ETOUFFÉE (2016)

ETOUFFÉE (2016)

for prepared piano

instrumentation: pno
duration: 7 minutes
première: April 17, 2016, Movimentos Festwochen Wolfsburg, Germany
Marija Skender – piano

ETOUFFÉE

score preview

ETOUFFÉE

(full recording)

Marija Skender – piano
May 15, 2017, Rače Castle, Slovenia

Additional performances

June 8, 2019, Theaterhaus Stuttgart, Germany
Martin Klett – piano
March 29, 2019, Accademia Filarmonica Romana, Italy
Alessandro Viale – piano

ABOUT

ETOUFFÉE could be seen as an étude for prepared piano. The title refers to a particular technique employed in harp playing, involving dampening each string with the fingers immediately after it has been plucked. A similarly truncated timbre can be achieved by dampening the strings inside a grand piano. For this piece, I settled on the use of adhesive putty such as the UHU brand’s ‘Patafix’.

The pianist is instructed to dampen all but fourteen notes with that material, transforming the piano into an instrument with two distinct layers, in which the sustained and ethereal sounds of the undampened strings vie for centre stage with the dampened timbres, themselves a sort of hybrid between a xylophone and a suite of Javanese gongs that forays unabashedly into oscillations, loops and walking basses.

Alwyn Tomas Westbrooke

ETOUFFÉE could be seen as an étude for prepared piano. The title refers to a particular technique employed in harp playing, involving dampening each string with the fingers immediately after it has been plucked. A similarly truncated timbre can be achieved by dampening the strings inside a grand piano. For this piece, I settled on the use of adhesive putty such as the UHU brand’s ‘Patafix’. The pianist is instructed to dampen all but fourteen notes with that material, transforming the piano into an instrument with two distinct layers, in which the sustained and ethereal sounds of the undampened strings vie for centre stage with the dampened timbres, themselves a sort of hybrid between a xylophone and a suite of Javanese gongs that forays unabashedly into oscillations, loops and walking basses.

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