Parsimonious Trichords


This is a piece for piano based on Neo-Riemannian theory:

In the following links there are the PDF files with the explanation of what the fundamentals of this piece are.

Explanation in English language:

Explanation in Spanish language:

I would appreciate if you would listen to it and, of course, any comments will be very well received.


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  • Interesting to read the explanations. I seem to have been caught in it unwittingly using the system for quick surprise modulations. C-E-G----E-G#-B and similar. An interesting concept though I listened to your work without too much attention to its background though it can be heard throughout.

    A bold interesting work and an achievement carrying it through to 9 minutes without losing impetus. It's an exciting piece (not one that I'd like to have to play but that's aside!) The lull at around 6'40" seemed absolutely right. It needed respite - before continuing to conclusion recapping the earlier ideas. The contrast between sustain pedal and pedal up was good as it didn't blur the harmonic movement. 

    Very well done. A very nice piano sound too.


  • I agree with Dane this would make a very nice thing to slide into a composition as a surprise. I admit to not really knowing much about this specific theory so this has been very educational for me as well! 

    Thanks for sharing!

  • I enjoyed listening to this Ramon.  I appreciate that you have based this on an interesting theory and at some point I would like to look into this and other such approaches to composition but I'm honestly more interested in the result than the recipe and this sounds like a traditional development of a theme even if the result has a very 'modern' flavor.

    I always enjoy when composers base their works entirely on traditional styles and the results are often beautiful but to me it is much more satisfying to hear something that covers new ground as I feel you have done here, keep up the good work!

  • Dan,

    Thank you very much for listening to my piece and for reflecting on it.

    My intention has been to build an atonal harmony with a chromatic format but with a clearly consonant combination. I have tried to achieve all this by using the simplest and "softest" harmonic elements possible: the various series of the 24 triad chords (12 major + 12 minor) originating from the Tonnetz. With its use, the 12 notes of the chromatic scale are presented successively and in duplicate, linking the different chords with minimal changes: two common notes are always maintained and the third note only changes either a semitone or a tone. Also with its own harmonic behavior without the need to use the modulation of the tonal harmony of the common practice (tonic + dominant).

    Saludos !


    Parsimonious Trichords
    Hello, This is a piece for piano based on Neo-Riemannian theory: the following l…
  • Timothy,

    You thank me for sharing this work, but it is I who have to thank you for listening to it and also commenting on it.

    In response to Dan I have tried to make a brief summary of what my intentions have been.


  • Ingo,

    I am glad that you have enjoyed listening to this music and I appreciate your comments.

    I agree with you that the most important thing is the musical result obtained and not the theoretical approach on which the composition process is based. However, I always like to explain it with the intention of giving a context to the work and helping to place it.

    And certainly, I also agree with you, that one of my claims is to make music that has a "taste of modernity", always being faithful to my own personal style.


    Parsimonious Trichords
    Hello, This is a piece for piano based on Neo-Riemannian theory: the following l…
  • Very interesting piece! One of the exercises we were given way back in composition class was to try to write something musical that totally avoids traditional tonal harmony. I thought the most interesting approach would be to try to use triads in a way that avoids any semblance of tonal practices. My attempt was a complete flop, but I have always been interested in the idea and have taken notice of passages in traditional music (notably in Carl Nielsen's Commotio) where the same idea is used more successfully. Your piece here is the best example of this sort of thing I've ever heard, and I enjoyed reading your explanation as well. Thank you for sharing this, a most enjoyable listen!

  • LIz,

    Thank you for listening to the piece and for your positive comments.

    I find the reference you did to that important work for organ by Carl Nielsen very interesting, since he made a demonstration of how to develop new musical elements in relation to its time but in such a way that they did not seem modern in the negative sense, thus his mode of expression, although it was peculiar and different, it feels easy and natural. This double objective of being novel but, at the same time, intelligible for the listener has always been one of my main objectives, although it is not always easy to achieve it.


    Parsimonious Trichords
    Hello, This is a piece for piano based on Neo-Riemannian theory: the following l…
  • A world of difference between this and my work in both musical understanding and theory - and a truly wonderful, educational listen - technically superb and alive - controlled dynamics well placed and apt. I could not even begin to write something like this. There are 'moments' in this where I can hear a melody of something that could become a real hook - that you want to hear again or expanded upon. I know this is not your aim - but to my simple listeners head - I want something beautiful to hold on to and echo around - it is what makes music memorable and wonderful. I have listened to this three times and after each pass I cannot remember a distinct passage or favourite moment - other than the wonderful Rach like ending...

    But what do I know - I am not even really qualified to contribute to something like this!!

  • Ramon, hi,

    All I can tell you is the theoretical basis which you were applying in this work helped enormously today as, having some free time, I started on a Gavotte. This system allows me easy, instant modulation to mediant and submediant.


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