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Tintinnabuli (singular. tintinnabulum; from the Latin tintinnabulum, "a bell") is a compositional style created by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, introduced in his Für Alina (1976), and used again in Spiegel im Spiegel (1978). This simple style was influenced by the composer's mystical experiences with chant music. Musically, Pärt's tintinnabular music is characterized by two types of voice, the first of which (dubbed the "tintinnabular voice") arpeggiates the tonic triad, and the second of which moves diatonically in stepwise motion. [1] The works often have a slow and meditative tempo, and a minimalist approach to both notation and performance. Pärt's compositional approach has expanded somewhat in the years since 1970, but the overall effect remains largely the same. An early example can be heard in Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten .


Pärt's own comments on his style

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Arvo Pärt Estonian composer of classical and religious music

Arvo Pärt is an Estonian composer of classical and religious music. Since the late 1970s, Pärt has worked in a minimalist style that employs his self-invented compositional technique, tintinnabuli. Pärt's music is in part inspired by Gregorian chant. His most performed works include Fratres (1977), Spiegel im Spiegel (1978), and Für Alina (1976). From 2011 to 2018, Pärt was the most performed living composer in the world, and the second most performed in 2019. The Arvo Pärt Centre, in Laulasmaa, was opened to the public in 2018.

<i>Spiegel im Spiegel</i> 1978 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Spiegel im Spiegel is a composition by Arvo Pärt written in 1978, just before his departure from Estonia. The piece is in the tintinnabular style, wherein a melodic voice, operating over diatonic scales, and tintinnabular voice, operating within a triad on the tonic, accompany each other. It is about ten minutes long.

<i>Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten</i> 1977 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten is a short canon in A minor, written in 1977 by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, for string orchestra and bell. The work is an early example of Pärt's tintinnabuli style, which he based on his reactions to early chant music. Its appeal is often ascribed to its relative simplicity; a single melodic motif dominates and it both begins and ends with scored silence. However, as the critic Ivan Hewett observes, while it "may be simple in concept...the concept produces a tangle of lines which is hard for the ear to unravel. And even where the music really is simple in its audible features, the expressive import of those features is anything but." A typical performance lasts about six and a half minutes.

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<i>Kanon Pokajanen</i> 1997 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Kanon Pokajanen is a 1997 composition by Arvo Pärt for four-part (SATB) choir. The text is the "Canon of Repentance to Our Lord Jesus Christ", an Orthodox hymn. The text is sung in Church Slavonic and following the tradition of Russian sacred choral music, it is sung a cappella.

Paul Hillier English conductor (born 1949)

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<i>Für Alina</i> 1976 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Für Alina is a work for piano composed by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. It can be considered as an essential work of his tintinnabuli style.

<i>Berliner Messe</i> 1990 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Berliner Messe is a mass setting by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Commissioned for the 90th Katholikentag in Berlin in 1990, it was originally scored for SATB soloists and organ. It was first performed at St. Hedwig's Cathedral on 24 May 1990, the Feast of the Ascension, with Paul Hillier conducting the Theatre of Voices. Pärt later (1997) revised the piece for chorus and string orchestra. Pärt uses his tintinnabuli technique throughout, with movements taking many forms within that style—flowing from quietly reverent duets between parts to full chorus proclamations of faith.

Passio (Pärt) 1982 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Passio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem is a passion setting by Arvo Pärt for solo baritone (Jesus), solo tenor (Pilate), solo vocal quartet (Evangelist), choir, violin, oboe, cello, bassoon and organ. The work lasts approximately 70 minutes and is a setting of the Latin text from the Gospel of John, chapters 18 and 19, plus a brief introduction and conclusion.

Te Deum (Pärt) 1985 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Te Deum is a setting of the Latin Te Deum text, also known as the Ambrosian Hymn attributed to Saints Ambrose, Augustine, and Hilary, by Estonian-born composer Arvo Pärt, commissioned by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Cologne, Germany, in 1984. Dedicated to the late Alfred Schlee of Universal Edition, the WDR Broadcast Choir premiered the Te Deum under the direction of conductor Dennis Russell Davies on January 19, 1985. The Te Deum plays an important role in the services of many Christian denominations, including the Paraklesis (Moleben) of Thanksgiving in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Because of the unusual instrumentation Pärt employs, his Te Deum is not suited for use within the Orthodox Church. It was recorded on the ECM New Series label in 1993 by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Tõnu Kaljuste. The piece is approximately thirty minutes long.

