György Kurtág's music makes extensive musical and extra-musical reference in ways which are often highly personal, yet the instructions which he gives to his performers are very often unclear, ambiguous, or even confusing. Through the examination of a small number of Játékok, centring on the 'Hommage à Tchaikovsky', the author demonstrates the compositional motivations behind some of this music. The discussion covers the use of musical reference and near-quotation, notation and performance physicality. These are also pieces which are situated within a pedagogical framework, and so inspire a particular relationship between the composer and his interpreter. In the 'Hommage à Tchaikovsky', Kurtág's idiosyncratic reinterpretation of the B flat minor Concerto is transformed into a direct engagement with the very physical experience of playing the piano. Through the analysis of complementary works this paper shows how this transmission of personal experience through musical and physical gesture seems crucial to Kurtág's compositional thought.