Music for Player Piano

James Tenney

  • Année de composition: 1963-64
  • Durée: 5:48


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Tenney was one of the first composers to actively champion the player-piano music of Conlon Nancarrow, and indeed, wrote the first extended critical study of Nancarrow’s work. However, Music for Player Piano preceded any real knowledge of Nancarrow’s music. In this piece, which is actually one short piece realized in four orientations, Tenney made use of the same types of computer-generated stochastic decision-making processes that were used in pieces like Dialogue, Phases, and so on. In the Music for Player Piano, the computer only specifies values for pitch, duration, and event density. The result of the computer’s compositional process was then punched onto a piano roll, to be played in four orientations: forward, backward (retrograde), upside-down (inversion), and upside-down and backward (retrograde inversion). The order on this recording is: original, retrograde inversion, inversion, retrograde, so that the piece is a palindrome, or mirror image of itself.

[source: ART 1007]

À propos de cet enregistrement

This recording was made by John Oswald and Marvin Green in the early 1980s, in Toronto (Canada), using PCM digital recording technology. We are grateful to these two composers for allowing us to use their fine recording.


  • John Oswald; Marvin Green • Toronto (Ontario, Canada)