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Exciting New Piano Étude: "Isorhythmic Exultation!"

Cory Hall

It was in the highly prolific year of 2011 that I first began to consider myself a "serious" composer. Around March of that year I began churning out piano work after piano work without even trying. Music simply flowed out of my fingers and into my video camera, and later in 2012 onto paper, with virtually no effort. I recently explained this phenomenon in more detail in a previous post on my 10 Biblical Portraits, Opus 1. BUY THE SHEET MUSIC HERE: ⇒ Isorhythmic Exultation! ⇐

One of my early works in 2011 was the unique and exciting Isorhythmic Exultation!, a secular work and rhythmic etude brimming with infectious momentum and energy. It is the ideal piece for energetic, advanced pianists and is especially ideal for encores. I remember coming up with the initial melody one day in early 2011 but I didn't do anything with it or try to expand upon it for several weeks. The melody was a simple but effective "horn fifth" style tune that sounded something like a cross between "Peanuts" and "Beethoven." It is an incredibly happy and playful melody!

One day I began experimenting and developing it a little further and discovered that the only rhythm that accommodated it was an asymmetrical or "additive" rhythm of 3 + 3 + 2 in which the fastest underlying note value, the eighth, is grouped into two groups of threes followed by one group of two. (In other words, it is simply in 4/4 where the eighth is grouped as 3 + 3 + 2 instead of the traditional 2 + 2 + 2 + 2.) This hypnotic-like rhythm is similar to those used by Béla Bartók in works such as Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm, from Mikrokosmos, Vol. 6. The word "Isorhythmic," usually associated with a style of late medieval music, means literally "one rhythm" or "the same rhythm" which is repeated over and over again throughout a composition. Hence, I decided upon the interesting and appropriate title Isorhythmic Exultation! I remember almost titling it "Étude" since it does in fact have strong characteristics of a rhythmic etude.

Isorhythmic Exultation! consists of three sections, A-B-A, in which the first "A" section states the horn-fifth melody and the "B" section serves as an improvisatory or solo section. At the end is an exciting and perpetual-motion style coda. It is in the bright and optimistic key of Eb major. Binding these three sections is an ostinato left-hand accompaniment which functions as the "rhythmic glue" and rarely deviates from its Eb center. The solo right-hand part in the "B" section reminds me of something from the "progressive rock" era, especially the music of Yes. This was unintentional in that I did not sit down and consciously plan it to sound like something from Yes, but rather, it just happened to come out this way. The virtuosic coda brings the work to a hair-raising conclusion.

Advanced-level piano students, professional concert pianists, piano teachers, and audiences are guaranteed to be enthralled by the unique and infectious energy of Isorhythmic Exultation! It is a rhythmic etude of the highest order, is incredibly idiomatic for the piano, and is a joy to practice and perform. Download your copy by clicking on the link below and add this remarkable work to your repertoire!

BUY THE SHEET MUSIC HERE: ⇒ Isorhythmic Exultation! ⇐