordinary plainchant and
is accompanied by a lower voice sixths and octaves below. In the earliest and most commonly accepted
method of realization, a third voice is added paralleling to the upper voice at the fourth below during
performance. The effect sounds like our first invention chords in today. See New Harvard Dictionary of
Music, rev. ed., s.v. "Fauxbourdon."

224

Table C.9. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Introduce or review first inversion triads, comparing it to
the root position triad. (Another piece that features first
inversion chords is No. 13, Gradus III.)
2. Play a series of first inversion triads and emphasize the
parallel thirds and sixths.
3. Ask the students to play first inversion triads on the white
keys.
4. Ask students to notate the triads.
5. Play the triads again. Score the pitches widely apart or
doubl the third ofthe triad at the bass.
6. Play one note and ask student to build a root position or
first inversion triad on top of that note. Then notate the
triads and transpose into different registers.
7. Play a triad (in root position or first inversion) and ask
students to sing any one ofthe three notes. Then notate
the triad and transpose the triad into different registers.
Note Leaming. Figure out what types of triads are used
major, minor, augmented, or diminished. Block the notes
(vertically) and repeat them in different octaves.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Repeat the first phrase of the piece to practice weight
transfer and the movement ofthe wrists and fingers.
2. Practice hands separately first, then hands together.
Rhythm. Changing meters contribute to the complexity ofthe
rhythm, particularly from mm. 12-18.
1. Use the eighth note as the basic unit of beat at the
beginning and feel the rhythm in larger groupings later.
2. Clap the rhythm ofmm. 12-182 + 2 + 2 + 2 for 1 in m.
12, 3 + 2 for i in m. 13, 2 + 2 + 2 for i in m. 14, and 3 + 3
for 4 in mm. 15-18.
3. Repeat step 2, walk in the opposite direction whenever the
meter changes.
Creative Activitv. Students may write their own preparatory
exercise. Also, encourage them to write short passages using
series of first inversion chords.

225

Table CIO. Gradus IILNo. \0. "Good 'Graces' in Fourths"


Adler's Notes
"Grace notes really contribute to the 'harmony' here and
make it sound richer than it would without them. Use the
sostenuto pedal slightly, but keep the feeling crisp
throughout."
Compositional
The first section (mm. 1 -7) features the interval of a fourth
Techniques
(perfect fourth) formed between the main note and the grace
note.
The second section (mm. 8-14) contains fourths as well as
other intervals in altemating hand pattems.
The codetta concludes the piece with materials from both
sections.
Adler's instmction at the bottom ofthe piece recommends
playing ali the grace-notes on the beats.
The parts clash constantly; there are minor ninths in m. 1,
augmented ninths in m. 3, and major ninths in m. 4.
The two parts with the grace-notes are mostly in mirror

writing.
Pedagogical
Elements

Rotation. The grace-note pattem requires rotation ofthe


hands. Play the grace-notes like acciaccaturaalmost
simultaneously.
Drop-Lift Motion
1. The altemating pattems between hands demand drop-lift
motions, as in the second section ofthe piece.
2. Drop weight on the grace-notes on the beat and lift after
the main note.
Key Speed
1. Use rapid key speeds for the fortissimo dynamic
throughout the piece.
2. Use the arms and the body to support the hands for loud
passages.

226

Table CIO. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Explain the intervals of perfect fourths, diminished
fourths, and augmented fourths. Ask students to constmct
these intervals on different notes and have them play the
chords for each other. Altematively, write the first note
and ask the student provide the other note ofthe interval.
2. Play different kinds of intervals and ask students to
identify the fourths. Identify the other intervals also if
possible.
3. Play the fourths in different registers ofthe keyboard.
4. Play a note for the student and ask him/her to sing the note
a fourth above or below the given note.
5. Play the interval of a fourth and ask students to sing the
upper or the lower note. Prepare them to be able to sing
either note.
6. Ask them to notate different kinds of fourths on the board.
Note Leaming. Locate ali main notes first, and then add the
grace-notes. Remind them the interval of fourths between the
main notes and the grace notes.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Pick any fourth in the piece. Practice rotation movements,
between the notes that form the fourths, away from the
keyboard on top of a table or the hd ofthe piano. As
hands become familiar with the motion, play the notes at
the keyboard.
2. Practice aftemating the grace-note pattems between the
hands as in mm. 8-10, mm. 11-13, and mm. 19-21. Use
drop-hft motions.
3. Repeat the above exercise at piano, forte, and fortissimo.
Creative Activity. Create short passages with plain melodie
lines and repeated notes. Notes may be altemated between
the hands or played hands together. Finally, add grace-notes
to the melodie line. Students may explore different intervals
with the grace-notes and discuss the different effects.

227

Table C U . Gradus III, No. 11. "Far Apart and Close"


Adler's Notes
"An obvious exercise in playing with the hands far apart and
then close together, even in three-note clusters."
Compositional
This elude features two contrasting positions ofthe hands and
Techniques
calls for quick register shifts.
There are three sections and a codetta in this elude:
First section: mm. 1-6;
Second section: mm. 7-12;
Third section: mm. 13-21;
Codetta: mm. 22-28.
The positions ofthe hands mark the divisions.
In the first six measures ofthe elude, the hands are placed at
extremes ofthe registers, five octaves apart. At m. 7, they are
shifted quickly to half-step clusters in the middle ofthe
keyboard.
At mm. 22-24, the two hands encounter a more challenging
register shift of six octaves.
The piece is atonal and does not focus on any tonai canter.
Contraction and Extension of Hands. There are many hand
Pedagogical
contractions and extensions (mm. 3-4 for example). Maintain
Elements
muscular relaxation, line up the arm behind the playing
fingers and keep the wrists flexible.
Drop-Lift Motions. The contrary motion paftems at mm. 8-12
cali for drop-lift and rotational motions. Drop weight at the
beginning ofthe slurs in contrary motion passages.
Rapid Shifts. Allow relaxed arm movements to assist with the
rapid shifts from mm. 6-7 and mm. 22-24.
Key Speed. Sharp dynamic confrasts occur at mm. 23-25
from sfftopp, sf and pp. Use the rests to prepare for the
dynamic changes. Play the loud sff and sf with rapid strokes
and support from the back and the upper torso. Use slower
key speeds for the softer passages.

228

Table c u . Continued.
Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Away from the keyboard on top a table or the lid ofthe
piano, practice the pattems at m. 8. Choreograph the
drop-lift and rotational motions.
2. At the keyboard, practice the paftems at mm. 8-13.
Maintain flexible wrists.
3. Practice the quick shifts silently at mm. 6-7, mm. 12-13,
mm. 21-22, mm. 22-24, and mm. 25-26. Practice
dropping weight when moving hands to the sides.
4. At the keyboard, practice the rapid shifts mentioned in
step 3.
Rhythm. Pay special attention to the rests at mm. 22-24.
Count in sixteenth notes to maintain precision.
Note Leaming. Block the notes into groups and practice them
in different rhythms, for example, dotted rhythm.
Creative Activity. Suggest that students write short exercise
involving rapid shifts which explore the extremes ofthe
keyboard.

