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Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations The Graduate School

2011

A Study of Selected Piano Toccatas in the


Twentieth Century: A Performance Guide
Seon Hwa Song

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THE FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY

COLLEGE OF MUSIC

A STUDY OF SELECTED PIANO TOCCATAS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY:


A PERFORMANCE GUIDE

By
SEON HWA SONG

A Treatise submitted to the


College of Music
in partial fulfillment of the
requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Music

Degree Awarded:
Spring Semester, 2011
The members of the committee approve the treatise of Seon Hwa Song defended on January 12,
2011.

_________________________
Leonard Mastrogiacomo
Professor Directing Treatise

_________________________
Seth Beckman
University Representative

_________________________
Douglas Fisher
Committee Member

_________________________
Gregory Sauer
Committee Member

Approved:

_________________________________
Leonard Mastrogiacomo, Professor and Coordinator of Keyboard Area

_____________________________________
Don Gibson, Dean, College of Music

The Graduate School has verified and approved the above-named committee members.

ii
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Above all, I am eagerly grateful to God who let me meet precious people: great teachers,
kind friends, and good mentors.

With my immense admiration, I would like to express gratitude to my major professor


Leonard Mastrogiacomo for his untiring encouragement and effort during my years of doctoral
studies. His generosity and full support made me complete this degree. He has been a model of
the ideal teacher who guides students with deep heart.

Special thanks to my former teacher, Dr. Karyl Louwenaar for her inspiration and warm
support. She led me in my first steps at Florida State University, and by sharing her faith in life
has sustained my confidence in music. I also would like to express a sincere appreciation to Seth
Beckman, Douglas Fisher, and Gregory Sauer for their invaluable time as my committee
members. Without their insightful advice during all the working process, it would not have been
possible to finish this treatise.

To my dearest friend, Kirsten Mitak, I am grateful for her incredible kindness and help
during the past four years. As my personal editor, she has always offered valuable suggestions.
Thanks are also due to Nicole Agostino DeGoti and Brooks Hafey for proofreading and helpful
comments in spite of their busy schedules.

A note of thanks from my heart is extended to my Korean colleagues for their precious
friendship over the course of many years. It is a great value to share many unforgettable
memories with them.
Finally, during my entire life in the USA, my deepest gratitude should go to my families
in Korea, who have supported me sincerely and lovingly. They have always given me strength to
keep working toward my goal. There is no word to express their endless contribution, patience
and love for me.

iii
TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS ...........................................................................................................iv


LIST OF TABLES ...................................................................................................................... v
LIST OF MUSICAL EXAMPLES ............................................................................................. vi
ABSTRACT ........................................................................................................................... viii

1. HISTORICAL REVIEW OF KEYBOARD TOCCATA

Definition of Toccata ......................................................................................................... 1


The Renaissance to the Baroque Period .............................................................................. 3
Disappearance of Toccata between Classical and Romantic Periods ................................... 5

2. REVIVAL OF TOCCATA IN EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY

Impressionism: Debussy and Ravel .................................................................................... 7


Toccata from Pour le piano ........................................................................................... 8
Toccata from Le tombeau de Couperin ........................................................................ 10
Comparison between Debussy and Ravel .................................................................... 13
Neoclassicism: Prokofiev ................................................................................................. 14
Toccata, Op. 11 ........................................................................................................... 15

3. CONTEMPORARY PIANO TOCCATAS

Lee Hoiby – Toccata Op.1 (1953) ................................................................................... 19


Robert Muczynski – Toccata (1961) ................................................................................ 29
George Rochberg – Toccata-Rag from Carnival Music (1971) ........................................ 37
Emma Lou Diemer – Toccata for Piano (1979) ............................................................... 46

4. SUMMARY .................................................................................................................... 54

BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................................................................................................... 57
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ..................................................................................................... 63

iv
LIST OF TABLE

Table 3.1: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, Formal Structure and Typical Characteristics ....................... 22
Table 3.2: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15. Formal Structure and Characteristics ........................... 32
Table 3.3: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, Indications and Musical Materials ...................................... 39

v
LIST OF MUSICAL EXAMPLES

Example 2.1: Debussy, Toccata, mm. 81-84. Counterpoint writing ............................................. 9

Example 2.2: Ravel, Toccata, mm. 94-97. Interlocking hand position ....................................... 11

Example 2.3: Ravel, Toccata, mm. 57-59. Use of 9th and 11th chords ........................................ 12

Example 2.4: Ravel, Toccata, mm. 1-4. Ostinato figures and Appoggiatura............................... 12

Example 2.5: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 1-4. Hypermetric rhythm .............................................. 16

Example 2.6: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 25-28. Hypermetric rhythm .......................................... 16

Example 2.7: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 77-79 and mm. 111-113................................................ 17

Example 2.8: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 49-50 and mm. 57-58. Ostinato Effects......................... 17

Example 2.9: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 67-68. Sarcastic Elements ............................................. 18

Example 3.1: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 1-5 ........................................................................... 23

Example 3.2: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 6-7 ........................................................................... 23

Example 3.3: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 8-9 ........................................................................... 24

Example 3.4: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 16-18 ....................................................................... 24

Example 3.5: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 20-21 ....................................................................... 25

Example 3.6: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 68-79. The opening of the B section ........................ 26

Example 3.7: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 158-161 ................................................................... 27

Example 3.8: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 6-7 and mm. 30-31 ......................................... 32

Example 3.9: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 130-133 and mm. 163-166 ............................. 33
Chromatic elements

Example 3.10: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 138-138 and mm. 232-235 ........................... 33
Tone-cluster effects

Example 3.11: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 58-61 and mm. 80-84 .................................. 34
From the B section

vi
Example 3.12: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 114-121. Contrapuntal writing...................... 34

Example 3.13: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 27-28 and mm. 217-219 ............................... 35
Use of whole-note bar or full bar rest

Example 3.14: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 1-5 ...................................................................... 40

Example 3.15: Rochberg, Blues, mm. 63-67. A coda section ..................................................... 41


Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 6-11. “Blues” section

Example 3.16: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 72-82................................................................... 42

Example 3.17: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 114-122 ............................................................... 43


The opening of the first movement “Fanfares and March”

Example 3.18: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 178-186 ............................................................... 43

Example 3.19: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, m. 170 ......................................................................... 44

Example 3.20: Diemer, Toccata for Piano. The opening section................................................ 49

Example 3.21: Diemer, Toccata for Piano. One of the extended piano techniques ..................... 50

Example 3.22: Diemer, Toccata for Piano. A part of tone-cluster passages ............................... 51

Example 3.23: Diemer, Toccata for Piano. Use of fermata ........................................................ 51

Example 3.24: Diemer: Toccata for Piano. Tremolos ................................................................ 52

Example 3.25: Diemer: Toccata for Piano................................................................................. 52

vii
ABSTRACT

The purpose of the study is to introduce selected piano toccatas composed in the
twentieth-century, and to explore the character and contrasting musical styles of these toccatas.
Many composers of this century were interested in the toccata form. This often challenging
genre has provided pianists with technically brilliant repertoire.

This study is an attempt to observe the development and contrast of toccatas during each
musical era: Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary. Also, the selected
toccatas are examined from the performer‟s perspective, e.g., each composer‟s musical idiom
and construction.

The first chapter states the definition of toccata and researches its origin. It covers how
the toccata developed through the Baroque period and between the Classical and Romantic
periods; it briefly describes composers‟ principal traits and new attempts toward the toccata. The
next chapter discusses the revival of the toccata in the twentieth century, especially compositions
by Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Sergei Prokofiev. Along with distinct features of each
toccata, it examines similarities and differences among three works. This is followed by selected
twentieth century piano toccatas, focusing on a variety of compositional styles and musical ideas:
contrapuntal writing, neo-classical, rag influence, and minimalism. This chapter includes
compositions by Lee Hoiby, Robert Muczynski, Emma Lou Diemer, and George Rochberg, in
chronological order. Also, as a performance guide, technical difficulty and suggested practice
techniques are addressed. The conclusion briefly summarizes the most distinctive characteristic
of toccatas covered in earlier chapters, and expresses the author‟s views about the value of the
toccata in keyboard literature of the twentieth century.

viii
CHAPTER 1

HISTORICAL REVIEW OF KEYBOARD TOCCATA

Definition of Toccata

Toccata is a well-known compositional genre in keyboard literature, featuring mostly fast


moving, improvisatory passages, imitation sections, as well as sudden and unexpected changes in
harmony, tempo, and dynamic. 1 The term „Toccata‟ is derived from the Italian toccare, meaning
“to touch” or “to strike.”2 It has been used for various musical forms or styles, but it is generally
used for a virtuosic piece in free form, written for solo keyboard instrument.3
In the sixteenth century, the word „toccata‟ was found in five lute pieces: „tastar de corde‟
composed by Joan Ambrosio Dalza in 1508 and four „tochate,‟ in Intabolatura de leuto, written
by Giovanni Antonio Casteliono.4 Murray C Bradshaw5 states that these Italian solo lute works
influenced the development of the keyboard toccata because of their improvisatory quality. 6
It is difficult to define the exact origin of the toccata. Researchers explored the origin of
the toccata, but their approaches show similarities and differences. According to American
musicologist Leo Schrade,7 the North German toccatas of San Pieterszoon Sweelinck and
Samuel Scheidt are separate from the Italian works of Andrea Gabrieli and Claudio Merulo, as
well as other German toccatas by Johann Jakob Froberger and Johann Kaspar Kerll. Schrade
describes two specific functions of the early toccatas: the Southern toccatas served as an

1
Frank Eugene Kirby. Music for Piano: A Short History. (New York: Amadeus Press: Illustrated edition,
2003), 18.
2
John Caldwell. „Toccatas‟: Grove Music Online ed. L Macy. (accessed September 12, 2010)
http://grovemusic.com
3
Ibid.
4
Murray C Bradshaw. The Origin of the Toccata. (Rome, American Institute of Musicology, 1972), 13.
5
Murray Bradshaw (PhD, Chicago): the author of several books and editor of "Musicological Studies and
Documents" and the "Miscellanea" series for the American Institute of Musicology.
6
Murray C Bradshaw, 56.
7
Schrade divided the toccata‟s characteristics along a geographical line. Leo Schrade, “Ein Beitrag zur
Geschichte der Tokkate,” (Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft, VIII). quoted in James Walter Kosnik. “The
Toccatas of Johann Jakob Froberger: A Study of Style and Aspects of Organ Performance.” (D.M.A., thesis, The
University of Rochester, 1979), 20.


accompaniment for singers, the Northern style, on the other hand, contributed to the development
of virtuosity.8 Erich Valentin‟s research9 expanded Schrade‟s study. He indicates that Italian
vocal music influenced the southern toccata. Valentin also discusses South German writings as a
„technique of vocal diminution and the structural contrast between imitative and free section.‟10
A third view on the origin of the toccata held by Otto Gombosi 11 is that he considered it
to be a transcription of brass fanfare music.12 During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the
term „toccata‟ was used for fanfare-like pieces. The overture of Monteverdi‟s Orfeo in 1607
begins with a Toccata for baroque trumpets, and Maurizio Cazzati uses the toccata for the
trumpet parts in his sonatas.

By the end of the sixteenth century composers indicated the word „toccata‟ in keyboard
works to characterize the style of the composition. There are two styles of keyboard toccatas.
One is “Toccata ligature e durezze” which means „a piece characterized by syncopation and
dissonance, chromatic and imitative counterpoint style in slow tempo,‟ and the other is “Toccata
in modo di trombetto” which is „a fanfare transferred from brass to keyboard.‟13 The earliest
printed keyboard toccatas were composed by Sperindio Bertoldo (1591), but more important
toccatas were listed in the published collection, Girolamo Diruta‟s Il Transilvano (1593),
including detailed keyboard technique, especially for the organ. 14

8
Ibid, 14.
9
Enrich Valentin, Die Entwichlung der Tokkate im 17 und 18 Jahrhundert (Universitäts-Archiv:
Musikwissenschaftliche Abteilung, vol. VI; Münster, 1930), 3-82. quoted in James Walter Kosnik, 14.
10
Kosnik approved it through the toccatas by Sweelinck, Frescobaldi, and Froberger.
James Walter Kosnik, 15.
11
Otto John Gombosi (1902-1955): Hungarian/US musicologist.
12
Murray C Bradshaw, 13.
13
Each appears in the music; Toccata Ottava di durezze e ligature in F Major, Toccate e partite, Book II by
Girolamo Frescobaldi and Toccata d‟intavolatura d‟organo, no. 2, book 1 by Claudio Merulo.
Murray C Bradshaw, 2.
14
Il Transilvano is one of the earliest published collections of keyboard music in 1593. The recording by
Marco Ghirotti on Tractus Lable is one of references. (accessed September 12, 2010)
http://www.hbdirect.com/album_detail.php?pid=508849 quoted in Hey Won Lee. “The Toccata and the history of
Touch: A Pianist‟s Survey of the Symbiosis of Style and Performance Practice of Selected Toccatas from Froberger
to Muczynski.” (D.M.A., thesis, The University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2008), 5.


