The pre-eminent classical piano music to have emerged over the last half century , Ligeti’s Etudes have received numerous recordings – both in part and as a. In Ligeti’s own description of the Piano Etudes, he says, they are “Etudes in a compositional and pianistic sense”1 that “behave like growing organisms.”2 Upon. “Désordre” (), the first etude in the first book of piano etudes by György Ligeti . (–). After explaining how Gestalt principles can be applied to the.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. His etudes for piano and Piano Concerto etues An analysis. Piaon lived and composed during decades that were crucial for the formation of various new tendencies in music. The five decades that preceded the s are marked by a great deal of music efforts by groups of young composers. Although their approaches are different, they all shared the same goal: Ligeti was one of these composers and one of his main concerns throughout his compositional career was to find the ultimate freedom in music expression.

Ligeti was born in in a small Transylvanian town. His parents were of Jewish origin and both shared a great love for music, although they themselves did not play any instruments.

Ligeti was introduced to music at an early age, mainly through frequent concert attendances. Gyorgy Etides started taking piano lessons at a relatively late age — fourteen years old.

Ligeti Piano Etudes, Bks 1 and 2

Although he was in awe of the piano virtuosos, he himself never reached that level of performance3 — his technique was at a medium level. However, it seems that the piano played an important role in his compositional career, which is evident especially through the sets of piano etudes and the etuddes concerto he composed.

Ligeti considered Bartok to be one of the most important composers and followed his lead in many ways. Phaidon Press Ltd, Robson Books, During his studies at the Budapest Academyhis compositions had evident traces of Bartok, as well as of Stravinsky — another composer much admired by Ligeti5.

The political situation during the s and s was not in favor of music development. The Hungarian Rebellion of was another major political event that had an impact on Ligeti. Throughout his life, he felt bitter and emotionally hurt by the political and social mayhem of those two decades6. Ligeti efudes quite a bit during the next thirty years.

During his stay in Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna and other important European music centers he came into contact with the music of Berg, Schoenberg and Webern, composers who had formed the second Viennese School.

During the s he was also introduced to electronic lifeti music7. The period beginning in the s brought about a period of musical experimentations for Ligeti. During those decades, Ligeti was subject to various music dtudes, including those of the avant-garde, the serialists and of the Teudes minimalist school, as Richard Toop informs us8.

In addition, Ligeti showed an interest for African rhythms during the s and he integrated some elements of African tradition in his works at this time9. Ligeti discusses at length the political situation in Griffiths, Gyorgy Ligeti, and piiano Toop. It was during the same decade that he wrote some of his most important compositions for the piano — the two volumes of Etudes pour le piano. The first book of the Etudes pour piano was composed ineighteen piabo since he last composed for the piano.


Until that time, Ligeti had only composed short piano pieces such as bagatelles, capriccios, an invention and some etudes for organ As stated earlier, Ligeti was enraptured by ligegi etudes of various composers from an early age.

He wrote two volumes of etudes, the first containing pisno works and the second containing eight. As one might expect, his etudes are quite different than those of Chopin, Liszt egudes the rest of the great etude composers of the past few centuries Ligeti was not a piano virtuoso.

His piano etudes are technically very challenging yet he himself was not able to play them. He looked up to the masters piabo etude composition and it seems that he wanted to leave his own legacy on the genre. In general, his etudes are at a high level of difficulty, technical and rhythmical — they include complex rhythms and demanding technical passages. Ligeti takes dynamics to the extreme, by marking pppppp to ffffff, as demonstrated in ex. In his first book of etudes, the differences are less extreme and less extensive than in the late volume.

His etudes are a synthesis of the various musical, rhythmical and compositional ideas to which etudees has been exposed throughout his compositional career, as I will discuss. Eulenburg Books, Griffiths, Gyorgy Ligeti, Lois Svard, Gyorgy Ligeti, Etudes pour piano. Toop, Gyorgy Ligeti, According to Richard Toop, the titles are made up and linked to the pieces after they are composed.

