Extended piano techniques

George Crumb’s scores are hand-written, beautiful pieces of art, that are an adventure to play, due to all of the unusual performance requirements. In Eleven Echoes of Autumn, Crumb asks for several extended techniques for the piano creating rare and otherworldly sounds throughout the piece. In Echo 1, I reach inside the piano to press on specific nodes on the piano strings, allowing the 5th harmonic partial to sound. This produces the “bell motif”, a quintuplet whole tone figure that is heard throughout the piece among all of the instruments in one form or another. In many Echoes, Crumb uses pizzicato piano playing, a plucking of the strings with the fingertip or fingernail. Other times, he asked the pianist to rub the strings inside the piano with a hard piece of rubber while whistling specific pitches (Echo 2). Some of the more percussive techniques include muting the strings near the pins of the piano (Echo 5) and knocking on the four inner beams of the piano (Echo 8).