229

Table C.12. Gradus III, No. 12. "Threes and Twos"


Adler's Notes
"A study in fitting three notes against two, and five notes
against two and three. These are techniques often called for in
twentieth-century music."
Compositional
The piece contains three phrases: mm. 1-4, mm. 5-9, and mm.
Techniques
10-15.
The melody of the right hand in m. 1 contains material that is
developed throughout the piece. The three right-hand
ascending stepwise notes, the leap of a fourth between the last
two notes, and the range of a fifth (from G to D) ofthe first
five notes become prominent and are modified in the piece.
1. Inversion: The descending quarter-note triplet figure of
the left band is an inversion ofthe ascending stepwise
opening notes.
2. Diminution: At m. 5 and m. 6, the right hand ascending
eighth-note quintuple figures is derived from the opening
motive with two extra notes added (the last two notes of
the eighth-note quintuplet).
3. Rhythmic canon: At m. 5, the two hands feature a
rhythmic canon and in contrary motion.
4. Interval of a fourth: The leap of a fourth, both up and
down, occurs in different measures, for example in the
right hand of m. 1, m. 2, m. 5, and m. 8.
The two voices are mostly in contrary motion and use quite a
few of rhylhmic canon.
Although there is no suggestion of any tonality for the most of
the piece, the second half ofthe piece stays in B-natural
minor, except for the foreign note C-natural at m. 13.
Contraction and Extension of Hands. There are hand
Pedagogical
Elements
contractions and extensions involved in mm. 3-4. Maintain
the relaxation ofthe muscle by following the direction ofthe
notes with the forearms and keeping the wrists flexible.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer for the legato lines.
Follow the contour ofthe lines to shape them.
Flexible Wrists. The wrists and forearms should align
themselves behind the playing fingers.
Rhythm. Use the half note as the basic pulse of each measure.
Play different groupings of notes in the time of a half note.
Voicing. Shape two individuai voices separately.
Fingerings. Discuss fingering with students.

230

Table c.12. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Divide students into two groups.
2. Play simple two-voice cross-rhythmic pattems and
aftemate parts between the groups.
3. Ask the students to notate the rhythmic pattems.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Divide students into two groups.
2. Have one group clap the half note as the basic pulse of
each measure. Have the other group clap the different
rhythmic pattems in the piece such as the quarter-note
pattems, quarter-note triplets, and eighth-note quintuplets.
3. Altematively, group the students in pairs. While one
student claps the half note as the basic pulse, the other
student should clap one ofthe voices in the piece. Switch
parts.
4. Then do the rhythm as written with one hand on the
keyboard and the other hand on the lap. For example, tap
the right-hand line on the lap while playing the left-hand
line on the keyboard. Altemate the activities between the
two hands.
Metronome Marking. Instead of setting the metronome to 88
to a quarter note, reset the metronome to 44 to a half note. Il
is easier to handle the triplets and quintuplets in this way.
Conducting. Have one hand conduci the basic pulse while the
other hand plays the different rhythmic pattems on the
keyboard.
Creative Activity. Ask students to vmte different rhythmic
pattems such as quarter-note triplets, eighth-note triplets,
eighlh-note quintuplets, half notes, and quarter notes. Then
combine the pattems and assign the pattems to two different
lines.

231

Table C I 3 . Gradus III, No. 13. "Strange, (but fascinating) Harmony"


Adler's Notes
"The great French composer Olivier Messiaen wrote this type
of harmony in his earlier creative periods, and many
composers followed his example."
Compositional
This etude explores sound color by featuring fauxbourdon
(parallel first-inversion triads) from different keys sounding
Techniques
simultaneously (bi-chords). The right-hand triads mostly
move in contrary motion to the left-hand triads.
There are two "root-position" F-sharp major triads, at m. 13
and m. 15, which sound against E minor triad that moves to a
D minor triad in both cases. A root position triad on G-sharp
occurs at the end.
In the opening five measures, the right-hand triads and the
left-hand triads move in contrary motion. At the begirming,
the hands are four octaves apart, gradually moving closer
together.
The music suggests something in the distance approaching
closer and closer to the listeners. Moreover, since the chords
are not tonally related, the sense of dissonance and confliet is
heightened as the chords converge.
A sudden shift in texture occurs at mm. 6-11. A melody on Fsharp over a static third inversion E major-minor seventh
chord breaks off the parallel triadic section. The F-natural in
the left hand and the F-sharp an octave above in the right hand
clash on the first beat of almost every measure.
At m. 16-18, a third-inversion A minor-ninth chord in the left
hand accompanies a melody outlining a D major seventh
chord in the right hand.
The parallel first-inversion triads retum again at mm. 20-28.
The last measure, m. 28, concludes the piece with a widely
spaced G-sharp-major triad.

232

Table e 13. Continued.


Pedagogical

Elements

Practice Suggestions

Drop-Lift Motion. Drop at thp hpoinnina nf tbp phrn<;p<: and

lift at the end ofthe phrases. Use drop-lift motions in


executing the parallel motions.
Flexible Wrists. The parallfil mntinn hetwppn thp triade:

requires flexible wrists. The wrists should follow the


direction ofthe first inversion triads.
Weight Transfer. Play the sinde-note melodie line at mm. 616 with weight transfer to produce legato tones. The wrists
and forearms should align themselves behind the playing
fingers.
Key Speed. For louder dynamics, use faster kev speeds. For
softer dynamics, reduce the key speed.
Voicing. Bring out the outer notes and release the inner notes
to reduce tension in the hands.
Pedaling. Although there is no pedal marking. use pedal to
beautify the sound and to sustain the legato between triads.
At mm. 16-18, use pedal to free the right hand to play the
upper single-note melodie line. Discuss with students when
to change pedal. Train the ear to be the guide.
Ear Training
1. Introduce or review first-inversion triads by comparing
them with root position triads. (Another piece featuring
first inversion triads is No. 9, Gradus III.)
2. Play two notes of a three-note triad and ask the student to
sing the third note to complete the first inversion triad.
Train them to identify or sing any ofthe three notes ofthe

triad.
3. Divide students into three groups and bave each group
sing one note ofthe triad.
4. Ask the students to play and notate different firstinversion triads.
5. Pair students to play different first-inversion triads
simultaneously in a slow tempo. The two sets of triads
may be played in different registers ofthe keyboard to
explore the sounds featured in piece No. 13.
6. Introduce students to second-inversion tiiads.

233

Table e 13. Continued.


Practice Suggestions
(Continued)

Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice m. 1 five times for flexible wrist movement. Lift
the hands between triads to maintain relaxation of hands.
Do the exercise away from the keyboard, on top of a table
or the lid ofthe piano, and hands alone first.
2. Play the triads again with pedal. Practice the timing ofthe
pedal change. Change the pedal for each triad.
3. Practice the exercise without pedal first. As the hands get
used to the motions, play them at the keyboard with the
pedal.
Leaming by Pattem. Play different first-inversion triads and
notice how they are shaped. Leam the feel ofthe firstinversion triads. Leam to identify the root ofthe chord,
which, in Ibis piece is almost always the soprano. Above ali,
avoid note-by note reading in finding chords.
Creative Activity. Ask students to use different first inversion
triads to write passages. Suggest that they explore different
distances between the hands.

