Sarcasms Op 17 Analysis

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Compositional Innovations in Sergei Prokofiev’s Sarcasms Op.17

Abstract

Consisting of five miniatures, the Sarcasms Op. 17 was composed in 1912-1914 and was one of Prokofiev’s early pieces during his years at the St. Petersburg Conservatory (1904-1914). His years in the conservatory helped him to establish his early style, which highly resembled that of his predecessors, romanticists Scriabin and Rachmaninoff, at the beginning of his career. Later on, as he got in touch with more and more avant-garde music and modernist artistic ideas, he began to forge his own modernist path. Sarcasms mark the turning point in his search for a new musical language, in which his exploration of the limits of modernism was taken to its extreme. Each of the five pieces has a different character, projecting different dramatic emotions. The goal of this paper is to investigate the innovations in Sarcasms by examining compositional components such as harmony, figuration, and texture in Sarcasms in comparison to Prokofiev’s piano works composed before and during the production of Sarcasms. Works that will serve as the basis of comparison include Four Etudes for Piano, Op.
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In my paper, I will detail my observations in response to the following questions in chapter 2: What techniques did Prokofiev use to pursue compositional experiments? What is the significance of these innovations? In chapter 3, I will investigate the musical expressions Prokofiev conveyed in Sarcasms through those experiments. In this paper, I will also examine Four Etudes for Piano, Op. 2, Four Pieces for Piano, Op. 3 and Four Pieces for Piano, Op. 4 to demonstrate the development of his innovative style, and compare them with Sarcasms in aspects of harmony, rhythm, piano devices, and texture to show the innovations Prokofiev applied in the

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