The Renaissance to the Baroque Period

At the end of the sixteenth century, keyboard instrumental music developed in Europe,
especially in Italy and Germany. Venice, Italy was the center of economy and culture,
contributing to the establishment of the Venetian School.15 There was an increase of interest in
secular music, and the progress of secular music brought about the development of instrumental
music, independent from vocal music. 16 Thus, composers were interested in compositions for
instruments, compositional forms such as Canzona, Dance-Suite, and improvisatory pieces
including the toccata, fantasia, and prelude. 17
Between the Renaissance and Baroque periods, the toccata was a chief form of
improvisatory keyboard music. It has been discovered within the organists‟ works at St. Mark‟s
Cathedral in Venice, and composed by Sperindio Bertoldo, Girolamo Diruta, Andrea Gabrieli,
Giovanni Gabrieli, and Claduio Merulo. 18 These toccatas denote common traits which include
sustained chords, imitation, counterpoint section, and virtuosic passages. However, because of
the advancement of the keyboard instruments, compositional techniques were developed, and
complexity and length were extended.

In Italy, Claudio Merulo (1533-1604) and Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) were


influential keyboard players. Willi Apel states that the climax of the sixteenth century toccata
appears in Merulo‟s works.19 His toccatas are known for virtuosic, free writing with imitative
style, presented in three or five-part form with alternating rhapsodic and imitative sections. 20
These same concepts were later applied to toccatas of Frescobaldi, who influenced the history of
this genre. Frescobaldi‟s toccatas demonstrate his various compositional characteristics. A

15
„Venetian School‟: A group of northern and Italian composers active in Venice in the late sixteenth and
early seventeenth centuries, many associated with the Basilica of St. Mark. Don Michael Randel, editor. The
Harvard Dictionary of Music, 4th ed. (Cambridge, Mass: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1986), 943.
16
The book, A History of Western Music, explains „The rise of instrumental music during the Renaissance
is evident in the cultivation of new instruments, new roles for instrumental music, new genre, and new styles, as well
as in the growing supply of written nusic for instruments alone.‟ J. Peter Burkholder, Donald J. Grout, Claude V.
Palisca. A History of Western Music, 7th ed. (W.W. Norton & Company, 2006), 262-65.
17
Ibid.
18
These works are found in Howard Mayer Brown, Instrumental Music Printed Before 1600 (Cambridge,
Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1965).
19
Merulo‟s published collection: Toccate d‟intavolatura d‟organo, libro primo (1598), libro secondo (1604).
Willi Apel. History of Keyboard Music to 1700, trans. Hans Tischeler. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press,
1972), 225
20
Stewart Gordon. A History of Keyboard Literature. (New York: Schirmer Books, 1996), 19.


similarity of both Merulo and Frescobaldi‟s writing was „small, trill-like motives for musical
development.‟21 However, Frescobaldi added a new style to the toccata. For example, he
employed it as an introduction of the mass as the mystical character, such as the Toccata Avanti
la Messa della Domenica.22 He also showed more articulations, sustained chords, chromaticism,
random tonal changes, and rhythmic suspension effect.23
In North Europe, Jan Peterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621) developed the Netherland
toccata. He composed twelve toccatas which greatly affected the genre.24 These works were
influenced by Italian style which encompassed long sustained harmony, rambling passages, and
motivic imitation.25 However, the principal characteristic was rhythmic regularity. German
organist, Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707), wrote five toccatas constructed in the traditional
styles of alternated rhapsodic and fugal sections, and rhapsodic endings. 26 His biggest organ
works, nineteen Praeludia (or preludes), demonstrate the texture of the toccata as extended fugal
and rhapsodic sections. These works also developed the tonal possibilities of the organ, had
elaborate use of pedal, and increased stylistic differences between the organ and harpsichord
toccata.27 They contributed strongly to J.S. Bach‟s organ works of preludes, toccatas, and fugues.
Other influential composers of keyboard toccatas were Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli (It.),
Michelangelo Rossi (It.), H.L. Hassler (Ger.), Johann Jakob Froberger (Ger.), and Franz Mathias
Techelmann (Aus.).
During the late Baroque period, prior to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), Italian
composer Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) composed toccatas for harpsichord. Although his
historical reputation is in vocal music, forty toccatas make up the majority of his fifty keyboard
works.28 Compared to the Italian toccata of the middle Baroque, these include at least one
perpetuum-mobile 29sections, containing scales, octave tremolos, and arpeggios. 30 They also

21
James Walter Kosnik, 15.
22
Frescobaldi‟s collection of organ music includes three masses: Missa della Domenica, Missa degli
Apostoli, and Missa della Madonna. Each mass contains „Toccata‟ as an introductory before the mass. Girolamo
Frescobaldi, “Fiori Musicali (1635),” ed. Orgel-und Klavierwerke. (P. Pidoux. Kassel, Bärenreiter, 1954).
23
Willi Apel, 457.
24
Murray C Bradshaw. “The Influence of Vocal Music on the Venetian Toccata,” Musica Disciplina, Vol.
42 (1988), 157-198. under “JSTOR.” (accessed September 16, 2010) http://www.jstor.org/stable/20532321
25
Carole Ann Lee. “The Piano Toccata in Twentieth Century: A Selective Investigation of the Keyboard
Styles and Performance Techniques.” (MUS.A.D., thesis, Boston University, 1978), 10.
26
Ibid., 15
27
John Caldwell. „Toccata: 4. Late Baroque.‟ (accessed September 12, 2010)
28
Willi Apel, 699.
29
Latin, meaning perpetual motion characterized by a rapid motion of continuous notes or repeated notes.


show more extended construction of six, seven or more contrasting parts, fugal or recitative
sections, and variation elements.31

J.S. Bach contributed most strongly to the historical development of the toccata.
According to Carole Ann Lee‟s study, Bach‟s toccatas can be divided into three basic types: an
introductory piece to the suite, an individual design work, or as part of a toccata and fugue. 32 For
instance, the Partita no. 6 in e minor, BWV 830 begins with a „toccata‟, representing the South
German style. On the other hand, the seven toccatas for clavier (BWV 910-916) are independent
works. They are comprised of four movements, except BWV 916, which is in three sections.
They employ a free and improvisatory opening, diverse rhythms, and rhapsodic or fantasy-like
figuration. 33 They also incorporate at least one Adagio movement, and one fugue. Bach
composed toccatas for organ, such as Toccata and Fugue in d minor, BWV 565, featuring toccata
and fugal elements. It was inspired by the Northern German School‟s organ toccatas of
Buxtehude.34

Disappearance of toccata between Classical and Romantic periods

Beyond Bach‟s toccatas, composers began to turn away from the genre of toccata.
Although the solo piano became the choice instrument for keyboard compositions during the
Classical and Romantic period, the toccata almost disappeared until 1832, when Robert
Schumann composed the Toccata in C Major, Op. 7. During the Classical period, C.P.E. Bach,
Mozart, and Beethoven were more interested in the improvisatory genre of the fantasia,
reflecting a free style instead of the toccata.35 Drabkin explains that, compared to the toccata, the
fantasia was the more expanded form, “both thematically and improvisatory,” during the
Romantic period.36

30
Willi Apel, 700.
31
John Caldwell. „Toccata: 4. Late Baroque.‟ (accessed September 12, 2010)
32
Carole Ann Lee, 16.
33
Maurice Hinson. Guide to the Pianist‟s Repertoire. 3rd ed. (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2000). 52
34
John Caldwell. „Toccata: 4. Late Baroque.‟ (accessed September 12, 2010)
35
William Drabkin. „Fantasia: 3. 19th and 20th centuries,‟ The New Grove Dictionary of Music and
Musicians, ed. Stanley Sadie, 2nd ed. Vol. 8 (London: Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2001), 554.
36
Ibid.


Prior to Schumann‟s work, toccata writings appeared by very few composers. Muzio
Clementi (1752-1832) used the title „toccata‟ for the piano sonata op. 11, published in 1784.
Later, Francesco Giuseppe Pollini (1763-1846) composed piano exercises, called toccatas in
Trentadue esercizi in forma di toccata (1820).37 Carl Czerny (1791-1857) wrote Toccata ou
Exercice pour la pianoforte in C major, Op. 92.

However, the toccata‟s characteristics still remained during this time. According to John
Caldwell, rapid, virtuosic techniques were still displayed in the etudes and exercises. Capriccios
and rhapsodies absorbed the traits of formal and rhythmic freedom. 38 Ludwig van Beethoven
used short, perpetual motions in the final movements of his sonata op. 26 in A-flat Major, and
sonata op. 54 in F Major. Frédéric Chopin‟s second sonata in B-flat minor, op. 35 also showed
toccata-like motion in the last movement.39

In the Romantic period, Schumann‟s toccata (1832) is regarded as the most significant
composition in this genre. This toccata shows virtuosity, but also an attempt at new changes,
contrary to earlier works. Away from free form and fugal writing, he adopts a strict sonata form
and massive chordal patterns. Both the exposition and recapitulation consist of the principal
theme with rapid sixteenth-note motion, and the secondary theme presents „a short, cantabile
phrase with sixteenth-note accompaniment.‟40 In addition, the development begins with a new
theme featuring rapidly repeated octaves.

Later, Franz Liszt (1811-1886) composed a toccata (1879) during his late period,
although it is a very short, obscure work for pianists. It was found in the Joseph Banowetz‟s
collection Franz Liszt – An Introduction to the Composer and His Music, which also contains
pedagogical aids.41

37
John Caldwell. „Toccata: 5. 19th and 20th centuries.‟ (accessed September 12, 2010)
38
Ibid.
39
Stewart Gordon, 162.
40
Frank Eugene Kirby, 177.
41
Maurice Hinson, 496.


CHAPTER 2

REVIVAL OF THE TOCCATA IN EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY

1. Impressionism: Debussy and Ravel

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) and Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), attempted a new approach
to music which was unlike the Romantic tradition. It focused on expressing a personal
imagination rather than writing in a purely programmatic manner. Gordon refers to an article
about Debussy from 1902 to illustrate the new concept: “I wanted from music a freedom which it
possesses perhaps to a greater degree than any other art, not being tied to a more or less exact
reproduction of Nature, but to the mysterious correspondences between Nature and
Imagination.”42
This musical tendency was influenced by French painting and literature. In the late
nineteenth century, the term „impressionism‟ was applied to the painting style in France. Artists
such as Claude Monet and Édouard Manet emphasized not detail and objectiveness, but rather
colour and subjectiveness through light and shading.43 These principles were naturally absorbed
into the music of French composers, especially Debussy and Ravel. They focused on creating
the image of the title through colorful sonority and ambiguity of harmony and structure.44
Through these unconventional techniques, they contributed not only to a new path in keyboard
literature, but also to a revival of the „toccata‟ in the beginning of the twentieth century.

