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Graduate recitals and document : pulse, phrasing and pitch organization in Cinque variazioni by Luciano Berio Wyber, Leslie Paulette


This document examines Luciano Berio's Cinque Voriationi for solo piano (1952-3, rev. 1966) from the perspective of a performer seeking to convey something of the organization of its musical material to a broad audience. Criteria for identifying elementary partitioning (pulse) and grouping (gesture, phrase segments, and phrases) are explored. In analysing relationships between phrases and phrase groups several things must be considered: specific pitch issues, distinctions between primary and auxiliary or accompanimental material, and contour. Throughout the document, suggestions are given for successful realization of fundamental grouping structures in performance. Although the piece has elements of serial construction, it is primarily underlying linear motion which gives sections cohesiveness. Also, certain pitch classes are given special emphasis and become vital reference points. The placement of and linear movement around these emphasized pitch classes create traditional tonal implications, to varying degrees throughout the work. Cinque Variationi is a set of variations for which no theme is provided, and it is far from obvious what is being varied. After examining the grouping structures of this piece, it becomes clear that variations refer to each other in unsystematic ways, and that pitch centers serve as reference points across variations.

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