Spiegel im Spiegel
Spiegel im Spiegel is a piece of music written by Arvo Pärt in 1978, just prior to his departure from Estonia. The piece is in the tintinnabular style of composition, 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.
The piece was originally written for a single piano and violin – though the violin has often been replaced with either a cello or a viola. Versions also exist for double bass, clarinet, horn, flute, bassoon, trombone, and percussion. The piece is an example of minimal music.
The piece is in F major in 6/4 time, with the piano playing rising crotchet triads and the second instrument playing slow F major scales, alternately rising and falling, of increasing length, which all end on the note A (the mediant of F). The piano's left hand also plays notes, syncopated with the violin (or other instrument).
"Spiegel im Spiegel" in German literally can mean both "mirror in the mirror" as well as "mirrors in the mirror", referring to an infinity mirror, which produces an infinity of images reflected by parallel plane mirrors: the tonic triads are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth.
In 2011, the piece was the focus of a half hour BBC Radio 4 programme, Soul Music, which examined pieces of music "with a powerful emotional impact". Violinist Tasmin Little discussed her relationship to the piece.
The piece has been used in television, film and theatre including:
- The Jonathan Teplitzky film Burning man (2011)
- The Richard Curtis film About Time (2013)
- Trailer for Alfonso Cuarón's film Gravity (2013) 
- The Paolo Sorrentino film This Must Be the Place (2011)
- The Isabel Coixet film Elegy (2008)
- The film Dear Frankie (2004)
- The documentary film Touching the Void (2003)
- The Gus Van Sant film Gerry (2002)
- The Jean-Luc Godard film In Praise of Love (2001) and short film Dans le Noir du Temps (2002)
- The Tom Tykwer film Heaven (2002)
- The film Soldados de Salamina (Spain, David Trueba, 2002)
- The Guy Ritchie film Swept Away (2002)
- The Mike Nichols film Wit (2001)
- The film Mother Night (1996)
- The film The East (2013)
- The film Movie 43 (2013)
- The Daniel Ribeiro film The Way He Looks (2014)
- The Hong Sang-soo film [On the Occasion of Remembering the Turning Gate] (2002)
- David Nixon's Dracula performed by the Northern Ballet (UK, 2009)
- Pilobolus' Rushes in a scene choreographed using chairs. (US, 2007)
- Christopher Wheeldon's 2005 ballet After the Rain, part two (Pärt's "Tabula Rasa" is the score to part one)
- John Neumeier's ballet Othello (1985), the central pas de deux (Pärt's "Tabula Rasa" is the score to part two)
- The New York City Ballet's September 12 sunrise performance[further explanation needed]
- Mats Ek's Smoke performed by Sylvie Guillem and Niklas Ek (1995)
- The New York production of Eurydice, a play by Sarah Ruhl (2007)
- Venezuelan production called 120 vidas x minuto ("120 Lives a Minute"), a play by Gustavo Ott (2007)
- Czech production of Forgotten Light ("Zapomenuté světlo"), a play by Jakub Deml
- The BBC drama Hattie (2011)
- The BBC television series Criminal Justice (2009)
- It was also used in a 2008 episode of the British medical drama Casualty, when character Dr. Ruth Winters attempted suicide, and again in January 2010 when Dr. Adam Trueman's son, Harry Trueman, dies after a car accident.
- The season two episode of Supernatural entitled "What is and What Should Never Be" (2007)
- The BBC documentary Auschwitz: The Nazis and 'The Final Solution' (2005)
- The BBC dramatisation of Elizabeth Gaskell's 'North & South' (2004) – theme for the romantic railway station closing-scene
- The BBC documentary Century of the Self (2002) by Adam Curtis
- The BBC documentary John Steinbeck: Voice of America (2011) by Melvyn Bragg
- The HBO television movie Wit (2001)
- The FOX television show Simpsons episode 534 Yolo (2013)
- The RTÉ News (Radio Telefís Éireann) Ireland, on New Year's Eve, at the end of news editions as a memoriam to victims of road traffic deaths during the year
Pärt himself endorsed a recording on the ECM New Series album entitled Alina, recorded in July 1995 and released in 1999. It includes two variations of Für Alina by pianist Alexander Malter, and three versions of Pärt’s Spiegel I'm Spiegel (for piano and violin, violoncello, and violin, respectively). According to the liner notes, the two versions, somewhat like “mood improvisations”, were handpicked by Pärt from a recording that was originally several hours long. The two versions most strikingly differ in the use of rubato and that of the use of the low octave b. Both versions clock slightly under eleven minutes.