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The Petite Suite was composed by Alexander Tcherepnin in 1917-18 in Tiflis, Georgia

and stands out as an early example of this remarkable composer finding his own unique

language. Indeed, the early works of Tcherepnin are admired and regarded as small "poems of

exceptional imagistic density and technical complexity" (Folkman, p.216). By definition the

Suite offers the composer a great diversity of choice in the genre and characteristics of each

piece, as exemplified in the Suites from the nineteenth century. Moreover, these works are

strongly connected with the development of program music. From the context of his

predecessors, Tcherepnin emerged to create pieces that are strikingly original in their figurative

order and language.

The first approaches to the program suite genre may be seen in R. Schumanns piano

cycles such as Carnaval (1835), Fantasiestcke (1837), and Kinderszenen (1838). Examples of

orchestral program suites follow with Antar and Scheherezade by Rimsky-Korsakov. Further

archetypes of the program suite may be found in Mussorgskys magnificent Pictures at an

Exhibition, Borodins Petite Suite in addition to the Petite Suite by Debussy, Tchaikovskys

Three Orchestral Suites, and Bizets Petite Suite for piano as well as his Children's Games for

orchestra. One can already recognize the undeniable contribution to the genre by the Russian

composers. Other examples of the 19th century dance suites stand out. These include the Suite

Algrienne by Saint-Saens and the Czech Suite by Dvok. Meanwhile, some composers sought

to rediscover old dance forms, with Debussys Suite Bergamasque (specifically the Minuet and

Passepied) and Ravels Le Tombeau de Couperin (Forlan, Rigaudon and Minuet) standing as

shining examples. The scope of the artistic possibilities of the suite is limited by its fundamental

functional principle (namely, a collection of pieces unified in their tonality), and at the same time

it affords huge variety in its implementation.

Widely understood musical pictures provide a canvass for different interpretations, from

program portraits to picture-states or picture-moods. Tcherepnins Petite Suite was premiered in

Paris on November 4, 1924, with the composer at the piano. The concert review states:

"Tcherepnin showed that he is not only a consummate, brilliant pianist but also one of the most

interesting young composers. His great temperament is always subordinated to strict

compositional precision, his musical construction always clear." (Korabel'nikova , p.55)

The pieces in his Suite have characteristic titles, each with a correspondingly rich and

imaginative musical content. The genre enables the composer to get close to musical life, to

directly capture the surrounding "artistic reality" and to then increase this aesthetic distance,

recreating the musical images of past epochs in their traditional genres or translating them in new

ways through the prism of the current day.


The genre of March that has developed in instrumental music is connected with the task

of synchronizing the movement of a large number of people. Serving a historically military

function, a distinguishing characteristic of the genre is the vigorous rhythm which has its roots in

drumrolls and fanfare signals. The clear rhythm and strict dimensions of pace typically do not

change throughout the composition. The music often displays a vigorous, active and even

courageous character. With the first piece in his Petite Suite, Tcherepnin upholds the celebratory

and energetic spirit of the genre. It is assertive and active in its abundance of triplets and wide

registration contrasts. The March is composed in a simple ABA form with the middle part

developing the material of the first part. Meanwhile, the meter is very colorful and unusual for

the genre, alternating between 5/2 and 4/2.

The first two measures are in 5/2 meter. While marches are typically written in 2/4, 4/4 or

6/8 time signatures, the composer adds certain instability to the first two measures by choosing a

meter of five beats per measure. This lends the impression that the composer is searching to

establish the genre of the piece, but in m.3 the time signature of 4/2 takes hold, providing a

stabilizing influence. Tcherepnin gives prominence to this through the dotted rhythms,

syncopation, and contrasts between short staccato notes and legato playing.