234

Adler's Notes

Compositional
Techniques

Pedagogical
Elements

'Counterpoint means two independent lines, one against the


other in this case. Each has a rhythm of its own and imitation
is rather elusive. (The student may want to mark the points
and the types of imitation.)"
As Adler states in the notes, imitation in this piece is
"elusive." Il occurs sometimes at the beginning of a phrase;
other times ft hides in the middle of a phrase.
The imitation in this piece makes use ofthe first five
descending notes ofthe left band. The imitations pressure the
general shape ofthe line, not necessarily the exact intervals.
The most obvious imitative example is at mm. 14-16. The left
hand brings back the opening lines and the right hand imitates
at a tenth above. Only the shape ofthe left-hand line is
imitated, not the rhythm. The imitation breaks at m. 16.
There are other points of imitation.
1. In m. 3, the right hand enters with the opening motive in
inversion.
2. In m. 6, the right hand, repeats the opening measure a
tenth above.
3. Other figures imitate the opening descending figure in a
subtle way. The last beat in the right-hand note of m. 8
starts a descending pattem, as does m. 10.
Many scale types are used. For example, in m. 3, the left
hand starts a D-flat major scale. It changes into a whole-tone
scale fragment, Bb-C-D-E, in m. 4 and continues with an
octatonic scale fragment, E-F-G-Ab. The left hand moves
into a different octatonic collection in m. 5.
No tonai center is suggested but the ending is on C.
Contraction and Extension of Hands. There are band
contractions and extensions involved at m. 3 in the left hand.
Maintain the relaxation ofthe muscle by allowing the wrists
to follow the direction ofthe notes.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer for the legato phrases
and to shape the lines.
Flexible Wrists. The wrists and forearms should align
themselves behind the playing fingers.
Fingerings. No fingerings are provided. Discuss fingerings
with students.
Voicing. Shape the two independent lines separately.

235

Table C.14. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Play short rhythmic pattems similar to those in No. 14 and
ask students to repeat the pattems by clapping.
2. Play short melodie pattems in five-finger range and ask
students to repeat them on the keyboard.
3. Then ask them to transpose or invert the pattems.
4. Play one ofthe two imitative melodie lines and ask
students to sing the other line. Altematively, divide
students into two groups and have each group sing one of
the voices.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Review different kinds of scales such as octatonic scales
and whole-tone scales.
2. Play a one-octave scale hands together with different
dynamic levels. Switch the emphasis by sometimes
bringing out the right hand, the left hand, or both.
3. Write short phrases using a combination of scales and play
them.
Other Literature
1. Practice some pieces from J. S. Bach's Two-Part
Inventions to acquaint students with the contrapuntai style.
2. Alee Rowley's Five Miniature Preludes and Fugues is
another set of pieces showing the contrapuntai style.
Creative Activity. Ask students to write short motifs and
extend them into short passages using different contrapuntai
devices such as canonie imitation, inversion, augmentation,
and diminution.

236

Table C.15. Gradus IH, No. 15. "Sustaining Pedals"


Adler's Notes
"The pedal has been a 'cohesive adhesive' for a long time. In
primitive music is acted as a drone; here it simply enriches the
harmony."
Compositional
One voice in each hand acts as a pedal tone. The other two
Techniques
voices move in contrary motion.
In first section, from mm. 1-7, the two hands are scored
widely apart. Each moving part gradually moves closer to the
pedal tone in the same hand.
The second section includes mm. 8-26. The parts are closer
together. The moving parts are in contrary motion away from
the pedal-tone in the same hand.
The third section starts at m. 27. The widely spaced scoring
ofthe opening retums. The outer voices move in contrary to
the pedal tones in the same hand.
The last four measures feature a widely spaced hand position.
At the ending, the wide-spaced pianissimo notes sustained by
the pedal bave a meditative quality.
In most ofthe cases the moving parts in the two hands are in
inversion.
The piece is atonal.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. Octave stretches are common. Do not assign this
Elements
piece if hand size is a problem. Even students with large
hands should be encouraged to keep the hands relaxed
throughout the long-held notes and sfretches.
Contraction and Extension of Hands. This piece involves
hand extension and contraction. Relax the hands after each
stroke. Do not hold the hands in stiff shapes, particularly in
those measures requiring big sfretches.
Flexible Wrists. The wrists and forearms should align
themselves behind the playing fingers.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to play the legato lines.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-lift motions to reduce tension in
hands, particularly during the long pedals and sfretchy
passages.
Pedaling. Use pedal to beautify the sound and to provide
smooth connections between the notes. When the pattems
contain notes with large intervals (for example at mm. 4-5 and
mm. 25-26 in the left hand) or double-note pattems (for
example at m. 3 and m. 28 in both hands), use the pedal to
connect the notes.

237

Table c.15. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice weight transfer with five-finger notes.
2. Hold the first note with the thumb and play the other notes
in succession away and back toward the thumb. Practice
hands alone at first.
3. Hold the first note with the fifth finger and play the other
notes in succession away and back toward the fifth finger
in the same hand. Practice hands alone at first.
4. Use down-up motions with the wrists to reduce tension in
the hands.
Note Leaming
1. Practice the piece phrase by phrase and hands alone.
2. Play the lines without the long pedal tones to reduce hand
stretches. Add the long pedal tones at a later stage.
3. Block the notes at every measure and repeat them at
different registers.
Creative Activity. Write a four-part passage with pedal tones
in the inner or outer voices.

238

Table C. 16. Gradus III, No. 16. "A Bit of Twelve-Tone Music"
Adler's Notes
"This twelve-tone piece is built on the row A B*' B F* E D* C A''
ft is used both harmonically and melodically."
Compositional
Techniques
19
Ilo 111 16
14 13 IO 18 17
12
A
P9
Bb B
F#
E
D# C
Ab G
D
C#
P8
Ab A
Bb F
D# D
B
F#
C# C
G
P7
G
Ab A
E
D
C# Bb F# F
c B
PO C
C# D
A
G
F# D# B
Bb
F
E
P2
D
D# E
B
A
Ab F
G
F#
C# C
P3
D# E
F
C
Bb A
F# D
C#
Ab G
P6
F# G
Ab D#
C# C
A
F
E
e Bb
PIO Bb e
C
G
F
E
D# D
C# A
Ab
PII B
D#
E
e C# Ab F# F D Bb A
P4
E
F
F# C#
B
A
Ab
Bb G
D# D
P5
F
F# G
D
D#
Bb A
C
B
Ab E
PI
C# D
D# Bb
B
F# F
Ab G
E
C
Rll R12 R13 RIIO RI8 RI7 R14 RIO RI 11 RI6 RI5

G D C" F.

15
F
E
D#
Ab
Bb
B
D
F#
G
C
C#
A
RI9

R5
R4
R3
R8
RIO
Rll
R2
R6
R7
RO
RI
R9

P9^ Tone row: A-Bb-B-F#-E-D#-C-Ab-G-D-C#-F


The interval of a second is important in the prime row. As a result, the
tone row sounds intense and resembles the Expressionistic style.
The appearance ofthe pitches is not exactly in order.
The prime row P9 is presented in the right hand and the left hand together
in mm. 1-3. The last note ofthe row, F, does not appear until m. 3.
In m. 2 on the second beat, P8 enters in a version that the last note is
rotated to become the first: E-Ab (G#)-A-Bb-F-D# (Eb)-D-B-G-F#-C#-C,
skipping notes A and F.
In the left hand of m.3, the note F serves as the common tone for the last
note ofthe P9 and the second note of R9. The first three notes of R9 begin
as the accompaniment pattem till the end of m. 4.
In m. 4, the last two notes in the left hand continue the right hand and
finish the tone row R9.
In mm. 5-6, counterpoint and imitation are applied by using P4 and P6,
only the note A in P4 is missing. The first six notes in each hand are taken
from the first hexachords (the first six notes ofthe row) of P4 and P6
(H1P4 and H1P6). These are then followed by H2RI11 (the second six
notes of R l l 1) in the right hand (Eb-D-C-G-G#-A).
hi mm. 14-16, R7 starts the last beat of m. 14, (except the top note Ab, and
the first note ofthe row G appears later) Eb-E-A-G-Bb-D-F-F#-Ab-C#-CB, but skippmg the last note B.
P4 is used in mm. 17-16, PI appears in mm. 18-20, skipping notes A and
F#. and 19 is found in mm. 20-24.

