Sunday, February 12, 2006

What minimalism looks like

If you have never heard Terry Riley's astounding In C, I suggest you go out and buy a copy of it (I have no recommendations on who to choose for aleatoric music: it's too personal) or get off yer Gerbil Wheel and buy Rhapsody. Here's what it looks like: the full score is available at OtherMinds, and Wikipedia has a good starting description of Riley. The basic idea is that of a tonic note repeatedly struck (C here, of course) around which everything swirls in a superficially-random but deeply-ordered way, so that you are perpetually centered yet are perpetually swept away, getting glimpses of where you are and where you're going, which is where you've been. It is in many ways the opposite of Bach's Perpetually Rising Canon from his musical offering, in which you are perpetually rising yet never move. Or maybe it's the same. I don't know.


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