Serial Miniature for Piano 3

This little miniature has been hard fought. Even though you would never think that if you saw the sketches. Paltry few! But it has taken over a month to get his little beaut out! And I was not especially happy with it either. I had the theme for most of the 5 weeks, but just couldn’t work out what to do with it. Then finally, two nights before my next lesson I worked it out!
Again Bach Goldberg variations provided some inspiration. I was asked to write a counterpoint, and I failed at that, but it has some elements of counterpoint in there. I worked out a sequence of the series I use (which is the same series as in the first two miniatures) and I decided to just use the twelve rows P0 to P11, but split the series into two hexachords and use the theme in 6 transpositions based on the order of the first 6 notes of the series. The first 6 notes are, C, B, A#, E, G#, G.

Tone row

Looking at the tone row matrix, and using each of these 6 tones as the start of a transposition, this gives the order P0, P11, P10, P4, P8 and P7.
As I was trying to write a 2-part miniature which just used the series and its 11 transpositions, with no inversions or retrogrades, I decided just to use each of these once. I decided to therefore use the second hexachord to provide the accompaniment, each instance of the series being accomapbnied by a sequence based on the second hexachord of the series, in the order they occur. So from the 7th note we have D#, F#, A, F, C#, D, which gives the following order: P3, P6, P9, P5, P1, P2.
Therefore P0 would be accompanied by P3; P11 would be accompanied by P6 etc.
The full sequential structure is therefore

P0    P11    P10    P4    P8    P7
P3    P6      P9      P5    P1    P2

Therefore I have a very straightforward structure, and the composition is made up of the melody (or variations of it)…


together with an accompaniment in rhythmically simple forms. The melody and accompaniments are varied using slightly different rhythms, different registers and of course through transposition. The piece has quite a dark feel, which is emphasized by the ending, which is in a very low register and fading in volume. This is quite a contrast to the other two miniatures so far.

I’ve now listened to it back a few more times and am more satisfied with it, and like more of how it has been built. But it still seems a little random to me!

If you’d like to play it, here’s the current score. Do let me know if you do!

Serial Miniature 3b – Full Score

43 Responses

Leave a Reply