Musical composition, or composition, can refer to an original piece or work of music, either vocal or instrumental, the structure of a musical piece, or to the process of creating or writing a new piece of music. People who create new compositions are called composers. Composers of songs are called songwriters. In many cultures, including Western classical music, the act of composing includes the creation of music notation, such as a sheet music "score,", performed by the composer or by other instrumental musicians or singers. In popular music and traditional music, songwriting may involve the creation of a basic outline of the song, called the lead sheet, which sets out the melody and chord progression. In classical music, orchestration is done by the composer, but in musical theatre and in pop music, songwriters may hire an arranger to do the orchestration. In some cases, a pop or traditional songwriter may not use written notation at all, instead compose the song in their mind and play, sing and/or record it from memory.
In jazz and popular music, notable sound recordings by influential performers are given the weight that written or printed scores play in classical music. Although a musical composition uses musical notation and has a single author, this is not always the case. A work of music can have multiple composers, which occurs in popular music when all of the members of a band collaborates to write a song, or in musical theatre, when one person writes the melodies, a second person writes the lyrics, a third person orchestrates the songs. A piece of music can be composed with words, images, or, since the 20th century, with computer programs that explain or notate how the singer or musician should create musical sounds. Examples range from 20th century avant-garde music that uses graphic notation, to text compositions such as Karlheinz Stockhausen's Aus den sieben Tagen, to computer programs that select sounds for musical pieces. Music that makes heavy use of randomness and chance is called aleatoric music, is associated with contemporary composers active in the 20th century, such as John Cage, Morton Feldman, Witold Lutosławski.
A more known example of chance-based music is the sound of wind chimes jingling in a breeze. The study of composition has traditionally been dominated by examination of methods and practice of Western classical music, but the definition of composition is broad enough to include the creation of popular music and traditional music songs and instrumental pieces, to include spontaneously improvised works like those of free jazz performers and African percussionists such as Ewe drummers. Although in the 2000s, composition is considered to consist of the manipulation of each aspect of music, according to Jean-Benjamin de Laborde: Composition consists in two things only; the first is the ordering and disposing of several sounds...in such a manner that their succession pleases the ear. This is; the second is the rendering audible of two or more simultaneous sounds in such a manner that their combination is pleasant. This is what we call harmony, it alone merits the name of composition. Since the invention of sound recording, a classical piece or popular song may exist as a recording.
If music is composed before being performed, music can be performed from memory, by reading written musical notation, or through a combination of both methods. For example, the principal cello player in an orchestra may read most of the accompaniment parts in a symphony, where she is playing tutti parts, but memorize an exposed solo, in order to be able to watch the conductor. Compositions comprise a huge variety of musical elements, which vary from between genres and cultures. Popular music genres after about 1960 make extensive use of electric and electronic instruments, such as electric guitar and electric bass. Electric and electronic instruments are used in contemporary classical music compositions and concerts, albeit to a lesser degree than in popular music. Music from the Baroque music era, for example, used only acoustic and mechanical instruments such as strings, woodwinds and keyboard instruments such as harpsichord and pipe organ. A 2000s-era pop band may use electric guitar played with electronic effects through a guitar amplifier, a digital synthesizer keyboard and electronic drums.