' In here, the labeling used corresponds to the pitch-class integers, in which PO representing C, PI
representing C#, etc.

239

Table e. 16. Continued.


Pedagogical
Confraction and Extension of Hands. Chromatic Imes, widespread
Elements
intervallic skips, and small and large chords cali for hand extensions and
confractions.
Changing Meters. Simple friple and simple quadmple meters altemate
every other measure, except at m. 3.
Variety and Complexity of Rhythmic Pattems. Rests and tied-notes in
unexpected locations complicate the rhythm. Triplets against duplets
switching between hands make mm. 10-12 very challenging. At m. 18, the
situation is even more complex because the triplet^duplet pattem is
preceded by an eighth-note upbeat tied across the bar-line.
Dynamic Confrast. Notice the wide range of dynamic confrasts.
Fingerings. At m. 4, finger substitution needed in the right hand to retain
legato against the left-hand staccato.
Pedaling. Measures with sustained chords, for example, the last beat of m.
14 to first half ofthe second beat of m. 15, may be held together by using
the damper pedal. At m. 13, use sostenuto pedal.
Practice
Other Twelve-Tone Pieces. Review the exercises suggested in Nos. 8-11,
Suggestions
Gradus II conceming twelve-tone compositional techniques.
Rhythm
1. Ask students to tap the rhythm on top of table or on their laps.
2. Leam the rhythm measure by measure, then phrase by phrase.
3. Practice the friplet against duplet pattem in mm. 10-12 and m. 19 by
tapping eighth-note friplets with the left hand and eighth-note duplets
with the right hand. Do hands alone first, then hands together.
Altemate the pattems between hands. Finally play the measures as
they are written.
Note Leaming
1. Leam the notes measure by measure.
2. Practice hands alone first, then hands together.
Creative Activitv. Ask students to create their tone rows. Start with simple
rhythmic pattems. Suggest that they use the rows to create both melody
and accompaniment.

240

Table C I 7 . Gradus III, No. 17. "More Fun with '12 Tone'
Adler's Notes
"A different row, A E B A" C E'' G F" F D B*' C", gives us an altogether
different sound because of its rather 'consonant' makeup. Study 16 and 17
carefully to understand that ali twelve-tone music does not sound alike."
Compositional
19
14 111 18 IO 13
HO II
17 16 15 12
Techniques
P9
P2
P7
PIO
P6
P3
Pll
PO
PI
P4
P8
P5

A
D
G
Bb
F#
Eb
B
C
C#
E
Ab
F

E
A
D
F
C#
Bb
F#
G
Ab
B
Eb
C

B
E
A
C
Ab
F
C#
D
Eb
F#
Bb
G

Ab
C#
F#
A
F
D
Bb
B
C
Eb
G
E

C
F
Bb
C#
A
F#
D
Eb
E
G
B
Ab

Eb
Ab
C#
E
C
A
F
F#
G
Bb
D
B

RI5 RIO RI7 RI4 RI8 RI II

G
C
F
Ab
E
C#
A
Bb
B
D
F#
Eb

F#
B
E
G
Eb
C
Ab
A
Bb
C#
F
D

F
Bb
Eb
F#
D
B
G
Ab
A
C
E
C#

RI3 RI2 Rll

D
G
C
Eb
B
Ab
E
F
F#
A
C#
Bb

Bb
Eb
Ab
B
G
E
C

c#
D
F
A
F#

C#
F#
B
D
Bb
G
Eb
E
F
Ab
C
A

RI
R6
Rll
R2
RIO
R7
R3
R4
R5
R8
RO
R9

RIIO RI6 R19

Tone Row: P9'': A-E-B-Ab-C-Eb-G-F#-F-D-Bb-C#


The prime row in No. 16 emphasizes more on the interval of a second. The
overall effect is more intense and Expressionistic. The row in this piece
has tonai implications, for example, the Ab major and Bb major triads are
spelled out in notes 4-6 and 9-11 ofthe row. It sounds more colorful and
Impressi onistic.
The beginning three tones outline a quintal chord, A-E-B.
hi mm. 1-2, the first hexachord notes of P9 are used.
In mm. 3-4, the second hexachord of P9 (plus B-natural) is found.
PI 1 is stated from m. 5 up to the first note of m. 10.
In mm. 13-15, P8 is stated.
19 appears in mm. 16-21.
Rll 1 is found in mm. 22-23 with a few irregularities. The F# and C# occur
in m. 24 and the F and G# appear in mm. 18-21.
hi mm. 24 and 26, the first half of P6 is used.
The first half of PIO is found in m. 25 and m. 27.
The middle part of P3 appears in mm. 29-32.
The right hand contains mostly friadic pattems. The left hand feafrires
mostly consecutive fifths except at mm. 15-21.
Changing meters are feattired in this piece. Non-fraditional meters such as
8 and 1^6 are used.
The fraditional l measures feature rhythmic groupings in beats two and
three. They sound likefeahemating with i.

' The labeling used in here corresponds to the pitch-class integers, in which PO representing C, PI
representing C#, etc.

241

Table C.17. Continued.


Pedagogical
Extension of Hands. The widespread pattems cali for extension ofthe
Elements
hands. Keep the wrists flexible and use drop-lift motions and weight
transfer to maintain relaxation m the hands.
Flexible Wrists. The wrists should follow the direction ofthe contour of
the lines to support the fingers.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to shape the legato hnes.
Fingerings. No fingerings are provided. Discuss fingerings with students.
Pedaling. Use the pedal to enrich the sound. Change the pedal once per
measure or judge by the ears.
Practice
Other Twelve-Tone Pieces. Review the exercises suggested in Nos. 8-11,
Suggestions
Gradus II conceming twelve-tone compositional techniques.
Ear Training^
1. Play the row several times. Arrange the tones within an octave range.
Play them ali in quarter notes.
2. Try to sing the whole melody, arranging the tones within an octave
range for singing purposes.
3. Listen for sequences or familiar pattems.
4. Identify whole- and half-step relationships between pairs of notes,
adjacent or non-adjacent, hearing them as spatially adjacent pitches.
5. Sing ali pairs of pitches that are a whole-step or a half-step apart.
Rhythm
1. Take the sixteenth note as the basic unit of beat.
2. Clap the 3 + 3 and 2 + 2 + 2 groupings altematively.
3. Finally clap the rhythm as written.
Note Leaming
1. Leam the notes phrase by phrase.
2. Practice the hands together.
Creative Activitv
1. Suggest that students create their tone rows that contain fifths and
triads similar to the one in this piece.
2. Ask them to imitate the pattems used in this piece.
3. Suggest that they altemate notes between the hands and use widespread
pattems.

' Michael L. Friedmann, Ear Training for Twentieth-Century Music (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1990), 4-5.

242

Table C.18. Gradus IILNo. \8. "Bdls and Harps"


Adler's Notes
"Some playing inside as well as outside the piano. Beautiful
sounds can be achieved by inside-the-piano effects."
Compositional
This piece is about tone color.
Techniques
Non-traditional sound effects can be produced by exploring
new playing techniques inside and outside the piano.
First, altemate playing a note on the keyboard and plucking
the string inside the piano as in m. 1 and m. 2.
Second, stmm the strings inside the piano while the pedal is
depressed.
Third, depress a chord without sounding it and randomly play
other notes on the keys, listening for sympathetic harmonies.
Pedal is essential to many of these special effects.
Pedagogical
The stmmming ofthe strings requires a grand piano without
Elements
cross iron bar to practice and perform Ibis piece.
Students may bave to stand in order to stmm and pluck the
strings inside the piano and depress the pedal simultaneously.
Practice Suggestions Strings that have to be plucked need to be carefully marked in
a way that does not damage the hammers or strings ofthe
keyboard. For example, identify the strings (C, C#, and D)
that have to be plucked inside the piano by gently affixing
temporary removable labels to the strings.
Practice depressing the keys silently.
Another piece that explores the inside ofthe piano is No. 17
of Gradus IL.

