Electric Counterpoint- Steve Reich (1987)

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  • Created by: Phoebe
  • Created on: 21-05-13 20:52

MINIMALISM

MINIMALISM FEATURES:

-developed in the late 60's

-repitition of simple ideas and small changes introduced gradually over time

-Note addition

-Layered textures

-Diatonic harmonies

-Little instrumental range

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STRUCTURE

BUILDS UP IN THREE LAYERS: 

1. Syncopated quaver motif introduced in the live guitar and 4 recorded guitar parts.

2. New syncopated motif in bass guitars

3. Sustained motif begins in live guitars and is then transferred to other parts.

A - B - CODA

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INSTRUMENTATION

Written for guitar.

-7 GUITARS

-2 BASS GUITARS

-1 LIVE GUITAR

_____ =recorded

Live guitar is amplified to blend in with the backing tape.

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HARMONY AND TONALITY/DYNAMICS

Largely in the key of E MINOR

  • Modulates to the key of C MINOR and then alternates every 4 bars between E and C
  • Electric Counterpoint
  • There is tonal ambiguity until bar 33.

Entirely DIATONIC.

Use of hexatonic scales. 

Cadences and conventional chord progessions are not used.

DYNAMICS remain constant throughout the piece, and some parts fade out at different points.

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MELODY AND TEMPO

Whole piece is made up of a one bar melody. 


-Repeated to form an ostinato.

-Used to create a CANON.

-note addition is used to build up parts and create a resultant melody, which is played by the live guitar.

The tempo is 192 bpm (v fast) 

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TECHNOLOGY

-The pre-recorded guitars allow the performer to play alongside melodies he has recorded before. 

-The soloist is amplified.

-Use of panning to seperate out the two bass guitar sounds

-much of the pre-recorded guitar sounds are LOOPED

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RHYTHM AND METRE

RHYTHM:

There is little rhythmic variety, most of the piece is made up of patterns of repeated quavers.

SYNCOPATION IS USED 

Reich uses metrical displacement.

METRE:

 The main metre is 12/8

-Towards the end, some parts go into 3/2 and the combination of 2 time signatures is called POLYMETRE.

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