Piece is a "general, non-technical term applied to instrumental compositions from the 17th century onwards....other than when they are taken individually'piece' and its equivalents are used of movements in sonatas or symphonies....composers have used all these terms in compound forms.... In vocal music...the term is most used for operatic ensembles..." These techniques draw parallels from visual art's formal elements. Sometimes, the entire form of a piece is through-composed, meaning that each part is different, with no repetition of sections; some pieces are composed around a set scale, where the compositional technique might be considered the usage of a particular scale. Others are composed during performance, where a v
Tristan und Isolde
Tristan und Isolde is an opera, or music drama, in three acts by Richard Wagner to a German libretto by the composer, based on the 12th-century romance Tristan by Gottfried von Strassburg. It was composed between 1857 and 1859 and premiered at the Königliches Hof- und Nationaltheater in Munich on 10 June 1865 with Hans von Bülow conducting. Wagner referred to the work not as an opera, but called it "eine Handlung", the equivalent of the term used by the Spanish playwright Calderón for his dramas. Wagner's composition of Tristan und Isolde was inspired by the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer, as well as by Wagner's affair with Mathilde Wesendonck. Acknowledged as one of the peaks of the operatic repertoire, Tristan was notable for Wagner's unprecedented use of chromaticism, tonal ambiguity, orchestral colour and harmonic suspension; the opera was enormously influential among Western classical composers and provided direct inspiration to composers such as Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Karol Szymanowski, Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg and Benjamin Britten.
Other composers like Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky formulated their styles in contrast to Wagner's musical legacy. Many see Tristan as the beginning of the move away from common practice harmony and tonality and consider that it lays the groundwork for the direction of classical music in the 20th century. Both Wagner's libretto style and music were profoundly influential on the symbolist poets of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Wagner was forced to abandon his position as conductor of the Dresden Opera in 1849, as there was a warrant posted for his arrest for his participation in the unsuccessful May Revolution, he left his wife, Minna, in Dresden, fled to Zürich. There, in 1852, he met the wealthy silk trader Otto Wesendonck. Wesendonck bankrolled the composer for several years. Wesendonck's wife, became enamoured of the composer. Though Wagner was working on his epic Der Ring des Nibelungen, he found himself intrigued by the legend of Tristan and Isolde; the re-discovery of medieval Germanic poetry, including Gottfried von Strassburg's version of Tristan, the Nibelungenlied and Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, left a large impact on the German Romantic movements during the mid-19th century.
The story of Tristan and Isolde is a quintessential romance of the Renaissance. Several versions of the story exist, the earliest dating to the middle of the 12th century. Gottfried's version, part of the "courtly" branch of the legend, had a huge influence on German literature. According to his autobiography, Mein Leben, Wagner decided to dramatise the Tristan legend after his friend, Karl Ritter, attempted to do so, writing that: He had, in fact, made a point of giving prominence to the lighter phases of the romance, whereas it was its all-pervading tragedy that impressed me so that I felt convinced it should stand out in bold relief, regardless of minor details; this influence, together with his discovery of the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer in October 1854, led Wagner to find himself in a "serious mood created by Schopenhauer, trying to find ecstatic expression. It was some such mood that inspired the conception of a Tristan und Isolde." Wagner wrote of his preoccupations with Schopenhauer and Tristan in a letter to Franz Liszt: Never in my life having enjoyed the true happiness of love I shall erect a memorial to this loveliest of all dreams in which, from the first to the last, love shall, for once, find utter repletion.
I have devised in my mind a Tristan und Isolde, the simplest, yet most full-blooded musical conception imaginable, with the ‘black flag’ that waves at the end I shall cover myself over – to die. By the end of 1854, Wagner had sketched out all three acts of an opera on the Tristan theme, based on Gottfried von Strassburg's telling of the story. While the earliest extant sketches date from December 1856, it was not until August 1857 that Wagner began devoting his attention to the opera, putting aside the composition of Siegfried to do so. On 20 August he began the prose sketch for the opera, the libretto was completed by September 18. Wagner, at this time, had moved into a cottage built in the grounds of Wesendonck's villa, during his work on Tristan und Isolde, he became passionately involved with Mathilde Wesendonck. Whether or not this relationship was platonic remains uncertain. One evening in September of that year, Wagner read the finished poem of "Tristan" to an audience including his wife, his current muse and his future mistress, Cosima von Bülow.