243

Table C.19. Gradus IILNo. 19. "Two or More Simnltanenus Tonalities"


Adler's Notes
"A fast and exciting study using at least two tonahties at a
time."
Compositional
There are three sections in this piece.
Techniques
The A section (mm. 1-7) features right-hand broken-chord
parallel major triads in different keys against a left-hand
whole-tone scale fragment. The second half of this section
(mm. 4-7) contains a dominant-tonic motion suggesting Dsharp as the dominant, but it tums into D-natural in m. 6. The
reiteration ofthe note D and the D major chord in the next
measure establishes D as the tonic.
The B section (mm. 8-16) features an ostinato figure on E and
B against parallel major and minor triads above. A tonicdominant relationship between the two is established
There are transitional measures in mm. 17-20.
The A' section (mm. 21-29) brings back the opening measures
but with an interesting conclusion. In the last six measures, it
strongly suggests D as tonic in the top and bottom staffs. On
the other hand, especially in the last three measures, it is
ambiguous whether the D is the tonic or whether it is the
dominant to G.
Pedagogical
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-lift motions to execute the
Elements
broken-chord and parallel-chord passages.
Flexible Wrists. The broken-chord passages and the passages
featming parallel triads require flexible wrists. The wrists
should move in the direction ofthe root position triads.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer to produce legato.
Key Speed. For louder dynamics, use faster key speeds. For
softer dynamics, reduce the key speed.
Voicing. Bring out the outer notes to help reduce tension in
the hands.

244

Table c.19. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Repeat m. 1 five times as a warm-up exercise for the
broken-chord pattem.
2. Play m. 11 five times as a warm-up exercise for the blockchord pattem. Practice both legato and staccato.
3. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by
using drop-lift motions, keeping the wrist flexible, and
using weight transfer.
Ear Training
1. Review major and minor triads. (The major and minor
triads are introduced in No. 15 and No. 19 of Gradus L.)
2. Ask students to play and then sing different triads. Work
with parallel major and minor triads to help students leam
about the raising and lowering ofthe thirds.
3. Ask students to notate the triads.
4. Play one note and ask students to build a triad on top of
that note. Then notate the triad and transpose the triad
into different registers.
5. Play a triad and ask students to sing any one ofthe three
notes. Then notate the triad and transpose the triad into
different registers.
Creative Activity. Ask students to use different triads to write
short passages. Suggest that they put different triads of
different keys together.

245

Table C.20. Gradus ///, No. 20. "A Five Finger Rumble"
Adler's Notes
"A typical kind of quick ostinato study. Use the pedal frequentiy to
get some 'blurred' effect."
Compositional
The texture and fritone melody of this piece resemble Debussy's
Techniques
Fireworks.
There are two sections and a codetta.
The piece use only five-note ostinato pattems on the white keys,
except at mm. 13, 20, and 21.
Section A mns from mm. 1-12, the five-note ostinato figure is set
against the left-hand octatonic collection E-F-G-G#-A#-B-C#-D.
In mm. 6-12, the left-hand line emphasizes the E-flat minor
pentatonic scale.
In section B (mm. 13-19), the ostinato moves to the left hand and
defines the B section.
In mm. 15-17, the octatonic melodie content ofmm. 1-5 retums.
The B-flat in m. 17 indicates a retum to E-flat minor pentatonic.
The codetta contains a five-finger descending E-flat melodie minor
scale against a five-finger ascending B-flat minor scale.
Drop-Lift
Motion. Use drop-lift motions to execute the ostinato
Pedagogical Elements
figures.
Flexible Wrists. The recurring ostinato figures cali for circular
motions ofthe wrist. Line up the wrists behind the playing fingers
to support them.
Weight Transfer. Use weight fransfer to produce legato.
Key Speed. For louder dynamics, use faster key speeds.
Pedaling. Adler suggests frequent use ofthe pedal to create some
"blurred" Impressionistic sound.
Preparatory
Exercise
Practice Suggestions
1. Play m. 1 five times as a warm-up exercise to practice circular
motion ofthe wrists. Doubles the right-hand part in the left
hand three octaves below.
2. Practice moving in both similar and confrary motion
3. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout the exercise by using
drop-lift motions, keeping the wrist flexible, and by using
weight fransfer.
Ear Training
1. Review the octatonic scale and the pentatonic scale.
2. Ask students to play and sing the scales.
3. Ask students to notate the scales.
Creative Activity. Ask students to create their ostinato figures.
Suggest that they use octatonic and pentatonic scales in their
compositions.
^
^

246

APPENDIX D
ANALYSIS TABLES FOR THE SENSE OF TOUCH

247

Table D.l. The Sense of Touch, No. 1


Adler's Notes
"Staccato, single tone altemating between hands, variable
dynamics, time changes, L.H. over R.H."
Compositional
The economie use ofthe pitch is a characteristic of
Techniques
"Minimahst" technique. Only C2, C4, and C6 are used
melodically; C3 and C5 enter at the end.
The challenging elements of this piece include the quick shifts
between the Cs in different registers, rapid altemations ofthe
hands in executing grace notes, cross-over, repeated notes,
and contrasting dynamics.
The rhythm is rather complicated and frequently involves the
use of rests.
Pedagogical
Larger Muscle Movement. Involve larger muscle movement
Elements
ofthe whole arm and body to shift rapidly up and down the
keyboard.
Staccato Touches. Maintain muscular relaxation throughout
the piece. Rebound motions are required to execute the
staccato notes.
Rotation. Use light rotational movements for the repeated
notes. The upper arms must remain relaxed for the rapid
shifts, grace notes, and repeated notes.
Drop-Lift Motion. The notes may be grouped in twos and
threes and played with drop-lift motions to combat muscle
fatigue.
Key Speed and Different Touches
1. Relax muscle before and after each note. For loud
dynamics, use a faster key speed. For softer dynamics,
reduce the key speed.
2. Be aware ofthe staccato in forte. Use quick rebound
motions in these passages.
Fingerings. Use thumbs for C4s and the fifth fingers for C2s
and C6s. Fingers have to be flexible and relaxed for the rapid
movements.

248

Table D.l. Continued


Practice Suggestions

Rhythm. The different locations ofthe eighth-note rests


increase the complexity ofthe rhythm. Tap the rhythm on a
solid surface, using the fingerings that will be used to play the
piece.
1. Practice the rhythm phrase by phrase, for example, mm. 1 3, mm. 4-7, and 8-11. Master one phrase before starting
the next.
2. Use the eighth note as the basic unit of beat in studying
the rhythmic pattems.
3. Tap the rhythm slowly as written and gradually increase
the tempo.
4. Divide the students into groups. Altemate phrases among
the groups.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice away from keyboard. Tap the rhythm and the
staccato touches on the hd of a piano or on top of a table.
2. Practice in smaller units and gradually join the smaller
units into larger units. For example, start with one
measure, then play two measures, and then play the whole
phrase.
3. Feel the gestures ofthe rapid shifts and repeated notes.
4. After familiarizing with the layout of the piece, play the
fragments or phrases on the keyboard with the indicated
dynamics.
Transposition. Play the fragments or phrases ofthe piece
using different pitches such as Ds or Gs.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the fragments used in this piece.
2. Ask students to write a short piece with similar treatment
of a single tone.
3. Suggest that they use different registers of the keyboard.

