As the title indicates, in my Estudios (Etudes) I explore not only the technical aspects of piano playing but also those that relate to the sonority of the instrument. The idea of a rhythmic study is evident from the beginning of the first etude, where the left hand creates the illusion of slowing down by changing its rhythmic values. I also explore the concept of sonority in this first etude. In certain passages, I wrote specific instructions for the use of the right pedal, requiring the pianist to press it down immediately after striking a chord. This creates a ghost resonance, a radically different sound from ordinary pedaling. Also, holding the pedal for long stretches of time transforms the sonority of the instrument, and creates complex sounds only attainable in that way. The etudes are not only technically demanding for the fingers, but they also require the virtuosic handling of all three pedals.
Each etude has a particular focus that distinguishes it from the rest, as in number 2 where a short melodic motive repeats while the rhythmic structures remain independent from the motive. The techniques of ostinato and rhythmic displacements are prevalent in the set, and they are used to define structural elements in the music. In the fifth etude I use dynamics to create layers, which stratify the linear texture into different strands. Dynamics play an important role in my explorations of piano sonorities. My use of highly contrasting dynamics is important to create unique new resonances in the instrument. The shortest etude in the set is the eighth, the most complex both in terms of dynamics and the use of pedals. This brief piece is a deep exploration of piano sound. The collection ends with a bravura toccata that incorporates many of the structural aspects and other techniques described above. (Roberto Sierra)