Debussy and Ravel each composed the toccata as part of a set. Debussy placed the
toccata in the third movement of his suite Pour le Piano (1901), and later Ravel wrote Le
Tombeau de Couperin (1914-1917), which contains a demanding toccata as the finale. These
works reflect the new harmonic colors of Impressionism and the traditional genre, as well as the
form and style of Neo-Classicism. Robert Schmitz states that Debussy and Ravel stand at the

42
Stewart Gordon, 358.
43
Frank Eugene Kirby, 278.
44
Stewart Gordon, 359-61.


transition of Romanticism and Neo-Classicism. Their compositions reflect aspects of both the
Impressionistic and Neoclassical styles.45

“Toccata” from Pour le piano by Claude Debussy

The suite Pour le Piano, premiered by Ricardo Viñes at the Société Nationale de
Musique, is among Debussy‟s early works which are more neoclassical rather than
impressionistic: Arabesques, Suite Bergamasque, and Pour le Piano. This work, recasting the
traditional titles, Prelude, Sarabande, and Toccata, represents the dance suite form of the
eighteenth century.
The third movement “Toccata” was dedicated to Nicolas Coronio, a pupil of Debussy. It
displays brilliance and virtuosity, as indicated by the tempo marking Vif, meaning „lively‟ or
„fast.‟ The continuous sixteenth-note patterns in perpetual motion dominate the entire piece, a
reminder of Robert Schumann‟s toccata and J.S. Bach‟s fugal toccata sections. 46 Debussy
combined the traditional elements of the earlier toccata with his own musical concepts such
rhythmic freedom and a rich harmonic texture.
Structurally, it is a ternary form in large three sections; A-B-A' with coda. The main
subject that appears in the A section consists of four ideas that return in the A' section. The
thematic progression of this piece may be viewed as having a sonata-allegro form. 47

Debussy‟s use of Classical form is clear, but his tonal structure, on the other hand, is
ambiguous. Debussy‟s use of harmonic language is illustrated throughout the piece, e.g.,
unresolved tension, pentatonic and whole-tone scales. Rudolph Réti48 classifies this new tonal
concept as “unprepared modulation, use of whole-tone and pentatonic scale, bitonality, use of
parallel chords, and an occasional absence of tonality.”49 By exploiting these harmonic aspects,
Debussy produced an impressionistic toccata that is decidedly different from earlier periods.

45
E. Robert Schmitz. The Piano works of Claude Debussy. (Westport, Conn., Greenwood Press, 1970,
c1950), 15.
46
Hey Won Lee, 56.
47
Schmitz, in the book The Piano Works of Claude Debussy, approaches two more aspects of form. One is
a sonata-allegro format thematically; two main themes in the exposition, development sections, a complete
recapitulation with the first theme. Another is a rondo form because of the beginning material‟s recurrence. E.
Robert Schmitz. The Piano Works of Claude Debussy. (New York, Dover, 1966), 75-80.
48
Rudolph Reti (1885 – 1957) was a musical analyst, composer and pianist.
49
Rudolph Reti. Tonality, Atonality, Pantonality. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1958).


Simultaneously, Debussy employed contrapuntal writing that is reminiscent of the
toccatas of the Baroque.50 It is this contrapuntal aspect, as well as distinct rhythmic
characteristics, which allow the main subject to be heard separately from the countersubject.
Three individual rhythmic voices appear; the rapid sixteenth-note figures, a melodic line in
longer notes, and a pedal point in the lowest register. (Example 2.1)

Example 2.1: Debussy, Toccata, mm. 81-84. Counterpoint writing

This rhythmic counterpoint was influenced by Javanese Gamelan music51. In general, a


gamelan musical structure presents three simultaneous voices: the higher voice with rapid
rhythms, the lower and more profound voice with a slower rhythmic pattern, and a bass
ostinato.52 Debussy was fascinated by this rhythmic layering and applied it to much of his music.
This distinct rhythmic organization along with the use of whole tone scales and contrapuntal
writing are what characterize the Toccata.

Virtuosity which is the hallmark of toccata writing is illustrated in Debussy‟s piece


through the constantly running sixteenth-note patterns and arpeggios that permeate the work.
Debussy explores impressionistic sounds and textures while keeping the traditional concept
intact.

50
Lee Hey Won, 50-57.
51
Gamelan music refers to an Indonesian musical ensemble, featuring various instruments; metallophones,
drums, and gongs, etc. Vocalists and plucked strings might be included. Gamelan was derived from the word „gamel‟
meaning „to strike‟ or „to handle‟. In general, gamelan ensembles are geographically divided such as the Balinese,
Javanese, Sundanese.
Jonathan Bellman, editor. The Exotic in Western Music. (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998),
258-62.
52
Kathleen Martha Randles. “Exoticism in the melodie: The evolution of exotic techniques as used in
songs by David, Bizet, Saint-Saens, Debussy, Roussel, Delage, Milhaud, and Messiaen.” (D.M.A., thesis, The Ohio
State University, 1992), 60.


“Toccata” from Le tombeau de Couperin by Maurice Ravel

Ravel‟s last solo piano composition, Le Tombeau de Couperin (1914-1917), shows his
pianistic virtuosity and musical beauty. It was initially composed for piano but was orchestrated
– the fugue and toccata were omitted – for ballet two years later. As one of Ravel‟s neoclassical
works53, this piece was originally designed as a Suite Française. Six dance movements are
adapted from the French harpsichord suite of the eighteenth century: “Prelude”, “Fugue”,
“Forlana”, “Rigaudon”, “Minuet”, and “Toccata”.54 The work not only pays homage to
Couperin and French music, but also each piece includes a dedication to one of his close friends
who died in World War I.55 Within the suite, Ravel designated the toccata as a final piece as did
Debussy in the piece „Pour le piano.‟
Ravel‟s virtuosity was influenced by Liszt‟s pianistic technique. 56 The toccata is more
technically demanding than any other movement, and it features techniques such as interlocking
hands, large leaps, alternating thirds, and rapidly repeating notes. Especially, in the alternation
of single and double notes, the interlocking hand position is one of the most characteristic
features. (Example 2.2)

Example 2.2: Ravel, Toccata, mm. 94-97. Interlocking hand position

53
His impressionistic works include Jeux d‟eau (1901), Miroirs (1904-5), Gaspard de la nuit (1908), and
the neo-classical compositions contain Pavane pour une infant défunte (1899), Sonatine (1905), Valses nobles et
sentimentales (1911), Le tombeau de Couperin (1914-17).
54
Frank Eugene Kirby, 275.
55
In music, the term, tombeau means the symbol of the spirit or memory of a person. The toccata is in
memory of Captain Joseph de Marliave, his wife Marguerite Long first performed it in 1919.
Stewart Gordon, 396.
56
While composing Le tombeau de couperin, Ravel asked a friend to send him the copy of Liszt‟s
Transcendental étude.
Hans Heinz Stuckenschmidt. Maurice Ravel: Variations on his Life and Work, trans. Samuel R.
Rosenbaum. (Philadelphia, New York, and London: Chilton Book Company, 1968), 171.

᧭᧬
Featuring fast sixteenth notes, the extremely rapid tempo marked Vif (quarter=144)
increases the technical brilliance. Ravel advised pianists who were concerned about the tempo:
“Do not play it as fast as Marguerite Long; she is the only one who allows all the notes to be
heard in that movement.”57 Ravel‟s writing places huge technical demands on pianists, equal in
importance to the emotional expression within his music.

The toccata‟s structure is similar to Sonata-Allegro form, though the key relationships
between movements are not traditional. Like Debussy, Ravel created his toccata by working
from a traditional outline. His Impressionistic innovations include freer key changes and
abundant harmonic colors. The prominent features are the use of modes, unresolved 7th, 9th
chords, polychords, and unresolved appoggiaturas. For instance, Ravel presented the Dorian
mode in the opening, and later introduced the Lydian and Phrygian modes.

Ravel‟s use of 9th and 11th chords is remarkable; the 9th chord is dominant throughout the
entire piece. The second theme in mm. 57-59 is filled with dissonant intervals, including a
progression of 9ths and 11ths and descending 2nds. (Example 2.3)

Example 2.3: Ravel, Toccata, mm. 57-59. Use of 9th and 11th chords

The thematic ideas feature repeated notes in ostinato, a clear melodic line, and
appoggiaturas.58 (Example 2.4) The melodic line is easily heard within the rich harmony and
extended range of this piece, and it forms linear motion within a thin texture. The rhythmical
quality of the repeated notes illustrates a percussive sound.

57
Hélène Jourdan-Morhange. Ravel et nous. (Genève: Éditions du Milieu du Monde, 1945), 201. quoted
in Stelio Dubbiosi. “The Piano music of Maurice Ravel: an analysis of the technical and interpretative problems
inherent in the pianistic style of Maurice Ravel.” (Ph.D., thesis, New York University, 1967), 109.
58
Carole Ann Lee, 43.

᧭᧭
Example 2.4: Ravel, Toccata, mm. 1-4. Ostinato figures and Appoggiatura

Ravel considered the piano to be the primary instrument on which to transfer his ideas
into music, and his early compositions were primarily piano pieces. 59 Ravel explored
compositional concepts such as dance and folk rhythms, complex harmonies, and his own
impressionistic techniques within his piano works. Not only did he compose at the piano, Ravel
also performed his own compositions;60 because he was a virtuoso pianist, his works reveal
technical brilliance. The toccata was performed and recorded by Ravel himself.61 He insisted
that performers follow the markings in the score, paying close attention to the musical terms,
articulations, and dynamics indicated.62 Furthermore, he suggested that performers focus on the
external effects of the music rather than the analytical interpretation since the listener, upon
hearing new music, is likely to react to such exterior expressions. 63 Ravel said, “I do not ask for
my music to be interpreted, but only for it to be played.”64 This Author concludes that a
performer must grasp the most principal characteristics of the work in order to understand
Ravel‟s intention as well as the emotional expression. This toccata contains a number of musical
elements, but it is certain that percussive qualities and rhythmic activity dominate the work.

Comparison between Debussy and Ravel

59
Young Kyoung Kwon. “A Performer‟s Study of The Piano Sonata By Aaron Copland and Le Tombeau
de Couperin by Maurice Ravel.” (D.M.A., dissertation, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2009), 67.
60
Frank Eugene Kirby, 284.
61
Maurice Ravel. Maurice Ravel plays Ravel. LP: REC 16254, (Hollywood, Ca.: Everst, p1976)
62
Marguerite Long. At the Piano with Ravel. (London, Dent, 1973), 16-25.
63
Arbie Orenstein. A Ravel Reader: Correspondence, Articles, Interviews. (New York: Columbia
University Press, c1990), 40-42.
64
Marguerite Long, 16.

᧭᧮
Both Debussy and Ravel fall under the category of Impressionistic composers within the

keyboard literature, but their compositional styles reveal similarities and differences. They both

explored a new harmonic language and impressionistic colors. Through the toccata, they

reflected their own innovative ideas while staying true to the virtuosic elements of the traditional

model.

Debussy and Ravel are highly regarded within the world of French music and equally on
an international scale as well. Stelio Dubbiosi stated, “French music, up to the time of Debussy
and Ravel… had been dominated by foreign influences”.65 G. Jean-Aubry said, “French music
has had no national character, or nearly none, for a century”.66 Debussy was influenced by
oriental and non-western music, whereas Ravel was more influenced by the European tradition.
In his compositional style, Debussy‟s writing tends to be more romantic, with sensitivity like that
of Chopin; Ravel‟s brilliant technique is clearly drawn from Liszt. Debussy‟s output did have an
impact on Ravel‟s writing, but Ravel‟s music is more neoclassical. Debussy‟s sonority and
timbre are a result of blurred and suspended sounds and harmonic ambiguity. Ravel, on the other
hand, used more clearly-articulated phrases, functional harmonies, and ancient modes rather than
the irregular phrase structures and whole-tone scales that permeate Debussy‟s works.67

The virtuosic writing of nineteenth-century French music is a direct result of the pianos
for which the music was written. Debussy and Ravel each owned Pleyel and Erard pianos,
which had a Viennese action and therefore a light touch with a delicate sound.68 These pianos
lent themselves to toccata-like writing since rapid passages could be executed with great facility.
The pianos were also capable of a large dynamic range. Both composers took advantage of this
by marking dynamics from ppp to ff in their toccatas.

65
Stelio Dubbiosi, 110-111.
66
G Jean-Aubry. French Music of To-day, 4th ed, trans. Edwin Evans. (London; Kegan Paul, Trench,
Trübner & Company, 1926), 83.
67
Yali Lydia Tai, 4.
68
Arbie Orenstein, 8.

᧭᧯
In addition, the use of pedal is an important technique in impressionistic music. Debussy
and Ravel‟s pianos did not have the sostenuto pedal. 69 On the modern piano, which has three
pedals and a weightier action, precise and clean pedaling becomes particularly demanding.
Although Debussy and Ravel‟s music can at times produce full sonorities and textures, modern
performers must maintain a sensitive touch and careful pedaling in order to play this music
successfully.