Two simultaneous themes are present. The first theme in the upper voice is at the interval

of a third, with the notes D and F# repeated many times. The rhythm is in constant flux: quarter,

then triplet eighths, tied notes, then single "jogging" melodies for two sixteenth notes, and a

dotted quarter. At the end of the third bar the interval between themes changes into a second,

then into unison. The second theme develops in parallel in the lower register and is also doubled,

but in the interval of a tenth and later a sixth. It is based on the scale wave movement in a stable

sequence of quarter notes. The second theme in mm.4-6 is based on ascending scalar movement

which conquers the higher registers. In m.7 the melodic material is absorbed by F# octaves with

an energetic, repeated rhythmic pattern. This gives the effect of percussion instruments in a

processional March, which is then furiously interrupted by E-Major (as a secondary dominant in

D-Major) and c#-minor chords in a very low register. With the subsequent chord of F#-Major the

composer borrows from the relative key of b-minor; as Tcherepnin himself stated, in his early

compositions he was attracted with experiments between major and minor tonalities.

The first theme returns in m.12 in a 5/2 time signature and repeats the opening material.

However the character of the March is now more mysterious and discreet, in a piano dynamic

which is in contrast with the bravura forte of the beginning. In m.14 the 4/2 meter is again re-

established. The chordal melody in the upper voices is based on the rhythm of the beginning
section, accompanied by eighth-note repeated material in the bass. The composer takes the

melodic element and leaves only rhythmic chords descending to the lowest registers, lending a

dark, intense effect. The composer plays with the use of the b-minor Augmented French chord

set against the key of D major.

Dramatic elements eventually take over, with a modulation to f#-minor.

The March started unstable rhythmically and ended in the very low register with

dynamics of three piano. Syncopation and the darker colors of the lower register create a mood

of anticipation. Throughout the piece, while one can observe interesting use of chromaticism and

novel combinations of harmonies, the piece is harmonically very simple. A very interesting

harmonic effect is achieved by using G# on the second beat that forms a chord of II9, and later

G. The composer is plays with the colors of the key of D major as set against the relative key of

b minor.

Mm.3-4 are based on an ascending D-Major scale in the bass line. The melodic material is

characteristic of the March genre, using such techniques as widely used triadic movement,

fanfare intonations, bright jumps from I to V, and repeated notes. Overall, the piece comprises a

short, energetic and mysterious introduction to the cycle.

Chant sans Paroles

The next piece of the cycle is the Song Without Words, or Chant sans Paroles. Songs without

words is an instrumental genre, typically for the piano, and characterized by a lyrical content in

which a melody and accompaniment are clearly separated. One of the distinctive features lies in
the genres close connection with vocal music. Mendelssohn was the first to move into the

emotional immediacy, accessibility, and lyrical sound of the piano music. Tcherepnin chooses

the genre of Waltz within which to set this Song Without Words. It possesses a clear texture of

the melody with accompaniment, and features highly dramatic dynamic contrast between the

sections. While the first and second are lyrical and in piano and pianissimo dynamic ranges, the

third section develops into a heavy, aggressive march in a fortissimo dynamic.

The melody is simple and charming. From the first chord the listener's attention is drawn

to the harmonic richness of this piece. The first chord (G-B-D-F#-A) is a major pentachord that

gives an improvisational, perhaps slightly unstable, feeling. In the second measure, the chord of

A Major with an added F# similarly evades any impression of the tonic being established. Only

in m.3 does Tcherepnin give a clear b-minor chord, followed by an A-Major chord with F#. The

second phrase is harmonically repeated and leads to pentatonic chords (a-b-c-e; d-e-f-a; d-e-a-b)

chords which are described by the composer in his book dedicated to his own technique -

followed by three seventh chords. Tcherepnin uses pentatonic scales as a base for his

compositional technique:

An ascending passage of thirty-second notes based on a II7 chord leads to a chordal cadence in

the higher register with sf markings: MM7 chord on the VI scale degree followed by a V9 chord

and III53 (f#-minor). The resolution to f#-minor comes across as sudden and unpredictable. For

the performer, it may be beneficial to listen carefully to the bass line of this first section as it has

its own melodic content.

