Jeremy Aknai

Invention no.2
for piano and electronic delays

duration: 5 minutes

Invention no.2 was written in 1999 as part of my MMus submission at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

The musical limitations of using electronic delays interested me: in effect, I had to write a canon. There is only one theme, which, in itself, is not developed, but is subjected to increasingly busy textures. By simple means of rhythmic augmentation, increasing the number of parts, introducing chords based on the pitches of the theme, transposing the delays, and reducing the time between delays (the parts start a crotchet apart and end a demisemiquaver apart), the piece builds from relative simplicity to manic complexity.

For those more technologically minded, the following reproduces the instructions in the score:

"This piece requires a live piano to be manipulated electronically by three delays and relayed through four speakers to be positioned at each corner of the auditorium. The piano should be positioned centrally on the stage. Towards the end of the piece, the sound of the live piano is also relayed through the speaker system. Two of the three delays must be able to transpose the sound. In the score, underneath the piano part, are the instructions for the sound operator, and the precise time when the changes are to occur. Note the following explanation of the instructions used:

S = speaker (f=front, b=back); the number that follows indicates the panning position, on a scale from -5 (left) to +5 (right)

D = delay time, in seconds

T = transposition, in semitones, in a range from -11 (down) to +11 (up)

All changes are relative to 0, not the previous instruction. The volume of the delayed sound should be slightly less than the sound from the piano. Panning is not required between front and back speakers, only from left to right. The use of some reverb is recommended."

Born in 1977, Jeremy Aknai, who comes from Hertfordshire, UK, began learning the piano at the age of five, and the cello at eleven. At thirteen he started composition lessons at the London College of Music Junior School, and later continued at the Junior Academy of the Royal Academy of Music. As an undergraduate he spent three years studying music at the University of York, gaining a first class BAHons. In 1999, Jeremy completed an MMus in Composition at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where he was awarded the Lutoslawski prize by Alexander Goehr. Since then, he has taught piano in two schools and is now working for a London music publisher. A varied output includes a Chamber Symphony, song cycles, and chamber music. He has had several successes at competitions, including reaching the finals of ‘BBC Young Musicians’.

Back to shortlist.