By October 1857, Wagner had begun the composition sketch of the first act. During November, however, he set five of Mathilde's poems to music known today as the Wesendonck Lieder; this was an unusual move by Wagner, who never set to music poetic texts other than his own. Wagner described two of the songs – "Im Treibhaus" and "Träume" – as "Studies for Tristan und Isolde": "Träume" uses a motif that forms the love duet in act 2 of Tristan, while "Im Treibhaus" introduces a theme that became the prelude to act 3, but Wagner resolved to write Tristan only after he had secured a publishing deal with the Leipzig-based firm Breitkopf & Härtel, in January 1858. From this point on, Wagner finished each act and sent it off for engraving before he started on the next – a remarkable feat given the unprecedented length and complexity of the score. In April 1858 Wagner's wife Minna intercepted a note from Wagner to Mathilde and, despite Wagner's
Sechs kleine Klavierstücke
Sechs kleine Klavierstücke, Op. 19 is a set of pieces for solo piano written by the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg, published in 1913. After having written large, dense works such as Pelleas und Melisande, up until 1907, Schönberg decided to turn away from this style, beginning with his second string quartet of 1908; the following excerpt, translated from a letter written to Ferruccio Busoni in 1909, well expresses his reaction against the excess of the Romantic period: My goal: complete liberation from form and symbols and logic. Away with motivic work! Away with harmony as the cement of my architecture! Harmony is nothing more. Away with pathos! Away with 24 pound protracted scores! My music must be short. Lean! In two notes, not built, but "expressed", and the result is, I hope, without sterilized drawn-out sentiment. That is not. Man has many feelings, thousands at a time, these feelings add up no more than apples and pears add up; each goes its own way. This multicoloured, illogical nature of our feelings, their associations, a rush of blood, reactions in our senses, in our nerves.
It should be an expression of feeling, as if were the feeling, full of unconscious connections, not some perception of "conscious logic". Now I have said it, they may burn me; this work was composed at the same time that Schoenberg was working on his orchestration of his massive Gurre-Lieder. While he maintained a lifelong love of Romantic music, the extreme contrast between his Klavierstücke and his more romantic works comes from his modernist desire to find a new means of expression. For him, works like the Gurre-Lieder or Verklärte Nacht fulfilled the tradition he loved, but it was works like these Klavierstücke, or the Fünf Orchesterstücke that attempted to reach beyond it; the first five pieces were written in a single day, February 19, 1911, were intended to comprise the entire piece. Schoenberg penned the sixth piece on June 17, shortly after the death of Gustav Mahler. Indeed, it is a, "well circulated claim. 19/vi as a tombeau to Mahler". It was first performed on February 4, 1912, by Louis Closson.
Each of the six pieces is aphoristically short, unique in character. Following the expressionist aesthetic, each piece can be understood to be a long composition condensed into a single brief miniature. Schoenberg regarded this style of writing as a necessary compositional reaction to the diminishing power of tonality and this compositional style would be a huge influence on Schoenberg's pupil, Anton Webern, whose works are well known for their brevity; the work is described as atonal, or at least any resemblance to tonality is fleeting, but it predates Schoenberg's dodecaphonic development. The six pieces do not carry individual names, but are known by their tempo marking: Leicht, zart Langsam Sehr langsame Rasch, aber leicht Etwas rasch Sehr langsam Schoenberg, Arnold. Sechs kleine Klavierstücke, Opus 19, score. Universal Edition. Vienna, 1913. Schoenberg, Arnold. Style and Idea. University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1984. ISBN 0-520-05294-3 Wikilivres has original media or text related to this article: Sechs kleine Klavierstücke 6 Little Piano Pieces: Scores at the International Music Score Library Project Sechs kleine Klavierstücke at Schoenberg.org Performance by Katherine Chi from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in MP3 format The ND Music Edition of Schönberg's Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke
Heinrich Schenker was a music theorist, music critic, teacher and composer, best known for his approach to musical analysis, now called Schenkerian analysis. Little biographical information is available from external sources, he kept many of his personal papers, but maintained a nearly 4000-page diary that includes many recollections from his early years. Most of the biographical information we have about Schenker stems from this work. Hellmut Federhofer's book Heinrich Schenker is the only general biography. Much of the information in this article stems from that work. Schenker was born in Wiśniowczyk, Austrian Galicia in 1868 to Johann Schenker and his wife, both Jews. Schenker's father was a doctor, allowed to settle in Wisniowczyk, a village of only 1,759 inhabitants, according to the 1869 census. There is little information about Schenker's parents. There is little documentation concerning Schenker's childhood years. Schenker himself said nothing about his secondary-school education, his musical instincts must have been discovered at an early age, for he went to Lemberg and studied with Carl Mikuli, continued his studies in Berezhany.
