Known as one of the original minimalist composers, Young was highly experimental with ideas of performance and music as art altogether.
Young considered the Well Tuned Piano to be his masterpiece. Yet he said that it was never really finished, and as it is improvisatory in nature, it is never played the same way twice.
It is divided into sections of chords, played in what seems like random sequences for several minutes each. In his own recording of the piece, the chords were laid out as follows:
- The Opening Chord (00:00:00-00:21:47)
- The Magic Chord (00:21:47-01:02:29)
- The Magic Opening Chord (01:02:29-1:23:54)
- The Magic Harmonic Rainforest Chord (1:23:54-03:05:31)
- The Romantic Chord (03:05:31-04:01:25)
- The Elysian Fields (04:01:25-04:59:41)
- The Ending (04:59:41-05:01:22)
After five hours, the listener should feel mesmerized and incomplete. After all, the piece just keeps on going.
Though at first I hated this piece, it grew on me. After no grand changes are made in the harmonic structure for hours at a time, really cool things begin to emerge out of the music.