Crude Words, Refined Grammars

solo piano, 2008

In Crude Words, Refined Grammars I solidified my image of the piano as an unpitched percussion instrument, capable of rendering in sound the physicality of the performer. In favoring seconds over single notes, clusters over well-spaced, resonant chords, and disjoint figures mapped across the entire keyboard over registral continuity, I intended to obliterate a clear sense of pitch and highlight instead the raw energy behind the music. The obsessive recurrence of certain notes and harmonies stems not from any sense of chordal hierarchy, but rather from a conception of each of these sonorities as a single drum within a hypothetical multi-percussion setup. Taken together, these “drums” constitute a relatively small vocabulary of individual sounds, which are combined and recombined according to an evolving syntax of physical gestures. The piece divides into two large sections, the second being a skeletal, fragmented reflection of the first.

Tom Fosnocht, piano