Aspects & Points

Repetitive techniques 2

Sfærernes Musik (Music of the Spheres) contains examples of repetitive passages, in which the module in question is repeated at an ever increasing tempo. From Langgaard's later years there are examples of several movements in which a number of bars - as a rule the whole composition - are to be repeated over and over again at ever increasing speed. This technique gives the music a mad, ecstatic chraracter.

The work Res absurda for choir and orchestra (1948) is such a composition, the aim of which is to express meaninglessness. When the tempo has reached manic proportions, the work closes on a chord.

Hél-Sfærernes Musik (Music of the Hell-Spheres) (1948), a work for piano, is provided with a motto indicating what the music is meant to express: "I ran through the streets, terror snapping at my heels".

The beginning of the manuscript is reproduced below. Listen to a straightforward version of the 20 bars, played slowly. Note that the seventh chord motif described in cryptography appears in the middle of the work.