Schenker received a scholarship to move to Vienna. Documents at the University of Vienna show him on the roster at the beginning of the 1884/85 season, where he pursued a law degree. In addition to his studies at the University of Vienna, he was enrolled at the Konservatorium of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde from 1887 through 1890, his entrance examination results indicate that he studied composition with Franz Krenn and piano with Ernst Ludwig. Schenker and his father asked. Other documents indicate. Schenker's father died in 1887. Carl Flesch in attendance at the Konservatorium, left a description of Schenker as a student "who seemed half-starved, who towered far above the rest of us... It was Heinrich Schenker, who came to enjoy high esteem for his original musical theories and his all-embracing practical and theoretical musicality."Schenker's negative feelings toward Bruckner are revealed in a quote in his Harmony, in which he stated that "If the teacher is unable to explain his own propositions... the student... may be content not to understand the proffered doctrine....
The teacher closes his classes in harmony. A footnote adds "My teacher, a composer of high renown, used to say on such occasions: Segn's, mein' Herrn, dass ist die Regl, i schreib' natirli not a so. In Counterpoint, vol. I, Schenker quotes examples from Bruckner's works as examples of badly constructed lines. Schenker had better memories of Ernst Ludwig. Ludwig accepted Schenker on the basis of his initial scholarship. Upon seeing some of Schenker's musical compositions, Ludwig recommended them to the pianist Julius Epstein. Ludwig sent students to study with Schenker, who remembered him fondly and thought he would have appreciated his Harmonielehre and Kontrapunkt. In the 1888–89 season, Schenker studied counterpoint under Bruckner and continued piano study under Ludwig, always receiving the highest grades; the following season Schenker joined the composition class of Johann Nepomuk Fuchs. He was charged only half the fee for the school year. After graduating the University of Vienna with a law degree, Schenker devoted himself to music.
His first major opportunity came with Maximilian Harden, editor of Die Zukunft who published his earliest writings. Publications in other periodicals followed. Surviving letters in Schenker's archive suggest that during his schooling Schenker had no income and survived purely by gifts from supporters, he continued this practice after graduating. Schenker dedicated his Inventions op. 5 to Irene Graedener. On her death, he recalled in his diary that it was at her house that he was able to find himself and realize his future calling. At this point in his career, Schenker saw himself as a composer and tried to ingratiate himself as a means of promoting his compositions. Several letters attest to his meetings with Eduard Hanslick. By 1900, Schenker was trying to promote his musical compositions as evidenced by correspondence with Ignaz Brüll, Karl Goldmark, Eugen d'Albert and Ferruccio Busoni. There were more compositions than the existing ones, although dedications on the published compositions indicate who were sympathetic and gave money to enable Schenker's works to be published.
His Op. 1 carries a dedication to Julius Epstein, Op. 2 is dedicated to Ferruccio Busoni, Op. 4 is dedicated to Eugen d'Albert. D'Albert had promised to play some of Schenker's works, Busoni was enthusiastic about the Fantasy, Op. 2. With letters from d'Albert, Brüll, Detlev von Liliencron, Schenker felt con
Joseph Patrick Moore
Joseph Patrick Moore is an American musician from Knoxville, Tennessee. He is a bass player, composer and record producer who has played alongside Colonel Bruce Hampton, Earl Klugh, Stewart Copeland, John Popper, Derek Trucks. In 2003, he founded Blue Canoe Records the internet's first all-digital independent jazz label. Moore began playing alto saxophone at age 7 in public school; as a freshman in high school, he took up drums as a member of the marching band. He switched to the bass during his second year, he has said that he was inspired by a recurring dream he had about playing the electric bass. He was influenced early by the playing of Paul Chambers, Jimmy Blanton, Ray Brown, Ron Carter. One of Moore's first teachers was Rusty Holloway, an instructor at the University of Tennessee, who himself had played with Woody Herman and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. Heeding Holloway's advice, Moore enrolled at the university as a classical studies and jazz performance major, with a concentration on electric bass and double bass.
