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An Examination of innovations in Alexander Scriabin's Late Etudes for Piano

EasyChair Preprint no. 1537

47 pagesDate: September 18, 2019


 The overwhelming majority of Alexander Scriabin's compositions—sixty-seven of his seventy-four published works—were written for solo piano. His etudes from 1905 forward are revolutionary, especially compared with his earlier Chopinesque style. Scriabin’s last five, in particular, display his musical and pianistic originality.

  His twenty-six etudes, Op.49, No. 1 (1905), Op.56, No. 4 (1908) and the last three etudes of Op.65 (1912) date from his last period of composition. These late etudes have exceptional compositional techniques in relation to new sonorous and aesthetic ideas which result in pianistic innovations. For example, in the Op.49 etude, Scriabin started to abandon traditional tonality, and he omitted the key signature altogether in the Op.56 etude. In addition, the last three etudes Op.65 (1912) feature constant unusual dissonances with technical emphases on ninths, sevenths, and fifths. Scriabin also employed modernist compositional principles including bichords, non-tonal hierarchy, and structural symmetry in these late etudes.

  A basic theoretical analysis will be done for his late etudes in this paper. The analysis will rely primarily on the method outlined in Peter Deans Robert’s Modernism in Russian Piano Music: Skriabin, Prokofiev, and Their Russian Contemporaries. Unlike pitch-class set theory analysis, Roberts emphasizes the melodic derivations from various exotic and synthetic scales which enable us to make a connection with Scriabin’s early approach and later development.

 The purpose of this study is to illustrate how Scriabin uses innovative compositional means and pianistic approach in late etudes as his musical language evolved. 

Keyphrases: Alexander Scriabin, innovations, Late Etudes

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Kuo-Ying Lee},
  title = {An Examination of innovations in Alexander Scriabin's Late Etudes for Piano},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 1537},

  year = {EasyChair, 2019}}
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