2. Neoclassicism: Prokofiev

In the early twentieth century, „Impressionism‟ and „Neoclassicism‟ were the major
musical trends. After World War 1, certain composers who were against Impressionism sought
to revive the earlier style of balanced forms and traditional harmonic expectation. This
movement took place especially in Russia and came to be known as Neoclassicism. Russian
music identified with both nationalistic qualities and Germanic Classicism. 70

The aesthetic of the time was for composers to write utilitarian music to satisfy the needs
of the people. This meant that the music being written tended to be conservative and traditional
in character.71 One of the most significant Soviet composers, Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) was
influenced by this trend.

Prokofiev‟s music is categorized by the five lines:

a. Classicism: traditional tonality and form, modeled on Beethoven‟s piano sonatas


b. Innovation: his main priority, a new harmonic language to express powerful emotion
c. Toccata: perpetual repeated rhythmic motion, impressed by Schumann‟s toccata
d. Lyricism: a thoughtful and meditative mood
e. Satirical elements: “scherzo” qualities – whimsicality, laughter, and mockery72

69
Hutcheson wrote “It is not generally known that neither Debussy nor Ravel composed with a sostenuto
pedal in mind. The instruments in their homes were of French make and had no third pedal.” quoted in Stelio
Dubbiosi, 115.
70
Frank Eugene Kirby, 319.
71
Ibid., 325.
72
Minturn illustrates Prokofiev‟s five musical concepts though Prokofiev categorized them in his
Autobiography. Neil Minturn. The Music of Sergei Prokofiev. (New Haven: Yale University Press, c1997), 24-26.

᧭᧰
Kirby states that Prokofiev‟s approach to modernism appeared not only in his remarkable
use of dissonance but also in his use of the piano as a percussive instrument.73 These, along with
his toccata-like style, feature prominent elements of the piano music.

Toccata, op. 11

Through the „toccata‟ genre, Debussy and Ravel illustrated French pianism, while
Prokofiev demonstrated Russian piano technique. The Toccata, op. 11 (1912) is one of the most
virtuosic piano pieces in the early twentieth century. Prokofiev displayed percussive, motivic
elements, and it was an attempt to demonstrate the percussive capability of the piano, as did Béla
Bartók and Igor Stravinsky.
Prokofiev‟s toccata style was influenced by Schumann‟s Toccata; when he first heard
Schumann‟s piece, he was strongly impressed by it.74 Instead of adopting lyrical sections and
linear melody like Ravel, energetic sixteenth-note motion rhythmically dominates throughout the
work. Employing relentless sixteenth-note pulsation is a typical element in his toccata line, and
it demands technical endurance and stamina to perform. As a matter of fact, the unbroken
sixteenth-note motion of the melody line is more challenging for performers who must express
rhythmic interest.
Minturn cites Prokofiev‟s writing:
“I will concentrate on hypermetric75 structure.”76…“I take meter to be initially a result of
the interaction of two different, regular patterns.”77

Originally, bar-lines and notation are indications of meter, but hypermeter is formed by metric
accentual patterns. For example, in the beginning of the piece, the syncopated octaves of the left
hand add to the rhythmic energy. (Example 2.5) Each written measure comprises four eighth-
note beats, but one hypermetric beat. However, this metric scheme is regrouped in m. 25. The

73
Frank Eugene Kirby, 326.
74
Neil Minturn, 25.
75
William Rothstein defines hypermeter as “the combination of measures according to a metrical scheme,
including both the recurrence of equal-sized measure groups and a definite pattern of alternation between strong and
weak measures.” William Nathan Rothstein. Phrase Rhythm in Tonal Music. (New York, N.Y: Schirmer Books;
London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, 1989), 12.
http://www.music.indiana.edu/som/courses/rhythm/illustrations/hypermeter.html
76
Neil Minturn, 41.
77
Ibid, 221.

᧭᧱
left-hand eighth notes establish different pulses into „one group of four eighths, followed by two
groups of three eighths, followed by three groups of two eighths.‟78 (Example 2.6) Thus, to
demonstrate these motivic patterns with rhythmic pulsation is one of the most demanding
techniques in maintaining musical tension of the toccata.

Example 2.5: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 1-4. Hypermetric rhythm

Example 2.6: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 25-28. Hypermetric rhythm

Along with the new concept in rhythmic formation, Prokofiev also employed many
dissonances and contrapuntal textures. While his earlier harmonic structure was comprehensible
and built around an expected tonal center, later the texture became thicker and bolder with
chordal figuration, and less severe in the treatment of dissonance.79 Contrapuntal texture appears
within chromatic chordal passages of the contrary motion of the hands in mm.77-96, and mm.
111-118 also shows the contrapuntal progress of motive between two voices. (Example 2.7)

78
Ibid, 41-42.
79
Ibid.

᧭᧲
Example 2.7: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 77-79 and mm. 111-113.

The repeated figurations appearing in the left hand in each phrase bring out the ostinato effect.
(Example 2.8) Extremely contrasting features in dynamics and register create a more menacing
or sarcastic quality. Exposed in mm. 65-68, the rapid trill and a combination of staccato, slur
and accent with big leaps demonstrate Prokofiev‟s satirical style. (Example 2.9) On the whole,
unceasing sixteenth-note figures, rhythmic pulsations, persistent ostinati, contrapuntal and
dissonant textures are remarkable characteristics which dominate the work.

Example 2.8: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 49-50 and mm. 57-58. Ostinato Effects

᧭᧳
Example 2.9: Prokofiev, Toccata, mm. 67-68. Sarcastic Elements

Prokofiev used the toccata style in other works: the last movement of Piano Sonata no. 7,
Etudes op. 2, the “Scherzo” in the Piano Pieces op. 12, the Scherzo of the Second Concerto, and
the Toccata in the Fifth Concerto. His significant contribution to piano technique relates to
percussive frameworks as well as employing the percussive capability of the piano. The Great
Pianists by Harold Schonberg described his percussive tone, and energetic momentum in his
playing: “…Prokofieff and his music were described as “Russian chaos,” “carnival of
cacophony,” “Bolshevism in art.” As for his approach to the piano: “Steel fingers, steel wrists,
steel biceps, steel triceps- he is a tonal steel trust.”…”80

80
Harold C. Schonberg. The Great Pianists. (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1963), 416.

᧭᧴
CHAPTER 3

CONTEMPORARY PIANO TOCCATAS

From 1900, the toccata has continued to be composed for solo piano works and
occasionally piano concertos.81 In addition, it has become a popular musical genre. During the
twentieth century, composers demonstrated a variety of musical trends in their compositions
including impressionism, neoclassicism, serialism, atonality, electronic music and jazz influence.
Toccatas are also influenced by these styles, and express diverse ideas. For a long time the chief
character of the toccata was fugal devices, while after the nineteenth century, rhapsodic,
rhythmical, and technically brilliant elements appealed more to composers.

Lee Hoiby

A. Biographical Sketch and Musical Style

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Lee Hoiby (b.1926) is an American composer and pianist.
His mother, who was an amateur musician, recognized Hoiby‟s musical talent and began
teaching him to play the piano at an early age. He was able to play by ear and also to improvise,
and wrote his first composition at the age of fifteen.82

As a high school student, Hoiby studied piano with concert pianist Gunnar Johansen and
continued with him at the University of Wisconsin. While working toward his Bachelor degree,
he wrote several piano works and performed them at the annual May Music Festivals arranged

81
An example is the first movement from Concerto for piano and orchestra (1933) by Vaughan Williams.
John Caldwell. „Toccata: 5. 19th and 20th Centuries.‟ (accessed September 12, 2010)
82
Gary Schmidgall. “Lee Hoiby,” Current Biography 48/3 (March 1987), 241. quoted in Ji-Won Mun.
“A Stylistic and Analytical Study of Concerto no. 2 for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 33, by Lee Hoiby.” (D.M.A.,
thesis, Louisiana State University, 2002), 1.

᧭᧵
by Johansen.83 He pursued his Master‟s degree at Mills College in Oakland, studying piano with
Egon Petri, but he continually composed on the side; he regarded it as “nothing more than „self-
indulgent truantism‟ (as he puts it) which was robbing time from practicing the Liszt sonata.”84
He was more interested in playing the piano, but he moved to Philadelphia in order to study
composition with Gian-Carlo Menotti at the Curtis Institute.85 He composed his first opera, “The
Scarf,” under Menotti. In 1952, he graduated from Curtis with a Master‟s degree in composition
and at the same year completed the rest of his course work for his Master of Arts degree from
Mills College.
Interestingly, his only formal study in composition was at Curtis, including a summer
composition course with Darius Milhaud in 1951. However, his awards demonstrate that his
compositional abilities had been acknowledged: a Fulbright grant to the Accademia di Santa
Cecelia in Rome86, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Award (1957), and Guggenheim
Fellowship (1958). As a concert pianist, he made his debut at Alice Tully Hall, NY in 1978,
with a program that included his own piece, Five Preludes. His contribution to music appears in
numerous genres; operas, ballets, songs, solo instrumental, chamber, and orchestral music.

Hoiby‟s efforts in composition are known in both vocal and instrumental works. Though
his compositional output includes operas and songs, his great passion for the piano and his
activities as a concert pianist are best revealed in his piano compositions. He composed two
piano concertos and a number of solo works. Regarding the relationship between performing
and composition, Hoiby said “Performing is also influencing my composition. I can feel it. The
very process has changed… The creative process is the same, whether you‟re performing or
composing.”87

Stylistically Hoiby‟s music may be described as “Neo-Romantic” which refers to a


movement of composers returning to a tonal idiom as a structural and expressive element. 88 He
expresses himself:

83
Ibid., 2.
84
Richard Crosby. “The Piano Music of Lee Hoiby.” (D.M.A., thesis, University of Cincinnati, 1990), 6.
85
Gian-Carlo Menotti (1911-2007), an Italian-American composer and librettist, wrote twenty four operas.
He invited Hoiby to Philadelphia in order to study with him.
86
Hoiby received a Fulbright award to the Accademia di Santa Cecelia in Rome, though he refused the
admission. Ji-Won Mun, 3.
87
Walter Cavalieri. “Lee Hoiby: A Summer of Success” Music Journal 38 (November-December 1980):
10-12.
88
Jann Pasler. „Neo-Romanticism‟: Grove Music Online ed. L Macy. (accessed October 10, 2010)

᧮᧬
“I don‟t feel comfortable with a lot of 20th-century music. I‟m not in the avant-grade. I
have been cut off from my colleagues for the past 25 years. Busoni and Prokofiev are the
modern composers whom I like, along with Sam Barber, who had a deep influence on me,
John Corigliano and Ned Rorem.”89

Away from the mid-twentieth century musical trends, he has pursued lyricism and tonality which
are more accessible to audiences.

Counterpoint holds a prominent position in his compositional style, as is evident in most


of his piano works. This use of counterpoint was influenced by Menotti who instructed him in
its rigorous rules. He emphasized its importance, saying “I feel confident to say that my music
could never have come about if I had not had the tools of counterpoint, and musical form that I
learned as a student.”90 Tonality forms the basis of his harmonic textures. However, he attempts
to change tonal centers continuously, shifting to remote keys, and avoiding authentic cadences.
His harmonic language contains diatonicism, chromatic modulations, and unexpected tonal
changes. 91 Also, the melodic lyricism is a typical characteristic in his music, and he is affected
by both Samuel Barber‟s and Schubert‟s lyrical and melodic writing. 92 He often uses rhythmic
devices such as triplets, syncopation, ostinato, hemiola, and rhythmic irregularities by shifting
meters. Another stylistic feature is the use of unifying motives or motivic materials; as motives
recur, they are embellished or transformed within a piece. His idiomatic piano writing reflects
Romantic pianism and features alternating hands, leaping chords, widely arpeggiated patterns,
disjunct octaves, and legato parallel thirds. 93

As a composer who has absorbed „Neo-Romanticism‟ in the mid-twentieth century,


Hoiby represents a synthesis of both romantic elements and contemporary techniques in his
piano music.

