Area of study 2: Minimalism – “ElectricCounterpoint” – Steve Reich
Minimalism came about shortly after Schoenberg’s death in 1951 in the USA. Serialism meant that composers could not express themselves. Wanted to move back before serialism to expressionism Minimalism had very simple rhythmic phrases and is very repetitive. Simple, diatonic harmony. Making complex music from very simple ideas.
Counterpoint In music, counterpoint is therelationship between two or more voices that are independent in melody and rhythm.
PolyphonicElectric Counterpoint is Polyphonic:It is made up of 2 or more individual parts being played at the same time. The parts fit together harmonically.
Steve Reich 1936 – (Born in NYC) He believed in “The process of change” where the listener should be aware of gradual changes in music = long pieces. He introduced the idea of phase shifting in 1966. Wrote both instrumental and rhythmic minimalist music. Rhythmically complex pieces. Repetitive music.
Electric Counterpoint - Background Performed by one guitarist. Pat Matheny in 1987. Has 3 movements – ours is the 3rd. 7 electric guitars and 2 electric bass guitars. Multitrack recording. No titles – just have tempo markings. 3rd movement is 140 bars long . Made of short ostinato patterns. Timbre doesn’t change much as it’s only guitars – quite repetative.
Electric Counterpoint The music is built up in layers. The 7 Electric Guitars and 2 Bass Guitars enter as follows:1 – Guitar 12 – Live Guitar3 – Guitar 24 – Guitar 35 – Guitar 46 – Bass Guitars 1 and 27 – Guitar 58 – Guitar 69 – Guitar 7
Structure and tonality2 Main sections and a CODA:Each main section is divided up into 4 smaller sections which are defined by key changes.Section A: Section B: 1 – E minor? 1 – C minor 2 – E minor 2 – E minor 3 - E minor with C, Bm, E. 3 – C minor 4 – E minor 4 – E minorCODA – Ends in E minor.
Glossary Layering – playing versions of a tune all at different times, building up parts. Motif – a short melodic or rhythmic phrase. Polyphonic – 2 or more rhythms being played together that fit together harmonically. Multitracking – Building up prerecorded tracks over each other – easily done on Logic. Canon – Like a round where parts come in one by one.
Glossary Phase Shifting (phasing) – When 2 or more musical versions of a motif are played one after the other, being slightly out of sync. Repeated enough times and it will end up playing together. Drone – a sustained sound. Polyrhythm – 2 or more rhythms being played together.