Clifton Callender

composition, music theory, mathematics

This analysis focuses on the voice-leading and harmonic constraints underlying many of the chord progressions in Ligeti’s fifth Piano Etude, which the composers describes as “almost a jazz piece.” Ligeti’s harmonic approach in this etude seems less systmatic than many of his other works, but extending Neo-Riemannian approaches to efficient motions between tertian harmonies of indefinite size reveals the basic principles at work and the multiple laments implicit in the texture.

Interactions of the lamento motif and jazz harmonies in György Ligeti’s Arc-en-ciel. Intégral 2007.