Electric counterpoint

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Who was Electric Counterpoint written for?
Guitarist Pat Metheny
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When was it first performed?
1987
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Describe instrumentation in the piece
For live guitar, accompanied by parts for 7 guitars and 2 bass guitars that have been pre-recorded. Live guitar amplified
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Describe the structure of this piece
Builds up in 3 layers. 1. A syncopated quaver motif is introduced in the live guitar and top four guitar parts one at a time. 2. a new syncopated quaver motif is next introduced in the basses. 3. a more sustained motif, starts with guitar then moves
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Describe the structure of this piece (2)
After all 3 layers have been built up, layer 2 and 3 fade out together, leaving layer 1 to continue until to comes to rest on a held chord.
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Describe the melody of the piece
Melody made up of a one-bar motif that is repeated continuously to form an ostinato. Motif is introduced by live guitar and top 4 guitar parts at different times, creating a canon. In some parts, melody is built up through note addition
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Describe the melody of the piece (2)
e.g. the live guitar starts with three notes of motif. After 2 bars, another 2 notes are added, Then after 2 more bars, all the gaps are filled in and the entire motif is heard. At one point, the live guitar creates a resultant melody.
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Describe the texture of the piece
Contrapuntal texture
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Describe the rhythm, metre and tempo of the piece
Main metre is 3/2. Tempo is 192 crotchets per minute (very fast). There is little rhythmic variety, most of piece made up of repeating patterns of quavers. Frequent syncopation. It uses the effect metrical displacement
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Describe the rhythm, metre and tempo of the piece (2)
Guitars 1-4 play the same motif but start in different parts of the bar and sound out of sync with each other. Towards the end of the piece, some parts go to 12/8 while others continue in 3/2. This combination of different time signatures is polymetr
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Describe the harmony and tonality of the piece
Music largely in G major, with some shorter sections towards the end in E flat major. It is entirely diatonic. It uses hexatonic scales e.g. first motif is hexatonic (uses 6 notes of g maj scale). Conventional harmonic progressions aren't used
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Name an example for when conventional harmonic progressions aren't used
The final chord is made up of only two notes B and E; because there is no cadence and it isn't a complete chord, we cannot be entirely sure that the piece has finished in G major.
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Describe the dynamics of the piece
The overall dynamic remains fairly constant throughout. Parts gradually fade out in a number of places.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

When was it first performed?

Back

1987

Card 3

Front

Describe instrumentation in the piece

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Describe the structure of this piece

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Describe the structure of this piece (2)

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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