Karlheinz Essl

Portrait KHE

Trois cent notes

multidimensional vectoral composition for piano / vibraphone / toy piano solo

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In this piece which last around 4 minutes, the sustain pedal has to be depressed until the very end.

Although notated solely in quavers, the tempo encompasses a wide range from very slow to extremely fast. Starting with a speed of MM = 50, it gradually accelerates to MM = 400 which equals three “time octaves”, speaking with Karlheinz Stockhausen (cf. his famous article ...how time passes... from 1957). A similar transition also happens in the harmonic domain where the range of three octaves (from F to f”) finally collapses into a single pitch (f'):

Harmonic structure of Trois cent notes

Harmonic structure of Trois cent notes
© 2019 by Karlheinz Essl

And also in the dynamics, a permanent process of crescendo and diminuendo takes place. Needless to mention, all this processes happen simultaneously at the same time. Despite its strict structure, the piece should be played in a fluent rubato attitude with lots of espressivo. Pay attentention to the piano resonance while playing – they will guide you through this sound journey.


Trois Cent Notes weist einen Tonumfang von drei Oktaven ab und besteht aus drei Abschnitten zu je 100 Tönen. Die Oktavverhältnisse werden auch auf die Tempoveränderungen übertragen, die das ganze Stück prägen. Die Harmonik ist ebenfalls daraus abgeleitet: der Ton f spreizt sich über drei Oktaven zu einem vierstimmigen Oktavklang aus; diese Übergangsvektoren werden an 13 verschiedenen Punkten vertikal abgegriffen und ergeben unterschiedliche Akkorde, die jeweils aus gleichen Intervallen bestehen.


Computer simulation of Trois cent notes on a Steinway D piano
Recorded by Karlheinz Essl on 9 Jan 2019

Computer simulation of Trois cent notes on a vibraphone
Recorded by Karlheinz Essl on 17 Jan 2019

Computer simulation of Trois cent notes on a toy piano
Recorded by Karlheinz Essl on 12 April 2020


Here you can download the scores for free. Besides the original piano piece there is also a version for vibraphone and toy piano. Please note that this composition is protected by copyright.

Trois cent notes, p.1

Trois cent notes (2019) for piano solo, page 1
© 2019 by Karlheinz Essl

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Updated: 23 Jan 2021