• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent does the 'quatuor pour la fin du temps' reflect Messiaen's desire for an end to musical time, in the sense of eliminating a regular beat in the music?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent does the 'quatuor pour la fin du temps' reflect Messiaen's desire for an end to musical time, in the sense of eliminating a regular beat in the music? The translation of the title of the piece means: The quartet for the end of time. It was written by Messiaen whilst he was in a prisoner of war camp during the Second World War. His main influence as a composer was Debussy, but as a prisoner he had many other influences, for instance, he was suffering from severe hunger to the extent that he was hallucinating. And of course all the horrors of the war would serve in the way he composed. His hallucinations would have been vivid because his synesthesia would have created a colour to them. Synesthesia is a symptom caused by a malfunction in the senses. Messiaen only had a handful of musicians to write for, this means that the quartet was written for the strange combination of piano, clarinet, violoncello and violin. ...read more.


This idea suggests why certain movements like movement six have no time signature or key; music exists as sounds unfolding through time. This idea would not happen in a piece written by Mozart as he defines the key and uses fairly predictable cadences. Messiaen used this to his advantage; he made use of eliminating time signatures and regular pulses. We see this in movements III, V and VI as none of them have time signatures and the bars are not of equal length. He also started using scales of limited transposition like the octatonic scale or the whole tone scale. Messiaen did not base his composition on the typical western 12 note scale; instead he used a set of scales based on a pattern of different tones and semi-tones. The octatonic scale is made up of a semi-tone, tone, semi-tone, tone... this creates an 8 note scale. He also uses a number of modes one of which is mode 3 this is created by 3 tri-chords (each note being a semi-tone apart) ...read more.


There are many examples of these in movement III from bars 25 to 27. He uses non-retrograde rhythms to create the effect of timelessness; these when read either right to left or left to right have the same order of note value. There are many examples of this between [F] and [G] in movement VI. Messiaen uses a pedal note and scribes it as being 'an independent rhythm, which continues tirelessly, with no regard for the rhythms that surround it. This happens throughout the 17 chord ostinato of the first movement. The idea of the end of time is portrayed through out the piece the movements that show the eternity and timelessness more than the others are I, V, VIII, Messiaen wrote eight movements, this represents the days of the week, six days created the world and Sunday for rest, the eighth movement represents judgement day and the everlasting light and eternal peace. This idea was taken from Messiaens preference. How does the device create it?! Explain what each thing does... J.P.Younghusband ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Music section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Music essays

  1. An Evaluation of the Marketing Strategy of Nestl Yorkie Chocolate Bars.

    Finally people may simply dislike the bar and so that could be the reason some people don't buy it. The RRP of Yorkie is 5p higher than both Cadbury Dairy Milk and also Galaxy. I would describe these two bars as Yorkie 2 main competitors.

  2. The Development Of The American Musical.

    This show has an unexpected ending, as it has no music, Bernstein felt that he could not produce apiece of music sufficient enough for the scene. Some of the critics, criticised Bernstein for this, and said it was a flaw in the music, while others have simply said that it added to the unhappy, unconventional ending.

  1. An investigation into the Mozart Effect.

    The results do however agree well with McFarland and Kennison (1987) who affirmed that music of any kind interferes with the learning process. McFarland and Hanna (1990) also found that music inhibited initial learning in a spatial task. Again showing that playing music while studying is more damaging than helpful on test performances.

  2. The impact of California Smoking Bar Banned to the bar owners in Orange County.

    Should smoking be banned in the bars? The purpose of this question, then, is to examine the opinions of the bar workers and bar employees to the California's new smoking law. Brief reports and summaaries To sum up, many of the empirical findings in this study are congruous with assumptions emerging from the literatures.

  1. French Flute Music between 1935 and 1955: Varèse, Messiaen and Jolivet

    The second part of this thesis looks at Stravinsky and Debussy as the main influences for the writings of Messiaen, Var�se and Jolivet. It will look at the individual works that I am studying and try to establish what, if anything, they have in common.

  2. From your reading of 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin' how appropriate is the musical reference in ...

    For Corelli his music is a tool which gives him boundless opportunities; it breaks barriers between him and many others, it is a key device which enables him to be seen for what he loves and truly is, a musician who happens to be a soldier, rather than a soldier who happens to be a musician.

  1. What is musical genius?

    adopted parents.5 Judith Rich Harris argued in The Nurture Assumption that parents are incorrect in assuming that the way they bring up their children has a profound effect on their lives, and that the powers of peer-pressure and non-family related experiences play a far greater role in the outcome of their child's talents.

  2. Write a critical commentary on Mendelssohn's Quartet in Eb Major, Op. 12

    found within the same movement, again putting this idea of a cyclic composition into practice. The simple two bar phrase that opens the first movement is a direct homage to Beethoven's 'Harp' Quartet. The dominant 7th would imply the piece is modulating immediately, however this is just a device Mendelssohn

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work