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The Contributions of Krzysztof Penderecki

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Brady McNeil

on 24 November 2015

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Transcript of The Contributions of Krzysztof Penderecki

About Penderecki
Born on November 23, 1933 in Dębica, Poland
Began studying composition in 1953 under Franciszek Skolyszewski and continued studies at the Higher State School where he received his diploma in 1958.
Penderecki's Success
Penderecki has composed a wide variety of vocal, orchestral, and solo instrumental works, and has won several awards for his compositions including the presitgious Prix Italia.
He has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from 17 major universities and is considered an honorary member of several prestigious academies spanning the United States and several countries in Europe.
Unique Style
Penderecki's earlier music shows characteristically vigorous rhythmic and lyrical melodic traits, comforming to the prevalent neo-classicism trend in Poland in the 1950s.
He later became interested in exploring textural writing which eventually led to the full-blown sonorisms of subsequent scores, and the use of a graphic notation system.
Penderecki's Notation
Penderecki's notational system is based on the rules of diagram and graphic concepts.
It is primarily shown in tempo notation and the bar division is replaced entirely by the time division.
Each page of the score is divided according to a diagram into time sectors determining in seconds the start, duration and the end of a given fragment.
The score only shows the parts that are actively playing while tacet parts are left blank.
The Beginning of Krzysztof Penderecki's Graphic Notation
Notation of Time
In Penderecki's system the time value is determined in a horizontal way and the time distance between individual notes is determined by the graphical distance between individual signs.
The arithmetical or geometrical progression can determine the distance with absolute precision and its graphical value makes it quite distinctive and clear.
Notation of Pitch
Penderecki uses a series of signs to represent various extended techniques and extreme range to be utilized by the performers.
Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima
Composed for 52 string instruments in 1960.
Dedicated to those who fell victim to the bombing of Hiroshima as part of the final stage of WWII in 1945.
In this piece, Penderecki is primariliy concerned with the coloristic possibilities of the instruments and employs extended techniques.
Extended Techniques in Quick Succession
Use of Cluster Chords - Specifc Notes Indicated
Cluster Chords
Contemporary music uses tone clusters quite often.
In a conventional score, each instrument has its note marked on a separate staff. However, notation gets complicated when several instrument groups are playing these clusters simultaneously and are intended to begin and end at different times.
Penderecki's Solution
The tonal scale of a static cluster is limited by a small sound distance between the outer notes.
Penderecki fills the graphical distance with a line which is determined by two factors:
1) the width of the line (the horizontal value) is the graphical distance between the outer notes played on the staff.
2) the length (the vertical value) is the determining factor for the duration of the cluster in accordance with the time diagram placed on the bottom of each page.
Use of Cluster Chords
Penderecki Today
Penderecki still composes and also makes appearances as a guest conductor of his works.
He still uses the same graphic notation system, though it has evolved ever so slightly to include additional techniques.
Full transcript