The Underfolding

for piano solo

Linda Catlin Smith

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Composer Linda Catlin Smith
Year of Composition 2001
Duration ca.18'
Instrumentation Piano
Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-lcs1tu1

Notes

In writing this piece for piano, I wanted to find a way to thicken the texture of my compositional world. Because the piano can sustain, there is an inherent possibility for the layering of sound, like the undertones in painting where many colours can be superimposed, generating an overall hue, or atmosphere. I became interested in working with pitch in a layered way, to create a more ambiguous or diffuse sense of harmony. Through the use of chords and clusters, I worked with what I think of as colourations or shadings of pitch, of harmonic material. There are shadings of rhythm too, through gradations of grace notes and varying rhythmic configurations which create an overlap – a folding of one thing over another; an aural impasto. This was my way of approaching a kind of subtle complexity, which comes not from an attempt at virtuosity, but from a desire to deepen my experience of composition, to wander into the shaded areas. Throughout there is a sense of hidden or implied melody, clothed in the surrounding pitches and shadings, though there is one line, one low melody, which is unadorned. The piece is dedicated to Stephen Clarke, who commissioned it through the Canada Council for the Arts.