This is strongly reminiscent of both Schumann and Debussy, who applied a similar method in naming many of their piano compositions In general, most of the etudes are harmonically vague and quite confusing to the ear. The first three etudes are dedicated to Etuudes Boulez for his sixtieth birthday, as Richard Toop informs us The harmonic aspect of the work is, in my opinion, definitely worthy of its title.

There is no rhythmic notation and the two hands bear different key signatures.

There is similar movement in both hands — they are moving in scales ex. Lois Svard makes an interesting note: The two hands are rhythmically and technically identical in the beginning of the piece, but then by adding a note at a time in one or the other hand, Ligeti breaks this evenness and creates the illusion that the left hand remains behind ex. Etudes pour piano vol. Schott, Svard, Ligeti Etudes pour Piano, Towards the end of the etude, the composer makes the harmonies even denser, by applying chords instead of octaves.

Ligeti Piano Etudes, Bks 1 and 2 |

The dynamic range of this etude is more limited than others, although still quite wide — we only see p to fff. Its main feature is a construction based on fifths — each note is a fifth higher or lower than the previous one. In the first part of the etude, the two hands play eighth-note ascending and descending arpeggios, based upon this idea ex. The rhythm changes as etkdes begin to appear in each hand. Syncopated rhythms in both hands — characterized as jazz-like by Toop19 — appear as the piece becomes even denser rhythmically.

Eighth notes are replaced by sixteenth ligetii, which are, in turn, replaced by thirty-second notes as the piece unfolds. The thirty-second note arpeggios in the last part of the etude are vaguely reminiscent of Liszt etudes ex. Etudes pour Piano vol. Ligeti, Etude No2, mm. Trois Etudes de Concert Paris: This etude brings to mind the Chopin study on chromatic scales ex. Lois Svard observes that the gaps between the chromatic scales seem to increase from one eighth to two, then three and so on, making the etude become more and more spacious Chopin, Etuves No2 op.


The main feature of this etude is a ethdes motif, heard all throughout the piece, in one voice or another. The motif consists of eight ascending notes, eetudes arranged inwith accents on the first note of each rhythmic figuration ex.

This creates a rhythmic atmosphere strongly resembling South American rhythms — strong beats and the motif. Harmonic elements drawn from jazz music are also applied in this etude. In this etude, Ligeti starts exaggerating more in the dynamics. For the first time, pppppppp appears, followed ppiano ffffff see ex.

Lois Svard, Gyorgy Ligeti Etudes pour etueds, Fryderyk Chopin Institut, Etudes pour piano Vol. It is shorter than the previous etudes and quite dense in its writing. It is highly polyphonic and in its harmonic construction, jazz influences are evident. Arc-en-ciel contains sixteenth notes, in groups of four or triplets and chromatic chords in ascending or descending motion.

The tempo is very flexible, with various markings such as rallentando, allargando, accelerando and more. In the last measure of the etude, Ligeti uses a term much loved by Liszt: Rachmaninoff, Etude-Tableau No9 op. In addition, it appears that Warsaw Autumn also refers to a Polish annual music festival, in which Ligeti took part during the s International Music Company Toop, Gyorgy Ligeti, — The sixteenth notes are organized in groups of four and in the beginning the same note is repeated in a range of 3 octaves ex.

As the piece continues, the range is often 2 octaves only to lead eventually to repeated notes, in groups of either three or four ex.

Explore the Score | György Ligeti: Klavierweke | Inside the score

The chromatic element again is present, combined with syncopation in the opposite hand. According to Svard, Ligeti considers this etude to be a fugue and it appears that the melodic motif occurs quite a few times in different rhythmic values A transition occurs, during which the sixteenth note movement ceases and gives its place to quarter notes and long syncopated rhythms.

The sixteenth notes appear once again, this time in the form of repeated arpeggios in the right hand, while the left hand continues in the same way as in the transitional section ex. Ligeti Etudes pour piano, The Lisztian influence is further reinforced by the final measures, where a descending passage dominated by chromatic octaves occurs — frequently encountered in Liszt compositions. Preludes pour piano New York: The eight etudes of the second book are considered to be even ligetu difficult and complex than those found in the first book.

Toop seems to believe that there are many more similarities to the Lisztian etudes in this volume