From the YouTube Music Archives XXV: György Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes

György Ligeti‘s Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes is the funniest music thingum I’ve seen in a while. I watched it for a few minutes before I started thinking about it more seriously, and then it started to creep me out a little. By the end I was terrified. Well, not terrified, really, but one has to wonder about the larger implications of the piece. If there’s a ‘point’ being expressed here. Someone had this to say about it at Wikipedia:

The piece requires a conductor and ten “performers”, and most of their efforts take place without the audience present. Each of the hundred metronomes is set up on the performance platform, and they are all then wound to their maximum extent and set to different speeds. Once they are all fully wound they are all started as simultaneously as possible. The performers then leave. The audience is then admitted, and take their places while the metronomes are all ticking. As the metronomes wind down one after another and stop, periodicity becomes noticeable in the sound, and individual metronomes can be more clearly made out. The piece typically ends with just one metronome ticking alone for a few beats.

Also well worth listening too is the first movement of his String Quartet No. 1, and the fourth movement of his String Quarten No. 2. Both are quite beautiful, I think. Beautiful, but stark. Here also is a selection from something called San Francisco Polyphony, which is very nice.

In keeping with the religious spirit of our site, there is Ligeti’s Gespräch der zwei Minister, or Dialogue of the Two Ministers. In keeping with the alcoholic spirt of our site, here is Trink, Ex!: Drink, Up!


  1. Henri Young says

    I was in a St. Pauli cafe once, the food on display would curl your spine. I wanted a bottle of coke to go. The aging former horizontal mamba artist said, “No, hier trink.”

  2. Henri Young says

    Wild stuff though. Thanks.

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