Olivier Messiaen is regarded as one of the most significant composers of the 20th century. His compositions are performed regularly and his teachings have influenced many well-known composers like Boulez and Stockhausen. This study focussed on his use of rhythm in his piano compositions. I supplied a short biography of the composer along with a brief discussion of his compositional techniques. Thereafter his rhythmic techniques were examined through relevant music examples from his piano repertoire. Particular attention was given to works from the Vingt Regards sur L’Enfant-Jésus along with Cantéyodjayâ, Mode de valeurs et d’intensités and Neumes rythmiques from his experimental period (1949-1951). In Mode de valeurs et d’intensités he revolutionized the serial treatment of duration, pitch, intensity and attack. His other rhythmic techniques include Indian rhythms, Greek meter, added values, augmentation, diminution, non-retrogradable rhythms, polyrhythm, chromatic scales of duration, personnages rythmiques, symmetrical permutations, rhythmic neumes, rhythmic canon and prime numbers.
Dissertation (MMus (Performing Arts))--University of Pretoria, 2008.