"Hungarian Dance" Inspired by Gyorgy Ligeti


Here is a piece of music for your listening pleasure.


This music was inspired by a composition called “Hungarian Rock” written by the composer Gyorgy Ligeti in 1978. The piece is for solo harpsichord and is dedicated to harpsichordist Elisabeth Chojnacka.

According to biographer Richard Steinitz in his book “Gyorgy Ligeti: Music of the Imagination”, Ligeti wrote the piece as “‘ironical remarks’ to Ligeti’s students ‘who always wanted this kind of retro music.’”

The right hand knits elaborate melodic lines, whilst the left hand crochets a one bar ostinato - “176 times”. It is written in a tricky 2+2+3+2/8 meter.

Creative Vision for the Track:

There are many lively interpretations of this piece. However, I chose to write an entirely new piece, using the ostinato as a starting point.


Instead of “rock”, it is electronic “dance”, with progressive rock overtones, harmonics and sidebands.

Composition Details:

It’s written in D Hungarian minor (D, E, F, G#, A, B-, C#, D) - with tonal and modal modulations. It has three themes with lively rhythms. The sound is very bright - a full palette of sound - with thunderous bass and persistent percussion.

Below is the structure:

Intro 1: G# Hungarian Minor
Intro 2: G# Hungarian Major

Theme A1: D Hungarian Minor

Theme A2: D Hungarian Minor
Theme B1: A Hungarian Minor

Theme A3: D Hungarian Major
Theme B2: A Hungarian Minor
Theme C1: F Hungarian Minor

Theme B3: A Hungarian Major
Theme C2: F Hungarian Minor

Theme C3: F Hungarian Major

Theme A4: D Hungarian Minor

Coda 1: B- Hungarian Major
Coda 2: B- Hungarian Minor

Finale: D Hungarian Minor

Main Instruments Used:

Cockos Reaper

Cherry Audio DC-106
u-he Zebra2
Drum Pro 64

I think the music stands on its own, but thanks to Ligeti for the inspiration.
Happy music making!


Trippy - it brings to mind the kind of BGM you’d hear in cartoons of the 80’s and early 90’s, “I’LL GET YOU NEXT TIME GADGET!” or a cave in a video game.

I wouldn’t say I could dance to it though - but I’m not Hungarian either, so maybe that’s the issue.:slight_smile:


Thanks for listening!

Yes, you must be careful trying to dance to this: you could throw your back out of wack.

When I taught myself to play keyboards, I used Bela Bartok’s “Mikrokosmos”. I like his harmonies and rhythms. Maybe, I have absorbed some understanding of Hungarian music!

I like Ligeti’s pieces like Atmospheres, Lontano, Lux Aeterna and the Requiem. But, he wrote many piano compositions exploring various musical phenomena. His piece “Hungarian Rock”, I think, has humorous aspects.

Anyway, thanks again.