He began playing in bands in Knoxville, including Without Sage. After two and a half years, Moore transferred to the University of Memphis, to be in a city that provided more professional musical opportunities. Moore began playing nightly on Beale Street with The Charlie Wood Trio, he soon found additional work as a studio musician and live performer. In 1996, Moore released his first solo album, Never Never Land, which he financed and produced—at the time, an unusual move for a jazz musician; that year, Moore was nominated for a Premier Player award by the Memphis Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. In 1997, Moore moved to Atlanta, he began playing there with his band the Fiji Mariners. As part of Hampton's band, Moore had the opportunity to play with a variety of accomplished guest musicians, including Warren Haynes, John Popper, Derek Trucks, Vassar Clements, Buddy Miles. After releasing two more albums, Moore grew disillusioned with the "rat race experience" of shopping for a record deal and decided to start his own record label.
He was inspired in part by the examples of musicians such as Ani DiFranco, Tony Levin, Herbie Hancock. He received some direct advice from Peter Erskine, drummer for the band Weather Report, who had started his own label. Founded in 2003, Moore's Blue Canoe Records was the first independent jazz label to be an all-digital label. Moore has maintained an active recording and touring schedule and played through the rest of the decade alongside a number of eminent musicians, including Stewart Copeland, Earl Klugh, Bob James, Chris Duarte. In 2010, Moore released To Africa With Love, an album that he composed, arranged and mixed, his latest release as leader is the EP XYZ Factor, released in December 2011. For the Dutch Radio Westerwolde he made a Radio Jingle for The Toppyjazz Radio Show. In 2014/2015 he formed The RockTronix releasing a CD and DVD Documentary Movie titled, "Magnificent Obsession" on Blue Canoe Records; the documentary movie is listed on Rotten Tomatoes. In 2016, Joseph is releasing "Decade II 2006-2015".
"Decade II" is a remastered CD compilation of selected composition's recorded between 2006 through 2015 and is a follow up to "Decade 1996-2005". Never Never Land Soul Cloud Alone Together Drum & Bass Society, Volume One Live in 05 Decade 1996–2005 Pause Starbucking To Africa With Love Path to Geshe XYZ Factor EP Decade II 2006-2015 It's a Swing Thing – Andrew Carlton & the Swing Doctors The Best Impression of Insanity – Jag Star Vantage Point – Chris Duarte Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitar Festival 2010 – DVD Official website Blue Canoe Records Official Site Joseph Patrick Moore at Allmusic
Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particularly in the United Kingdom and in the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, a style which drew on the genres of blues and blues, from country music. Rock music drew on a number of other genres such as electric blues and folk, incorporated influences from jazz and other musical styles. Musically, rock has centered on the electric guitar as part of a rock group with electric bass and one or more singers. Rock is song-based music with a 4/4 time signature using a verse–chorus form, but the genre has become diverse. Like pop music, lyrics stress romantic love but address a wide variety of other themes that are social or political. By the late 1960s "classic rock" period, a number of distinct rock music subgenres had emerged, including hybrids like blues rock, folk rock, country rock, southern rock, raga rock, jazz-rock, many of which contributed to the development of psychedelic rock, influenced by the countercultural psychedelic and hippie scene.
