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Penta Metrics

Libby Larsen
Late Intermediate
8 min

Penta Metrics is a set of five short pieces for intermediate-level pianists. The set is composed so that it can be played as a group of five works, or with pieces performed individually. Each piece is composed to highlight certain aspects of music and certain scales. It is my hope that, using the information below, students might devise their own warm-up exercises for each movement. Who knows? They may be inspired to compose their own variations on any one of these five pieces!

I. This lighthearted movement explores the flow of the constant eighth-note within mixed meters. Taking its inspiration from the Bach two-part inventions, the piece features two voices moving in linear motion, with a legato touch throughout. The scales used are C major, D major, F major, F minor, Ab major, and Bb major.

II. Languid, with a hint of the blues, this movement gives the student practice in bringing out a melody as it weaves throughout the texture and range of both hands. The scale used is Bb with a blue third.

III. This movement, in 7/8 meter, is a buoyant dance built around the repetition of a single rhythmic pattern: three beamed eight-notes, eight + eight-rest, eighth + eigth-rest. This rhythmic pattern is the basis for the melody—while the rhythm remains constant the notes constantly change. Scales used are Gb major, G mixolydian, E major, Ab major, C major, and Bb major.

IV. Shaped in two long phrases with an eleven-bar coda, this movement invites the student to perform a single cantabile melodic line that passes through both hands, creating a short aria in 3/4 time for piano. The scale used is D major.

V. In order to create an arch form for the set as a whole, the final piece again explores the flow of the constant eight-note within mixed meters. The student is asked to use articulation, including variede slurring patterns, staccato, and accents to create excitement and to enchance the beat patterns of the various meters. the scales used are A aeolian, A major, C major, B mixolydian, D dorian.

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