Four pieces for toy piano as a form of practice-as-research: serendipity, poetry and play

Inglis, Brian ORCID logoORCID: (2019) Four pieces for toy piano as a form of practice-as-research: serendipity, poetry and play. In: Music as play festival: the toy piano takes the stage, 06-07 Jul 2019, Istituto Giosue Carducci, Como, Italy. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

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This lecture-recital serves as an introduction to my Four Pieces for Toy Piano as a form of practice-as-research.

The text of the talk focuses on three of the pieces. ‘Laugh’ incorporates the recitation of a poem by the artist and sound sculptor Derek Shiel (inspired by Boccioni’s painting ‘La Risata’) interspersed with material played on the toy piano, itself based on the poem text. This approach emphasises the inherently playful nature of toy piano performance. ‘Beautiful Lofty Things’ is also based on a text (by WB Yeats) – this time ‘hidden’ in purely instrumental composition – through a technique similar to Messiaen’s ‘communicable language’, which is briefly explained.

‘Water and Stone’ is notated graphically, and is optionally performable with field recordings of found sounds from Georgia, made in 2017. The concrete sounds of water forming a background ‘drone’ are counterpointed with toy piano sonorities arising from the graphic notation, whose composition/notation technique includes the use of found objects as templates for cluster notations, the intent here being the ‘serendipitous’ use of another form of objet trouvé. Their realisation incorporates techniques used in keyboard music as varied as pieces by Schumann, Cage and Ligeti.

The paper also draws on literature by performer-researcher Xenia Pestova, and primary research in the form of an interview exploring the collaborative process between myself and Kate Ryder in realising the pieces for their premiere, and subsequent recording at Kingston University in September 2018.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts > Music group
Item ID: 27398
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Depositing User: Brian Inglis
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2019 13:41
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:58

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