AXTENS, Hsiao-Ni

MA Monash University 2011 Pages: 63p + 1CD

Tone-cluster techniques in piano performance : methods of tone-cluster performance as required in Henry Cowell's 'The Tides of Manaunaun' (1912) and Einojuhani Rautavaara's Piano Sonata No. 2 'The Fire Sermon' (1970)

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Abstract/Summary/Outline:

A "tone-cluster" is a group of adjacent tones sounded together. Henry Cowell is considered to have coined the term in the early twentieth century. The performance of a tone-cluster on a piano is a type of 'extended technique' and calls for unconventional playing methods such as striking the keys with the palm of the hand, the fist, or the forearm. Clusters offer the performer and listener a range of harmonic colours and timbral qualities that cannot be achieved with traditional harmonies. My research has not revealed the existence of a wide range of materials in regards to keyboard tone-cluster performance, which suggests that the techniques required to execute clusters have remained largely undeveloped by pianists and pedagogues...

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