Monday, July 04, 2005


Way, WAY back in May Madpercolator mentioned her love of Satie's atmospheric music and, in the same post, brought attention to some really cool classically-trained kids in South Africa playing folk music on violins and violas. This made me want to send her to buy Ligeti's African Rhythms disc, but I have been lazy and put off writing even a blurb.

So, over the break I picked up some more Ligeti and enjoyed it on the drive home. Ligeti's atmospheric stuff, like the piano etudes, is more thoughtful than Satie's. Satie has a Vivaldi-like way of making noise serve as the atmosphere. Vivaldi occassionally gave us a melody on top of the noise, but Satie just gives us the noise. Ligeti is noisy, too, but his noise is more than a piano or violin approximating 5 minutes of a bubbling stream or similar. Each part contributing to the noise has a plan and its own polyphonic harmony, creating what Ligeti calls "cloudiness" as his harmonies blend into one another and into the next.

Rhythm, though, fascinates Ligeti more than texture, and so even though the atmospheric quality is what brought him to mind when Perc mentioned Satie, the rhythms of his music are what make the stuff great. Rhythm is also what sent him to hang out with the Pygmies in Africa, which became the source of the Africa Rhythms cd.

Good stuff.



  1. Anonymous7:14 PM

    You are confusish between Satie and Scarlatti? Scarlatti is Vivaldi-esque in his reliance on the totally affected metrosexual flourishes of the harpsichord. Lots of pingling and dinging, harpsichordically, making, I suppose, some noise. But Satie is like a bleached bone - super sparse, logical and repetitive melodies usualment avec the piano.

    Now go order Buskaid and certify a chance at supporting Africans - putting you in harmony with the G8 and one step closer to getting laid with Angelina (and maybe Brad!).

  2. No. Scarlatti = trailer park trash Southerner.

    Satie = pretty-faced airhead.