Title page for ETD etd-06022004-190806

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Malfatti, Dennis
URN etd-06022004-190806
Title An Analysis of György Ligeti’s Nonsense Madrigals
Degree Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Kenneth Fulton Committee Chair
Allison McFarland Committee Member
Sara Lynn Baird Committee Member
William Grimes Committee Member
Pamela Monroe Dean's Representative
  • Ligeti
  • choral
  • vocal
  • twentieth century
Date of Defense 2004-05-06
Availability unrestricted
While other contemporary composers have written works called madrigals, Ligeti's Nonsense Madrigals are truly unique as exemplified by the myriad of influences that went into their creation, the technical challenges of their performance, and in the aesthetic result, one which is incomparable to most musical compositions past or present including works by Ligeti himself. Ligeti’s compositional style in these works include the parodying of compositional techniques from the 14th century as well as the rhythmic provocativeness of jazz. The use of parody in these works is compatible with Ligeti’s choice of texts which includes literary parodies by Lewis Carroll. In Chapter One, the monograph provides a brief biography and explores a chronological survey of Ligeti’s compositional techniques and influences leading up to the Nonsense Madrigals. Chapter Two provides a detailed analysis of each individual madrigal. The analysis includes an exploration of rhythmic organization, pitch organization (including motivic relationships, pitch class set relationships, and key relationships), vocal scoring, and the relationship of text to these musical parameters. Various forms of musical parody are revealed in the analysis and how musical parody mirrors textual parody. The analysis also draws similarities between this work and earlier works by Ligeti both in terms of technical procedures and in terms of general ideas and concepts. Chapter Three discusses relevant performance considerations of the madrigals. The rhythmic considerations alone pose an enormous challenge to the performance of these works. The lack of any kind of doubling instrumental accompaniment poses difficulties with pitch. Chapter III also discusses issues related to appropriate performing forces required for the Nonsense Madrigals.
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