Lydian Daydream is a whimsical solo cello piece with Lydian and Lydian dominant modal inflections, which are both variations of the major scale. The piece uses extended cello techniques such as pizzicato strumming (imitating a guitar), sul ponticello (playing close to the bridge), and glissandi (sliding between notes). This piece would fit well in any solo or chamber recital featuring cello.

Continue reading Lydian Daydream

Reflections on Chirality explores the concept of mirror symmetry and inversional relationships in melody and harmony. Chirality is a term used in chemistry to describe a molecule that cannot be superimposed on its mirror image. The term chiral is derived from the Greek word meaning hand. In “Reflections on Chirality”, this term is applied to music by utilizing mirror motions and contrary lines around a central axis, such as C. Harmonic progressions also explore symmetry in their distance from a central axis, such as tonicizing Eb and A, which are both a minor 3rd apart from C. The middle section features harmonic mirror images built from C as the central pitch. The piece also explores complementary contours in both hands. The role and directions of the lines in the left and right hand are switched from the opening A section in the return of the A section.

This modern and technically challenging piece would be a suitable as a solo piece or as an addition to any concert featuring 20th- and 21st-century repertoire.

Continue reading Reflections On Chirality

The Contemporary Child: A Set of Eleven Contemporary Pieces for the Beginner to Intermediate Piano Student introduces various 20th-century techniques, such as polymodality, aleatory (chance music), and additive processes to the beginner to intermediate piano student. These pieces are designed to be playable by younger hands while still teaching important modern musical concepts. Each piece can be played by itself, as part of an abridged set, or as part of the full set.

 

  1. Lemonade at Home
  2. Shadow Melody
  3. Folk Song
  4. Black Forest
  5. The Elephant and the Mouse
  6. Choose Your Own Adventure! No. 1
  7. The March of Memories
  8. Choose Your Own Adventure! No. 2
  9. Grasshopper
  10. Add On (Additive Processes)
  11. The Enchanted Castle (Duet for 4-hands)
Continue reading The Contemporary Child

I. Whirlpool
II. Tritonic
III. The Golden Spinning Wheel
IV. Cell-Phone Symphony

Solo Piano Suite is suite for solo piano containing four contrasting short pieces. Each movement can stand alone, as part of an abridged set, or as part of the entire suite.

Whirlpool is based on a flourishes of color inspired by Claude Debussy. It is in the Mixolydian mode, which lacks the tension-filled raised leading tone found in the major scale. This gives the piece a calmer and more soothing feel.

In sharp contrast to Whirlpool, Tritonic is harmonically jarring and unsettling as it is based on quartal stacks of tritones, an interval which has long been viewed in the music world as unstable. The piece also uses the cross-rhythm of three-against-two, creating a syncopated feel between the right and left hands.

The Golden Spinning Wheel utilizes fast, pianistic turns to represent the mechanics of a spinning wheel.

Cell-phone Symphony is a Prokofiev-inspired piece with a simple theme accompanied by odd and sometimes wandering harmonies. This piece explores fast registral shifts, short melodic ideas inspired by cell-phone ring tones, and advanced piano techniques, such as hand overlapping.

Continue reading Solo Piano Suite

Marginalia is a three-movement suite for solo piano inspired by Impressionist composer Claude Debussy, particularly his piano preludes. The term “marginalia” refers to the notes found within the margin of a book. The three movements in Marginalia live in their own structural, tonal, and rhythmic world. All three pieces rely heavily on the use of seconds and sevenths, which are inherently ambiguous and lead the ear away from traditional harmony. Marginalia I opens with a colorful, rhythmic flourish similar to the flourishes found in Debussy’s piano prelude Bruyeres. These flourishes are found throughout Marginalia I and II. Marginalia III opens with a pentatonic melody, a favored scale of Debussy, which is then accompanied by quartal stacks.

This set would fit nicely into any chamber or solo recital, particularly alongside pieces by Debussy or Ravel.

Continue reading Marginalia: I, II, and III