Teil 4: Takt ff. Takt 1 bis 9: Links und rechts 2er-Patterns. Takt Links 2er- und rechts 3er-Patterns. Takt Links und rechts 3er-Patterns.

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Even abstract concepts, such as quantities, relationships, connections, and processes, seem tangible to me and have their place in an imaginary space. Continuum is notable for its paradoxical premise: to create a "continuum" of sound from an instrument which can only perform discrete, percussive attacks.

Essentially, the harpsichord is a machine with a set of button-enabled triggers. Its light touch, as Ligeti notes, allows for extremely rapid repetition, much faster than the piano. At rapid rates of repetition, the tonal qualities of closely arranged patterns of notes are substantially masked by this noise. Ligeti describes them as periods of "mistiness" contrasted with periods of "clearing up. Yet it should be noted that every point of rest in Continuum is also a point of tension.

In my analysis of the piece, I will refer more often to the MIDI "piano roll" depiction than to the notated score.

It is my view that this type of visualization is particularly revealing for a piece like Continuum, which has so much to do with perception of emerging patterns and symmetrical formations of notes. While this diagram, based on the piano roll view, does a good job of showing the general layout of the piece, it does not reveal any of the intricate details. In their paper, Cambouropoulos and Tsougras use small excerpts of the piano roll to illustrate certain discrepancies between what is notated and what might be perceived.

However, their treatment is severely limited. I hope that my extensive use of the piano roll will shed new light on previous analyses of the piece.

In my opinion, these interval categories are less useful and even confusing , since in many of the more chaotic sections of the piece, these processes occur simultaneously, overlapping in such a way that they cannot be adequately characterized.

It is nearly symmetrical in shape, opening and closing with a feeling of stability, just as the exposition of a sonata form would begin and end on the tonic. Stable areas can occur in any range, sometimes through gradual transformations and sometimes through jarring leaps. Symmetry is present throughout Continuum, but it is rarely perfect. In fact, the delicate, subtle asymmetries are what give Continuum its beautiful, rugged shape, somewhere between a tangle of chains and a shattered crystal.

First, an Ab is added m. Next, the B is added above the top note Bb , expanding the total interval range to a tritone. In a matter of seconds, the texture has transformed from a static pulse into a blurry mess.

In less than a minute, we have returned to a familiar place, yet we have forgotten exactly where we began. It is as if the sound of the opening has been thrown down a rocky cavern, emerging from the other end recognizable, but chipped and chiseled in the process.

I will take a more diplomatic approach, classifying the disputed areas generally the static "interval signals" as points of overlap. Section II presents a similar process of blurring the interval signal, then forming them into expanded symmetrical units, but here the range is expanded, and the notes are presented in near-diatonic fashion. While Section I adds a major second pi2 below a minor third pi3 , Section II adds a minor third pi3 below a major second pi2.

Both sections add a fourth pitch to form the same symmetrical tetrachord [0][2][3][5]. With the addition of the C below the main shape, the pattern begins to sound like a rapidly ascending and descending C major scale.

Under tonal conditions, the B would act as a leading tone of the C major scale, but in this case, the function is not quite so clear.

In the center is a repeating diamond shape spanning the chromatic range of a P4 from E Dx in the score to A. At precisely a minor third pi3 above and below this shape, the high B and low C pulse at identical rates every eight 8th notes.

Ligeti himself has stated the structural importance of the minor third appearing at the opening of the piece. Here, we see it applied clearly in a symmetrical, repeating form.

It is also worth noting that this symmetrical pitch collection looks like an expanded version of the earlier tetrachord [0][2][3][5]. Both are composed of a chromatic cluster with symmetrical "satellites" on either side.

In fact, it might be said that from this point on, the piece feels as if it is in a continual state of climax quite astonishing, considering that the piece has not even reached its midway point. While the previous two sections appear as a steady stream being shaken up and then settling down again, this section proceeds with a clear sense of direction with regard to range.

However, the appearance of the major triad here manages to sound both entirely consonant and mysterious at the same time. It is approached without any traditional harmonic preparation, but instead with a type of stuttering, alien counterpoint. After a few measures, the high D is replaced by a lower D natural, turning the shape into a B minor triad in closed position.

Over the next several measures, four more pitches are added to the texture, in the following order: G below , C middle , D middle , F below. As this shifting occurs, no single pulse takes precedence.

All notes pulse at the same rate, but Ligeti has carefully staggered the changes to gives the feeling of smooth, accelerated motion. At mm. Many scholars have noted that the onset of this section corresponds exactly to the golden mean of the piece. Whether this is a tongue-in-cheek decision by Ligeti, a cosmic signal from the universe, or both, I will allow the reader to decide for him or herself.

In the MIDI plot, we can see the perfectly symmetrical octaves, split in two by tritones. Steinitz p. While I will do the same here, I feel that the last two sections could easily be grouped together. Although it would be jarring, the piece could easily end here, but instead, the climactic movement continues to move upward. And while the opening minor third certainly constitutes an important recurring signal, it is only one of many.

One might describe the opening interval not as a seed from which the entire piece grows, but instead as a single plant living in a diverse, but mutually dependent ecosystem. Clendinning, Jane Piper. London: Robson Books Ltd. Hicks M. Ligeti, G. Ligeti in Conversation. London: Ernst Eulenburg Ltd. Steinitz, R. London: Faber and Faber. Related Papers.


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