Saturday, 17 November 2012


“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” - Ernest Holmes

“Spiegel im Spiegel” is a piece of music written by Arvo Pärt in 1978, just prior to his departure from Estonia. The piece is in the tintinnabular style of composition, wherein a melodic voice, operating over diatonic scales, and tintinnabular voice, operating within a triad on the tonic, accompany each other.

The piece was originally written for a single piano and violin - though the violin has often been replaced with either a cello or a viola. Versions also exist for double bass, clarinet, horn, flute and percussion. The piece is an example of minimal music.

The piece is in F major in 6/4 time, with the piano playing rising crotchet triads and the second instrument playing slow scales, alternately rising and falling, of increasing length, which all end on the note A (the mediant of F). The piano’s left hand also plays notes, syncopated with the violin (or other instrument).

“Spiegel im Spiegel” in German means “mirror in the mirror” referring to the infinity of images produced by parallel plane mirrors: The tonic triads are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth. The English word for this phenomenon is “enfilade”.

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