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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The density of pitch classes range from a minimum of one in bars andto a maximum eight in bars It is most famous for its use in Stanley Kubrick ‘s film For this reason, I cannot pinpoint the emergence of a new pitch center to a specific bar in this case. In barsthe composer presents an interesting preparation for the next section, block 4. This gives a p relaxed quality to the setting of the text, especially lx the end.

Unlike the beginning of the piece, this canonic block begins with a simultaneous attack in all four voices. Whether we should think of the eternal light as coming from distant galaxies or from God, there is no doubt that Aetera aeterna is a masterpiece, taking choral music—and the listener—into a new and eerie sound-world of the imagination. These gentle entries help create a smooth texture.

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Each of the outer two pitches expand a semitone away from the central pitch. The upper tone predominates while the lower two pitches add timbral richness whose pitch content is not as evident.

The last occurrence of the three note cell is in block 5A see Example Here the pitches of block 2 are used with an upper octave doubling. There is confusion as to which pitch is the more important of the two.

This means that the first singer to arrive at the last note will sustain that note until all the other voices have also reached that point. This ending represents a return to the original central pitch, F.

The words “luceat eis” do not appear until bars where their pres ence is structurally reinforced melodically. The polyphonic result is a single tonic ligehi, F, which expands into a dense harmony without prominent pitches, for example bar aetterna, and then gradually moves to the new central pitch, A, starting at bar This method of canonic writing avoids the “treadmill effect” of the traditional rhythmically strict canon and hides the composer’s technique of building textures from a single melodic line.


A repeating three note cell, C-G-B flat, is used to set a ten syllable line of text see Example 7a. Note the strength and exact location of pitch centers varies from performance to pertormance since different singers project important pitches with varying degrees of loudness. A release of tension has been accomplished since the B is now in a more relaxed middle luux and since the “hole in the middle” effect is now absent. This article includes a list of referencesrelated reading or external linksbut its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations.

Hyperion offers both CDs, and downloads in a number of formats. Each line of the text has been set differently giving variety to an otherwise unified text. The absence of any clearly articulated head motive contributes to this situation.

Block 3C bars appears simultaneously with block 3B, using the same text, but is different in pitch content and canonic structure. Examples 3 – In bars 75 to 79, the texture begins to thin out as blocks 3B and 3C leave the texture exposing some predominant pitches in block 3A. Block 3B employs a subtractive ending in which the singers arrive at a final D at different times and then fade out one by one in accordance to the “morendo” indication. As mentioned before, this homophonic section separates two large polyphonic sections and is therefore structurally very important.

In conclusion, this composition has been very methodically created using ten clearly defined blocks with very strict internal pitch construction.

The canon in the basses catches up with itself at bar 61 on a simultane ously attacked G. One might consider the three note cell found in Example to pigeti the dominant 7th chord of the F starting pitch of the piece. While the notes of these chords look equivalent in the score, they tend to be perceived differently judging from the recorded performances that I have heard.


In the case of automatic turntables, this will happen automatically. It is this cell which creates the “hole in the middle” effect over block 5A. In bars the area of maximum vertical density of the whole piece is found. Bass 1 joins block 5D and therefore leaves the pitch material of block awterna Notice that there are ten self-contained textural blocks. Block 1 bars is an ligehi canonic texture built entirely from tem porally delayed superimpositions of the line found in Example 3. Block 5C bars is a static interval with an additive entry and sub tractive ending see Example In barsligehi confusion is resolved with luux appearance of Es above and below middle C, and the disappearance of the F and E flat.

One voice actually sustains the pitch after the cut-off to connect to the next block, but is not discretely perceived by the listener. The second chord is an inversion of the first in which the outer two the same. There are only two short instances of homophony which appear at structurally important places in the piece. This is the first setting of the new word “Domine” which means “0, Lord”.

Lux Aeterna (Ligeti) – Wikiwand

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. The altos sing in their lowest register throughout block 5. A similar exceptional case can be found among the generally appears that Ligeti wrote the first three soprano and alto voices of the xanon adhering to his flexible talea without great deviation. The entire text of the piece can be seen in Example 2. This block begins with a simultaneous attack on A by the four alto sections, ,igeti then continue the aeerna line in canonic fashion.

They fade with out simultaneously.