249

Table D.2. The Sense of Touch, No. II


Adler's Notes
"Legato, single notes in both hands, accidental, variable
dynamics between hands."
Compositional
This piece features two contrapuntai hnes.
Techniques
The right hand imitates the left hand in the opening but the
imitation does not continue.
This is a neo-tonal piece that uses pandiatonic technique. The
two contrapuntai lines use the notes from the G major scale.
Each phrase emphasizes the subdominant C, the dominant D,
and/or the G at the beginning, middle, and the end.
Nevertheless, they are not used in accordance with traditional
mles goveming harmony and voice leading.
The last four measures reiterate the dominant D and the tonic
G. The ending concludes with a second inversion G-majorseventh chord.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The piece contains stretches of a sixth in the left
Elements
hand and a seventh in the righi hand. Use drop-lift motions
and keep the wrist flexible to maintain muscular relaxation.
Voicing. Bring out the two independent lines by shaping the
two parts separately.
Weight Transfer. Follow the direction ofthe lines and shape
the lines by using weight fransfer, lining up the arm behind
the playing finger.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe
fingers to support them.
Open and Closed Hand Positions. Both hands cali for
extension and contraction ofthe hands.
Fingerings
1. No fingerings are provided. Pian fingerings with students.
The different shapes and sizes of hands may require
different sets of fingerings.
2. Thumb-crossing (at m. 4 in the right hand) and finger
substitutions (5-1 in the right-hand on G at m. 10) maybe
assigned.
3. Some sets of fingerings may be easier to play than other
fingerings. For example, for the last three notes in m. 14,
use 1-2-1 fingerings (the number 2 finger goes over to
play the note E, and the number 1 finger plays the note D).
In the last measure, a 1-2-4 or 1-2-5 fingering works weU
with the left-hand chord.

250

Table D.2. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Vary the rhythm of phrases in this piece and ask students
to identify and notate the differences.
2. Play short melodie patterns in a five-finger range and ask
students to repeat them exactly, transposing them into
other intervals or inverting the pattems.
3. Play one hne ofthe two voices and ask the student to sing
the other line. Divide students in half and have each
group sing one ofthe lines.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Introduce the G-major scale and the fingering of this scale.
2. Add dynamic levels to the scale.
3. Vary the rhythm, playing the scale in quarter notes, in
eighth notes, in triplets, or using dotted rhythms.
Note Leaming
1. Block the notes every measure or every half measure and
repeat them up and down the keyboard.
2. Leam the notes hands separately in small units. Put the
smaller units together and practice phrase by phrase.
Other Literature
1. Practice some of J. S. Bach's Two-Part Inventions to
explore more two-part contrapuntai pieces.
2. No. 14, Gradus III and No. 4, Gradus II are other pieces
written in counterpoint. They are more challenging than
Ibis piece.
3. Some other easy contrapuntai pieces recommended are,
for example. Alee Rowley's Five Miniature Preludes and
Fugues.
Creative Activity. Ask students to write short motifs and
extend them into short canonie pieces.

251

Table D.3. The Sense of Touch. No HI


Adler's Notes
"Legato opposite tenuto, single notes in both hands, contrary
motion, more accidentals. L.H. over R.H."
Compositional
This piece features trill-like figurations and arpeggiated
Techniques
figures.
The first half ofthe piece features the left hand crossing over
the right hand.
The second half ofthe piece, mm. 12-17, includes quartal and
quintal broken chords (chords built from fourths and fifths).
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The piece contains band stretches, particularly in
Elements
mm. 12-17. Even students with larger hands should
remember to keep the muscle relaxed by using drop-lift
motions, weight transfer, and wrist flexibility.
Pedaling
1. Use pedal to connect big hand stretches (as in m. 14), and
passages with band crossings, or to produce a richer tone
(as in mm. 7-8). Apply full-, half-, or quarter-pedal
according to different textures and dynamics. For
example, use full-pedal in mm. 8-9 and mm. 12-15, and
half- or quarter-pedal at mm. 16-17.
2. Change pedal frequently to avoid blurring the sound. Lei
the ear be the guide.
Open and Closed Hand Positions. Both parts cali for open
and closed positions ofthe hands.
Rotation. Use rotation to produce a smoother tone and to
execute the trill-like pattems of altemating notes (for
example, in mm. 1-7 in the right hand and mm. 9-11 in both
hands). There are altemating notes in seconds, fourths, and
fifths. Rotational movement may also make the contrary
motion passages easier to play.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer for legato passages.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists should follow the movement ofthe
fingers to support them.
Fingerings
1. No fingerings are provided. Pian fingerings with students.
Different shapes and sizes of hands may require different
sets of fingerings. Assist students with fingerings,
particularly in passages featuring large sfretches (such as
mm. 12-15).
2. Thumb-crossings (at m. 15 in the left hand) may be used.

252

Table D.3. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice the trill figures using different fingerings, for
example 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 2-4, 3-4, 4-5.
2. Use rotation in executing trill pattems.
3. Add dynamic levels (such as those found in Ibis piece:
pp,p, mff cresc, and dim.) to the trills.
4. Repeat the first half of the right hand in m. 15 five times
and do the same for mm. 12-14 ofthe left band. Practice
the stretch by applying weight transfer, flexible wrists, and
pivoting.
Creative Activity. Suggest that students write short warm-up
exercises for this piece. Address problems of trills,
altemating notes, or hand stretches.

253

Table D.4. The Sense of Touch, No. IV


Adler's Notes
"Mixed staccalo and legato, single notes in both hands,
variable dynamics between hands, time changes, many
accidentals."
Compositional
This piece features short motifs or figures with frequent
Techniques
changing meters.
Ali twelve tones are used but not in a serial way.
The piece is dissonant. The lines are angular, not smooth.
There is no tonai center.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The piece includes stretches of sevenths and
Elements
sixths. Use drop-lift motions and keep the wrist flexible to
maintain muscular relaxation.
Rotation. Use rotation for the trill-like pattems such as in
mm. 6-8 and mm. 20-22.
Drop-Lift Motion. Use drop-lift motions in the staccato notes
and in the two- and three-note slurs.
Weight Transfer. Use weight transfer for the legato lines.
Flexible Wrists. The forearm and wrists should follow the
movement ofthe fingers to support them.
Fingerings. No fingerings are provided. Pian fingerings with
students. The different shapes and sizes of hands may require
different sets of fingerings.
Practice Suggestions Rhythm
1. Tap out several measures of each ofthe following
rhythms: i (3 + 2 and 2 + 3), , i, and i.
2. Tap the rhythm slowly as written and gradually work up
to tempo.
3. Practice the piece in small units, for example, mm. 1-3
andmm. 4-5.
4. Divide students into four groups. Each group is
responsible for one ofthe four different meters. Tap the
rhythm ofthe whole piece together.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Practice away from keyboard. Tap the rhythm on the lid
of a piano or on top of a table.
2. Do hands separately.
3. Leam the gestures of the pattems phrase by phrase, for
example, mm. 6-8 and mm. 9-10.
4. After famiharizing with the layout of the piece, play the
fragments on the keyboard with the indicated dynamics.
5. Practice arpeggios, scales, and five-finger pattems with
one hand legato and the other hand staccato.

254

Table D.4. Continued.


Practice Suggestions
(Continued)

Note Leaming
1. Leam the notes measure by measure, then phrase by
phrase.
2. Block the notes and move them to different registers.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the phrases in terms of pitch range, rhythmic
pattems, dynamics, and different touches.
2. Ask students to write a short piece with similar treatment.
3. Suggest that they use different registers ofthe keyboard
and explore the dissonances. Use some non-traditional
meters (such as 1 and s).

