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An Instructional Approach to Introducing Twentieth-century Piano Music to Piano Students From Beginning to Advanced Levels: a Graded Repertoire for Mastering the Challenges Posed by Logan Skelton’s Civil War Variations

Description: Beginning and intermediate piano students typically study the repertoire of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This pedagogical approach leaves them underprepared to approach compositions written since the latter part of the twentieth-century which are significantly different in terms of harmony, rhythm, meter, and compositional procedure. Therefore, a step-by-step method is necessary to prepare a student for the challenges of learning twentieth and twenty-first century piano music. Civil War Variations (1988), by Logan Skelton, is an excellent example of a piece that presents a number of challenges characteristically found in late twentieth-century piano music. The twenty-five variations that comprise the work incorporate a series of twentieth-century musical techniques, namely complex rhythms, extreme dissonance, frequent metric changes, dissonant counterpoint, the inclusion of blues scales and rhythms, and new notations. The purpose of this study is to identify the technical, musical, structural and notational challenges posed by a work such as Logan Skelton’s Civil War Variations; examination of this piece will lead to suggestions regarding repertoire that a teacher may assign to beginning, intermediate, and advanced students in order to prepare them logically and in a step-by-step fashion to cope with and meet the challenges posed by this and other compositions having similar characteristics.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Kim, Dajeong
Partner: UNT Libraries