The accompaniment is based on quarter-note movement and manifests an overall pattern akin to

a Waltz accompaniment in the "wrong" order: a tenuto note in the small octave on the strong

beat, followed by intervals and a lower register bass note on the second beat. This is in contrast

to the classic waltz accompaniment, wherein the lowest bass note is on the first beat of the

measure. This particular order gives a feeling of competition between the strong and weak beats.

The second theme is a Georgian melody derived from the oriental romantic genre.

Russian composers based many chamber and vocal works on oriental themes, which warrants

special artistic and musicological attention. The theme is reminiscent of the poem by Pushkin,

"Do not sing to me, my beauty", as set to vocal music by such composers as Glinka, Balakirev,

Rimsky-Korsakov and Rachmaninoff. The early years spent in Tiflis, Georgia, had a formative

influence on the works of the composer, serving to deepen his interest in folkloric music from

the East and Far East:

Steeped in the tradition of Mighty Five, Tcherepnin could not avoid turning to folklore

[He was] occupied with folklore and consider the folkloric cure to be the best

medicine against abstruse abstractions. In my opinion, the study of the folklore is as

important for a composer as the study of the human body is for an artist.

(Korabelnikova 152, 154)

The capricious and arabesque melody is based on appoggiaturas and upper and lower neighbor


The texture is divided into three layers: ostinato D note in the bass; chromatically moving

harmonies G#-A-A#-B in the middle voice; and an improvisational melodic line encompassed

within a small range in the top line. The chord progression is based on the use of the harmony in
hard intervals, also interpreted as Georgian harmony as characterized by the composer in a

description of his compositional technique. "Fundamental Georgian triad and its inversions":

(Korabelnikova , p203)

An analysis of the four-note chords shows their origins in characteristically Georgian triads:

Another line is found in the bass which traces a whole tone descending scale (G#-F#-E-D), not

unlike the whole-tone scale of Rimsky-Korsakov, often employed as a representation of

supernatural characters in his operas. In mm.24-31 the same melody is transposed to the middle

voice albeit with a different rhythmical arrangement:

All the while, the harmonic progression is based on inversions of Georgian triads.

The melody itself is motivically similar to the Rachmaninoff romance "Do not sing to me, my

beauty, even beginning with the same notes.

The middle section conveys basic stylistic features typical of oriental music. The texture

is divided into several independent layers, representative of Georgian polyphony: an ostinato

rhythmic accompaniment in the bass, sliding chromatic shifts in the middle voice, and a

pronounced rhythmic improvisation with a gradual expansion of the range of the melodic line. A

small recitative leads to the recapitulation of the first Waltz theme, the first eight measures of

which repeat the opening measures of the Song. A new development section appears with
modulation to the key of f#-minor. In m.53, triplet motion in the middle voice begins to create a

sense of emotional anxiety, leading to the culmination in mm.57-60 where an interplay of

rhythmical pattern and motivic development firmly establish duple rhythm.

An octave doubling of the bass line thickens the texture, and an intense, fortissimo repetition of

two chords resolves to an f#-minor triad. The rich chordal progression, full of chromatic

alterations, leads to a modulation to f#-minor. It begins with the chord G-B-E#, which may be

interpreted as the subdominant of b minor with a raised Tonic note, or alternately as an inversion

of a Georgian triad. The next chord is c#-half-diminished-seventh chord - one more

representation of hard harmony, a basic element as described by Tcherepnin. "Hard intervals

are major and minor sevenths and seconds, also perfect and augmented fourths and perfect and

diminished fifths: " (Korabelnikova p.203)

These chords prepare for the modulation to f#-minor, and the C#9 chord in m.50 provides a very

rich sonority. The song ends with a dramatic tremolo in the low register, with a sforzando on the

last chord, evincing a striking and effective conclusion for a comparatively miniature piece. The

melody of the small pesante coda hearkens back to the melody found in the middle section with

the upper neighbor tones, albeit with a heightened sense of drama.

