Drawing texture with the toy piano


  • Diana Blom Western Sydney University | Australia




drawing techniques, line, pentimenti, toy piano, architecture.


This paper discusses the influence of hand drawing techniques in my work for toy piano. It is known that composers often respond expressively to ideas and draw compositional strategies from other domains of life, for example, the mathematical proportions of architecture on some compositions of Guillame DuFay, Peter Maxwell Davies and Eve Duncan. For me, a chance comment from an artist friend, Deanna Petherbridge's book, The Primacy of Drawing: Histories & Theories of Practice (2010) and Elizabeth Cooper's botanical watercolours of the Australian rainforest tree Stenocarpus sinuatus (Firewheel Tree) offered ideas and techniques for several works for toy piano, and piano and toy piano (one player). While my musical response to hand drawing techniques is largely an expressive response, there is an element of trying to adapt the drawing techniques in a way similar to how artists use them, but in sound.


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Biografia do Autor

Diana Blom, Western Sydney University | Australia

Diana Blom, composer and keyboard player (piano, harpsichord, toy piano), has published on higher education music performance, the artist as academic, preparing new music for performance. She has co-curated several composition/performance/CD projects including: Shadows and Silhouettes – new music for solo piano with a Western-Chinese confluence; Antarctica – new music for piano and/or toy piano; and Multiple Keyboards – new music for pianos, toy pianos. Scores and CDs are published by Wirripang Pty. Ltd., Orpheus Music and Wai-te-Ata Press. Music Composition Toolbox, a co-authored composition textbook, is published by Science Press. Diana is Associate Professor of Music at Western Sydney University. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6527-6233


BLOM, Diana. Biffo in the Toy Box (2012) for toy piano and manual wind music box. Strange Terrain – a new anthology of New Zealand graphic scores 1965-2012, editor Jack Body. Wellington, New Zealand: Wai-te-ata Music Press, 2014. Music score.

______. Cat"™s Play for toy piano, castanets, horn and bell. Wollongong: Wirripang Pty. Ltd., 2019. Music score.

______. Drawing Firewheels for piano and toy piano (one player). Wollongong: Wirripang Pty. Ltd., 2017. Music score.

______. "¦earth tones"¦ for toy piano. Wollongong: Wirripang Pty. Ltd., 2014. Music score.

______. Saron Study No. 1 for toy piano and saron CD soundbed, unpublished, 2020.

______. The Blue Ice Cave for piano and toy piano (one player). Wollongong: Wirripang Pty. Ltd., 2016. Music score.

______. Through Shadows for toy piano. Wollongong: Wirripang Pty. Ltd., 2020. Music score.

BONSHEK, Corrina. Eve Duncan"™s Butterfly Modernism. Australian Music Centre resources. Resonate, 2015, 11 June. Available at: https://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/article/eve-duncan-s-butterfly-modernism. Accessed 3 June 2019.

COOPER, Elizabeth. Sydney, Australia. 7 May, 2020. Email conversation.

DAVIES, Peter Maxwell. Notes in the booklet to Maxwell Davies: Symphony No. 3, 2–3. BBC Philharmonic, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, conductor. CD recording. Collins Classics 14162. St Mary Cray, Orpington, Kent: Lambourne Productions Limited, 1994. Available at Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphony_No._3_(Davies)#CITEREFDavies1994. Accessed on 21 May 2020.

DUNCAN, Eve. Butterfly Modernism: composing with non-musical mathematics of architecture, East Asian aesthetics, and Steiner spirituality, 2017. Doctor of Creative Arts, Western Sydney University, Australia.

KIRZINGER, Robert. Steve Reich Drumming – San Francisco Contemporary Music Players press release. 2015. Available at https://sfcmp.org/drumming/. Accessed 3 June 2019.

PETHERBRIDGE, Deanna. The Primacy of Drawing – histories and theories of practice. Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2010.

REICH, Steve. Steve Reich – Writings about Music. Halifax, Canada: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1974.

SAMUEL, Claude. Olivier Messiaen: Musique et couleur, Paris: P. Belfond, English translation by E. T. Glasow, 1994, Portland, USA: Amadeus Press, p. 77, 1986.

SOMFAI, Laszio. Haydn"™s Esterhaza. The Influence of Architecture on Music. The New Hungarian Quarterly, 23.87, Fall, 1982.

WARREN, Charles. Brunelleschi"™s Dome and Dufay"™s Motet, The Musical Quarterly, 59, 1, 92-105, 1973.




Como Citar

Blom, D. (2020). Drawing texture with the toy piano. Revista Vórtex, 8(2), 2. https://doi.org/10.33871/23179937.2020.8.2.2



Dossiê "The Toy Piano Takes the Stage"