New genres that emerged included progressive rock. In the second half of the 1970s, punk rock reacted by producing stripped-down, energetic social and political critiques. Punk was an influence in the 1980s on new wave, post-punk and alternative rock. From the 1990s alternative rock began to dominate rock music and break into the mainstream in the form of grunge and indie rock. Further fusion subgenres have since emerged, including pop punk, electronic rock, rap rock, rap metal, as well as conscious attempts to revisit rock's history, including the garage rock/post-punk and techno-pop revivals at the beginning of the 2000s. Rock music has embodied and served as the vehicle for cultural and social movements, leading to major subcultures including mods and rockers in the UK and the hippie counterculture that spread out from San Francisco in the US in the 1960s. 1970s punk culture spawned the goth and emo subcultures. Inheriting the folk tradition of the protest song, rock music has been associated with political activism as well as changes in social attitudes to race and drug use, is seen as an expression of youth revolt against adult consumerism and conformity.
The sound of rock is traditionally centered on the amplified electric guitar, which emerged in its modern form in the 1950s with the popularity of rock and roll. It was influenced by the sounds of electric blues guitarists; the sound of an electric guitar in rock music is supported by an electric bass guitar, which pioneered in jazz music in the same era, percussion produced from a drum kit that combines drums and cymbals. This trio of instruments has been complemented by the inclusion of other instruments keyboards such as the piano, the Hammond organ, the synthesizer; the basic rock instrumentation was derived from the basic blues band instrumentation. A group of musicians performing rock music is termed as a rock group. Furthermore, it consists of between three and five members. Classically, a rock band takes the form of a quartet whose members cover one or more roles, including vocalist, lead guitarist, rhythm guitarist, bass guitarist and keyboard player or other instrumentalist. Rock music is traditionally built on a foundation of simple unsyncopated rhythms in a 4/4 meter, with a repetitive snare drum back beat on beats two and four.
Melodies originate from older musical modes such as the Dorian and Mixolydian, as well as major and minor modes. Harmonies range from the common triad to parallel perfect fourths and fifths and dissonant harmonic progressions. Since the late 1950s and from the mid 1960s onwards, rock music used the verse-chorus structure derived from blues and folk music, but there has been considerable variation from this model. Critics have stressed the eclecticism and stylistic diversity of rock; because of its complex history and its tendency to borrow from other musical and cultural forms, it has been argued that "it is impossible to bind rock music to a rigidly delineated musical definition." Unlike many earlier styles of popular music, rock lyrics have dealt with a wide range of themes, including romantic love, rebellion against "The Establishment", social concerns, life styles. These themes were inherited from a variety of sources such as the Tin Pan Alley pop tradition, folk music, rhythm and blues.
Music journalist Robert Christgau characterizes rock lyrics as a "cool medium" with simple diction and repeated refrains, asserts that rock's primary "function" "pertains to music, or, more noise." The predominance of white and middle class musicians in rock music has been noted, rock has been seen as an appropriation of black musical forms for a young and male audience. As a result, it has been seen to articulate the concerns of this group in both style and lyrics. Christgau, writing in 1972, said in spite of some exceptions, "rock and roll implies an identification of male sexuality and aggression". Since the term "rock" started being used in preference to "rock and roll" from the late-1960s, it has been contrasted with pop music, with which it has shared many characteristics, but from wh
Walter Hamor Piston Jr, was an American composer of classical music, music theorist, professor of music at Harvard University. Piston was born in Maine. Although his family was of English origin, his paternal grandfather was a sailor named Antonio Pistone, who changed his name to Anthony Piston when he came to Maine from Genoa, Italy. In 1905 the composer's father, Walter Piston Sr, moved with his family to Massachusetts. Walter Jr first trained as an engineer at the Mechanical Arts High School in Boston, but was artistically inclined. After graduating in 1912, he enrolled in the Massachusetts Normal Art School, where he completed a four-year program in fine art in 1916. During the 1910s, Piston made a living playing piano and violin in dance bands and playing violin in orchestras led by Georges Longy. During World War I, he joined the U. S. Navy as a band musician after teaching himself to play saxophone. While playing in a service band, he taught himself to play most wind instruments. "They were just lying around," he observed, "and no one minded if you picked them up and found out what they could do".
