…the rest is silence…

for piano or microtuned electronic keyboard

Jack Van Zandt

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for piano or microtuned electronic keyboard

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Composer Jack Van Zandt
Year of Composition 2022
Duration ca.8'
Instrumentation Piano
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-jvz1tris1


…the rest is silence… is a musical adaptation of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s book “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,” in which the philosopher created the formal structure for logical analysis through hierarchical levels of detail. To the composer, the process outlined by the book suggested a developing recursive structure that is related to fractals, where each repetition of a theme is decorated with ever more elaborate contrapuntal lines created from versions of the theme itself. The final line (and conclusion) of the Wittgenstein book is: “What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.” This idea seemed to me to be summed up succinctly in the dying Hamlet’s famous last words which became the title of this piece.

This piece may be played on a conventionally tuned grand piano, or a microtuned electronic keyboard using Pianoteq or other software. For the microtuned version, four Scala tunings are used as indicated: 12-17, 12-22, 12-27 and Pythagoras 12. The piece may also be played with the Pythagoras 12 in its entirely and using alternative soundsets at the performer’s choice. For other suggestions, please contact the composer.

The work is dedicated by the composer in friendship with thanks and admiration to Késia Decoté who performed the world premiere on March 4, 2022 at Bishopsgate, London.