Faye-Ellen Silverman

Two Bagatelles

Year: 2007

Duration (in minutes): 6'39;

Difficulty: Medium (college/community)

Category: piano

Publisher: Subito Music Corporation

Description: Three/Four, the first of Two Bagatelles for Piano, was created in 2007 as a companion piece for Two/Three. As the title suggests, it is built around the interplay of threes and fours, used in time signatures, rhythmic values, and interval choices. The opening theme, for instance, is in four plus three measures in three-four time. As the work progresses, time signatures of three and four alternate. The opening motif, DFG, is built by adding a third above D, then a fourth above D. The choice of D is used to create a relationship with Two/three, which also begins on D. This melody is varied several times in the work, including a chordal passage with harmonies of thirds and fourths. The surface rhythm also reflects this interplay. Triplets and sextuplets alternate with sixteenth notes. The overall form is a build-up to a climax, near the end of the short work, before the work ends quietly, as it began.
Two/Three plays with the rhythms of groups of two and groups of three. Within the first phrase, eighth notes (twos) and triplets (threes) alternate. As the work continues, groups of twos are sounded against groups of threes. Then the twos become fours (sixteenths), and threes and fours alternate. In the next phrase, the right hand has the melody with eighths and triplets, while the accompaniment plays steady sixteenths. The threes next evolve into groups of sixes, and sixes (three sixteenths in the space of two sixteenths) alternate with groups of fours. At the end, the internal acceleration stops, as sixteenths slow to triplets, then to eighths, to quarters, and finally to even slower units.

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