UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

comparative study of selected Twentieth-century piano works involving the elements of chance and indeterminacy. Silvester , Trudy Helen


A study of selected chance and indeterminate piano pieces was made with a two-fold purpose: (1) to provide an intermediate stage between the composition and performance of the selected works and (2) to illustrate the diverse ways spontaneity may be invoked. The investigation centered on three points: (1) the problems the performer might encounter in examining the pieces, (2) implications of the instructions and (3) possible realizations of the score. While each score examined showed a slightly different approach to chance or indeterminacy, the pieces within the two categories were seen to exhibit common features. Generalizations were made in three broad areas: (1) the instructions in the scores, (2) the notation and (3) possible solutions. The instructions in the indeterminate scores were found to be relatively straightforward; the performer is made aware of his choices or alternatives and manner of performance is discussed. Instructions in chance works are less explicit; the performer is not directed to any one solution. Some explanation of the notation is given and the performer is led to discover how extensive his freedoms are. Indeterminate works on the whole are found to use traditional notation. The notation may be altered in some way, but retains a resemblance to its traditional source. Chance notation is very diverse, but three general categories exist: (1) works using traditional notation, (2) works using traditional and non-traditional (graphic) notation and (3) works using only graphic notation. The possible solutions of indeterminate works are concerned with either the juxtaposition or the metric relationship of material. The degree to which the choices are guided varies in the works discussed. Possible solutions of the chance works involve interpretation of notation and various ideas presented in the instructions. The performer must respond in an individual way, drawing on his own ideas. In general, analyses of the works illustrated some features that might be expected in other chance and indeterminate works.

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