Music - Lend us your metronomes

3rd December 2010 at 00:00

Music students from Napier University in Edinburgh have launched an appeal to borrow 100 metronomes to enable them to perform a rarely-heard piece of music by the composer famed for his work on Stanley Kubrick film soundtracks.

The performance of Gyorgy Ligeti's Poeme Symphonique at Edinburgh's Inverleith House on January 23 will involve 10 students, each responsible for 10 of the 100 metronomes. The piece is rarely performed, owing to the complex staging and preparation needed.

Digital and electronic metronomes cannot be used and Ligeti insists the work cannot be played with fewer than 100 metronomes. So far, the students have acquired 15.

The metronomes will be set up on the performance platform and set to different speeds. At the conductor's signal, they are started simultaneously. The piece usually ends with just one metronome ticking alone for a few beats, followed by silence.

Katrina Burton, lecturer in music, said: "Many musicians now use electric metronomes, but we can only perform this piece with 100 mechanical, pyramid-shaped metronomes. We would need them from the beginning of January and they will all be returned quickly and safely after their starring role."

Ligeti (1923-2006) was born in Romania and is best known for pieces featured in Kubrick's films 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut.

Anyone willing to lend a metronome for the performance should contact Dr Burton on

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