<i>Tabula Rasa</i> (Pärt) 1977 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Tabula Rasa is a musical composition written in 1977 by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The piece contains two movements, "Ludus" and "Silentium," and is a double concerto for two solo violins, prepared piano, and chamber orchestra.

Arvo Pärt set the Latin text of the Magnificat canticle in 1989. It is a composition for five-part choir (SSATB) a cappella, with several divided parts. Its performance time is approximately seven minutes. The composition is in tintinnabuli style, a style which Pärt had invented in the mid-1970s.

Symphony No. 4 (Pärt) 2008 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Symphony No. 4 Los Angeles is the fourth symphony by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. It is the first of his symphonies to be written post-1976 and is in his signature tintinnabuli style. It is the first of his pieces that focuses on larger scale, instrumental tintinnabulation. Previous pieces, such as Summa and Für Alina, were typically written for SATB choir or a smaller number of instruments. Composed in 2008, and premiered 10 January 2009, Symphony No. 4 was nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, although he did not receive the award.

Over the years, Keith Jarrett has recorded in many different settings: jazz piano trio, classical and baroque music, improvised contemporary music, solo piano, etc. Well known for his tremendous impact on the piano and jazz scene, as a composer, multi-instrumentalist, and first class improviser, Keith Jarrett's original output embraces many different musical styles and spans a period of almost 50 years, comprising a generous production of more than 100 albums.

<i>Lamentate</i> 2002 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Lamentate for piano and orchestra is the largest instrumental work by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. The work was commissioned by Tate and Egg Live, written in 2002, and premiered on 7 and 8 February 2003 in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern Museum in London where the massive "Marsyas" was installed. The pianist for the premiere was Hélène Grimaud, with Alexander Briger conducting the London Sinfonietta. The piece is written in the tintinnabuli style, the technique Pärt created in 1976.

<i>Da pacem Domine</i> (Pärt) 2004 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Da pacem Domine is a choral composition by Arvo Pärt on the Latin prayer for peace Da pacem Domine, first composed in 2004 for four voices. Different versions, also for and with string instruments, were published by Universal Edition.

De profundis (Pärt) 1980 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

De profundis is a choral composition by Arvo Pärt. He wrote the work in 1980, a setting of Psalm 130 in Latin for a four-part men's choir, percussion and organ. It was first performed at the Martinskirche, Kassel on 25 April 1981, conducted by Klaus Martin Ziegler. Pärt dedicated the work of around 7 minutes to Gottfried von Einem. It was published by Universal Edition. Pärt arranged it for chamber orchestra in 2008.

Pari intervallo 1976 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Pari intervallo is a composition by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt, written in 1976 in four parts without fixed instrumentation. The composer later made versions for organ (1980), four recorders (1980), clarinet, trombone and string orchestra (1995), saxophone quartet (2002), two pianos or piano duet (2008), and eight or four cellos (2010). Pari intervallo was one of seven works premiered in 1976 under the title tintinnabuli, the name of compositional style created by the composer.

Symphony No. 3 (Pärt) 1971 musical composition by Arvo Pärt

Arvo Pärt composed his Third Symphony in 1971. It is scored for symphony orchestra and was dedicated to Neeme Järvi.


  1. Hillier, Paul (1997). Oxford Studies of Composers: Arvo Part . Oxford University Press. pp.  99–100. ISBN   0198165501.
  2. "Tintinnabulation". arvopart.org. Archived from the original on 2016-10-11. Retrieved 2008-05-31.
  3. Conen, Hermann (1999). "Weisses Licht". Internet Archive. ECM Records.
  4. Liner notes of the Naxos Records release of Arvo Pärt's Passio

Further reading