Black & White (Armstrong, Peter McKenzie)
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|Work Title||Black & White|
|Alternative Title||a voicing/articulation/pedal study|
|Composer||Armstrong, Peter McKenzie|
|Movements/Sections||3 short movements|
|Year/Date of Composition||2013|
|Average Duration||2 minutes|
Waiting one night for a train at Boston's North Station (it runs 7 Lines),
I concocted a doodle for the piano's white keys (mod 7), as follows:
1) Group an octave's worth of A-thru-G so that D, the intervallic mirror
point, is at its center.
2) Starting at D, play these keys sequentially outward: up (D E F G);
then non-redundantly down (C B A).
3) Repeat, still from D, but skipping -- play every 2nd item, wrapping
as necessary (D F, C A, E G, B).
4) Now every 3rd item (D G, A, F, B, E, C).
5) Then every 4th; 5th; 6th -- yielding altogether six bars of 7/some-
thing time, with the last half a once-rotated retrogression of the first.
6) Repeat steps 2-thru-5, but with the starting pattern one white key
expanded (3rds, not 2nds), covering now nearly two octaves (D F
A C, B G E).
7) Again those steps, from starting intervals one more expanded --
so, 4ths (D G C F, A E B).
8) Then from 5ths; 6ths; 7ths; 8vas -- realizing finally what we had
stopped short of at first in not playing every 7th member.
With a few twists (pattern inversions and telescopings) for surprise's
sake, the doodle became this work's 2nd movement, once a followup
experiment -- for textural/pianistic opposition's sake and realizing for
the black keys instead -- became the 1st. And in afterthought, a
3rd movement conceived and despaired of reconciling the others.
Mvmt. 1: Ensure that as each long note sings through its full value,
its busier companions have meanwhile been promptly/fully released.
The metronome setting is intended as the average in an unstable
Mvmt. 2: Pedal only to realize slurs where the hands cannot; time
pedal releases to honor all articulations. (The last line stretches this
rule slightly.) Metronome settings are meant to apply strictly insofar
as possible. S.P. throughout opens 5 never-played lowest strings
for sympathetic resonance.
Mvmt. 3: Hold the last pedal until no sound remains.
Overall: A staccato dot on the note preceding a rest means, that the
note must stop sounding before the rest's metrical starting point.