89
Walter Cavalieri, 10-12.
90
Richard Allen Crosby, 25.
91
Mi-Jung Mun, 11.
92
Connie Emmerich. “Artists on Repertoire.” Chamber Music Magazine 6 (Summer 1989), 11.
93
Mi-Jung Mun, 18.

᧮᧭
B. Toccata, Op. 1

Toccata, Op. 1 was completed in 1949 when he was a master‟s degree student at the
Curtis Institute. According to Hoiby, “the work was published because of the insistence of
Menotti.”94 While originally published in June of 1953 by G. Schirmer, it was later revised-
some measures are omitted-and was placed in a collection of his works in 1993.95 Thomas
Brockman at Carnegie Hall, New York premiered it in the early 1950s.
The Toccata includes Hoiby‟s typical compositional styles: Neo-Romanticism and
Modernism. It is also similar to the toccatas of Schumann and Prokofiev in its characteristic use
of technical brilliance in perpetual motion.
This work has an ABA' form with a coda. Although unexpected tonal changes occur
within the piece, Hoiby adopts the lowest A, which establishes a tonal center, as both the first
and last notes.

Table 3.1: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, Formal Structure and Typical Characteristics

Section Characteristics
A Introduction of five motives
(mm. 1-67) Linear texture
Chorale-like, lyrical theme
B
Contrapuntal writing, fugal character
(mm. 68-120)
Use of thirds and note clusters by chromatic motion
Tone-clusters,
A'
Richer sonority than in the first A section
(mm. 121-157)
Extreme ranges between two hands
Arpeggios with hands alternating between black and white keys
Coda
Thickest texture of bi-chordal motion
(mm. 158-170)
Extreme registers

94
Richard Allen Crosby, 33.
95
In fact, in June of 1964 the 1953 edition was declared permanently out of print and was discontinued.
When G. Schirmer put together a collection of his works in 1993, they chose to revive the publication of the Toccata,
Op. 1 as the final work in the publication. Peter Stanley Martin (Production Associate) says that Mr. Hoiby made
revisions to the work. Peter Stanley Martin, e-mail message to author, (October 22. 2010).

᧮᧮
The melodic and rhythmic materials are created from five motives appearing within the
first twenty one measures, and they become the main features dominating this piece. By having
the motives recur throughout the piece, he achieves motivic unity.

Motive a: In the first measure, the rhythmic repetition of the lowest A note is made up
with an eighth note and two sixteenth notes, and creates the tonal center. Hoiby recasts
this figure in B-flat at the transition toward the coda. This motive is sometimes
embellished to triplets with leaping tritones, intensifying the rhythmic excitement.
(Example 3.1)

Example 3.1: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 1-5.


TOCCATA by Lee Hoiby Copyright © 1953 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Motive b: In the sixth measure, the scale-like motion of sixteenth notes is the most typical
feature. It is reproduced more as an accompaniment supporting melodies of longer-note
values. (Example 3.2)

Example 3.2: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 6-7.


TOCCATA by Lee Hoiby Copyright © 1953 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

᧮᧯
Motive c: The tonal triadic voice-leading appears in longer note values, accompanied by
the first motive in the bass. (Example 3.3)

Example 3.3: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 8-9.


TOCCATA by Lee Hoiby Copyright © 1953 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Motive d: The alternating sixteenth-note figures representing pianistic virtuosity provide


dramatic effects, and continuously expand the texture from octaves to chordal patterns.
Especially in the coda, using alternating full chords between hands, Hoiby demonstrates
the most technical intensity. (Example 3.4)

Example 3.4: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 16-18.


TOCCATA by Lee Hoiby Copyright © 1953 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Motive e: The layered three-voice figure formed by different note values is reminiscent
of Debussy‟s writing. These individual rhythmic voices consist of broken sixteenth- note
octaves, a melodic fragment with longer notes in the middle voice, and an ostinato-like
pattern that moves by half step motion in the bass. (Example 3.5)

᧮᧰
Example 3.5: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 20-21.
TOCCATA by Lee Hoiby Copyright © 1953 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Unlike the other sections, the B section features lyrical melodic motion. Due to the
longer note values, it sounds less rapid though the tempo does not change, and the musical
tension is relieved. This section thoroughly demonstrates the influence of Menotti in its
contrapuntal writing. According to Mark Shulgasser, it also reveals the impact of Busoni, which
would have been acquired through his studies with Johansen and Petri. 96 Like a four-voice fugue,
the melodic material alternately appears in each voice: alto, mezzo soprano, soprano, and bass.
(Example 3.6) When it reoccurs in mm. 111, it is accompanied by sixteenth-note scales
reminiscent of motive d. In this section, the use of the chromatic scale is remarkable. It emerges
from the one hand or the progress of alternating hands.

96
Richard Crosby, 36.

᧮᧱
Example 3.6: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 68-79. The opening of the B section
TOCCATA by Lee Hoiby Copyright © 1953 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Overall, the rhythm is not complex, and does not employ continuously repeated-note
patterns, articulations, or frequent meter changes. Pianistic elements are noticeably abundant:
note-clusters, arpeggios, alternating hands, and parallel legato thirds. Arpeggiated passages in
the beginning of the coda are created by symmetrically alternating hands between black keys and
white keys. (Example 3.7) It forms bitonality, and recalls Debussy‟s writing. A passage
containing tone clusters produces a massive sonority of dissonances.

᧮᧲
Example 3.7: Hoiby, Toccata, Op. 1, mm. 158-161.
TOCCATA by Lee Hoiby Copyright © 1953 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Hoiby also explores using the piano in a percussive manner, using extreme registers.
Especially, he simultaneously employs challenging piano techniques including rapidly moving
block chords in contrary motion in alternating hands. By indicating the term „martellato‟-
hammered-at the end of the piece, this work is reminiscent of the toccata by Ravel.

C. Pianistic and Technical Difficulties and Suggestions

Hoiby‟s writing is pianistically accessible, though some passages place high demands on
the performer.
The typical feature of rapidly moving sixteenth-note scales are a challenge. It should be
produced by even sounds and a light touch because it is an accompanimental figure. These
scales feature the quick shift of direction-ascending and descending- and irregular intervals.

One of the demanding techniques is the alternating sixteenth-note octaves or full chords.
In addition, it occurs with crescendo or ff indication. This author suggests that a performer
practice the patterns with relaxed wrists and arms, but with solid fingertips kept close to the keys.

᧮᧳
Also, it requires a sensitive use of the damper pedal in the passage of thick textures and rich
sonorities. To avoid blurred, noisy sounds, flutter pedaling is recommended.

Another difficulty includes note clusters alternating with the RH thumb. Generally, the
thumb makes a strong sound, but in this case, the thumb‟s motion is on the weak beat. The tone-
clusters‟ motion should be more emphasized with a flexible thumb.

The Toccata, op.1, presents a diversity of idiomatic writing and pianistic techniques. It is
a challenging work for the performer as well as the listener.

᧮᧴
Robert Muczynski

A. Biographical Sketch and Musical Style

Born in 1929, contemporary American composer Robert Muczynski contributed to


chamber music, duo sonatas, and character pieces for solo piano by the time of his death in May,
2010. He enrolled at DePaul University in 1947, studying piano with Walter Knupfer and
composition under Alexander Tcherepnin. A versatile composer and excellent pianist,
Muczynski performed his Sonatina and Divertimento for piano and orchestra at both his Master‟s
solo recital and graduation concert. He received a Bachelor and Master of music degree in Piano
Performance.

Muczynski‟s achievements show abilities in both composition and piano performance;


commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation (Symphony No. 1) and Louisville Orchestra
(Piano Concerto No. 1), performances (the concerto) with the Grant Part Symphony in Chicago
and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also made his Carnegie Hall Debut in 1958,
programming his own compositions.97 He received many honors including one from the
International Society for Contemporary Music Prize (the Suite for Piano Op. 13), the Concours
Internationale Award in Nice, France (the Sonata for Flute and Piano), and 23 consecutive
ASCAP Creative Merit Grants. His piano compositions were made a requirement in the
following competitions: Maverick Pieces for solo piano in the William Kapell University of
Maryland International Piano Competition, Masks for solo piano for the Gina Bachauer
International Piano Competition of 1990. He performed and recorded his own works, but in his
late period, his activity decreased due to vision problems. Since 1988, his only two works were
Moments Op. 47 for flute and piano (1993) and Desperate Measures Op. 48 for piano (1994).

Muczynski is regarded as a „traditionalist‟ referring to a group of American composers in


the 1930s.98 Kirby includes him among the neoclassical, conservative composers who “have

97
Harold Schonberg‟s review about Muczynski, New York Times: “skillful pianist proved a convincing
exponent of his own music.” quoted in Gregory Christian Kostraba. “The First Piano Trio by Robert Muczynski.”
(D.M.A., thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2003), 2.
98
Gilbert Chase (an American music historian, critic, and author) used the term referring to American
composers. He described that “They do not break with the past. How closely they adhere to it is a matter of degree
and varies from individual to individual.” Gilbert Chase. America‟s Music: from the Pilgrims to the Present, 2nd ed.
(New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966), 549.

᧮᧵
cultivated traditional genres of composition,” during mid to late twentieth century. 99 According
to a Walter Simmons review, he is “one of America's foremost living composers in the
traditional vein.”100

Muczynski‟s music reflects the neoclassical traits of Russian composers between the late
nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, as a reaction against Impressionism. One influential
musician was the Russian composer Alexander Tcherepnin, who was Muczynski‟s only
composition teacher. Tcherepnin explored new technical devices and at the same time used old
forms, polyphony, lyrical musical texture, and folk rhythms in his compositions. 101 He was also
affected by neo-classical composers such as Bartok, Copland, and Prokofiev. Prokofiev‟s music
reveals both lyricism and neo-classicism. Although contemporary composers in America
investigated various trends such as atonalism, minimalism, or electronic music, Muczynski
insisted on his own style, emphasizing lyricism with a traditional framework.

When it came to formal structure, Muczynski used traditional forms including binary,
ternary, sonata-allegro, and rondo form. Like Schumann and Prokofiev, his character pieces
consist of several movements, having programmatic titles. Thematically, he frequently restates
the opening theme throughout the piece. As another principal feature, he employed „cyclic form‟
which refers to “consisting of discrete movements in two or more of which the same or very
similar thematic material.”102 He re-used thematic fragment in other movements for a strong
climax or remembrance.103

Harmonically, Muczynski adopted polychords, bitonality, pedal points, chromaticism,


tone-clusters, and particular intervals. He sought to create various sonorities using both
consonances and dissonances based on a tonal center in his own unique way. 104 Like Prokofiev,
he used extended non-functional chords such as 11 th and 13th chords, creating broad sonorities
with overtone effects. There‟s also use of ostinato in fast movements, producing forceful,
aggressive effects.105 He often used perfect fourths as a principal characteristic of his toccata.

99
Frank Eugene Kirby, 392.
100
Walter G. Simmons. “A Muczynski Retrospective.” Fanfare 24 (March/April 1985), 256-66. (accessed
October 15, 2010) http://www.presser.com/composers/info.cfm?Name=ROBERTMUCZYNSKI#Reviews
101
Gregory Christian Kostraba, 8-11.
102
Don Michael Randel, 231.
103
Min Jung Cho, 47-48.
104
Ibid., 49-56.
105
Ibid.

᧯᧬
Muczynski‟s compositions feature rhythmic characteristics such as hemiola, cross rhythm,
polyrhythm, repeated-note patterns, and frequently changing meters. These characteristics were
influenced by Bartok, Debussy, and Prokofiev. 106 Linear melodies are generally mildly
dissonant or lyrically consonant so that they are easily recognizable.
Muczynski was interested in blues lament, jazz and film music, and also adopted
traditional elements rather than disjunct, experimental writings. 107 It is reflected in his piano
music, which is easily accessible to listeners and performers compared to other twentieth century
works.

