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2016 | 6 | 69-84

Article title

Pomiędzy muzyką a językiem. Figuralne i krytyczne w muzyce na przykładzie Lyotardowskiej analizy Sequenzy III Luciana Berio


Title variants

Between music and language. The figural and the critical in music on the example of Lyotard’s analysis of Sequenza III by Luciano Berio

Languages of publication



The author refers to an article by J.-F. Lyotard A few words to sing in which the philo-sopher tries to analyze Sequenza III by Luciano Berio, a piece performed by Cathy Berberian. A few words to sing is an example of Lyotard’s dealing with musical topics situated “on the bor-derline”. In this particular case, the author suggests that the analysis in question lies in perfect agreement with Lyotard’s categories of figure and giving voice to the victim disallowed to speak, as opposed to the (purely) aesthetic, thus enforcing the demand of “resisting the aesthetic”. Lyotard’s musical interests, although perhaps not so evident as his passion with the image, also indicate quite clearly his specific (anti-)aesthetics. While listening to Sequenza III, Lyotard discovers the decon-structed discourses that Berio planted in his musical work. Their interrelations, as well as our own expectations towards the piece — as Lyotard believed — all provide a significant context for the interpretation of Sequenza III, the interpretation which may still give rise to revolution, if only the total critical potential of the work is duly used.


  • Uniwersytet Warszawski, Wydział Filozofii i Socjologii


  • Berio Luciano, Sequenza III (author’s note) [online], http://www.lucianoberio.org/node/1460? 1487325698=1 (dostęp: 18.10.2016).
  • Halfyard Janet K., Provoking acts: the theatre of Berio Sequenzas, w: Berio’s Sequenzas. Essays on performance, composition and analysis, ed. by Janet K. Halfyard, Hampshire 2007, s. 99–116.
  • Halfyard Janet K., Before night comes: narrative and gesture in Berio’s Sequenza III (1965-66), „The National Arts Education Archive. Occasional Papers in the Arts and Education” 2000, vol. 8, s. 79–93.
  • Lyotard Jean-François, A few words to sing, w: Music/ideology. Resisting the aesthetic, ed. by Adam Krims, Amsterdam 1998, s. 15–36.
  • Lyotard Jean-François, The Inhuman. Reflections on time, Stanford 1991.

Document Type

Publication order reference


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