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 Technique de mon langage musical.
(Technique of my musical language).

It is hoped that this page will serve as a basic introduction to how Messiaen developed his use of rhythm and later melody through his modes.

The first few examples are of rhythms - the fundamental building blocks Messiaen used to develop his unique approach to rhythm - you will need the book(s) for cross reference. Technique de mon langage musical - Alphonse Leduc & Co, Paris.

I am grateful to John Crellin who initially compiled these files.


Example   Chapter / heading / source Midi file
Chapter 2  Râgavardhana, Hindu Rhythm  
1   Ametrical music
Strawinsky Sacre du Printemps, Danse sacrale.  
2 simhavikrîdita Listen 
3 Râgavardhana Listen 
4   - modification 1 Listen 
5   - modification 2 Listen 
Chapter 3 Rhythms with Added Values  
6 Added value
Three rhythms
7   - modification of first Listen 
8   - modification of second Listen 
9   - modification of third Listen 
10 Use of the added value
les Anges (
Messiaen, from La Nativité du Seigneur)
11 les Anges (Messiaen, from La Nativité du Seigneur) Listen 
12 les bergers (Messiaen, from La Nativité du Seigneur) Listen 
13 Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes Listen 
14 Rhythmic preparations and descents
le Collier
15 Paysage Listen 
16 Epouvante Listen 
17 le collier Listen 
18 le Verbe Listen 
19 - Listen 
Chapter 4 Augmented or Diminished Rhythms and a Table of These Rhythms  
20 Augmented or diminished rhythms
21 Addition or withdrawal of the dot
Dieu parmi nous
22 le Verbe Listen 
23 - Listen 

These are a series of examples of augmentation of a rhythm followed by diminution. There are 7 examples:
a) b) c) d) e) f) g).
In each case I have paired them up as they appear across the page for each letter.

25 Inexact augmentations
Minuit pile et face
26 Arc-en-ciel d'innocence Listen 
27 (The strict augmentation of above.) Listen 
Chapter 5 Nonretrogradable Rhythms  
28 Retrograde rhythms Listen 
29 Retrograde of 28 Listen 
30 Nonretrogradable rhythms (palindromes) Listen 
31 - example 2 Listen 
32 - example 3 Listen 
33 Danse de la fureur, pour les sept trompettes. Listen 
34 The melodic movement of 33 Listen 
Chapter 6 Polyrhythm and Rhyhmic Pedals
35 Superposition of rhythms of unequal length
le Verbe


Part of Par Lui Tout a été fait to listen to.




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