An examination of rhythmic practices and influences in the keyboard works of György Ligeti

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lauren Brooke Halsey (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Irna Priore

Abstract: Throughout his career, György Ligeti (1923-2006) was known for creating distinctive sonorities, including the creation and use of micropolyphony and the incorporation of traditional Hungarian folk songs into post-tonal compositions. He combined unconventional rhythmic practices and compositional procedures from other composers with his own translations of mathematical and acoustic phenomena in order to manifest the "Ligeti style." Though he was heavily influenced by a variety of his contemporaries, especially serialists and those experimenting with electronic music, Ligeti did not strictly identify with any one sector of musical thought. By the late 1950s, Ligeti began to use more experimental styles and slowly moved away from micropolyphony. In my thesis, I explore Ligeti's use of complex rhythmic structures and experimental techniques. I analyze three of Ligeti's Études pour piano using and expanding upon John Roeder's concept of pulse streams. This analysis demonstrates how the simultaneous pulse levels present in each of these works contributes to the overall tone of the work and defines formal boundaries. My analyses of these works will demonstrate the shift in compositional techniques Ligeti used to create these distinctive sonorities. This layering technique and amalgamation of experimental styles continues to be a significant influence on modern composers of art music.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Keyboard, Ligeti, Pulse Streams
Ligeti, Gyo¨rgy, $d 1923-2006. $t Etudes, $m piano. $k Selections $x Analysis, appreciation
Musical meter and rhythm
Composition (Music) $y 20th century

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