It should not go unnoticed that both of the first pieces in the cycle have familiar tonal
development in their respective keys of D-Major and b-minor, and both conclude with f#-minor

as the final chord.


The genre of the third piece is characterized by a calm, slow motion and repetitions of the

rhythmic figures. Typically in 6/8 time, the Berceuse emerged as a romantic character piece in

the 19th century piano literature, with flexible forms ranging from simple, ingenuous miniatures

to a free fantasy with a poeticized program. Perhaps the most outstanding example from the

piano canon is that by Chopin, whose Berceuse Op. 57 features a richly colored melody with

ornamental patterns over a left-hand ostinato with flowing repetitions of harmonies and rhythms.

Other notable examples for the piano were composed by Brahms, Grieg, Liszt, Saint-Saens,

Reger, Debussy, Balakirev, Rubinstein, Tchaikovsky and Arensky. Tcherepnin uses the effect of

ostinato bass throughout the piece as a poetic element, clearly drawing inspiration from Chopin

while never losing the aspects of folklore. The melody, in F#-Major and 5/8 meter, is simple,

with a lyrical, lullaby quality, coupled with a transparent and elegant sonority.

The first period of eight measures is repeated twice with a Tonic-Dominant harmonic

progression over an F# ostinato in the bass. Tcherepnin uses a pentatonic scale as the basis for

the opening material. The next section begins in the low register, mysterious and reserved

character in a pianissimo dynamic. The melody is doubled in octaves, similar to the beginning

and consisting of the same rhythmic organization of a dotted quarter-note and quarter-note.

Meanwhile the left-hand rhythmic grouping is different from the right-hand, with two eighth-

notes and a dotted quarter-note.

The metrical mismatch brings an element of instability and unease. The LH ostinato movement

is maintained as the key changes to d#-minor. During the next four measures the descending

movement proceeds from A# of the small octave to A# of the great octave, through the scale of

d#-minor. This leads to the culmination, the meter having changed to 6/8 and the widespread

registration now spanning the entire keyboard. Tcherepnin has maintained the ostinato bass

throughout the piece, and here the A# chord functions as a Dominant. A descending scale in the

middle voice leads a new fanfare theme, which begins in m.32 in the middle voice. The music

grows even more passionate and agitated. In this episode the key of E-Major as a lowered II

degree appears, giving way to the Dominant chord of A#-Major in preparation for a strong

cadence in the Tonic of D#, making for a highly dramatic and tragic climax. Indeed, the wide

breadth of emotion and expression covered by such a compact piece is remarkable.

Following this cadence the first theme returns, this time in the key of d#-minor. The

hushed dynamics create a nostalgic and sorrowful character. The structure of the repeated period

is similar to the beginning, but features a small additional segment where the accompaniment is

the same but the rhythmic structure of the melody has changed. The melody alternates between

the two notes of D# as Tonic and A# as Dominant, with eighth-note rests giving an effect of

dissolving and vanishing.

The small coda is rhythmically stable, and is based on cadential material. It ends on the

B-Major MM-seventh chord stands as a question mark in its harmonic instability (i.e. VI7 in the

key of d#-minor). After that the meter reverts to 5/8, and two hushed chords in a high register

provide a sudden contrast: the chord of F#-Major serves as a remembrance of the beginning of

the piece, followed by d#-minor chords to round out the piece.


The Scherzo as a genre has an active, bustling character, often quick and lively. In the

Romantic period it developed into an independent piece, as opposed to forming part of a larger

sonata or symphony. The first examples of this by Schubert are close to the genre of Capriccio,

while Chopin took the interpretation in new directions, with dramatic and often gloomy episodes

alternating with lighter, lyrical sections. Other notable composers like R. Schumann, Brahms,

Balakirev and Tchaikovsky also wrote Scherzi for the piano. In Tcherepnins writing he creates

many different shades of musical humor, conveyed by a set of techniques which allow the

transfer of such ideas: jocular transfusions of motifs, which were change registers or even

instruments; various surprises, when ordinary phenomena are presented in an unusual, strange

light; or with some other kind of kink or offset.

