keyboard study

The score to “Keyboard Study 1” is spare: two pages of musical cells and two pages of written instructions for how to navigate and manipulate those cells provide the pitch material, but choices about duration, dynamics, and shape are left up to the performer. There are three ostinati that form the skeleton of the piece between which are related sets of variations that will be mixed, matched, and sometimes played on top of the primary pattern. Riley offers the recipe for how to mix the ostinati and variation sets then its up to the performer(s) to choose which variation to use out of a particular set and how to shape the transitions from one ostinato to the next. Riley’s music empowers performers to create and react while also bonding their expression to the act of composition.