Piece by Piece

For: Quintet
page one of Piece by Piece

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Piece by Piece




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Year of composition
Difficult (Grades 7+)
6 minutes
Modern classical music and Classical music
License details
For anything not permitted by the above licence then you should contact the publisher first to obtain permission.

Piece by Piece is ostensibly an atonal work, however, the tone row is only a step above a suggestion. The row, in its prime form, deliberately references tonal structures - perfect fifths in particular - and, when applied, is broken apart to emphasize these tonal qualities. In fact, the row is applied so loosely that it never appears in an explicit form anywhere in the piece. Piece by Piece is divided into two large sections. The first is energetic and dominated by the harsher sounds of ponticello strings and a persistent 16th-note pulse. The second section is quieter, more introspective, and features long, legato Clarinet melody over sustained chords with only a light sprinkling of percussion. The perfect fifth and minor seventh (and their inversions) are very important to the harmonic and melodic content of the piece. These intervals both tend towards tonal suggestions, but out of context they are ambiguous. This piece was designed to blend tonal and atonal methods. It can be argued that is is both a success and a failure. The application of the tone row is negligible, but the piece simultaneously has strong harmonic tendencies without committing to a defined key. The listener may draw their own conclusions, but how will we grow if we do not try something new once in a while?

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