Serial Miniature for Piano

I was asked to write a short serial piece as an exercise using 12-tone techniques. I decided to do a miniature for piano and wrote it in about three hours. I found the process taxing from the perspective of making sure I followed the ‘rules’ correctly. I used the tone row C-B-A#-E-G#-G-D#-F#-A-F-C#-D. I also decided to make the relative intervals function as rhythms, so an interval of 1 semitone became a semiquaver, 2 semitones became a quaver, 3 semi-tones became a dotted quaver etc..

I found sticking to the rhythmic patterns quite limiting, but did not feel too constrained by the tone row. I used the composer tools resource to calculate a 12-tone matrix and then used the tone row in it’s original format followed by several derivations – inverted; retrograde inverted and retrograde. I used the original tone row and 6 derivations (I0, RI0, R0, P1, I11 and RI11) and used 4 rhythmic variations (P0, I0, RI0 and R0).

So the tricky bit (apart from making sure I followed the ‘rules’ carefully, was to make it musical. I actually quite like the finished piece, and thought I might write some more piano serial miniatures, to make a little suite of them 🙂

You can hear the Sibelius output by clicking on the play button above. I would be interested in any views.

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