Most of us like to hear a story. Stories usually rely on words, pictures or some sort of playedout action to conjure up atmosphere, events and characters which intermesh and thereby create a little drama. Can music tell a story? Instrumental music has no words, no pictures, no acted-out action but it can certainly evoke atmosphere; calmness, suspense, joyfulness and so on. Character in music can be represented by presenting well defines patterns – whether melodic shapes or rhythmic ones – by making them clear and memorable with well executed phrasing and detailed articulation
What about events? These could be suggested in music by maximising contrasts between louds and softs, between singable tunes and catchy rhythms, between thick chords and single lines, for example. In this way the idea of a conversation, a conflict, motion, indeed a whole host of situations might be simulated. These six character pieces have little to do with the sophisticated game of chess but could be thought of as parts of a story, the chess pieces being used as actors living out that story. Significantly it is a story which the player must make up for her or himself and then relate through the way the pieces are played.
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