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Music History (PowerPoint download)

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									Music History
       Minimalism
  1960s and 1970s
Minimalism
       Music written using a very small amount of
        material that is actually used by the composers.
       Characterized by:
        Repetitive figures
        Static harmonies
        Precise intonation
       Began by La Monte Young (b. 1934)
       Influenced by John Cage, African, Indian and
        Balinese music and the want to steer clear of a
        specific form
       Also called: “trance music”, “pulse music”, “process
        music”, or “systemic music”
Steve Reich
(b. 1936)

   One of the leading composers of
    minimalism
   Studied jazz and drumming, African
    music and Balinese gamelan music.
   Began to work with tape loops and
    became captivated by the possibilities of
    repetition and phase shifting.
   These repetitive figures and patterns led
    him to minimalism and a considerably
    reduced harmonic vocabulary.
   1970s brought Reich back to writing
    melodic material and abandoned
    electronic music to write for conventional
    instruments.
Clapping Music - 1972
Steve Reich

   Reich wanted to “create a piece of music that
    needed no instruments beyond the human body”.
   One performer claps a basic rhythm of 12 eighth
    notes in length for the entire piece.
   The other claps the same pattern, but every 12 bars
    he „misses‟ the 12th eighth note, so that she or he
    shifts over by a quaver changing the rhythm and
    how it fits with the first performer‟s “base” rhythm.
   The two performers continue this until the second
    performer has shifted 12 eighth notes and is hence
    playing the pattern in unison with the first performer
    again (as at the beginning), some 144 bars later.
“Come Out” (1966)
Steve Reich

   “I had to open the bruise up and let some of the
    bruise blood come out to show them” Daniel Hamm
   Reich found this brief sentence from 10 hours of
    taped interviews.
   He was searching for speech melody.
   Uses phase shifting, in which Tape 1 and Tape 2:
       Both tapes contain the same material, and to begin they
        are set up to be played in unison
       Tape 2 is gradually moved out of phase, so that it falls
        farther and farther behind Tape 1
   13:10 minutes long
Philip Glass
(b. 1937)



   Born in Maryland, USA and studied analysis in Paris
   Traveled to India and was greatly influenced by the music is
    experienced there.
   Expanded basic melodic units through additive rhythmic process
    – Add and Repeat. He lengthens or shortens it by the addition or
    deletion of a rhythmic unit.
   His pieces tend to be harmonically static because of his use of
    parallel motion.
   Wrote operas, solo pieces, chamber works, symphonies,
    orchestral works, vocal pieces, and music for dance, film and
    theatre.
Violin Concerto – 2nd movement
Philip Glass

   Composition took 4 months to finish and premiered
    in 1987
   Written in a neo-Baroque style
   It is a three movement structure written in the key of
    C minor and D
   Very dramatic and creates tension with its active
    rhythms
   2nd movement is actually supposed to be the „slow‟
    movement, however the busy rhythms have
    changed that
   8:32 minutes long
Terry Riley
(b. 1935)

   Born in California, USA
   Studied in India and traveled throughout Europe, taking his
    musical ideas from his experiences
   “All Night Concerts” which improved his improvisational
    techniques. These performances included him, a vacuum
    cleaner and a saxophone tape.
   Riley‟s use of the ostinato stems from his ability to improvise
   The work called “In C” is one of the best known minimalist
    works.
“In C” (1964)
Terry Riley

   Improvises on melodic figures of various lengths
   The piano part is not notated, but is required to play
    octave quavers on the two top Cs of the keyboard,
    creating a background for the other players.
   The rest of the ensemble has 53 motives to play
    consecutively in sync with the Cs of the keyboard.
   The player decides when to move, how long to play
    the motive, and how many times to repeat. And are
    encouraged to drop out and listen occasionally.
   Performances usually last anywhere from 45 to 90
    minutes.
Important Terms
   Add and Repeat - expansion of musical ideas
    through the addition and repetition of rhythms or
    melodic material.
   Minimalism - a style of music that is created
    through the simplification of rhythms, patterns and
    harmonies creating a „trance-like‟ effect.
   Ostinato - a repeated musical pattern; rhythmic, a
    portion of a tune or a complete melody.
   Phase Shifting - placing parts out of
    synchronization
   Parallel motion - harmonic direction of a musical
    passage in which the voice of two parts progresses
    with the interval remaining the same. Usually found
    with octaves and fifths.

								
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