Postcard Paint

This is a project I chose to undertake for myself to explore the different ways that people perceive music. To create this project I started composing three contrasting pieces for solo piano that would then be listened and reacted to.

This initial stage was a way I could exploit different styles of music. The first piece was influenced mainly by romantic piano pieces and used a lot of consonant movement and included a lyrical melody line. The next piece was more contemporary and had a disjointed feel between the hands. This is because the hands are based on separate pentatonic scales. I found that this piece evoked a lot of confusion with the listeners as there is not a clear melody line for them to follow. The final piece I composed was based again on a more traditional romantic style yet included elements that would be unexpected to the listener like not resolving suspensions and having interrupted cadences.

Gina McDonald – Pianist for this composition
Catherine Mole · Postcard Paint Initial Pieces

The next step was to get people to listen to the three pieces. I asked each listener to draw a response that they felt would be appropriate to reflect the movements and feel of the pieces. I asked 12 people to be part of this, all from different courses at Conservatoire and from different age groups so that I would have wider variation in my findings.

Once all these drawings could be collected together I was started structuring the graphic representations of the scores. This was a long process as I had to select different sections from each of the drawings to create a flow in patterns. This part took a few attempts to get a shape and flow to the graphic that I thought would evoke an interesting performance. I chose to still keep the three pieces as separate outcomes. This was a decision that I struggled with initially as I wanted to combine all three. However after revising my decisions I chose to keep them separate to see if there was still such a contrast as there was in the original three scores.

A recording of this piece took place on 3rd March in the Recital hall at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

This piece was performed in the Birmingham New Music Concert on 6th March 2019. It was a very successful performance by Gina McDonald who is a fellow student of mine at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Concert Night – 6th March 2019
Catherine Mole · Postcard Paint