255

Table D.5. The Sense of Touch, No. V


Adler's Notes
"Legato, tenuto, building tone-clusters, many accidentals,
some octaves, pedal."
Compositional
The texture is quite complex in this piece. There are
Techniques
contrapuntai passages, chordal passages, and passages that use
"texture melody" (The composer mentions this term in
"Strange Textures," No. 3 of Gradus III. The "texture
melody" in mm. 9-13 and mm. 20-24 is created by layering
one note at a time to the melodie line, holding each note until
the end ofthe melody.)
The wide-spacing and the unusual voicing ofthe chords lead
to some unique and ambiguous sonorities. For example, in
the opening three measures, the notes can be rearranged to
form a ninth chord, with split roots (B and Bb), spht fifths,
and split ninths. Nevertheless, the current presentation sets
the notes in three layers. They can be interpreted as: a second
inversion F-minor triad with usuai voicing at the top, a
sonority of a chord built from different fifths (augmented and
perfect fifths) in the middle, and an interval of a tenth in the
bass. In most cases, the best analytical approach can be
achieved by paying close attention to the context and the
voicing ofthe music.
The opening three and the last three and a half measures
resemble each other. Nevertheless, at the end, the pedal is
released before the entrance ofthe bass notes. The
consonance ofthe B-D chord in the bass register confrasts
with the dissonant treble sonorities.
The piece exploits the entire range ofthe keyboard. The right
hand shifts between the high treble and the low bass clefs
down to D3. The left hand also covers a broad range from the
bass register to a little more than an octave above middle C.
The free use of ali twelve notes leads to an abundance of
accidentals.

256

Table D.5. Continued.


Pedagogical

Elements

Practice Suggestions

Hand Span. The piece requires a hand span of at least an


octave. Even students with larger hands should remember to
keep the muscle relaxed by using drop-lift motions, weight
fransfer, and wrist flexibility.
2. Voicing. Bring out the top notes and reduce pressure on irmer
notes to help to case muscular tension.
3. Weight Transfer. Follow the direction ofthe lines and shape
the lines by using weight transfer.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists and forearms should follow the
movement ofthe fingers to support them.
Open and Closed Hand Positions. The piece calls for open
and closed hands. Maintain muscular relaxation by using arm
muscle to support the fingers.
Pedaling. Pedal use is required to blur the chords together
Use half- or quarter-pedal to beautify the sound, for example,
atmm. 9-10.
Dynamics. The variable dynamics make this piece very
expressive.
Fingerings
1. No fingerings are provided. Pian fingerings with students.
Different shapes and sizes of hands may require different
sets of fingerings.
2. The stretch of a tenth in m. 2 in the bass clef can be
divided between hands since the pedal frees the hands
from holding the previous long notes.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Divide the piece into smaller units, for example, mm. 1-3
andmm. 4-5.
2. Leam the pattems one group or phrase at a time.
3. Observe variable dynamics during practice.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the different textures used in this piece, for
example, the "texture melody" section at mm. 1-5.
2. Assign different textures to different students and ask
them to write short pieces with that assigned texture.
3. Divide students into groups and combine the different
textures into a new piece.

257

Table D.6. The Sense of Touch, No. VI


Adler's Notes
"Legato, tenuto, arpeggio, pedal, some time changes, single
notes in both hands, some chords, many accidentals."
Compositional
This piece consists of three sections. The third section
Techniques
resembles the opening section and then modifies it.
The first section (mm. 1-10) features arpeggio pattems
altemating between hands.
The second section (mm. 11-22) contains passages with the
two hands sounding simultaneously in arpeggio pattems in
contrary or similar motion.
The third section (mm. 23-32) concludes the piece with a
polychordthe E minor seventh against the F-sharp major
triad.
Polychords are featured throughout the piece. For example, in
m. 15, the G-major triad in the right band is against the Bmajor triad in the left hand.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The piece requires a hand span of a seventh.
Elements
Different Touches. Students need to distinguish between the
legato and tenuto passages.
4. Weight Transfer. Follow the direction ofthe lines and shape
the lines by using weight transfer.
Flexible Wrists. Wrists and forearms should follow the
movement ofthe fingers to support them.
Open and Closed Hand Positions. The piece calls for open
and closed hands. The arpeggiated melody covers a range of
more than two octaves. Maintain relaxation ofthe muscle by
keeping a flexible wrist and by using weight transfer.
Fingerings
1. No fingerings are provided. Pian fingerings with students.
The different shapes and sizes of hands may require
different sets of fingerings.
2. Particularly in the second section, there are wide ranging
figurations, such as in mm. 11-12. This kind of figuration
calls for fingerings which include thumb crossings.
Pedaling. The pedal is frequently indicated at the pjawo
sections. The composer probably wants a slightly richer tone.
Use half- or quarter-pedal to beautify the sound.

258

Table D.6. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Ear Training
1. Review the major and minor triads. Introduce diminished
and augmented triads.
2. Ask students to play and then sing different diminished
and augmented triads.
3. Ask students to notate the triads.
4. Play one note and ask student to build a triad on top.
Then notate the triad and transpose the triad into different
registers.
5. Play a triad and ask students to sing any one ofthe three
notes. Then notate the triad and transpose the triad into
different registers.
6. Introduce the seventh, ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth
chords.
7. Group students in pairs and ask them to play the different
chords to each other. Notate their chords.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Divide the piece into small units, for example, mm. 1-2
and mm. 3-4.
2. Leam the pattems one unft after another.
3. Observe variable dynamics during practice.
Note Leaming
1. Leam the notes measure by measure and then phrase by
phrase.
2. Block the notes and move them into different registers.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the triads and chords in this piece.
2. Ask students to write a short piece exploring the different
triadic, seventh, ninth, eleventh, and thirteenth chords.

259

Table D.7. The Sense of Touch. No. VII


Adler's Notes
"Legato, contrary motion, melody vs altemating notes in same
hand, some time changes, many accidentals."
Compositional
The piece starts with an Introduction followed by four
Techniques
sections and concludes with a codetta.
Different intervals are introduced in the three layers of notes
in this piece.
The lowest layer consists of two notes a major second apart in
the left band.
The middle layer features intervals of thirds, mostly minor
thirds.
The top layer is the melody. ft forms different intervals
including seconds, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, and sevenths
with the melody.
The Introduction and the A section consist ofmm. 1-4 and
mm. 5-10 respectively.
The B section, from mm. 11-14, transposes the A section up a
third.
The section C, mm. 15-22, opens with the first two measures
ofthe A section but it continues with six measures of
transitional materials. The last three measures of this section,
mm. 19-22, recali the opening materials of this section and
altemate them in different registers.
The section D, from mm. 23-31, transposes the A section
down a second.
The codetta consists ofthe last six measures.
Changing meter occurs at the Introduction and the codetta.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The piece requires big stretches between the
second and fifth fingers ofthe righi hand for the melody and
Elements
altemating-note accompaniment. Hand size needs to be
considered when assigning this piece.
Voicing
1. Bring out the top melodie notes. The altemating-note
accompaniment ofthe right hand should be played
smoothly and quietly.
2. Practice voicing in terms ofthe vertical and horizontal
aspects. Vertically, bring out the top melodie notes.
Horizontally, shape the lines according to the phrasings.

260

Table D.7. Continued.


Pedagogical

Elements

5.

