“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate, and eternal form.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Khachaturian Toccata: Polyrhythms

Aram Khachatrurian

A student writes that she struggles in Khachaturian’s Toccata with the polyrhythms in the slow section—mainly measure 110.
Khatchaturian Toccata MM 109-110
   Without seeing what she's doing, I can only make some general suggestions. I'm guessing her problem is with the combined rhythms and not so much the technique. That is, she is able to play the hands separately.
   On the first beat of M 110, notice that the right hand is duple, the 16th-note triplet equals one eighth. So in the RH you have the equivalent of 2 eighths. Against that in the LH you have an eighth-note triplet, which makes this first beat 2 against three:
Khachaturian Toccata M 110
Try it that way first, then add the extra 16ths. The hands come together pretty much as printed, at least close enough.

   The 3rd beat of M 110 is also 2 against three, but with 16ths, so it feels faster. One way to solve this is to first set a constant eighth-note pulse and fill in the spaces once that pulse is in your bones:
Khachaturian Toccata M 110
   I'll keep you posted as to whether this helped.

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