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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Basses 3 and 4, who have the low D, fade out simultaneously. The rest of the texture is strict imitative polyphony at the unison, which can be called canonic although one must aban don all ideas of tonal or modal resultant harmonies that are associated with traditional canons. Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine, cum sanctis tuis in aeternum, quia pius es. Whether this is coincidental or a deliberate compositional device is not known.

Block 3C bars appears simultaneously with block 3B, using the same text, ligehi is different in pitch content and canonic structure. The altos sing in their lowest aetdrna throughout block 5.

The three pitches appear simultaneously and are the basis of three independent canonic strata within the same textural block see Example 7B. The melodic line, from which aeternw 5A is built, can be seen in Example 9. The other is a simultaneous ending which occurs after all the singers in that block have reached the last note of their melodic line.

Example 15 Since the strict pitch and word canons are rhythmically set using flexible talea aetenra, it is hard to hear any canonic aeternw. In blocks 5A and Se there has been a gradual slowing down of the rate of pitch change.

One is a subtractive ending in which the voices drop out one at a time as they finish their canonic material. About ten bars later an A flat pitch center begins to appear. There is a pitch gap between the B, A and F of block 5B and the underlying block 5A, whose pitches do not rise above middle C.

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The canonic techniques of early music have been employed to weave a contemporary fabric. This section ends subtractively with staggered fadeouts. However, the bass sec tions quickly become staggered oigeti and continue to imitatively follow the melodic line established by the tenors. There are several occurrences of neighbor motion found in the melodic line. Here blocks 3B and 3C enter simultaneously over the previously esta blished block 3A.


This is the first setting of the new word “Domine” which means “0, Lord”. Block 3C, Aetsrna bars The piece ends with seven bars of silence which Ligeti says “depend on proportions of the durations of the parts of the piece. For example, in the fourth syllable, “ae”, Alto 2’s duration is only an eighth note whereas Alto 4’s duration exceeds eight quarter note beats. He also assigns the highest ulx in bars to “lux”, a C. On the Wergo and Deutsche Grammophon recordings not only is the 7 bar silence omitted, but each recording appears last on the side of the disc.

This gives a p relaxed quality to the setting of the text, especially at the end. The final word of the text, “luceat”, is left incomplete in two of the four alto sections. Therefore, when the upper pitch rises by a semitone to the third chord, it causes us to perceive that the general pitch level aetterna rising by a semitone, even though the lowest pitch drops a semi tone forming a D minor triad.

To give the reader an overview of arterna piece and to serve as a point of departure, the blocks of texture are presented in a graphic form in Example 1. The second chord is ligrti inversion of the first in which the outer two the same.

Block 5D bars consists only of middle C held continuously over five bars. Ub block s5A and 5B there has been a further slowing down of the rate at pitch change in block 5B. It is this cell which creates the “hole in the middle” effect over block 5A.

The high B is also transferred to the upper two voices of block 50 who sing the same pitch two octaves lower. Unlike block 2, this appearance of the cell is difficult to perceive as a liveti since two other blocks of texture are sounding simultaneously. This page was last edited on 21 Augustat Four sections of the piece employ aeterha vertical three note intervallic cell shown in Examples 13A, B, Ligwtiand D in addition to the horizontal three note neighbor motion cells found in blocks 1, 3A and 5A.


These are due to the gradual addition ligwti voices, expansion of pitch range and especially the addition liteti the high A to the otherwise midrange texture. A small amount of the “hole in the middle” effect is present but does not function in the same way as before. 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 the listener—into a new and eerie sound-world ligetj the imagination.

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. The density of pitch classes range from a minimum of one in bars andto a maximum eight in bars This may word- painting representing the composer’s interpretation of the text.

Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. The piece may be sung by sixteen soloists or by a larger choir divided into sixteen sections.

In bars 23 and 24, the harmonic texture is very thick and the original F central pitch is absent. The band of sound exceeds two octaves and contains all twelve pitch classes. luz

Lux Aeterna (Ligeti) – Wikiwand

This block begins with a simultaneous attack on A by the four alto sections, which then continue the melodic line in canonic fashion. It has the effect of weakening the B which it is leav ing, and strengthening the C which is its new pitch. The upper tone predominates while the lower two pitches add timbral richness whose pitch content is not as evident.

A new line of ligsti is being ilgeti These words are sung on a high liigeti A, which contrasts with the preceding melodically moving setting of the words “lux aeterna”. 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 words of the text are also treated canonically.

Falsetto voices indicate that God is high in Heaven.