Unity in György Ligeti’s First Book of Etudes for Piano
Damouni, Steven S
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This dissertation analyzes the six etudes in György Ligeti’s first book of etudes for piano. Each etude is examined, both individually and within the context of the entire group of six. There are allusions to a wide variety of influences in this set, including: African polyrhythms, Eastern European folk music, Shepard Tones, jazz and fractals. In addition, this paper focuses on the use of three different tools to unify six vastly different pieces. Intervallic content is used to help give the work cohesion. Specifically, the tritone, with an added half-step above or below, permeates the entire work. The general rhythmic complexity is achieved through different means in each etude, but it is a common thread in the first book of etudes. Finally, the use of extreme changes in register is utilized not only in these six etudes but also throughout Ligeti’s oeuvre. There are also short sections for each etude discussing performance concerns and how to combat the possible problems.
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