Alphabet - Witold Lutosławski

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Aleatory technique

A compositional technique that is a distinctive feature of Lutosławski’s oeuvre beginning with the Venetian Games (1961). It denotes deliberate action on the part of the composer, aimed at leaving space in his works for chance or for choices made by interpreters. The technique allowed the composer to find an original method for organising texture and rhythm, a method giving performers some freedom in playing their parts and making their progression in time independent of the playing of the rest of the ensemble, which results in extremely interesting sonic and expressive effects. It must be remembered that Lutosławski's aleatorism is not synonymous with improvising or dicing, therefore referred to as "controlled" or "limited".