The structure of the Scherzo consists of several episodes like a kaleidoscope. The

sections change like a sequence of live images, small musical sketches with constant eighth-note

movement throughout the piece. It begins with an active leap on an interval of the fourth, and a

climbing melody in b-minor from the small octave to the second octave. This is followed by a

humorous dialogue between altered secondary dominant chords and the single note B:

This leads to an insistent repeated chord in the high register and descending movement on an

interval of the fifth from the third octave to small octave. The phrase concludes with the same

intervallic leap of a fourth as that on which it began.

The next section is based on the registral dialogue between two contrasting phrases.

Repetitive structures of two measures switch among different registers. The comic effect is
reminiscent of the keyboard works of Scarlatti and Viennese classicism. Tcherepnin employs

"game figures" such as dialogue intonations, repeated patterns, sharpened strokes, accents, all of

which contribute to an atmosphere of humorous confusion. The material in the lower register is

repeated without change three times, based on the same secondary dominant chord of G-B-D#-

E# and the tonic chord of b-minor. The first answer in the third octave is in the key of b-minor

with the repeating notes F# and B. The second response modulates to the relative D-Major

through the presence of D and A. The third response introduces the tritone interval of A and D,

introducing an element of tension. The addition of B prepares the next section via the dominant-

seventh chord of E-Major. The third section begins in the key of E-Major, with the theme built

around an E-Major triad with chromatic alterations:

In m. 31 E is enharmonically changed to D#, ushering the key change back to b-minor. A more

condensed texture characterizes this episode, the voicing building up from one note and bringing

in polyphonic elements with chromatic chords, forming picturesque and unusual harmonies with

intervals of seconds. Tcherepnin uses the mM-seventh chord of the subdominant (i.e. E-G-B-

D#). The culmination of the episode falls into repeated accented notes in the high register, with sf

markings in the melody.

The next phrase is a repetition of the previous phrase, first a half step lower beginning on

D and introducing A, G and D. Later the German 6th (based on the lowered 6th scale degree

of C) leads to the return of the opening theme in E-Major.

The overall structure of the Scherzo may be represented as: a-b-c-d-c-d-a-b-a' with the

final section alternately considered as a small coda. The structure may also be viewed as a

ternary A-B-A, wherein the formerly smaller episodes are subsumed within larger sections: a

and b become the exposition A; c-d-c-d comprise the developing section B, and a-b-a form the

recapitulation A with a small coda based on the material of the opening section. Yet another

analysis perceives an overall binary form AB:BA, wherein the mirrored repeat concludes the

piece in the key of b-minor. The harmonic language reminds one of the writing of Prokofiev,

with its chromaticism rooted in clear tonalities.


The following miniature of the cycle continues the prevailing mood of persiflage and

raillery. French and German composers in the 18th century used the badinage as a genre as part

of instrumental suites, very close in temperament to the scherzo. The Valse from Lyadovs The

Music Box, Op. 32 is subtitled Valse-Badinage, while in his Op. 3 Prokofiev inserted a Badinage

as a joke piece. Tcherepnin's composition is very much in line with the spirit of the genre,

stemming no less from the harmonic language at the outset. The key is written in the key of b-

minor, but the initial f#-minor chord would seem to establish this as a main key. Similarly, F#

provides a basso ostinato through the first two measures. In terms of texture, the second phrase in

mm.2-3 has unbroken eighth-note movement in the RH, while leaps on the intervals of the fourth

and sixth carve out a broken melody in the LH. The sudden appearance of E# as a secondary

dominant of b-minor finally resolves to a clear b-minor chord in m.4.

The next section begins very quietly, leveraging wider registration as it develops to a

culmination. Harmonically it is based on a one measure pattern (G-MajorF#-MajorF-

MajorF#-Major) over a ostinato B in the bass. In m.7 a very simple melody built on the
interval of a third appears. A colorful final chord with E and E# simultaneously prepares us for

the return of the first theme, with E# signaling the dominant of f#-minor, the key which will

ultimately bring the piece to a close.