B. Toccata, Op. 15

Dedicated to Patricia and Ozan Marsh, Toccata, Op. 15 was composed in 1962 and
performed one year later by Muczynski in San Francisco. However, it was first published in
1971 by G. Schirmer. Muczynski called it a „Rage‟ piece because it was written after a car
accident in Gallup, New Mexico. It was reminiscent of Beethoven‟s piano piece „Rage Over a
Lost Penny.‟ Muczynski writes: “Beethoven had his „Rage Over a Lost Penny‟, This is my
„Rage Over a Lost Car‟.”108
Most compositional elements of the work reflect Muczynski‟s principal characteristics of
piano writing: the use of fourths, lyrical sections, chromatic idiom, and percussive treatment of
the piano. However, it reveals a lack of the repeated-note pattern which is one of the most
typical ideas of the toccata genre. Rather, rhythmic perpetuo moto is represented with a
percussive quality, unexpected meter and mood changes, large leaps, and tone clusters,
reminding audiences of the emotion he felt after a serious accident. These characteristics are
similar to features of Prokofiev‟s toccata. While Muczynski developed them in thin texture,
Prokofiev used much thicker textures with repetition and more chordal progression. Both
toccatas show extreme chromatic motion.

106
John Allen Hawkins. “The Piano Music of Robert Muczynski: A Performance-Tape and Study of His
Original Works for Piano Solo.” (D.M.A., thesis, University of Maryland, 1980), 44-45.
107
Ibid.
108
Robert Muczynski. Collected Piano Pieces by Robert Muczynski. ( New York: G. Schirmer. 1990).
Introduction.

᧯᧭
Toccata, Op. 15 is in ABA form with a coda. Muczynski used many accidentals rather
than giving a key signature.

Table 3.2: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15. Formal Structure and Characteristics

Section Characteristics
th
Interval 4 patterns with hand-alternation
A (mm. 1-57)
Single linear texture
More chromatic elements with interval of 7th and pedal-points in LH
Overall, soft and lyrical sounds contrasting with A section
B (mm. 58-129)
Canonic motion followed by broken 4th interval preceding to return of A
section
A (mm. 130-196) The opening patterns reoccur
Chordal accompaniment
Coda The thickest, tone cluster-like texture and wild, dissonant sonority
(mm. 197-235) Use of extreme registers
Dramatic dynamics from subito piano to sfff with piu mosso marking

One of the typical figures of the work is the use of broken fourths in the single texture,
but in the vertical sonority of quartal harmonies. The interval of a fourth maintains musical
tension with accents during the whole of the piece, sometimes it is transformed into vertical
harmonic form grouping of two eighth-chords and one eight- rest. (Example 3.8)

Broken Fourths Harmonic Fourths

Example 3.8: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 4-7. Use of broken fourths
TOCCATA, OP. 15 by Robert Muczynski Copyright © 1971 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

It is interesting that he employed continuously moving eighth notes rather than the usual rapid
sixteenth-note patterns found in many toccata pieces; he never used sixteenths or even sixteenth-
rests.

᧯᧮
Rhythmically, it is simple. Accents are marked mostly on the downbeat to give rhythmic
pulsation. Similar to Prokofiev, the repeated patterns of chromatic character in the left hand
create ostinato effects. Whereas the basic rhythm features simplicity, there are as many as
ninety-three meter changes, which add musical tension.
Mostly, Muczynski employs chromatically tinted harmonies. (Example 3.9) Moreover,
the ostinato pattern created by the chromatic motion becomes the primary element of the second
theme in the A section.

Example 3.9: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 130-133, Chromatic elements
TOCCATA, OP. 15 by Robert Muczynski Copyright © 1971 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Tone clusters sometimes appear in the fourth interval. The last chord of this piece which
could be played by the palm produces a much denser cluster effect. (Example 3.10) Largely, the
harmonic language represents „rage‟ with dissonances.

Example 3.10: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 232-235. Tone-cluster effects
TOCCATA, OP. 15 by Robert Muczynski Copyright © 1971 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

In the B section, the lyricism appears with a sempre p changing mood, but unlike Ravel‟s
toccata, Muczynski indicates l‟istesso tempo meaning „same tempo.‟ (Example 3.11)

᧯᧯
Example 3.11: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 58-61 and mm. 80-84. From B section
TOCCATA, OP. 15 by Robert Muczynski Copyright © 1971 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

Moreover, Muczynski attempts rhythmic and harmonic variety. Use of sevenths as an important
harmonic element in this section breaks the unity of fourth intervals. The sustained notes and
chords call attention to a new mood. They magnify the echo of 7th intervals or stepwise motion
of the right hand, and sometimes create „hemiola‟ rhythm in the bass. (Example 3.11) Various
note values and simultaneous articulations such as accent, staccato, and slur create the rhythmic
vitality. In a transition returning to the A section, contrapuntal writing appears through the use
of canon. (Example 3.12)

Example 3.12: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 114-117. Contrapuntal writing
TOCCATA, OP. 15 by Robert Muczynski Copyright © 1971 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

᧯᧰
As in Prokofiev‟s toccata, percussive sonority is prevalent, and the extreme registers in
fast motion produce abundant timbres. In addition, he places a whole-note bar or full bar rest
between changes of register and dynamics. These give more musical tension. (Example 3.13)

Example 3.13: Muczynski, Toccata, Op. 15, mm. 26-27 and mm. 217-219.
Use of whole-note bar or full bar rest
TOCCATA, OP. 15 by Robert Muczynski Copyright © 1971 (Renewed) by G. Schirmer, Inc. (ASCAP)
International Copyright Secured. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

C. Pianistic and Technical Difficulties and Suggestions

Muczynski uses a variety of technical features in the Toccata, including alternating and
crossing hands, rapid repetitions of 4th intervals, wide leaps with dynamic contrasts, and note
clusters of fourths or octaves. A typical technique, hand alternation with 4 th intervals, must be
equal in sound as if playing with one hand. Thus, this author recommends practicing by blocked
hand position with fixed fingering. Also, the accents should be emphasized because they play
the important role in creating rhythmic motion and the register‟s change.
One of the technical challenges of this work is leaping while changing dynamics such as
sub. p or sub. f. In general, a piano sounds louder in the low register. Dynamics are mostly soft
to loud as the direction goes from low to high. The abrupt alternation tends to cause physical
tension; therefore it requires the arms and hands to be relaxed. It helps to practice softly and
slowly remembering the depth of key and hand position.
Overall, Toccata, Op. 15 represents both thin and thick texture based on percussive
sonority; this work begins with a single line, but finishes with tone cluster effects. A performer
should produce diverse timbres with a range of volume depending on the register and texture.

᧯᧱
According to The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher, “Music of the twentieth century
require mobility (frequent change of texture and range), an appreciation of freedom (of meter,
pitch and rhythm choices, improvisatory moments), the development of new hand shapes
(seconds, fourth, sevenths, clusters), and treatment of the keyboard as percussion instrument.” 109
Muczynski displays those twentieth century techniques in this work. However, they are well
suited, not awkward, to the hands.

109
M. Uszler, S. Gordon, & E. Mach. The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher. (New York: A Division of
Macmillan, Inc. 1991), 216.

᧯᧲
George Rochberg

A. Biographical Sketch and Musical Style

Prominent American composer George Rocherg (1918-2005) was born in Paterson, New
Jersey. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Montclair State Teachers College in 1939, and the
same year attended Mannes College in New York where he began the study of counterpoint and
composition with Hand Weisse, George Szell, and Leopold Mannes. After his military service
from 1942 to 1945, he continued to study composition with Rosario Scalero and Gian-Carlo
Menotti at the Curtis Institute of Music, earning a Bachelor‟s degree in 1947. He also earned a
Master of Arts degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1949, and the following year
studied in Rome on a Fulbright grant and American Academy fellowship. 110
Rochberg began his teaching career at Curtis, and joined the faculty of the University of
Pennsylvania in 1960. He served as chairman of the music department for 8 years, and
continued teaching until his retirement as Emeritus Annenberg Professor of Humanities in 1983.
He received many awards for his compositions including the George Gershwin Memorial Award,
the Naumberg Chamber Music Award, a Contemporary Music Award from Italian International
Society, and the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for best new American instrumental work.
He also contributed as an editor for the Theodore Presser Company and as a writer of numerous
articles. 111
George Rochberg‟s compositional style is characterized by influences of his personal
relationships along with musical trends of the period. His early works reflect neoclassical and
the nationalistic styles, showing an affinity to musical languages of Igor Stravinsky, Paul
Hindemith, and especially Béla Bartók. In the early 1950s, his Rome period, his compositions
revealed „serialism.‟ He was impressed by his associate Luigi Dallapiccola‟s music, who was a
great Italian serialist. Later, affected by Anton Webern, his serial writing became increasingly

110
Austin Clarkson and Steven Johnson. „George Rochberg‟: Grove Music Online ed. L Macy. (accessed
October 22, 2010) http://www.grovemusic.com
111
Theodore Presser Company: Music Publisher & Distributor, Composer; Composers Gallary: “George
Rochberg.” (accessed October 22, 2010) http://www.presser.com/composers/info.cfm?name=georgerochberg

᧯᧳
refined, but simultaneously he held interest in Charles Ives‟s diverse musical concepts, such as
many different meters and harmonies. 112
Rochberg began to be aware that serial music has severe, binding limitations, and was
unable to express feeling enough. 113 Therefore in the mid-60s, he re-accessed the traditional
idioms of melody, harmony. According to Rochberg‟s note, “after the death of my son Paul in
1964…I could not continue writing so-called „serial‟ music. It was finished, hollow,
meaningless…”114 However, he thought it is not going back to tonal music but moving on tonal
music. Throughout the 1970s, Rochberg composed pieces which he termed „multiple-gesture
work.‟ Multiple-gesture works combine various and often contrasting musical material. He
frequently employed abstract chromaticism with tonal idioms, and between the 1980s and 90s,
Rochberg combined Modernist and Romantic elements.115
George Rochberg left a number of works such as chamber ensembles, instrumental solos,
concertos, symphonies, an opera and vocal music. Among compositions for piano, the Twelve
Bagatelles (1952) and the Sonata-Fantasia (1956) are typical examples of his serial works, and
the Partita-Variations (1976) reveals use of a tonal system. The Carnival Music (1971),
displaying chromatic and tonal materials, is an excellent example of his „multiple-gesture‟ works.

B. “Toccata-Rag” from Carnival Music, Suite for Piano Solo

The Carnival Music: suite for piano solo was composed in 1971 and dedicated to pianist
Jerome Lowenthal, who premiered it in 1972 in Philadelphia. It consists of five movements of
contrasting intensity, each title capturing either „popular‟ sources such as I. Fanfares and March,
II. Blues, and V. Toccata-Rag or „serious‟ music: III. Largo doloroso and IV. Sfumato.116
The entire work illustrates Rochberg‟s mature aesthetics and approach to the piano.117 As
he composed this piece, he was interested in traditional idioms rather than the serial system.

112
David Burge. Twentieth-Century Piano Music. (New YorkL Schirmer Books; Toronto: Collier
Macmillan Canada; New York: Maxwell Macmillan International, 1990), 161.
113
Gray E. Clarke. Essays on American Music. (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1977), 207.
114
Warren John Gaughan. “An Analysis of George Rochberg‟s Carnival Music: Suite for Piano Solo.”
(D.M.A., thesis, Arizona State University, 2005), 3-4.
115
Austin Clarkson and Steven Johnson. „George Rochberg‟
116
Doan D. Dixon. George Rochberg: A Bio-Bibliographic Guide to His Life and Works. (New York:
Pendragon Press, 1992), 60-62.
117
Daniel Paul Horn, 17.

᧯᧴
Also, he began to attempt „multi-gesture‟ into his music. These concepts were applied to the
Carnival Music. According to the composer‟s notes,
“I prefer the freer, more open psychology of the multiple-gesture. In this way, individual
sections or movements of a work or entire works themselves sometimes act as catalysts
for opposite tendencies or directions to emerge-and even complement each other.
Tension for me exists precisely in juxtaposing opposites; and resolution is achieved by
bringing these opposites into a balance of complementary.”118

In addition, he wrote that each of five movements “basically pursues its own characteristic
tendencies with only brief references in V (toccata-rag) to materials first presented in I and II.”119

Throughout the final movement “Toccata-Rag,” he displays his „multiple-gesture.‟ The


title itself reflects the flavor of both „old‟ and „new‟: the traditional „toccata‟ and America‟s
dance music „rag-time,‟ of the early twentieth century. The musical language also demonstrates
toccata-like elements such as fast, energetic moving patterns and simultaneously jazz-like
characteristics with mostly dotted or syncopated rhythms.
The piece is a sectional form in clear tonality, and the musical construction reminds one
of cyclic form. Rochberg minutely indicated tempo and mood in the beginning of each section.
In addition, as one of his typical compositional traits, quotation from previous movements
appears through the piece.

