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Watch: Tim Sparks Performs a Solo Guitar Version of Igor Stravinsky's "Dance Russe" from Petrushka

May 13, 2013
Here is the latest installment in Tim Sparks' Russian Project, a solo guitar version of Igor Stravinsky's "Dance Russe" from his ballet Petrushka, with comments by the guitarist.

"Stravinsky composed the music during the winter of 1910-1911 for Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes," says Sparks. "It was premièred in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet on 13 June 1911. The title role was danced by Vaslav Nijinsky.

"The work is characterized by the so-called Petrushka chord (consisting of C major and F♯ major triads played together), a bitonality device heralding the appearance of the main character. This was a revolutionary innovation for music in the early 20th century.

"The Petrushka chord combines two major triads whose roots are spaced by a tritone. For instance, a C major triad combined with an F# major triad creates the Petrushka chord.

"Jazz musicians can think of the Petrushka chord as an altered 7th chord, for example, C7 with flat 9 and sharp 11.

"The painting is by Picasso, 1912."

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