As its name implies, the last piece in the cycle is largely of a humorous nature. Or, at

least, sections of it are thus tempered. The title Humoresque was first used by R. Schumann in

1839 for his Op. 20 composition. His interpretation proceeds from an understanding of the term

in the spirit of Jean Paul Richter, who viewed humor as a successful combination of dreaminess

and jokes. Schumanns work is an unfolding play consisting of a series of lyrical and scherzo-

like episodes. While many later composers of the 19th century would use the term to designate a

separate piece as well as a series of small pieces, their interpretation of the genre was decidedly

different from that of Schumann. The Humoresque, Op. 6 (1865) by Grieg, comprising four

piano pieces, is a collection of sketches containing reflections of Norwegian folk melodies.

Dvoaks 8 Humoresques, Op. 101 (1894) for the piano is largely lyrical in nature. In Russian

piano music the Humoresque is of a bright, almost dance-like temperament. Such are the

Humoresques by Tchaikovsky (No. 2 from Two Pieces, Op. 10, 1872), Rachmaninoff (No. 5

from his Morceaux de Salon, Op.10, 1894). It is in the vein of the Russian composers that

Tcherepnin continues, with his Humoresque of a scherzo-like character manifesting many fast

tempi, an abundance of staccati, free changes of musical themes, all of which introduce the

element of surprise. The kaleidoscopic, picturesque representation of themes is similarly present

in his Scherzo found earlier in the cycle.

The overall structure of the Humoresque may be seen as A-B-C-A-B. Written in the

key of D-Major, it is filled with peculiar and striking chromatic harmonies. The sixteenth-note
movement on the interval of a second stays provides an almost omnipresent pulse throughout the

piece, and lends a buzzing effect. The piece begins with the a measured trill in sixteenth-notes,

oscillating quickly between D-E. The melody appears in m.3 with the same sixteenth-notes as

accompaniment. The theme consists of two intervals of a third, slurred and with a teasing

character and a leap to the small octave tonic of D. The next sixteenth-note movement heads in

the opposite direction and very quickly conquers a large range. It is based on an F#-Major triad

with upper neighbor notes. F#-Major appears here as a dominant to the relative minor key. The

melodic structure of the thirds and bass note is repeated here but with an A# that prepares for a

modulation to the parallel minor. In mm.23-25 the listener can hear an ascending b-minor scale

with octave doubling in the voices.

The section ends on the note of F# as a Dominant of b-minor.

The next section is based on the melody playing the notes of a b-minor triad in the RH

and a buzzing second based on the notes G#-A. The second sentence repeats the same material a

whole tone higher forming c#-minor triad in the RH. A dialogue between two phrases

commences in m.36. The first phrase, two measures long, is a sixteenth-note movement on the

interval of a second. The response is an ascending movement based on the pentatonic scale of C

Major, which repeats without any changes in mm.40-43. In m.44 both phrases shorten to only

one measure, further fragmenting in mm.48-49 to motifs. The composer thus creates a sense of

acceleration, agitating the music through motivic development. The closing part of the middle

section is based on a thicker, chordal texture. The chord progression forms pentatonic motion on

the B-Major and C-Major scales.

Descending octave movement terminates suddenly and unexpectedly on the note B.

The next section is presents opening material once again. The same theme of the interval

of thirds is used, this time in a forte dynamic, and with a bright and solemn temperament. In

mm.67-69 the previous chordal progression from the middle section (F#-Major G-Major)

returns and provides a transition between the sections. In m.78 the second theme returns, based

on b-minor triad movement followed by sixteenth-note descending movement to the third octave.

A small coda is re-establishes the key of D-Major key, in which the piece will conclude.