Table 3.3: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, Indications and Musical Materials

Indication Musical Material


Fast (♪= ca. 224) Example Rag-like melody, loud
Slow; sentimental (♪= ca. 84) 3.21 Jazzy, free style, soft
Slow drag; sultry; quasi “blues” Example A fragment of the melody from the coda of the
(♪= ca. 96) 3.22 second movement “blues” with rag-rhythms
With a gentle swing; easy pace; relaxed
singing (♪= ca. 112) Melodic theme entirely in p
Fast! Player-piano style
Rhythmic theme with syncopations
(♪= ca. 112)

118
Doan D. Dixon, 60-62.
119
Ibid.

᧯᧵
Table 3.3 – CONTINUED
: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, Indications and Musical Materials

Example Frequent meter changes and use of rest


3.23
Fast and Furious! Martellato marking, fanfare-like fragments from
Example
the first movement “Fanfares and March”
3.24
A mixture of above two materials
Slow at first Reoccurring of “blues” materials of the opening
Fast (♪= ca. 224) Restatement of syncopated rhythmic theme
Example Abrupt ending with arpeggiated downward motion
Presto! Toss it off!!
3.25 fff→ffff→sffffz dynamic marking

This piece begins with a two-measure introduction using fast, loud, rag-like melodies,
followed by a three-measure slow, soft jazz-like gesture. The first fast section shows
momentary dynamic contrast between two hands. (Example 3.14)

Example 3.14: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 1-5


George Rochberg “Carnival Music Suite for Piano Solo” © 1975 by Theodore Presser Company 110-40612.
All Right Reserved Printed in U.S.A. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

Rochberg often referred to materials of other movements or compositions. This blues-


like section which transforms certain figuration from the second movement demonstrates such
„quotation.‟ (Example 3.15)

᧰᧬
Rochberg, Blues, mm. 63-67. A coda section
George Rochberg “Carnival Music Suite for Piano Solo” © 1975 by Theodore Presser Company 110-40612.
All Right Reserved Printed in U.S.A. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

Example 3.15: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 6-11. “Blues” section


George Rochberg “Carnival Music Suite for Piano Solo” © 1975 by Theodore Presser Company 110-40612.
All Right Reserved Printed in U.S.A. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

The vigorous section „Fast and furious!‟ features aspects of the toccata through the
repeated motion of the motive, percussive treatment of piano, and rhythmic, harmonic
complexity. Quick meter changes and whole-bar rests create an irregular rhythmic pulse.
(Example 3.16)

᧰᧭
Example 3.16: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 72-82.
George Rochberg “Carnival Music Suite for Piano Solo” © 1975 by Theodore Presser Company 110-40612.
All Right Reserved Printed in U.S.A. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

Rochberg quoted the opening fragments from the first movement “Fanfares and March;”
a fanfare-like motive repeats three times while quickly switching meters and using soft sounds.
While in this piece, he transformed the material using longer note values and intense sounds
indicating the term martellato. He magnified the toccata‟s quality of hammered sounds
employing the alternation of accented single notes and cluster chords. (Example 3.17)

Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 114-122.


George Rochberg “Carnival Music Suite for Piano Solo” © 1975 by Theodore Presser Company 110-40612.
All Right Reserved Printed in U.S.A. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

᧰᧮
Example 3.17: The opening of the first movement “Fanfares and March”
George Rochberg “Carnival Music Suite for Piano Solo” © 1975 by Theodore Presser Company 110-40612.
All Right Reserved Printed in U.S.A. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

After slow motion at pp, the brief ending with abrupt tempo change and extreme dynamic
contrast adds musical intensity. (Example 3.18)

Example 3.18: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, mm. 178-186.


George Rochberg “Carnival Music Suite for Piano Solo” © 1975 by Theodore Presser Company 110-40612.
All Right Reserved Printed in U.S.A. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

The improvisational passage which is an imitation of the “Blues” movement maximizes


the proceeding climax. The syncopated rhythmic motion of four notes is enhanced by
accelerando, crescendo, repetition; he indicates “gradually increase speed and volume; repeat at
will and break off at point of maximum intensity anywhere in figure.” (Example 3.19)

᧰᧯
Example 3.19: Rochberg, Toccata-Rag, m. 170.
George Rochberg “Carnival Music Suite for Piano Solo” © 1975 by Theodore Presser Company 110-40612.
All Right Reserved Printed in U.S.A. International Copyright Secured. Used by Permission.

Overall, this work represents Rochberg‟s primary compositional characteristics of the


1970s: cyclic treatment, tonal system, and use of chromatic materials. The combination of the
energetic, tight toccata sections and free, loose blues passages reveal his multi-gesture. Also,
pianistic idioms such as note clusters, large leaps, percussive sounds, and tremendous dynamics
reflect his approach to the piano.

C. Pianistic and Technical Difficulties and Suggestions

The “Toccata-Rag” is really listenable for audiences who have untrained ears with regard
to twentieth century sounds. Compared with other twentieth century toccatas, the piano writing
does not depict technical virtuosity except large leaps and wide hand-positions. However, it is
more difficult to express various emotions. Between sections, Rochberg creates different
musical sensations through details, describing its mood and direction. This author believes that
the composer already lets the performer know how to approach the music. One needs to
understand various articulations, terms, and rhythms, and then follow the them.
One of the difficulties related to expression appears in the rhythmic complexity. Along
with numerous syncopations, frequent meter shifts cause unpredictable rhythmic varieties. In
addition, he employs articulations and quick dynamic changes to add vitality to repeated
figurations. This writer suggests that a performer produce all of them not in same way but with
different nuances.
Rochberg‟s note in 1982 may be applied to performing this work: “I think that my music
is largely a gesture music. And it is very emotional. I like to think of my music as a passionate

᧰᧰
music (not always, but it‟s most intense, absolutely). It‟s also a strongly rhythmic music, which
is not to be overlooked because it‟s out of the metric force that the energy can be released.”120

120
Doan D. Dixon, „Introduction,‟ xxvii.

᧰᧱
Emma Lou Diemer

A. Biographical Sketch and Musical Style

American composer and keyboard performer Emma Lou Diemer (b.1927) was born in
Kansas City, Missouri. She began playing the piano and composing small piano pieces at a very
early age, and became organist in her church at the age of thirteen. By the age of fifteen, she had
written several piano concertos and other keyboard works.
Her reputation has been obtained not only by her contribution to contemporary music, but
also by her educational and career-related achievement.121 She earned both Bachelor (1949) and
Master‟s (1950) degrees in composition from the Yale University School of Music, where she
studied with Richard Donovan and Paul Hindemith. During the summer of 1954-55, she studied
composition at the Berkshire Music Center with Ernst Toch and Roger Sessions, and two years
later attend Eastman School of Music with a tuition scholarship. Until graduating with a Ph.D in
1960, she learned composition and orchestration under Bernard Rogers and Howard Hanson, and
studied organ with David Craighead.
As an educator, Diemer taught theory and composition at the University of Maryland
(1965-70) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (1971-91), where she contributed to
the foundation of the electronic music studio (1973). In 1991, she became a professor emeritus
at UCSB. She has received many commissions and awards including the Edward Benjamin
Award, the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards, NEA122 fellowship, ASCAP 123 (annually since
1962), „Composer of the Year‟ of the American Guild of Organists, „Honorary Doctorate‟ of the
University of Central Missouri, and many others.
An accomplished keyboard performer, Diemer began participating as the organist in
churches at a young age. Her first compositions were for piano, which was her primary
instrument. She considers performance necessary to be a practicing musician. 124 Her
commitment to playing keyboard (piano, organ, harpsichord, and synthesizer) is reflected in

121
Cynthia Clark Brown. “Emma Lou Diemer: Composer, Performer, Educator, Church Musician.”
(D.M.A., dissertation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1985), 4.
122
NEA: National Endowment for the Arts
123
ASCAP: American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers
124
Cynthia Clark Brown, 172.

᧰᧲
numerous concerts, recitals, and lecture-recitals in which she includes her own music or that of
other contemporary composers. 125
Diemer composed a number of works- keyboard, chamber ensemble, orchestral, vocal,
choral, and electronic music. Her compositions have encompassed distinct and deliberate
stylistic changes and are extensive in function from teaching literature to concert literature, and
from a neo-romantic style to quasi-avant-garde.126 She emphasizes musical texture and tone
color rather than melody and harmony, and has tried “to make the music a little more dramatic
and interesting with more suspense.”127
Her piano works appear to be influenced by minimalism or ideas of serialism. 128
According to Claire Larue Wachter‟s interview with her in 1992, Diemer says:
“…come along with minimalism having to do with playing something a certain number
of times, having more repetition of an idea and trying to stretch out things so it‟s not
constantly changing…use the ideas of serialism in a very impressionistic romantic way
because I don‟t like it as a constant dissonant kind of style. I‟m still most interested in
writing something not too horribly complicated and not too complex, something like the
composers I like for piano, like Ravel, and Poulenc.”129

Since her founding of the electronic music studio in 1973, her music has shown more
plentiful, expanded textures and colors. She believes that “my music has become more eclectic;
it has…the idea of repetition and [the idea of] using the piano in a more coloristic, rather than
contrapuntal, way.”130 She attempts to produce various timbres on the piano. Like Henry
Cowell and John Cage, Diemer employs extended piano techniques which create sounds by
manipulating strings inside the piano.
Although Diemer‟s music has continuously developed during her life, this author
assumes that her ultimate goal toward music is well-described in her following words:
“My greatest pleasure is to write music that moves people, not that moves them out of the
room.”131

125
Emma Lou Diemer: Personal Website. (Accessed Octorber 23, 2010)
http:www.emmaloudiemermusic.com
126
Cynthia Clark Brown, 78.
127
Claire Larue Wachter. “American Women Composers: Selected Piano Works written and/or published
since 1970.” (D.M.A., thesis, The University of Texas at Austin, 1993), 124-6. (Wachter is an associtate professor
of piano and piano pedagogy, and serves as chair of the piano department at the University of Oregon).
128
Claire Larue Wachter, 125-6.
129
Ibid.
130
Ibid.
131
Ellen Grohlman Schlegel. Emma Lou Diemer: a Bio-bibliography. (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press,
2001), 13.

᧰᧳
B. Toccata for Piano

Toccata for Piano was composed in 1979, and published the following year by Sisra
Publications/Arsis Press. Diemer wrote it for the senior recital of Nozomi Takahashi, a piano
major at the University of California, Santa Barbara.132 Takahashi had energetic character, good
technique, and small hands; hence Diemer reflects the understanding in this toccata; she
emphasized more „sound‟ than „virtuosity.‟133
Diemer has often used traditional forms including the toccata, suite, sonata, prelude, and
fantasie. Yet these works were written not in a traditional way but with a more modern sense.
The Toccata features a mixture of classical and contemporary elements. According to her notes
about “Toccata”:
“Stylistically, I wanted to combine elements of earlier keyboard music with some 20 th
century innovation: the general lightness of the motives, the repeated notes, the tightness
of the melodic line as well as the use of wider-ranged leaps were inspired by Scarlatti.”134

However, the overall appearance and impression of this piece is more innovative due to
the production of new sounds on the piano‟s strings. As mentioned earlier, during the 1970s she
was interested in electronic music and tried to create diverse timbres from the piano. This
Toccata, which in some way shows this influence, represents more extensive techniques of the
twentieth century. The piano not only uses its keyboard and percussive capabilities, but also its
string capabilities. Diemer says in an interview with Barbara Baird:
“I hadn‟t written any music involving any part of the piano other than the keyboard until
Toccata and wanted the on-the-strings playing in that piece to be smoothly blended into
the more traditional keyboard playing of the rest of the piece.”135

As a conventional aspect of toccata, this work is in ternary form. It also features


perpetual motion of repeated notes or motives, use of articulations and syncopations, and the
extreme range of the piano. (Example 3.20)

132
Cynthia Clark Brown, 79.
133
Ellen Grohlman Schlegel, 109.
134
Ibid.
135
Ibid.

᧰᧴
Example 3.20: Diemer, Toccata for Piano. The opening section
Toccata for Piano by Emma Lou Diemer. Copyright by Arsis Press.
Licensed by Empire Publishing Service, P.O. Box 1344, Studio City California 91614, (818) 784-8918.