Practice Suggestions

Larger Muscle Involvement


1. Use the larger muscle such as the whole arm to make the
rapid shifts and to bring out the top melodie notes.
2. Practice the shifts silently over the keyboard without
sounding the keys to get familiar with the leaps. Later
play them at the keyboard.
Rotation. Use rotation for the altemating notes in the two
hands.
Weight Transfer. Follow the direction ofthe lines and shape
the lines by using weight transfer.
Stretching of Hand. The right-hand line calls for stretching of
the hand. Maintain muscular relaxation ofthe muscle by
keeping the wrists flexible and by using weight transfer and
drop-lift motions.
Fingerings. No fingerings are provided. Pian fingerings with
students. The different shapes and sizes of hands may require
different sets of fingerings.
Ear Training
1. Review the intervals of seconds, thirds fourths, fifths,
sixths, sevenths, and octaves. These intervals occur
between the notes ofthe right-hand melody and the
altemating-note accompaniment in the same band.
2. Play one note and ask student to play different intervals
above this note. Then notate the interval and transpose the
interval into different registers.
Preparatory Exercise
1. Repeat the two-note figures in the both hands in m. 1 five
times as a warm-up exercise for the rotation of hands.
2. Practice mm. 5-8 to get used to playing the melody and
accompaniment in the same hand.
Note Leaming. Block out the pattems to leam the notes.
Creative Activity
1. Discuss the intervals used in the right-hand melody and
accompaniment section in this piece.
2. Ask students to write a short piece by using different
intervals lo form a melody and an accompaniment.

261

Table D.8. The Sense of Touch, No. Vili


Adler's Notes
"Staccato, legato, tenuto, altemating tone-clusters between
hands and hands together, melody in one hand vs tone-clusters
in the other band, many accidentals."
Compositional
This piece consists of an Introduction (mm. 1-10), A section
Techniques
(m. 11-22), B section in two parts (mm. 23-31 and mm. 3244), and a codetta (mm. 45-56).
In the B section, the left-hand single-note melody suggests the
pentatonic scale on F-sharp except for the G-natural in m. 30.
The right-hand melody in m. 32 imitates the opening ofthe
previous left-hand melody in m. 24 a half step down and
varies it after the first four notes.
There is a new symbol for the clusters in mm. 19-22. It
suggests hitting as many notes as possible with the whole
hand within the range where the cluster is put.
The first five measures present an aggregate.' The different
clusters altemating between hands in the first measure contain
eleven pitch classes; the missing B-flat is introduced in m. 5
and completes the aggregate.
The last three measures feature F-sharp-seventh chords in the
left hand against five-note clusters in the right band. Il
suggests F-sharp as the tonic final.
Although the melody is diatonic, the cluster accompaniment
makes it sound dissonant.
Pedagogical
Hand Span. The piece requires a stretch of a seventh.
Elements
Voicing. Bring out the melodie line by using larger muscle to
support the fingers and by softening the cluster
accompaniment.
Larger Muscle Movement. Involve larger muscle movement.
Use forearm drops for the execution of clusters and rapid
bouncing motions for the staccato clusters.
Flexible Wrists. Maintain flexible wrists for the clusters.
Key Speed and Different Touches
1. Relax muscle before and after each set of clusters. For
loud dynamics, use faster key speed. For softer dynamics,
reduce the key speed.
2. Be aware ofthe loud dynamics. Use drop-lift motions
with the large muscle to produce the required loud chords.

' Stefan Kostka defines aggregate as any statement of ali twelve pitch-classes presented withm a
fairly short period in atonal music regardless of order or duplication. See Stefan Kostka, Materials and
Techniques of Twentieth-Centwy Music (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1989), 197.

262

Table D.8. Continued.


Practice Suggestions

Preparatory Exercise
1. Use mm. 1-4 as a warm-up exercise for the altemating
clusters between hands.
2. Repeat mm. 1-4 in different octaves.
3. Play five-finger scales in the right band for one octave
accompanied by random clusters in the left hand.
Note Leaming
1. Practice the piece in small units, for example, mm. 1 -4,
mm. 5-10, and mm. 11-14.
2. Play the cluster notes slowly. Gradually work up to
tempo.
3. Leam the notes in the cluster chords first. Then leam how
to shift from cluster to cluster.
Creative Activity.
1. Explore clusters ali over the keyboard.
2. Suggest that students write a piece with a melody with
cluster accompaniment.

263

APPENDIX E
A GRADED LIST OF ADLER'S GRADUS AND
THE SENSE OF TOUCH

264

A graded list of Adler's sixty-eight pieces in Gradus and The Sense of Touch is
constmcted in reference to the difficulty levels described in Jane Magrath's The Pianist 's
Guide to the Standard Teaching and Performance Literature} The grades range from
level 1 to level 10. Table 1 is reproduced from Magrath's book. It explains how the
grading system works. The graded list suggests how to sequence the pieces and provides
a general idea ofthe relative difficulty ofthe pieces as comparing to standard works
found in the piano repertoire. The graded list serves as a general reference and
comparison, not a factual grading.^

' Jane Magrath, The Pianist's Guide to the Standard Teaching and Performance Literature (Van
Nuys, CA: Alfred PubHshing Co., Inc., 1995).
^ Ibid., vi.

265

Table E.l Reference Chart for Grading^


Level
Reference
Bartk's Mikrokosmos, Book I
Tiirk Pieces for Beginners
Latour Sonatinas; Kabalevsky Pieces/or Young People. Op. 39
Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook, Gurhtt Album for the Young, Op. 140;
Tcbaikovsky v4/6Mm for the Young, Op. 39
Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook, Sonatinas by Attwood, Lynes; Menotti
Poemetti
Clementi Sonatinas, Op. 36; Burgmiiller 25 Progressive Pieces, Op. 100

10

Kuhlau and Diabelli Sonatinas; Bach easier Two-Part Inventions; Bach Little
Preludes; Dello Joio Lyric Pieces for the Young
Moderately difficult Bach Two-Part Inventions; Beethoven easier variations
sets; Field Noctumes; Schumarm Album Leaves, Op. 124; Schubert Waftzes;
Turina Miniatures
Easier Bach Three-Part Inventions; easier Haydn Sonata movements; easiest
Mendelssobn Songs Without Words; easiest Chopin Mazurkas
Bach Three-Part Inventions; Chopin Noctumes; Beethoven Sonata, Op. 49, 79;
Mozart Sonata, K. 283; Muczynski Preludes

Ibid., xi.

266

Table E.2. Graded List of Gradus I


Pieces

No. 1

No. 2

No. 3

No. 4

No. 5

No. 6

No. 7

No. 8

No. 9

No. 10

Level

Pieces

No. 11

No. 12

No. 13

No. 14

No. 15

No, 16

No. 17

No. 18

No. 19

No. 20

Level

Table E.3. Graded List of Gradus if


Pieces
Level

No. 1
7

No. 2
5

No. 3
7

Pieces

No. 11

No. 12

Level

No. 4
8

No. 13
7

No. 5
5

No. 6

No. 7

No. 8b
7

No. 9

No. 10
7

No. 14

No. 15

No. 16

No. 17

No. 18

No. 19

No. 20
9

Table E.4. Graded List of Gradus III


No. 2

No. 3

No. 4

No. 5

No. 6

No. 7

No. 8

No. 9

No. 10

Pieces

No. 1

Level

Pieces

No. 11

No. 12

No. 13

No. 14

No. 15

No. 16

No. 17

No. 18

No. 19

No. 20

Level

* Nos. 8 and 8a are not included in the list since they are the matrix square and the "preliminary
exercise.

267

Table E.f . Graded List of Th 2 Sense of Touch


Pieces

No. 1

No. 2

No. 3

No. 4

No. 5

No. 6

No. 7

No. 8

Level

268