piano solo

Robert Morris

Program Notes

Carnatic classical music of South India forms the style-model for this piece which employs the melodic mode or raga "bhairavi" (scale: G A Bb C D E F G F E D C B A G) and the rhythmic cycle or tala known as "mishra-chapu," a time cycle of seven beats divided 3,2,2. Many pains were taken to make this as an authentic replication of Indian music as possible: the drone and pulsation in the left hand imitates the double headed drum called mridangam and the drone instrument tampura. The slides and other intricate ornaments found in Indian music are reflected in the right hand's melodic detail. The form of the work also follows the model as it begins with a short alapina or improvisational introduction to the raga, after which we hear a rhythmic section in the form kriti followed by what would be improvised - a series of variations each growing ever more complex in rhythm and ornamentation but always returning to the main tune of the piece.