Conversely, there are contemporary features as well. A time signature is not given, and
the length of measures is irregular. 136 Bar lines are pointing out phrases, events or sections rather
than the meter, and the tonal structure shows central pitches in the Bartok sense rather than a
functional tonal sense.137 There is much influence of „minimalism,‟ including the repetition of
small motives and its gradual variation, hypnotic effect, and silence by fermata. Diemer
indicates use of pedals in detail, and at times, simultaneously utilizes soft pedal and damper
pedal-pedal I=soft, pedal III=damper. (Example 3.20)
The most interesting characteristic of this toccata is in its sound. Diemer attempts to
produce various timbres playing strings instead of piano keys; hence she employs some “inside-
the-piano” techniques such as rapid glissandos on the strings and muting or patting the strings.

136
As differed from the urtext by her hand writing, the recent version of the “Toccata” shows 4/4 meter.
However, Diemer says that it doesn‟t have any meaning; it is probably a vestige of the computer notation when it
was transcribed by someone. So it is just the quarter note and tempo marking (which could be faster) that are
important. Emma Lou Diemer, e-mail message to author by permission, (October 24, 2010).
137
Ellen Grohlman Schlegel, 109-110. (Diemer‟s note)

᧰᧵
For instance, while strings are pressed at particular points by one hand, the other plays the same
pitch on the keys producing a new sound with no-vibration. She explains how to play them
minutely, e.g. “gradually place flat of L.H. very lightly on strings,” “gradually lift hand off
strings,” “rapid glissando on strings with back of fingernails,” or “pat strings with flat of hand.”
Example 3.21 demonstrates these techniques.

Example 3.21: Diemer, Toccata for Piano. One of the extended piano techniques
Toccata for Piano by Emma Lou Diemer. Copyright by Arsis Press.
Licensed by Empire Publishing Service, P.O. Box 1344, Studio City California 91614, (818) 784-8918.

Another extended piano technique is use of a „silent arm cluster,‟ which depresses the
keys of the lower two octaves. During the tone cluster of the left hand, the other plays upper
registers, and this gesture continues over two pages. (Example 3.22)

᧱᧬
Example 3.22: Diemer, Toccata for Piano. Tone-cluster passages
Toccata for Piano by Emma Lou Diemer. Copyright by Arsis Press.
Licensed by Empire Publishing Service, P.O. Box 1344, Studio City California 91614, (818) 784-8918.

Additionally throughout these gestures, pedal effects are decreased in stages sustaining both soft
and damper pedals, followed by retaining only damper pedal, and then no pedal. Use of fermate
is also remarkable; the motion of R.H is often interrupted by fermata, but still in an echo.
(Example 3.23) A resonant effect is created letting the performer/audience hear overtones during
the silences.

Example 3.23: Diemer, Toccata for Piano. Use of fermata


Toccata for Piano by Emma Lou Diemer. Copyright by Arsis Press.
Licensed by Empire Publishing Service, P.O. Box 1344, Studio City California 91614, (818) 784-8918.

Diemer also employs tremolos, which is an uncommon characteristic of the toccata. This
successive figuration occurs from semitones to fifths and at times the overlap of both hands.
(Example 3.24)

᧱᧭
Example 3.24: Diemer: Toccata for Piano. Tremolos
Toccata for Piano by Emma Lou Diemer. Copyright by Arsis Press.
Licensed by Empire Publishing Service, P.O. Box 1344, Studio City California 91614, (818) 784-8918.

As in other toccatas, “Toccata” begins with striking of the piano keys, which is a typical
feature. However, it unexpectedly closes with the sweeping and patting of piano‟s strings
steadily disappearing to the dynamic ppppp. (Example 3.25)

Example 3.25: Diemer: Toccata for Piano.


Toccata for Piano by Emma Lou Diemer. Copyright by Arsis Press.
Licensed by Empire Publishing Service, P.O. Box 1344, Studio City California 91614, (818) 784-8918.

᧱᧮
The extended techniques manipulating the inside of the piano are often found in other
keyboard repertoire of the twentieth century, however, in the literature of the toccata, it is
unique. 138

C. Pianistic and Technical Difficulties and Suggestions

Ms. Diemer graciously agreed to correspond with me by email. When asked what to
expect of the pianist in performance of her toccata, she suggests:
“The playing of it should have an excited, anticipatory feeling, dynamic and colorful.”139

Difficulties exist through the extended piano techniques between the keyboard and the
strings, rather than technical virtuosity. Some parts of the piece demand the performer stand up
because the palm of one hand is placed on the strings while playing the keys by the other. The
postural change can be uncomfortable for the performer, but through practice one can develop a
flexible, natural position.
The rhythms are not complex. Syncopations often appear with eighth notes generating
rhythmic excitement. Diemer suggests jazz feeling in the percussive syncopation.140 She also
marks „legato‟ with the continuously repeated sixteenth-note figurations, emphasizing its
sonority rather than individual notes. The author advises to practice it legatissimo.
Diemer ultimately utilizes “inside-the-piano” techniques in order to produce various
sounds and color. In the technical instructions, detailed words such as „gradually,‟ „very light,‟
or „silently,‟ may be considered as not just a method but her sensitive expression for timbres.
Also, according to pedaling and dynamics, repetitive passages create different sounds. Thus, a
performer needs to think about the tone and sound.

138
Claire Larue Wachter, 134.
139
Emma Lou Diemer, e-mail message to author by permission, (October 25, 2010).
140
Ellen Grohlman Schlegel, 109.

᧱᧯
CHAPTER 4

SUMMARY

The traditional genre of the „Toccata‟ has survived from the Renaissance to the present in
keyboard literature. While other traditional musical types, e.g., sonata, suite, have a formal
structure or a certain rule in key or meter, the toccata is characterized by its own quality such as
perpetual motion, repetition and/or percussive sound. Although there is no set form, it has
continuously developed, displaying the musical tendencies of the age, as well as the style of the
composer.

Toccatas of the Renaissance represented common traits, including sustained chords,


imitation, counterpoint, and virtuosic passages. Frescobaldi added new elements such as
articulations, sustained chords, chromaticism, random tonal changes, and rhythmic suspensions.
Bach employed the „toccata‟ as an introductory piece to a suite, as part of a toccata and fugue,
and as an individual work with an improvisatory opening, diverse rhythms, rhapsodic figuration,
and fugal section. Even though the toccata, as an individual work, almost disappeared between
the Classical and Romantic periods, its characteristics of perpetual motion, virtuosic techniques,
and rhythmic freedom still remained in compositions by Beethoven or Chopin. Schumann‟s
toccata can be regarded as a significant work of this genre, since it was the only independent
piece showing technical brilliance with rapid sixteenth-note motion and massive chordal patterns
in a strict sonata form.

Moving into the twentieth century, the „toccata‟ was revived by Debussy and Ravel.
Both placed the toccata in the last movement of their suite, and it reflected the rich harmonic
colors of Impressionism. Prokofiev considered the „toccata‟ to be a major genre, and attempted
to demonstrate the percussive capability of the piano and the virtuosity of the pianist.

In general, twentieth century composers who have written toccatas have modeled their
compositions after traditional pieces as part of the neoclassical trend of the time. Moreover,
through the toccata they reflected their primary characteristics. Selected toccatas after the 1950‟s
also unify both the developing traditional elements and the various musical ideas and pianistic
techniques of the twentieth century. These pieces illustrate common features: rapid motion,

᧱᧰
motivic repetition, large leaps, extreme registers and dynamics, unexpected tonal changes and
percussive treatment of the piano.

Lee Hoiby is known mainly for his vocal compositions. „Counterpoint‟ played a
principal role in most of his piano compositions, including Toccata, Op. 1. He also attempted
„motivic unity‟ with small rhythmic and melodic material throughout the piece. Rapid hand
alternation in chordal passages poses a technical challenge to pianists.
Robert Muczynski‟s Toccata, Op. 15, influenced by a personal incident, expressed „rage‟
by adopting fourth intervals, unexpected meter and mood shifts, extreme chromatic motion, and
note-clusters. In addition, as a neo-classical composer, he emphasized lyricism within a
traditional framework. This piece revealed several piano techniques such as alternating and
crossing hands, wide leaps with sudden dynamic changes, and horizontally moving fourths
produced by even sounds with fixed fingerings.
George Rochberg, as did Debussy and Ravel, wrote “Toccata-Rag” as a finale of the suite
Carnival Music, combining percussive clusters with extreme forte dynamic and rag-like rhythms.
Written in a tonal idiom, the „multiple-gesture‟ and „quotation‟ are the toccata‟s distinct features.
When playing „gesture music,‟ Rochberg suggested more emotional, „appassionato‟ expression
with more dazzling rhythms than metric force.

Lastly, Toccata for Piano by Emma Lou Diemer shows elements of „minimalism.‟ She
also used other piano techniques: fermata, glissando, tremolo, and unusual pedaling. Diemer
explored the toccata as a „sound‟ piece, often playing inside-the-piano to produce various timbres.
In performance, enjoying the resonances is not only the composer‟s point but also the pianist‟s
essential challenge.

Presently, the interest in the „Toccata‟ continues to increase. Clearly, the genre is not
only used by many composers, but also played and recorded often by performers. Contemporary
toccatas mostly demonstrate sonority and virtuosity rather than harmonic progression or thematic
motion. The modern piano can be utilized not only for its lyrical qualities but also for its
percussive and „stringed‟ capabilities. In addition, the piano creates various resonances
according to the register and differences of touch.

Thus, these traits are well-matched with the literal meaning of “toccare:” to touch.
Though the toccata is usually a short piece, it often contains many musical ideas and diverse

᧱᧱
pianistic techniques. Hopefully, twentieth first century composers will continue to develop and
to enhance the „toccata‟ genre.

᧱᧲
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Ravel, Maurice. “Maurice Ravel plays Rave.” LP: REC 16254. Hollywood, Ca.: Everest, p1976

Musical Scores

Debussy, Claude. Pour le piano. New York: E.F. Kalmus, [19-].

Diemer, Emma Lou. Toccata for Piano. Washington, D.C. :Sisra, c1980.

Hoiby, Lee. Piano Album. New York, NY: G. Schirmer; Milwaukee, WI: Distributed by H.
Leonard, c1993.

Muczynski, Robert. Toccata, Op. 15: for the piano. G. Schirmer, Inc, 1971.

_______________. Collected Piano Pieces by Robert Muczynski. New York: G. Schirmer,


1990.

Prokofiev, Sergei. Toccata, Op. 11. New York, E. F. Kalmus, [194-], (1st ed. 1913).

Ravel, Marice. Le tombeau de Couperin: suite pour piano. Paris: Durand, c 1918.

Rochberg, George. Carnival Music: Suite for Piano Solo. Bryn Mawr, Pa: T. Presser, c1975.

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BIOGRAPHICAL SCKETCH

Seon Hwa Song started playing the piano at the age of six, and she began her musical
training at the Chungbuk Art High School. After receiving the Bachelor of Music degree in
Piano Performance from Sungshin Women‟s University, Song entered Mannes College The New
School For Music to pursue her Master of Music degree in Piano Performance, which she
completed in 2006. She earned the Doctor of Music degree in Piano Performance from the
Florida State University in 2011, where she served as a teaching instructor for piano area. She
also studied harpsichord, fortepiano, and organ music.
At Mannes College The New School For Music Seon Hwa Song participated in The Late
Romantics (2005) and Bach & the Bach Legacy (2006), and The Mannes Contemporary Music
Festival (2005-2006). While at The Florida State University she contributed as a pianist in the
Thirteenth Biennial Festival of New Music Student Concert (2007) and performed as a finalist in
Chopin 2010: Piano Festival and Competition. Also, she served as a pianist for Florida State
University Wind Orchestra (2009).

She studied with Myee Park, Yeon Kyeoung Kim, Hee Joo Shin, Arkady Aronov, Irina
Morozova, Leonard Mastrogiacomo, and Karyl Louwenaar.

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