Piston was admitted to Harvard College in 1920, where he studied counterpoint with Archibald Davison and fugue with Clifford Heilman, advanced harmony with Edward Ballantine, composition and music history with Edward Burlingame Hill. He worked as an assistant for various music professors there, conducted the student orchestra. In 1920, Piston married artist Kathryn Nason, a fellow student at the Normal Art School; the marriage lasted until a few months before his own. On graduating summa cum laude from Harvard, Piston was awarded a John Knowles Paine Traveling Fellowship, he chose to go to Paris, living there from 1924 to 1926. At the Ecole Nationale de Musique in Paris, he studied composition and counterpoint with Nadia Boulanger, composition with Paul Dukas and violin with George Enescu, his Three Pieces for Flute and Bassoon of 1925 was his first published score. He taught at Harvard from 1926 until his retirement in 1960, his students include Samuel Adler, Leroy Anderson, Arthur Berger, Leonard Bernstein, Gordon Binkerd, Elliott Carter, John Davison, Irving Fine, John Harbison, Karl Kohn, Ellis B.
Kohs, Gail Kubik, Billy Jim Layton, Noël Lee, Robert Middleton, Robert Moevs, Daniel Pinkham, Frederic Rzewski, Allen Sapp, Harold Shapero, Claudio Spies, as well as Frank D'Accone, Ann Ronell, Robert Strassburg, Yehudi Wyner,Allen Sapp, William P. Perry. In 1936, the Columbia Broadcasting System commissioned six American composers to write works for broadcast on CBS radio. Piston wrote his Symphony No. 1 and conducted its premiere with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on April 8, 1938. Piston's only dance work, The Incredible Flutist, was written for the Boston Pops Orchestra, which premiered it with Arthur Fiedler conducting on May 30, 1938; the dancers were his company. Soon after, Piston arranged a concert suite including "a selection of the best parts of the ballet." This version was premiered by Fritz Reiner and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on November 22, 1940. Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra included the suite in a 1991 RCA Victor CD recording that featured Piston's Three New England Sketches and Symphony No.
6. Piston studied the twelve-tone technique of Arnold Schoenberg and wrote works using aspects of it as early as the Sonata for Flute and Piano and the First Symphony, his first twelve-tone work was the Chromatic Study on the Name of Bach for organ, which nonetheless retains a vague feeling of key. Although he employed twelve-tone elements sporadically throughout his career, these become much more pervasive in the Eighth Symphony and many of the works following it: the Variations for Cello and Orchestra, Clarinet Concerto, Ricercare for Orchestra, Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra, Flute Concerto. In 1943, the Alice M. Ditson fund of Columbia University commissioned Piston's Symphony No. 2, premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra on March 5, 1944 and was awarded a prize by the New York Music Critics' Circle. His next symphony, the Third, earned a Pulitzer Prize, as did his Symphony No. 7. His Viola Concerto and String Quartet No. 5 later received Critics' Circle awards. Piston was awarded the Edward MacDowell Medal for his outstanding contribution to the arts by the MacDowell Colony in 1974.
Piston wrote four books on the technical aspects of music theory which are considered to be classics in their respective fields: Principles of Harmonic Analysis, Counterpoint and Harmony. The last of these introduced for the first time in theoretical literature several important new concepts that Piston had developed in his approach to music theory, notably the concept of harmonic rhythm, the secondary dominant; this work went through four editions in the author's lifetime, was translated into several languages, was still regarded as as 2009 as a standard harmony text. He died at his home in Belmont, Massachusetts on November 12, 1976, his library and desk are permanently exhibited at the Boston Public Library. The Incredible Flutist Symphonies Symphony No. 1 Symphony No. 2 Symphony No. 3 Symphony No. 4 Symphony No. 5 Symphony No. 6 (