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Musica Consonanza
by Neil Paynter

Musica Consonanza by Neil Paynter for piano in twelve parts

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Musica Consonanza was a project twenty years in the making. The first version of Nos. 4 and 6 date from the Summer of 1983 after I had left the Eastman School of Music. The first version of No. 12 followed that autumn after a weekend workshop on Cape Cod led by Kay Gardner. The rest followed in the next eight years, but were little more than a collection of sketches. I did very little composing between 1991 and 2002. In January of 2003, with the encouragement of Tom Ameloot (who created a piece of art for the front cover), I began working on these pieces again and completed them in May 2003. The title is a quasi-nonsensical descriptive name for my work in this vein coined by John Manno in circa 1985.

This work is intentionally meditative. As a young man, I was intrigued by the concept of chakras, and the choice of tonal center was meant to correspond to chakras, starting with C to the root through to B to the crown. In a public performance of this piece, or a selection from it, the pianist would favor the composer's intent by asking the audience to refrain from applause.

Most of these pieces are not particularly demanding from a technical standpoint, and the pianist need not be intimidated by the use of three staves in scoring. The division of parts between the hands in Nos. 2, 7 and 10 is up to the performer, and I have made suggestions using stemming in Nos. 8 and 12. Depending on the instrument, it's tuning, and the acoustics of the room, the performer may freely use the damper pedal. At the end of each piece, the last ringing of the strings may be prolonged substantially by holding the damper pedal open.

Neil Paynter

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