Pitch and Texture Analysis of Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna. Jan Jarvlepp. Lux Aeterna ( ) by Gyorgy Ligeti is a single movement composition of about nine minutes. Drei Phantasien Nach Friedrich Hölderlin: II. Wenn Aus Der Ferne. Cappella Amsterdam & Daniel Reuss. 6. Drei Phantasien Nach Friedrich Hölderlin: III . ‘Rules as Strict as Palestrina’s’: The Regulation of Pitch and Rhythm in Ligeti’s Requiem and Lux aeterna – Volume 10 Issue 2 – BENJAMIN R. LEVY.

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Pitch and Texture Analysis of Ligeti’s Lux Aeterna

This ending represents a return to the original central pitch, F. Block 1 bars is an additive canonic texture built entirely from tem porally delayed superimpositions of the line found in Example 3.

The cell reappears in block 3C see Example 13B a semitone higher than in block 2. Blocks 3B and 30 enter here, causing the bass sections to sound as if they are also entering with new material. The words “lux aeterna luceat eis” mean “may eternal light shine on them. One is a subtractive ending in which the voices drop out one at a time ligetj they finish their canonic material.

The canon in the basses catches up with itself at bar 61 on a simultane ously attacked G. The ending of block 3A is a subtractive ending with the basses leaving the texture first in order to be able to re-enter at block 4.

Yet it is an individual xeterna whose pitch content and point of entry do not coincide with any of the others. The simultaneous entry of the basses, at bar 46, on a unison D is misleading since it sounds like the entry of a new textural block.


‎Ligeti: Lux Aeterna by Cappella Amsterdam, Daniel Reuss & Susanne Van Els on Apple Music

The second chord is an inversion of the first in which the outer two the same. Notice that there are ten self-contained textural blocks. The piece may be sung by sixteen soloists or by a larger choir aaeterna into sixteen sections. It has the function of breaking up the text in the same manner as it separates blocks of polyphonic writing.

The second instance of homophony, block 4 barssets the word aeternz as did the previous homophonic section, block 2. November Total duration: Block 5D Example 12 can be considered as the last stage of the decreas ing rate of pitch change that has taken place in blocks 5A, 5B and 5C. The Lux aeterna was commissioned by the conductor of the Stuttgart Schola Cantorum for inclusion in a recording of new music.

Lux Aeterna by Gyorgy Ligeti is a single movement composition of about nine minutes duration for aetetna sixteen part mixed choir. F and E flat are heard as a bi-polar pitch center causing some confusion as to liteti is the main pitch. The piece ends with the altos singing soft sustained F and G pitches below middle C.

Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis [m. All 16 sections are singing aeternw by bar 64 the polyphony has arrived at a totally neutralized cluster in which no pitch center liyeti be found. The density of pitch classes range from a minimum of one in bars andto a maximum eight in bars Block 3C, Altos bars Textures appear in blocks, either alone or in layers. The high B is also transferred to the upper two voices of block 50 who sing the same pitch two octaves lower.

It is characteristic of nearly all Ligeti’s mature works that the subdivisions of the basic beat keep changing, which contributes to their beatless, floating feeling. The three pitches of the first chord of block 4 sound like an Ligefi 7th chord. In barsthis confusion is resolved with the appearance of Es above and below middle C, and the disappearance of the F and E flat. The highest note of this block, B, is not present in block 1.


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The canonic techniques of early music have been employed to weave a contemporary fabric. If the prevailing mood of the Requiem is one of death, the Lux aeterna carries the hope of resurrection, consistent with the eternal light referred to in its text. Whether we should think of the eternal light as coming from distant galaxies or from God, there is no doubt that Lux aeterna is a masterpiece, taking choral music—and ligtei listener—into a new and eerie sound-world of the imagination.

The melodic line, from which block 5A is built, can be seen in Example 9. There is an alto If’ marking in the low register that the com poser says should sound as loud as a tenor or soprano ‘ p ‘. It is this cell which creates the “hole in the middle” effect over block 5A. For this reason it is possible in classical scores for string basses to frequently double the cello lines at the adterna octave, while an upper octave doubling of the first violin line is an unusual special effect rather than a normal mode of orchestration.