Prelude Nostalgic

A significant amount of piano pieces composed by Russian composers in XIX and XX centuries

are cycles of program pieces and preludes. Over the past two centuries more than five hundred

works of this kind have been created. Since the appearance of early piano cycles in Russian

music (compositions by N. Titov, M. Glinka, L. Gurilev, A. Dargomyzhsky, other masters of the

first half of the XIX century), these multi-part forms begin to develop quite actively. In the

cycles of A. Rubinstein, P. Tchaikovsky, M. Mussorgsky, C. Cui, A. Lyadov, S. Skryabin, A.

Glazunov, A. Arensky, S. Rachmaninov, N. Medtner the formation of thematic, genre and

composition techniques and characteristic was developing. The gradual opening by the

composers of a certain capacity, the possibility of simultaneous conjugation of different themes

and images in programmed pieces and preludes led to the appearance in them of the qualities

necessary for the embodiment of a multifaceted picture of the world in their phenomena.
Throughout the twentieth century, in the cycles of program pieces and preludes, very significant

processes took place, as a result of which the image field significantly expanded, the original

properties of architectonics, the musical language, associated with the general tendencies of time

were revealed. In the opuses of S. Rachmaninov, R. Gliere, up to the cycles of B. Goltz and A.

Chugaev, the traditional structure is filled with fresh colors. The discovery of new possibilities

for the genre and instrument is happening in the miniatures. The listener can witness a steady

expansion of the imaginary sphere in the cycles of different composers. A huge way has passed

from dance, folklore prototypes to lyric-expressive, tragic and theatrical-game, spiritual.

Constant expansion of the genre capacity could explain such an interest in the genre of prelude.

As a result, significant layers of folk, national and international traditions of music were

assimilated. As a result, significant layers of folk, household, academic (different epochs) music

were assimilated. As a result, significant layers of folk, salon music, academic (different epochs)

music were assimilated.

Tcherepnin wrote several cycles of preludes during his life: Eighth Preludes op.9, Four Nostalgic

Preludes op.23, Four Preludes op.24, Twelve Preludes op.88.

Four Nostalgic Preludes were composed in 1922 during his stay in Paris, and premiered by

composer in 1924. The Preludes are really miniatures, very short pieces with the very precise and

distinguished character kept throughout the length of the piece. During that time he already

established his own style of writing, "his artistic individuality was already sharply

defined".(compendium p.15) Tcherepnin towards that period already created his theoretical

system of using a nine step scale. Tcherepnin described it by himself in his Autobiography:

"Since my early youth I had the tendency and the urge to combine major and minor chords. Only

a major minor tetra/chord gave me the sensation of finality and of stability. Then gradually I
extended the 11/2 tone 1/2 row further to reach the octave. By adding ascending hexachord with

the descending one I found the nine-step scale which evidently guided me instinctively before I

started to theorize it (the first appearance of the nine step scale is in Romantic sonatine op. 4

composed in 1918, while the conscious theorisation of it came only in 1922 after the theorisation

of hexachords that has started around 1920". (Arias, Jstor)

The Preludes are really miniatures, very short pieces with the very precise and distinguished

character kept throughout the length of the piece. The first Prelude is in Tempo Lento. The

melody is in the third octave and very free and recitative like full of languor, delicacy and

sophistication. The texture is constructed in three layers: melody, bass line and middle voice line.

It reminds a lot of the Prelude Voile by C. Debussy in terms of texture decisions:

The melody is based on the interval of fifth from F to B flat with an improvisational figuration

between and lower neighbor tone at the end. It is clear establishing the key of B flat major with

the support of the bass line going from B flat to F as a Dominant and back to B flat:

According to Arias, "Tcherpnin does not limit his compositions exclusively to nine-step

scale.Rather there is a mixture of scale forms, tonal and nine-step, modality, pentatonicizm, and

linear arrangements that grow out of the individual nature of the composition." This

combinational tonality could be found in the First Prelude. The melody and bass are clearly
representing B Flat Major, but if to look to the note content of the first and second measure, we

are coming with the row of notes: