Cassidy, Aaron (2002) ten monophonic miniatures for solo pianist. [Composition]

This work, for piano with amplified keys and optional video projection, has received six performances by three pianists, including
Gaudeamus Music Week, Amsterdam; Bienal Internacional de Musica Y Tecnologia, Mexico City; June in Buffalo, USA. The
work was shortlisted for the Jurors’ Prize at the 2004 Gaudeamus Music Week.

1)‘Performative physicality and choreography as morphological determinants’, in Mahnkopf, Schurig and Cox, eds, Musical
Morphology (New Music and Aesthetics in the 21st Century, Volume 2), Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, June 2004, pp.34–51; ISBN
3-936000-13-1 (miniatures discussed pp.37–43).
2) Programmes available on request.

This work continues the composer’s interest in incorporating the physicality of performance as an independent, parametrical
compositional stratum. As is true of many of the composer’s overtly ‘decoupled’ works of the last decade, the piano miniatures
foreground choreographic movement and energy in the hopes that performative methods and techniques might be afforded a
status equivalent to more conventional musical parameters such as pitch, rhythm or timbre.

To this end, a variety of unique attack types are employed, incorporating knuckles, fingernails and unconventional playing
techniques (for example, aggressively vertical motion towards the keys; attacks with the backs of the fingers, with palms
upturned; or a variety of muting techniques that create unpredictable amounts of hammer/string contact). These attack types are
more and less audible, depending on context. The instability of their aural significance is entirely intentional – this permits an
interplay between the physical and the aural, with various choreographic activities influencing the resulting sonic surface to
differing degrees. Because of the extensive amplification of the piano keyboard, the method and sonic character of the attack
can be ‘decoupled’ from the sounds emanating from the strings and soundboard, so that, for example, a noisy, sharp attack
might only create a small, delicate sound from the strings.

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