Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts


Music Performance

First Advisor

Dr. Irina Voro


Hans Osieck (1910-2000) was a Dutch composer, pianist, and teacher. His musical portraits, Acht Korte Karakterschetsen voor piano vierhandig (Eight Short Character Sketches for Four Hands), are a valuable addition to the piano duo repertoires for intermediate and advanced students. In Eight Sketches, Osieck musically portrays eight of his students using simple compositional techniques, much like the brushstrokes and color palette of an artistic portrait. As a result of their programmatic nature and relatable subjects, Osieck’s Eight Sketches can be particularly useful for students developing their imaginations and learning to perform expressively. As a piano duo, Eight Sketches also serves to improve the performers’ ensemble skills. Unfortunately, many performers are unfamiliar with these charming works, because Osieck and his music are not well-known.

The primary aim of this document is to introduce performers, listeners, and teachers to Osieck’s Eight Short Character Sketches and explore the compositional tools Osieck uses to “paint” each of his musical portraits. To provide context, I begin with a brief biography of the composer, including the compositional techniques that permeate his oeuvre. These compositional elements include repeated rhythmic patterns, syncopation, chromatic melodies, various ornamentations, jazz-like chord progressions, and dance elements such as waltz and boogie-woogie.

A more detailed examination of Eight Short Character Sketches follows, exploring the compositional devices used by Osieck, to bring the metaphorical titles of each movement to life. Each movement of Eight Short Character Sketches is only one page in length, making it quite accessible for intermediate students learning fundamental pianistic skills that contribute to a sophisticated quality of sound. Although the movements are quite short, they brilliantly depict each subject and offer student pianists an opportunity to exercise their expressive skills and develop their imaginations. As a result, Osieck’s skillful and imaginative composition techniques as well as the work’s pedagogical benefits to intermediate pianists should afford Eight Short Character Sketches and Hans Osieckk a lasting place in the piano repertory.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)