By Kasey Stokes, Piano Performance
Advisor: Andy Villemez
Abstract: Hungarian pianist and composer, B?la Bart?k, composed a set of pedagogical pieces called Mikrokosmos- a series of piano pieces leveled from easy to recital standard. Fast forward about forty years, American composer George Crumb composed his own set of short pieces called Makrokosmos. Although the content remains unalike, the length, title alludes to Bart?k's Mikrokosmos. Crumb was one of various composers who utilized the idea of extended technique in his compositions. Performance practice of his work Makrokosmos in particular requires the performer to mute strings by hand, pluck strings, play glissandos on the strings, place objects like chains and glass on the strings, all while singing, chanting, whistling and more. One may find this technique beneficial for young students who want to explore composition and experiment with the piano's timbre, color and sound. Students can begin experimenting by focusing on one technique at a time; this could include simply placing a piece of paper on the strings and playing or muting one note at a time. As Crumb looked to Bart?k's Mikrokosmos to help inform his compositional style, students might look to Crumb's Makrokosmos to help create pedagogical pieces that incorporate extended techniques of their own.